De Vésian created gardens by studying the region, its plants, its light and its agricultural traditions
After a career as a designer working for such great design houses as Hermès, Nicole de Vésian (1916-96) moved to Provence and created her first garden. On the narrow terraces around her home, de Vésian designed her own masterpiece in a minimal but far from austere style, composed mainly of heathland plants (varieties of thyme, lavender, rosemary, rockrose and box tree), in which she pruned all her plants to cushion shapes of varying yet superbly proportioned sizes, resulting in a breathtaking scene. Her gardens soon inspired gardeners and landscapers around the world. Today, few gardens have been imitated as readily as those of de Vésian. Her most notable garden is La Louve, which is her garden in Bonnieux, a French hilltop village in the Luberon area of Provence. Nicole de Vésian: Gardens
is an up-to-date edition of de Vésian's bestselling 2011 monograph, with a new postface describing de Vésian's influence on the art of gardening. In general, the publication acts as a tribute to de Vésian and her life. Her close friend, acclaimed garden historian Louisa Jones (The Garden Visitor's Companion
), shares her own thoughts on the work of this atypical creator, accompanied by accounts from her friends and pupils: Christian Lacroix, the nursery owner Jean-Marie Rey, the landscape artists Arnaud Maurières, Éric Ossart and Marc Nucera, as well as the garden historians Roy Strong and John Brookes. As Louisa Jones writes, de Vésian has a feeling for space like musicians have a feeling for music.