Louisa Jones fell in love with France and Provence as a student in the late 1960s and lives there to this day. English friends said there were no important gardens in Provence but she soon realised they were thinking of flower gardens and that vernacular gardens which had evolved over millennia were not appreciated.
There is so much to love about Provencal and Mediterranean gardens – we think of avenues of poplars and pines, of sun bathed gardens and landscapes with timeless scenes of local stone and tiles, olives, thriving citrus in earthenware pots, tough flowers and vine clad pergolas yielding up superb vistas or cosy nooks for sitting and romancing.
Many are farm or village gardens supporting families with fruit and vegetables – but there are ancient, grand gardens if that is to your taste. And there are modern cutting edge gardens. Somehow the soils, conditions, climate and culture enable considerable diversity while retaining a continuity that flows through both ancient and new landscapes.
Mediterranean gardens are now part of our consciousness and Louisa Jones has been largely responsible. She has written over thirty books on them with a special focus on Provence. As she writes in her most recent (not yet published in English) book, Manifesto —
“Mediterranean gardening is ..a way of living in harmony with the earth without contrived effects or heavy spending. Born of long human experience on the land, it is frugal and fruitful, serves many purposes and gives many pleasures, all year round. Today, it adapts easily to our growing ecological awareness, to individual creativity and community sharing. Above all, it perpetuates a longstanding partnership between human beings and their environment, tested ..in Mediterranean countries for millennia.”
What lessons for Australia?
Louisa Jones is providing two presentations at the Australian Landscape Conference on 21-22 September 2013 in Melbourne. The two sessions are:
1. Gardens of the Mediterranean: why are they so successful? (Abstract extracts):
In recent times, the gardens of Provence have become models all over the world, especially in regions with similar climate zones… the Mediterranean approach …has been lovingly practised for over 7000 years. Its continuing appeal has …everything to do with making good use of very local resources. Gardening was usually not a leisure activity but part of survival..
Mediterranean gardens ..appeal to all the senses. They are like Mediterranean cuisine which grew from peasant roots and inspires imitation worldwide ..
At the same time, the moving mosaic adjusts to change: the frugal peasant garden is now a pleasure garden, ..more ecologically aware. Gardens range from top designer works to the personal creations by home gardeners.
And because they are planned to be multi-purpose, multi-pleasure, all year round, they are above all gardens for good living.
2. Mediterranean Landscape Art: Past and Future
For further information concerning Louisa Jones, her presentations and the Australian Landscape Conference visit www.landscapeconference.com
Register before 1st July and obtain an Early Bird $54.00 discount!