Château de Vullierens Visit

The Château de Vullierens stands above Morges amongst the most beautiful countryside imaginable. The first building was erected in the 14thcentury but the present château was constructed between 1712 and 1715 and is now classed as an historical monument of national interest. The views from the house over the surrounding countryside are spectacular. The present owner’s father, Bernard Bovet was married to a lady from California named Doreen and she had the idea in 1950 of planting five varieties of iris in the surrounding garden. Gradually she extended the area and the varieties of iris grew by the hundreds, and all coming from California. It was decided to open the gardens to the public in 1955. Over the years these extraordinarily hardy flowers have been cultivated into four hundred varieties and although the gardens are only open during May and June, bulbs and plants can also be bought on site or ordered over the internet. The iris is considered to be the oldest flower in the world and this collection at Vullierens is acknowledged by experts to be the most important in Europe.

However, the irises are not the only attraction in this beautiful domain. Early roses of many varieties, tulips, peonies, fuchsias, azaleas and lilacs grow in the beautifully laid out gardens named to commemorate people of note. As one wanders down the paths there are innumerable stately can trees of many varieties, some hundreds of years old and standing amongst them are incredible sculptures designed by people well known in the art world. The Secret Garden should not be missed. It is full of lovely plants and mystical small creatures in bronze inspired by the well known book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Our group from the Romandie West Region which visited on 11 May was small but it didn’t deter us from enjoying the excellent lunch at the Vullierens village auberge, leading us to remark that small tables encouraged us to engage in stimulating conversations that enabled us to get to know each other better. We took tea in the renovated stables of the chateau and then visited the charming little shop where delightful items were on sale. Thus ended a memorable day in a beautiful place which we recommend to everyone.

Rosemary Billinge