The towns and villages in bloom in the Marne department offer an exciting diversity of plants and shrubs.

The forests, parks and gardens are home to species native to the Marne.
The famous Faux de Verzy (twisted beech trees) in the heart of the Reims Mountain
grow alongside Marne roses and Champagne orchids.

Conservatoire of the Regional Nature Park

Taking up the former park lodge, the conservatory orchard contains several species of ancient fruit trees cultivated in Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley, Le Tardenois and Brie Champenoise. The 52 trees planted in the orchard represent 26 varieties; descriptions are provided on information panels (also in Braille).

The botanic path at Grange-aux-Bois

In the heart of the Forest of Argonne, you will discover 120 local species. A two-mile fitness trail rounds off the botanical experience.
Contact: Pays d’Argonne Tourist Office - Sainte Ménehould - 03 26 60 85 83 tourisme@argonne.fr - www.argonne.fr

The conservatory orchard in the grounds of Château de Dormans

It is home to about a hundred different varieties of fruit trees: apples, pears, plums and even cherry trees such as "Belle Josèphe, court pendu, museau de lièvre", etc.

Before the vines covered the hillsides of the Marne Valley, fruit trees were the main source of revenue. They are now preserved in the conservatory orchard in the grounds of Château de Dormans.
Contact: Dormans Tourist Office - Château de Dormans – 03 26 53 35 86

"Remarkable" trees

In Vienne le Château, the "tulip tree" at a height of 35 metres is sure to impress. The pride of the grounds of Maison d’Argonne, its nickname is the "bloody tree" in memory of a tragic event in the First World War.
Contact: Maison du Pays d’Argonne - Vienne le Château - 03 26 60 49 40 maison.argonne@wanadoo.fr

On the way in to Villers-en-Argonne, the Louis XIV oak planted in 1638 won’t escape your notice – it measures five metres in circumference! Other majestic trees planted during Napoleon’s reign can be seen in the Forest of Argonne as you explore its paths and undergrowth.
Contact: Pays d’Argonne Tourist Office - Sainte Ménehould - 03 26 60 85 83 tourisme@argonne.fr - www.argonne.fr

The row of plane trees along Chaussée de Damery

Sophora Japonica Pendula (Pendulous Pagoda Tree) in Mareuil sur Ay. The charming La Marotière guesthouse in Mareuil-sur-Ay will enchant you with its three-century-old Sophora, a real treat.
Contact: Chambre d’hôtes «La Marotiére» - Mareuil-sur-Ay - 03 26 52 11 00

The Faux de Verzy or twisted beeches

These trees, whose origins remain a mystery, can be seen in the forest of Verzy in the heart of the Reims Mountain. What differentiates them from other trees is their shape.

Instead of an upright, cylindrical trunk, like most normal trees, these have a slanting, often forked, shapeless, swollen trunk with large scars, which branch out horizontally; the top is a dome formed by thin branches and twigs, pressing down on each other forming a dense web, several centimetres thick, rather like slates on a roof.
Even though it is difficult to put an age on these trees because of the circumvolutions of their trunks, the oldest trees are estimated to be eight or nine hundred years old. This estimation was done from postcards or observations from the last century. These trees are almost unique in Europe. They have to be seen to be believed!

The "Marne" rose

The "Marne" rose was created in 1915 by the rose-grower from Orleans, Barbier. This rose pays homage to the French soldiers victorious on 6 September 1914 in the first Battle of the Marne.



Its dark green shiny foliage, its disease resistance, its deep pink semi-double flowers with their white centre and its repeat flowering are the hallmark of its creators.

Iris from Bouzy

If Bouzy en Champagne is well known for its red wine, it is also reputed for its Iris "Bouzy-Bouzy", an iris the colour of red wine. In this village in the Champagne region, between Reims and Epernay, iris have been cultivated for decades. The chalky, well-drained soil in Bouzy is very suitable as iris hate sticky soils; it thrives without too much water and does not need much feeding. Iris do like a sunny aspect, and it is perfect for planting along a very warm wall. Beginning in around May, they flower in their hundreds in Bouzy!

Orchids in Champagne

Abundant in orchids, the Champagne-Ardenne region boasts around fifty species that it is proud to show walkers, from marsh orchids to the burnt orchid commonly found in chalk grassland. In general, orchids thrive in poor, dry chalky soil. Yet they can also be found in damp acidic soils. In our region, they generally flower between April and June. The office of the Montagne de Reims Regional Nature Park offers guided tours to see this fragile, delicate flower in its natural habitat.

Peonies

The peony "Victoire de la Marne" was created during the Great War in homage to the battles of 1914. It is available from the Jardin Botanique de la Presle.

Hydrangea

The hydrangea "la Marne" was created during the Great War in homage to the battles of 1914. It is available from the Jardin Botanique de la Presle.

The Magnum Rosé Spiraea

Unique specimen, the Magnum Rosé Spiraea is derived from a Japanese Spireaea whose size is normally less than 1 meter. Our spiraea is a giant plant pushing elegance at the highest level: 2.30 meters.

The Defontaine nurseries in Noirlieu

Seventy ancient varieties of fruit trees from the region of Argonne, once renowned for its cider, can be seen in Noirlieu at the Defontaire nurseries. Pomme d’api, Chrétien Rouge (red Christian), Court Pendu (hangman), Pépin Sonnant (chiming pippin)… people used to have fun naming new varieties! A passion for authenticity is driven by diversity and all the staff at the nursery gain enormous personal satisfaction. It is also a well-known fruit conservatory, and is recognised by the General Council of the Marne.
Contact : Pépinières Defontaire - Noirlieu - 03 26 60 01 25

The Rousselet pear

The Rousselet de Reims was already known in 1650 and is abundant in Champagne-Ardenne. The small fruit is deep green with a reddish brown area on the sunny side and yellows slightly as it ripens. The fruit does not keep well as it softens quickly. It is best when dried. The tree is sturdy and fertile and the fruit ripens in September in its native region.