So we went to the sooooo-famous garden of La Louve in Bonnieux, and it was beautiful! Without many of the elements that French and Italian formal gardens have – flower beds, lawn, statuary, hedging, fountains, symmetry – it is both typically French in its elegance and unique in the way water, stone and plants have been mixed and combined. Madame Verger, the present owner, stressed that the garden wasn’t so much designed, it was embroidered – Nicole de Vésian, who made the garden, used to be a textile designer for Hermes. A very helpful clue in deciphering La Louve’s secrets.

In my photo’s I focussed on the balance between stone, plants and water. Wasn’t easy – light not optimal, and also because it has been photographed so often, and so well. One good thing: I managed to photograph and enjoy.

Gardens as works of art are problematic. Plants die: the combination of draught and Mistral wind is said to be killing. Plants grow out of proportion, bux blight arrives: smaller and larger decisions have to be taken all the time. I wondered if the Vergers had been given any rules or guidance on the garden, but Mme Verger told me she’s free to do whatever she pleases. Imagine being so free with a Vermeer or a van Gogh ….  add a spot of red here, enlarge a sunflower there …. the outrage!

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