The spirit of the garden

Gilles Clément is one of the most remarkable contemporary landscape gardeners. The Jardin des Méditerranées (Mediterranean Gardens) has been designed according to Gilles Clément’s three major concepts :

  • 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.