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When Cédric Voigt took up his duties in 2008 as landscaping manager for Château Saint Just, the park was in a deplorable state. Left without maintenance for years, this wasteland enjoys a rich plant heritage. This gardener does not need more to transform it into a real pleasant and charming park where it is good to walk.
Tell us about your background
Since the age of 16, I received training in green spaces following which I passed several diplomas (cap-bep-bac and BTS Landscape development). Subsequently, I worked for 2 years at Prince L'Aga Kan in Gouvieux, then I joined the golf environment at Dolce Chantilly for almost 7 years. Today, I have been working at Château Saint Just for 6 years.
What was your mission when you arrived at Château Saint Just?
First of all, I assessed the land to get the most out of it, because the area has a rich plant heritage. In addition, it is important to note that the domain had been left without maintenance for many years, so it was necessary to combine at the same time the rehabilitation of the existing with the other works which were in progress and the new hotel activity of the property. All this with a very limited team since we are 2 employees for 17 hectares. Our main mission is to restore the property to its former glory and continue the history of this park with the continued establishment of remarkable specimens.
What can we have today in the gardens?
A general embellishment of the site with the massive annuals, but also the addition of fountains and lighting that come to punctuate the life of the garden. We have thus planted more than 800 shrubs and 50 trees, of around twenty different varieties, including a sea-apple tree, a rare species whose specificity is to recover cuttings to recreate feet. And in front of each tree, a plaque indicates its variety, its approximate age and an anecdote about it. The estate also has remarkable trees, some of which are over 200 years old… a real plant heritage! We have also created a Zen garden, as well as a flavor garden including aromatic herbs used by the Chef for his menus. An apple orchard has notably emerged, it has changed every year since its creation. We made a deep cleaning and a restoration of the moats which surround the castle was carried out for a complete and lasting rehabilitation. At the bottom of the garden, in the edge, we have set up an apiary which produces the honey of the property, reserved for our customers. And finally, there was a restoration of the castle's orchard, preserving the existing fruit trees and planting others.
What exactly does the "Go green" message you wanted to convey with this restoration mean?
Our British group has a mission, which is to preserve and enrich the existing heritage (architecture and plants) in order to be able to transmit to future generations an environment in the best possible condition. "Go green" frames all of this in an intelligent respect for the environment by using respectful products and the continuity of the plantations. With us, each tree that dies (old age or storm) sees three replanted to ensure its succession.
Do you have any advice for people who want to restore a fallow garden?
You have to know how to show courage and patience, these are essential qualities to obtain a satisfactory result. It is also necessary to carry out a good analysis of the existing while having a knowledge of the history. To which, you should never hesitate to add a certain dose of creative madness…
Château Saint Just: 17 rue Nationale, 60540, Belle-Église