Springtime means gardening. My green thumb twitches in delight, just waiting to dig into my small plot of earth where,  if I’m lucky, a few sweet tomatoes and cucumbers grow.

While researching a setting for my novel – in a garden – I was reminded of a trip long ago to France’s Loire Valley and to the formal courtly gardens of the Renaissance period.

As I tinker in the soil, my heroine Colette will be strolling in her upper and lower gardens, symmetrically designed and bordered by box hedging with miles of pathways, passing by colorful flowers, vegetables, water-features, and perhaps even an arbor, stone archway, or cottage.

Exactly like the beautiful gardens at the Chateau de Villandry.

Spring in the Loire Valley. Even a novice gardener feels inspired!