If, from his childhood, Christian de la Sablière so loved trees and forests, it was mainly because they provided a means of escape from the tutors attempting to teach him algebra and Latin. His love of drawing, equal to that of forests, led him to enter the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Quimper. He performed his military service as head of the design office of the 1st Armoured Division in Trèves, then transferred to the Deux Armées where he drove a GMC through the bitter dust of south Algeria. Upon his return to Gouesnac’h, he again took up his brushes. However, the galleries proved difficult to please, and so, between paintings, he worked for an auto parts service, a Parisian cabinet maker and a shipyard in Benodet, and even formed part of the BIC team during the first French attempt at the America’s Cup. However, besides mechanics, woodworking, hunting, sailing, photography and painting, horticulture remained his primary talent and his passion.

Since the 1960s, he had continued to build the plant collection begun by his father with the means available to him at the time: layering, grafting and sowing. But his painter’s instinct, and his desire to « colour the earth », was not entirely satisfied. Disaster struck in 1987 when a powerful hurricane destroyed the park and woodlands. However, from the ruins of the Domain the modern park of Boutiguery would be born: 20 hectares welcoming 1,500 new plantings every year. Together with his friend and neighbour Marc Colombel, who in 1993 founded the Société Bretonne du Rhododendron, he began experimenting with hybridisation.

Following nature’s lead, with the help of some foreign pollens and an infinite amount of patience, the palette of colours began to grow and the variety of foliage became more beautiful, richer, and full of light. Today, hybridisation continues in the space created by the hurricane. With the help of chainsaws, tractors and diggers, the landscaper organises the land and the painter fills it with colour. At Boutiguery, every year at the Grand Ball that is the arrival of spring, « a multitude of fragrances, colours and sounds join together in a play of shadow and light. »

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