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Louisa Jones' blog

04/03/2014 - 08:06

The Australian Landscape Conference of September 2013 brought to Melbourne eminent designers Aniket Bhagwat (India), Juan Grimm (Chile), Raymond Jungles (Florida and in Brazil, a former protégé of Roberto Burle Marx) and Ken Smith (mainly New York), along with historians such as Japanese scholar Toshio Watanabe and myself, from Mediterranean Europe. In spite of varied origins, training and life experience, we speakers found we shared assumptions about gardens and landscape unlike those commonly found in British garden practice and writing, assumptions that have evolved outside or beyond the English gardening heritage. We found them also embodied in the wonderful Botanical gardens at Cranbourne, world class, yet thoroughly Australian. Here is a nutshell summary, frustrating in its oversimplification. And of course some contemporary British designers share this approach also—notably Dan Pearson?

12/30/2013 - 09:08

Marseille boasts a wonderful new museum, the MUCEM, dedicated to Mediterranean cultures, a modern structure beautifully wrapped around an old citadel. No one celebrates the gardens--planned and planted by stars Olivier Fililppi and Véronique Mure (nurseryman and botanist, both authors).

08/10/2013 - 10:05

Australian Landscape Conference, DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE: models from the Old World, challenges for the New September 20-23rd 2013 in Melbourne Australia. See http://www.landscapeconference.com/

01/26/2013 - 17:39

Last autumn I was asked to serve as consultant for Monty Don's French Garden series, for two of the three episodes: Historic Gardens, Gourmet Gardens and Art Gardens. He spends a lot of time in Provence, which he loves. All three episodes show beautiful pictures of La Louve, the masterpiece of Nicole de Vésian, subject of my book Modern Design in Provence. The series begins Friday February 1st at 21 H (English Time). see the BBC TWO website.

A response after viewing: Monty Don’s French Gardens: three programs for BBC2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgfjf

12/02/2012 - 08:45

April 14-19 Garden Week in Provence: CANCELLED
April 20-21: guest of honor and moderator at the Festival PLantes rares et jardins naturels. See www.plantes-rares.com.
May 12-19 Country Life Tour: Pleasure Gardens of Provence see www.boxwoodtours.com
June 11-12 Participation in the Seattle Garden Club Tour of gardens in Provence
September 17-22: International Landscape Conference in Melbourne, Australia Lectures. See www.landscapeconference.com.

06/15/2012 - 07:48

Serendipity, my guide in many things, took me in May to the Villa d’Este near Rome and just a few weeks later, to Versailles near Paris. Both palaces and their parks have been extremely influential in the history of European garden design. The first (sixteenth century) epitomizes the Roman Renaissance, the second (seventeenth century) imposed the kind of French classicism still called (erroneously) the “jardin à la française”.

05/31/2012 - 09:49

In early May 2012, I presented my new book Mediterranean Landscape Design (Thames and Hudson) in Rome and Venice to members of two Italian garden clubs : the Giardini aperti (www.giardiniaperti.it) and the Garden Club of Venice, baptized the Wigwam club in the 1970s by ecologist founders who admired Native American attitudes to nature (www.giardini-venezia.it/). My fairy godmother for the whole week was Italian garden journalist Ida Tonini, born in Venice but now living in Rome. She had already helped me in the preparation of this book, especially for the chapter on Venice. I often felt like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, zigzagging my way from event to event, feeling sometimes very big and sometimes very small, never knowing what would happen next, but confident it would always be something marvellous. There was a spirit of Romantic comedy throughout—beauty enhanced by shared laughter.

03/04/2012 - 09:27

A Spirited Defense of Cats as printed in the letter column of the Mediterranean Garden Journal:

A reader quotes the Los Angeles Times: “Cats are not a natural part of the ecosystem.” Many people believe this, I know. But everything alive is “a natural part of the ecosystem, including me and the letter writer. Whichever of the current theories of evolution you accept, we are all in this together. The evolutionary role of cats is to live in symbiosis with Homo sapiens . Painstaking human breeding has made cats the hunters that they are today.

02/21/2012 - 08:41

The word bastide evokes a country house in Provence. This word is a commercial siren song in Provence today, but what does it really mean? Thirteenth century manuscripts used it to describe fortifications, but by the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries, it had come to mean an elegant estate. Specialist Nerte Dautier compares the Provençal bastide to the Tuscan villa, both being « “a kind of rural habitat which combines an aristocratic or middle-class residence with a working farm and gardens.”

01/17/2012 - 11:25

There is a debate currently among members of the Mediterranean Garden Society about Sparoza, an innovative garden near Athens, dating from the 1960s, where the society was born and which it still contributes to maintaining. Its custodian, Sally Razelou, was the MGS’s first president. For various reasons including Sally’s inevitable aging, the future of this garden is in doubt. I was asked to explain why I think this historic garden is really important for an association like the MGS, with its worldwide membership and growing international interest. Here is what I wrote: