Jardin Majorelle

A few years ago I took myself on a five month garden tour of Europe. It was amazing. Me, my backpack, camera and notebook, wandering around cities, towns and farms across Europe and north Africa. One of my favourite gardens was Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco.

Designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920’s, the garden is a 12 acre botanical paradise. Yves St Laurent bought the garden in the 1980’s and when he died, his ashes were scattered in it.

The garden itself is the most amazing contrast to the craziness of the streets of Marrakesh. Colour is everywhere, especially the signature cobalt blue of the art deco house, and contrasting orange and red pots.

I remember wandering the elevated pathways, slowly, slowly. Transfixed. As I wandered I had a small revelation. It was this: the Jardin Majorelle could never have been designed by a garden designer. It just wouldn’t happen – on paper it would look crazy! How could you sell such a wild, colourful, seemingly disparate design to a client?

Gardens like this have to be made from the heart. No amount of good design can trump a passionate hand in the creation of a great garden.

The greatest example of its success was the reactions of the garden visitors. People walked through the space extremely slowly, like they were under a spell. They were bewitched. A sign of a great garden? I think so.