Since I am in garden design mode, I have gone back to some of the inspirational garden posts that I penned when I first started blogging. This was one of my favorites but nearly all of the pictures disappeared. I thought for those of you that love gardens it deserved a rewrite. When we first built our last home over 25 years ago I had absolutely no gardening experience. Our home was to be built on ten acres and the building site itself literally did not have a tree on it. I came from a family of gardeners but had no interest or expertise in gardening. I did realize that the house needed grounding with plantings of some sort. Luckily I was introduced by a friend to a lovely lady named Helene Daniels. Helene immediately envisioned a garden in the California Mission Style (I was from Indiana…barely knew what the missions were!!). When I look back I can’t believe how lucky I was to have found her. She built the base of our gardens, much of which still stands today. In building that garden I realized that the garden style that worked best in that microclimate was that of the French. That led me to the Enchanting Gardens of Dominique Lafourcade.
THE ENCHANTING GARDENS OF DOMINIC LAFOURCADE
Perhaps the most famous is the garden she created for her family. Les Confines is a stunning Provencal house and gardens set within its own twenty-acre estate. The home and gardens were restored by the team of Bruno and Dominique. I believe Les Confines, is now a vacation rental.
Here is an aerial view of the massive gardens.
The famous allee’ of potted olives. Structure is so important in all of her designs. You might enjoy my post on the importance of structure in the garden here.
I can’t remember the first time I encountered the beautiful gardens of Dominique Lafourcade. One of my first garden books was Jardins & Bouquets (in French no less and still available on Amazon). It was my first introduction to her wonderful work. I still often refer to this book even though it is in French! Every time I encountered one of her gardens I was in awe… though I was yet to learn her identity. Her sense of space…..in her own words “A garden is first and foremost a work of art, with the gardener playing the roles of architect, sculptor, musician, and painter in turn. A garden should move visitors, setting all their senses aquiver”
Dominique’s husband Bruno was a self-taught architect known for restoring many beautiful provencal estates. They worked jointly until 2016 when Bruno unexpectedly passed away. Alexandre Lafourcade, who is self-taught, went to work with his father Bruno at the age of 15. He took over the business in 2012 after twenty-five years’ experience supervising large-scale architectural projects. He and his mother still work jointly on many projects. To my delight, they now have a book Lfourcade (detailing many of their projects) available on Amazon here that I have ordered.
You can see all of the gardens here. The formal garden at Les Confines.
The Kitchen Garden
The African Pool Garden. Here she has planted grasses and more arid plants intuitively before their imminent popularity.
“A gardener must be architect, sculptor, musician, and painter all at the same time for the result to move the viewer and appeal to all the senses.” Dominique La Fourcade. Her drawings are as beautiful as the designs themselves.
You can find all of the gardens that Dominique has designed (or those of note) on her website here. One of the most photographed is the beautiful garden of Atlanta/Newport Designer Ginny Magher, Mas de Baraquet. You can see more of this garden on Ginny’s website here.
The gardens at Les Mas de Poiriers (an Instagram favorite) were also designed by Dominic Lafourcade. Les Mas de Poiriers is a Provence vacation rental that you can find out more about here. The home was restored by Alexander Lafourcade for an English couple who now resides permanently in France. The owner has recently written a book about the beautiful property. You can purchase Provence Style on Amazon here.It is filled with beautiful images of both the stylish interiors and the beautiful garden areas.
There is always a place that guides the eye to a place of rest.
I love the use of the Oleander hedge. It is almost impossible to kill Oleander and it has a very long bloom season. It is however poisonous to animals and humans, so it should be used in spaces where that is not a concern.
This post could have gone on for days literally. She has designed so many beautiful gardens. The older I get the greater my appreciation is for the French Style of gardening. If I knew then what I know now I would have wider paths, more gravel, fewer plants, and more that grow naturally in my particular environment. In my former garden, I replaced grass with gravel as is common with the french style. Plant the plants that thrive in your soil and microclimate. Don’t fight the environment.
Do you find the Enchanting Gardens of Dominique Lafourcade incredibly inspiring? Joni at Cote de Texas did one of her wonderful series titled Americans in France and showed some of her gardens here http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2011/03/americans-in-france.html. Trish of the wonderful blog Trouvais wrote a story about the Lafourcade’s here http://trouvais.com/2009/09/23/terrace-view-in-provence/ I am so glad I was forced to rewrite this old post. It has reminded me where my heart is garden-wise, and how to move forward with my much smaller town garden. I have linked all of the books that I own on the French Garden Style. Garden books rarely become dated. Enjoy and have a great Thursday!