Author(s): Louisa Jones
After a brilliant career as a stylist in Paris and New York, culminating in ten years with Hermes, Nicole de Vesian (1916-1996) retired to Provence, where, at the age of 70, she began designing La Louve. Now a European icon, this garden was soon inspiring designers and gardeners from New Zealand to New England. "Nicole de Vesian" had, as Louisa Jones puts it, a feeling for space the way some musicians have perfect pitch for volumes, planes and textures, all transformed by the liquid Mediterranean light. On these narrow terraces, she created a garden for year-round living, minimalist but sensuous. The plants she shaped into beautifully proportioned, grey and green tapestries were often the very species which grow wild on the hillside opposite: cypress, laurel, arbutus, rosemary and thyme. Some visitors consider this a formal garden, others see it as wild, or even Japanese. Vesian also designed other gardens nearby, largely unknown, presented here for the first time. Louisa Jones reflects here on Vesians art, on her evolution and the qualities that make her works cherished by so many even long after her death. Jones includes a rich range of testimonials from former colleagues such as Marc Nucera or Jean-Marie Rey, distinguished visitors such as Christopher Lloyd, and garden historians such as John Brookes and Sir Roy Strong.