Nicole de Vésian - Gardens: Modern Design in Provence
Louisa Jones and Clive Nichols
Newly updated edition of the first book in French and English devoted to Nicole de Vésian and her work
After a career as a designer working for the great design houses, especially Hermès, Nicole de Vésian (1916-1996) moved to Provence and created her first garden. Her green and grey tapestry-gardens soon inspired gardeners and landscapers around the world. Today, few gardens have been imitated as readily as those of Nicole de Vésian, because, writes Louisa Jones, ‘she has a feeling for space like musicians have a feeling for music.’ Her finest work was La Louve, her own garden in Bonnieux, a hilltop village in the Luberon area of Provence.
On the narrow terraces around her Bonnieux home, Nicole de Vésian created her own very personal garden in a minimal but far from austere style, composed mainly of heath-land plants (varieties of thyme, lavender, rosemary, rockrose and box tree), in which she pruned all her plants to cushion shapes of varying, yet superbly proportioned sizes. Nicole de Vésian advises us to ‘learn to listen to the soil.’ Her plant sculptures are always somehow a reference to the wild hills of the surrounding countryside, reflecting an age-old Mediterranean landscape mindset, with a distinctly modern twist.
The work is also a tribute to Nicole de Vésian and her life. Her close friend, Louisa Jones, shares her own thoughts on the work of this atypical creator, accompanied by accounts from her friends and pupils: Christian Lacroix, the nursery owner Jean-Marie Rey, the landscape artists Arnaud Maurières, Éric Ossart and Marc Nucera, as well as the garden historians Roy Strong and John Brookes.
Louisa Jones has spent thirty years living and gardening in the Midi region of France. She has written a number of works about contemporary and Mediterranean gardens, including The French Country Garden and Mediterranean Landscape Design, both published by Thames & Hudson. Clive Nichols is an internationally acclaimed garden photographer whose work has received a number of awards.