Garden Call: Yves Saint-Laurent's Jardin Majorelle

Garden Call: Yves Saint-Laurent's Jardin Majorelle

Laure Joliet
May 15, 2009
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All the warm weather along with the fact that I've been cooped up in Jury Duty all week has me longing for some time outdoors. If I had my choice I'd be enjoying the rich hues, trickling fountains and exotic plants of the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, sipping on some mint tea and soaking it all in.

Created in Marrakech the 20's and open to the public since 1947, the Jardin Majorelle was originally designed by Jacques Majorelle, a french painter who had settled in Morocco to pursue his painting career. The garden served as his laboratory: he collected plants from all five continents and played rich, bold colors off of the geometry of Moroccan architecture and the wildness of a native looking desert garden. Not unlike the native look of California gardens, the Jardin makes use of cactus, succulents and palms, but the exotic architecture and beautiful fountains let you know you're somewhere far away. The work he did in that garden seems to have eclipsed any of his painting, thought the cobalt blue used throughout the garden was later dubbed 'bleu majorelle' in his honor.

In 1980 after Majorelle had passed away, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the garden and restored it to its original splendor, leaving it open to the public. They opened the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, which includes North African textiles from Saint-Laurent's personal collection as well as ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle. When Saint-Laurent passed away in 2008, his ashes were spread in the garden.

I may not be able to make it to Marrakech this weekend, but a reasonable substitute would be to visit the beautiful Desert Garden at the Huntington and make my own mint tea.

(Images: Flickr members dalbera, antoine.bertier, wrote, a little azorean, austinevan, ta7za, Jeremy Couture licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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