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Nicole de Vésian and La Louve

by Louisa Jones

The bottom level of La Louve gives onto a neighbour’s half cultivated fields.
The pruning of cypresses flat on top originated when Vésian began gardening
here just after the bad frosts of 1985.  She had little money and recuperated
frost burnt specimens from the local nursery. She cut off the damaged tops to
encourage new side growth. The hollyhocks self sow at will.

Vésian loved creating tapestry effects with plants, to be seen from above as well as
within. Here she alternates clipped and rounded lavenders with flowering fountains.

Stone complements plants in shapes and textures.
Each plant in this typical grouping keeps its own
character but they group harmoniously. This is in fact
a very difficult balance to achieve and requires
excellent coordination between eye and hand.

The view from close to hand progresses, through contrasting planes and volumes,
to the distant horizon, so that the garden melts into the landscape beyond. They
are equal partners with echoing lines and shapes. Often the plant species are the
same within the garden and on the hillside. The Japanese effect is a later addition.

The south façade and passage from east to west gardens. Windows were recut
to frame the garden as the garden frames the landscape. The house is central
but in no way dominates the garden, always the main focus.

Nicole de Vésian showing her garden to visitors
around 1994, at nearly eighty.
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