Emma’s book review in Garden Design Journal Aug 2011

Nicole de Vesian: Modern Design in Provence
Author: Louisa Jones Published by: Actes Sud Price: £27.63 ISBN: 978-2742797349

What a pleasure to discover Nicole de Vesian, the creator of an iconic garden of sculpted Provencal planting. After a career as an internationally acclaimed stylist, Vesian settled in Luberon and began the design of La Louve. The author shows how the value of intuitive design and sensuous pleasure, even humour, contribute to the freshness of La Louve.

The independent and eccentric creator, who had no formal training, said: “I never measure, I never draw.”  The blend of formal and wild, the use of asymmetry, aroma, texture, light and the importance of maintenance are all discussed. Jones provides insights into the use of wild and self-seeding flowers,productive plants, rocks, found objects, terracing and the use of mirrors.

Modem Design in Provence is illustrated with inspirational photography by Vincent Motte, Clive Nichols and the author, and punctuated with extracts from Vesian’s notebooks and letters. Louisa Jones has set a benchmark for the critical analysis of the great garden creators in a book that combines coffee table book quality, biographical entertainment and the usefulness of the manual.

As the late Vesian’s friend and a fellow Provengal gardener, Jones has succeeded in capturing both her complex personality and significance.

Emma Plunket Garden designer