Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Sea Garden


As part of the work-in-progress I am taking great pleasure in "designing" a garden above the sea on the French island of Porquerolles. And as I have barely lifted my eyes from the manuscript these past two weeks - let alone written anything new for the blog - I thought I would share the mood board of this imaginary garden as I put it together this morning.

The setting is among rocks and Mediterranean pines and scrub, where paths wind down to the sea - or end in precipitous cliffs, or calanques.

 

The grounds surround an old estate house, grand but decaying, with a honey stucco facade and a pillared terrace at the rear which overlooks the gardens.


The garden needs restoration: old pictures show cypress walks and formal garden rooms but in the present they are overgrown and gloomy. The art of the designer will be to recapture the mood of the original while bringing back light and health to the planting.






Key to one part of the garden is a topiary arch that looks out over the sea, holding a clue to its meaning in the view it frames.

 
An old bassin, a raised pond edged with stone, lies before the arch. It has been neglected and so tall are the yew hedges all around that the water it holds is a glassy black, not nearly as inviting as this one...

 
...more like this in atmosphere...

 
I'd like a tunnel of purple bougainvillea, too...
 
 
..and some datura - or devil's trumpet - that dangerous exotic with poison lurking under its intoxicating night fragrance and its hallucinogenic properties.


 
The garden will have dark corners and surprises - so that when you emerge from the garden it feels like a release into the lightness and colour of the island.

 
What do you think - would this be somewhere you'd like to explore further?

10 comments:

Evelyn said...

Absolutely would love to explore this garden. I hope the garden designer leaves all that gorgeous wisteria and the exotic datura. Your mood board sounds so much more fun than slaving away over the manuscript!

Yvonne Osborne said...

I'll take that tunnel of bougainvillea. First time I ever so the like was in Guatelmala. I was amazed. But what kind of "hotties" are peopling this new landscape of yours?? I want to hear about them!

Harvee Lau said...

Can't wait to read the story that goes with this lovely imaginary garden. I could get lost in it!

:) said...

It would be for sure! It's paradise.

louciao said...

I'd pitch a tent and live there (if I actually liked tenting). How about if I park a caravan on the grounds? Or surely you could design a private guest cottage into the scene? Sounds divine.

MuMuGB said...

It looks like you are getting closer and closer to where I was brought up (Hyeres). I am sure that you have already come across it but I would like to recommend les jardins de la villa Noailles, close to Hyeres' castle. It looks a bit like a maze and, somehow, feels magical.

Vanessa said...

What a wonderful garden. How lovely to let one's imagination run riot. Here, to develop any garden is a challenge - so why not dream it instead?

Gardens at Waters East said...

Just found your blog today. You have some great photos. Makes me want to pick up and fly away, especially with all the snow we have here in my gardens along the shores of Lake Michigan in USA. Hope to be back. Jack

josina said...

gorgeous, would love to have this garden, can you come and design our garden in greece?!

hafullmer78 said...

lovely post! I've just started The Sea Garden and it is magical!

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