Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Jewel of Marrakesh: Majorelle Garden

On our way out of Marrakesh, we stopped by the Majorelle Gardens and wouldn't have left except for our travel schedule to get to Quarzazate by evening.

The villa and garden were built in the 1920's in an art deco-nouveau-Moroccan influenced style by Jacques Majorelle, a French artist who moved to Marrakesh for his tuberculosis. Majorelle died in 1962 and the gardens had some years neglect until bought and restored by the Algerian born French designer, Yves St. Laurent, and his partner, Pierre Berge, in 1980. Yves and his companion had a home on grounds next to the Gardens and Yves' ashes were scattered over the garden when he died last year.

When we stepped inside the walls, we entered an oasis - such a contrast to the bustling Marrakesh medina. Fourteen acres of palms - 400 varieties, cacti - 1400 species, bougainvillea, banana trees, succulents, pots, lily covered pools, fountains, water channels...what I imagine an LSD experience must be like.

Unlike the rest of the trip, the four of us - Tetsu, Hisako, Jennifer, and I - separated to experience the garden our own way. I found Jennifer at one point deep in thought...

...and at another, Tetsu contemplating. About our talks coming up in Rabat? The state of his stomach?

At the center of the garden is Majorelle's cobalt blue villa.

This patented deep shade of blue is named after Jacques Majorelle and looks to be much the same blue we saw on the Tuaregs.

To see where Majorelle blue fits in to shades of blue, click here.

All around the garden are amazing pots exploding with plants,

lining walkways,

holding up walls.

Cacti grow like desert jungles,

and succulents pattern along sidewalks.

Photo by Jennifer

Everywhere is the use of light for mood,

Photo by Jennifer

and pattern.

Photo by Jennifer

I left with a bit more serenity and hopes about the future of my yard and gardens in drought-stricken San Diego.

Next, into the Atlas Mountains, over Tizi-n-Tichka Pass to Ait ben Haddeu Kasbah.


Anonymous said...

Well done! These take a lot of work, don't they?!

Pat said...

I love those tall yellow pots next to the gray wall and the palm fronds' shadows in the sand. Nice job.

Katharine said...

Thanks, both you guys. Still some more to come.