Some of us love pottering about our gardens from time to time – attending to the roses, watering the plants, making sure the grass isn’t dying and all that stuff. But if you’re anything like me, you would much rather wander about the garden and admire the hard work of others. Especially one that is as exquisite as Le Jardin Majorelle (The Majorelle Garden).
I knew I had to visit Le Jardin Majorelle the moment Marrakech ended up on my Moroccan itinerary. It was a place that had intrigued me for being home to one of the all-time fashion greats – Yves Saint Laurent. What I didn’t know was that it was actually built by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s. Unsurprisingly, he brought artistic flair and aesthetics to the creation of the garden – beautiful lily and lotus flower ponds, cactuses, bamboos and fountains.
After the sad death of Jacques Majorelle, the garden was forgotten for a while before falling into the hands of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Thanks to their love for the garden, they decided to purchase it in 1980 and save it from the impending construction of a hotel. What a waste that would have been! I love the fact that they were fully committed to restoring the garden to its former glory in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”
And respecting the vision, they did.
This may sound clichéd, but I was truly enchanted the moment I walked through the main entrance of the garden. I was greeted by a beautiful water fountain which was turned into a playground of sorts for a couple of cute kittens. And when I looked up, all I saw were big beautiful trees and bamboo shoots. It seemed like a whole different world from the one I just came from on the other side of that entrance.
I could wax lyrical about how beautiful this garden is (which might go on for a tad too long). So, I would much rather let you in on what I observed from my time there.
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
― George Gordon Byron
We take our time spent on our own for granted, especially in this day and age when we are surrounded by a constant stream of information. Not that this in itself is a bad thing. But, at times, we need to take a step back and spend some time alone without the continuous need to see who liked our new tweet or Facebook status. At Le Jardin Majorelle, I did just that. Everywhere I looked, I saw and felt the beauty that was in every nook and corner, every tree, every fountain and every one of those cute little kittens wandering amongst the cactuses.
A garden is not merely a garden when love and the creative mind collides. Jacques Majorelle, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé were clearly masters of creativity and flair – as evident with the brilliant use of colours around the garden and the meticulous planning of the grounds. While admiring the stunning hue of cobalt blue that was used for a full five minutes, I realized that it was not that difficult to be inspired in this place. All I thought about after that was how I would love to have that shade of blue in my home someday; complete with bright, yellow windows. I feel the interior decorator in me getting excited already!
If there was anything that Jacques Majorelle taught me, it was that if you love something deeply enough, you would pursue it with all your heart. Monsieur Majorelle had a vision for the gardens and worked ceaselessly to ensure it was brought to life in all its glory. He spared no effort and time and there was, clearly, love in all he created. I am pretty sure it was something that struck Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé when they first laid eyes on this beautiful garden.
Le Jardin Majorelle may be just another garden to some people; a garden that meant a lot to only its previous owners perhaps. To me, however, this garden is inspiring in more ways than one. There was a sense of connection to the imagination of those great men. A connection that made sense to me. And for that, it will never be just another garden.