Gardening

I’m not the only one overwhelmed by gardens……

The garden has been an inspiration for many artists, probably the most famous one is French painter Claude Monet who acknowledged that his garden in Giverny had inspired so many of his impressionistic works especially his waterlily series.

Islamic Garden with fountain

But he was not the only one. Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla created his garden in Madrid and it was inspired by Islamic Gardens the most famous one of which is probably Generalife, Alhambra in Granada.

“Be joyful with every orange you pluck

From their very presence comes joy

Welcome the faces of the boughs

Welcome the stars of this tree

You might believe that heaven has showered her gold

And for us the earth has forged these golden pomes”

[Ali al_Ballanubi,Arab poet from Sicily]

Pierre Bonnard was influenced by leading English garden designers and his gardens ran “wild and free”.On the other side of the world Frida Kahlo had her own unusual garden at the Casa Azul in Mexico. She used native species in coloured highly coloured pots. One of the most fascinating gardens I have had the pleasure to visit was Jardin Majorelle in Marocco. Jacques Majorelle was a painter with “Orientalist” leanings and his garden was taken over and lovingly cared for by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. When you enter the Jardin Majorelle I think the first thing you notice is the daring contrast of the lush green garden with a particular shade of blue which amazingly looks very very beautiful Film maker Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungeness which he built on the shingle, integrating his garden with sculpture, driftwood and other flotsam, now seems to be in danger and garden lovers are gathering together to protest and to try and save it. Before we leave the inspiration of gardens I’d just like to touch on gardening and architecture. It is said that the huge, spectacular Crystal Palace (now lost) built for Prince Albert’s visionary Great Exhibition in 1851, was inspired by the “architecture of the Victoria Amazonica floating water lily leaf. Finally I’ll talk about the future: there is a garden which is on my bucket list, well, there are many gardens on my bucket list ! but this one is again in Morocco and it is a garden created by Italian Umberto Pasti who wanted to save some of the autochthonous plants from the savage destruction caused by unrestricted tourism which replaced beautiful, unusual, precious, wild plants with the usual colour of cement to make ugly holiday homes and and resorts with swimming pools and golf courses.