Le Domaine du Rayol

30/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Le Domaine du Rayol

J'aime le concept de "Jardin en mouvement" de Gilles Clément.
L'art des Jardins était mon projet d'étude aux Beaux-Arts dans les années 90. Le "Jardin Planétaire' de Gilles Clément et la réconciliation avec les soit disant mauvaises herbes par des artistes comme Michel Blazy étaient de nouvelles idées. Petit à petit les orties, le Gaillet gratteron et le génie botanique reviennent au gout du jour.

Le domaine du Rayol est un magnifique terrain de jeu et d'expérimentations pour Gilles Clément.
C'est une jungle humide comme les forêts tropicales avec des énormes fougères arborescentes et des palmiers, un désert aride avec une multitude d'agaves, de yuccas et de cactus et une vue imprenable sur la baie du Figuier.

The "jardin planétaire" (planetary garden):
There are 3 reasons to consider planet Earth as a garden:
– Man treats all land as if it were his own back garden;
– we are witnessing cross-fertilization on a planetary scale, akin to a garden that produces most of its crops from species that come from elsewhere;
– the planet’s surface area is finite and its biological resources are not inexhaustible.
The ”jardin en mouvement” (garden in movement): inspired by wastelands, this entails supporting and guiding plants to grow feely, according to their natural behaviour. The gardener maintains an aesthetic and biological balance to achieve the greatest possible diversity. The flora constantly redesigns the garden. You know when a garden starts, but you don’t know when it ends, or even if it ever ends. The garden is constantly evolving.
The "tiers-paysage" (third landscape): the sum of all the land lying fallow or in reserve, including countless undefined spaces, located at the margins in forgotten recesses where man and his machines never go. It is a heterogeneous area which provides a refuge for the diversity that has been driven out of everywhere else. It is a source of biodiversity for the gardener, a mutually beneficial arrangement.
"L’homme symbiotique" (symbiotic man): life is inventive in the self-contained space of the biosphere. Spatial and biological finitude leads us to consider another model for using space: seeking to exploit nature without destroying it. Replacing the energy we take from the environment becomes a whole way of life. The ideal political project of man-as-gardener answers the questions raised by spatial finitude: recycling, energy resources, demography and the art of living.

« Diversité, mouvement, assemblage entre les êtres vivants : la nature offre les richesses de son paysage à l’homme-jardinier. (…) Prélever sans appauvrir, consommer sans dégrader, produire sans épuiser, vivre sans détruire. C’est possible. »
Gilles Clément, « Le Jardin Planétaire » (Albin Michel)

L'expérience extra-sensorielle conte par Gilles Clement dans la Grande Librairie

Garden Museum

27/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Garden Museum

After the first lockdown, we decided to visit The Garden Museum for family lunch at the café overlooking the beautiful plants while eating delicious food.

Dan Pearson designed the Sackler Garden at the heart of the Garden Museum overlooking the cafe. You can find out all the specimens that Dan Pearson chose for the "jungly courtyard planting" in his description on Did Delve.
Dan Pearson and his partner Huw write a fantastic online Magazine:  Dig Delve that really inspired me to start The Pod...

About Sackler Garden

"Designed by Dan Pearson as an ‘Eden’ of rare plants, the garden is inspired by John Tradescant’s journeys as a plant collector. Taking advantage of the sheltered, warm space, Dan has created a green retreat in response to the bronze and glass architecture, conjuring up a calm, reflective atmosphere. This is intended to be a garden in which to take your time.
Among the foliage in the courtyard garden you’ll find the tombs of the Tradescants, as well as Captain William Bligh, captain of the infamous ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ voyage."

You can enjoy an exhibition Derek Jarman
until 20 December 2020.

Website: The Garden Museum

Grasse, ville du parfum

23/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Grasse, ville du parfum

Si j'aime Grasse, c'est à grâce à un livre : Le parfum de Patrick Suskind.
Ce livre a donné un sens à tous les autres livres. Par les mots je sentais toutes les odeurs et j’'arrivais à prendre la place de Grenouille, le héros. Est-ce la solution pour les enfants qui n'aiment pas la lecture ? Des livres olfactifs...

J'ai visité Grasse durant mon adolescence. J'ai gardé en mémoire le souvenir des jardins de roses, des usines de production ouvertes au public, des achats de parfums et savons pour la famille. Et les noms en /ar/ que ma grand-mère adorait répéter : Molinard, Galimard, Fragonard...
Après avoir vu l’exposition sur le parfum à Somerset house (Londres) en 2017, je décidai d'emmener ma famille à Grasse en Provence pour que chacun crée son parfum...


"Grasse, city of Provence, is renowned throughout the world for its fields of flowers and natural scents. The scent of Grasse emanates from such great know-how that the United Nations has declared it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well known, Grasse is THE international capital of perfume."

Fragonard is a famous name in Grasse behind many of the museums. It’s a family story/business:

"Eugène Fuchs decided to pay tribute to the most famous native of Grasse by naming his business after the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). The choice of the name Fragonard was also guided by his desire to thank the town that had welcomed him and his family, and to identify his perfumery with the refinement of the 18th century arts.
He started gifting his loyal customers with an opportunity to tour the factory’s manufacturing workshops with direct sales of scented products.

A great lover of art, he began collecting pieces that tell the story of perfume making in the early 1960s and went on to found the first Perfume Museum in Grasse in 1975 in addition to two Parisian museums. This initiative fuelled Fragonard’s already flourishing business while giving it a cultural dimension, further enhanced since by the Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery in 1997, the Jean-Honoré Fragonard Museum in Grasse inaugurated in 2011 and the Perfume Museum in Paris near the Opéra, which opened its doors in 2015."

Autres lectures sur le parfum, Jean Claude Ellena a écrit 2 livres sur son histoire : Journal d'un Parfumeur et La Note Verte.

I took these pictures in Jean-Honoré Fragonard Museum, Parfumerie Fragonard, and the perfume factory tour.

The Silk Cotton tree

22/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

The Silk Cotton tree

I came across the Kapok trees in Kenya. I was amazed by the spike like thorns of the trunk. I had a similar encounter last summer in the Turia garden of Valencia (Spain) where the beautiful flowers from Ceiba Speciosa or the silk floss trees lay scattered on the ground.
Upon researching, I realised I often use the silk cotton as a filling for cushions.

“The silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa, formerly Chorisia speciosa), is a species of deciduous tree native to the tropical and subtropical forests of South America. It has several local common names, such as palo borracho (in Spanish literally "drunken stick"), samu'ũ (in Guarani) or paineira (in Brazilian Portuguese). In Bolivia, it is called toborochi, meaning "tree of refuge" or "sheltering tree". It belongs to the same family as the baobab and the kapok. Another tree of the same genus, Ceiba chodatii, is often referred to by the same common names. The kapok seed is pressed for oil. As a bush tea, the bark is an aphrodisiac and diuretic. It is added to the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca by some Amazonian tribes.
The ceiba or kapok tree represents a turning point in the trajectory of our life. This can feel chaotic because our world may seem to be spinning out of control. In fact, this is an opportunity to reset and make positive changes.
There are 18 species of ceiba trees. The Kapok, Ceiba pentandra, is the best known and most widely cultivated ceiba. It can grow to 230 feet tall with a straight, almost branchless trunk that culminates in a sprawling canopy. The trunk of a young ceiba tree is covered in thick conical thorns that grow in clusters. These thorns create a natural defense during the early, more vulnerable stages of the trees life, which lasts approximately seven years.”

Read this article about The Sacred Ceiba at the Centre of the Earth.


Villa Noailles

20/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Villa Noailles

The villa’s initial commission asked for a “small, interesting house to live in” in Hyères, South of France. This was quite a challenge for the young architect Robert Mallet-Stevens who had been contracted by Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, a wealthy couple of Parisian patrons with avant-garde tastes.

In 1923, they signed a contract with the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens to build a summer villa in the hills above the city of Hyères. Construction took three to five years, built with idea of a ship, it  also included a triangular Cubist garden designed by Gabriel Guevrekian.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the couple were important patrons of modern art, particularly surrealism; they supported film projects by Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, and Luis Buñuel; and commissioned paintings, photographs and sculptures by Balthus, Giacometti, Constantin Brâncuși, Miró, and Dora Maar.

In 1940 the villa was occupied by the Italian Army and turned into a hospital. From 1947 until 1970, the villa was the summer residence of Marie-Laure. She died in 1970, and the house was purchased by the city of Hyères in 1973. Charles de Noailles died in 1981. The villa is now used as an arts center and for special exhibits.

Carob tree

17/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Carob tree

The carob (Ceratonia siliqua) is a flowering evergreen tree or shrub in the legume family, Fabaceae. It is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens and landscapes. The carob tree is native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. In the ancient Middle East, the seeds of the kharrūb (Carob or locust bean pod) were used to measure the weight and worth of precious metals and stones. The pod's odor is sweet, date-like note with cocoa powder facets.
Carob pods must be harvested before the winter rainy season. Canvas sheets are spread on the ground around the trees to collect the fallen pods.
The pods and pulp of carob are edible, naturally sweet, and highly nutritious. Carob often replaces chocolate in recipes.

American imports of carob beans are mostly for flavoring tobacco.
The carob tree wood is used for cabinet work and is the source of Algarobbin, a natural dye used for dyeing textile fabrics, to which it imparts a light brown color.
The oven drying powder can be added to cakes, bread, sweets, ice creams or drinks as flavouring agent.
Carob gum finds use in sizing cotton and other yarns; finishing, printing and back filling of fabrics; as a retarder in tanning; as an agent for facilitating hydration during the beating of pulps and improving the wet strength of paper in the paper industry. It is also used as a thickener for color pastes in calico printing.
The pods can be used as medicine in the treatment of cough and a concentrated extract of carob pods is suggested as a sweetening agent for pharmaceutical preparations.

Carob is believed to have been in cultivation for at least 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians used the gummy properties of carob seed as an adhesive in binding mummies, and the pods and seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans are said to have eaten the pods green for their natural sweetness.

Kerterre of Plomeur (Brittany)

15/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Kerterre of Plomeur (Brittany)

A few years ago, we experienced the Kerterre of Plomeur in Brittany.
Evelyn Adam is a sculptor and architect. She has invented the Kerterre (Ker means house in "Breton" language) a white cocoon like habitation in the middle of nature.
It is built with hemp and lime. Many people are going there to learn how to build the structure and re-imagine a way of living. It is a place full of hopes and new ideas.
Evelyn created her own art of living with the bare minimum: her hands and her emotions in front of nature.
Kerterres are built total harmony with plants and trees.
You can experience life in a Kerterre.

Bewitching cistus absolute

08/11/2020By BertieUncategorised

Bewitching cistus absolute

Cistus or Rockrose is my favorite plant, I have planted 15 in my garden. It was lucky, not knowing that they thrive into poor soil. It reminds me of my holidays in Provence when I first visited Grasse as a teenager. The smell is the reason it is my beloved plant; it gets stronger at the end of the day, especially when it's been very hot. I love the way it stucks to your skin. You can keep the smell longer when you stroke the leaves.

Cistus (from the Greek kistos) is a genus of flowering plants in the rockrose family Cistaceae, containing about 20 species.

The leaves are evergreen, opposite, simple, usually slightly rough-surfaced, 2–8 cm long. In a few species (notably C. ladanifer), the leaves are coated with a highly aromatic resin called labdanum.

Labdanum – from the Cistus plant – is a pillar of chypre perfumes and many Orientals.  What you smell actually comes from a sticky brown resin, taken from a plant that grows (often in very inhospitable, dry locations) in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.  Harvesting techniques have become somewhat more sophisticated since the time when labdanum was collected from the coats and beards of sheep and goats that grazed on these tough little shrubs…!  (Labdanum is today extracted from the leaves using solvents, although the branches can also be boiled.)

One of the reasons it’s so widely used now is that it mimics the scent of ambergris. (Ambergris is formed from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of the sperm whale, and can be found floating on the sea or washed up on coastlines. It is sometimes found in the abdomens of dead sperm whales.)
Read this olfactotherapy article about cistus