We come across gardens almost multiple times a day without being aware of their full beauty. Whether its a small trail of dandelions or a forest of greenery, these simple lives give us life, literally and metaphorically. Marrakech, Morocco houses one of the most extravagant gardens in the world, having species from all give continents. The biggest beauties of life are the beauty of travel, creation, and appreciation/love–where Yves Saint Laurent found his home and inspiration for years to come…
An Artist’s Vision Makes History
Jumping back in time, French artist, Jacques Majorelle, set out to create his best creation, or in his words, “The vast splendors whose harmony I have orchestrated.” As for the end result, it was much more than just that.
Jacques Majorelle had grown up in an ideal artistic world, surrounded by creators and individuals who appreciated the natural life and craftsmanship of humanity. Ironically at the time of the Art Nouveau movement, a time for a strong appreciation of life, the artist, among others, became largely inspired by shapes found in nature. Ever since, Majorelle grew a lifelong love for flora, foliage, and “fauna.”
After just one trip to Marrakech, the artist became in love with the “oasis city,” whose colors, light, “souks soaked with fertile and happy life,” swept him off his feet. For years following, Morocco became his top destination for both leisure and inspiration behind numerous paintings and artwork. In 1923, Jacques Majorelle purchased four acres of land in Palm Grove of Marrakech, only to acquire another six acres, setting his love for Morocco in stone. The amateur botanist set out to create a luxuriant garden, which then became known in history as his most remembered work. For almost forty years, the artist continued to enrich his garden, incorporating the vegetation from all five continents, uncovering all of Earth’s beauty.
Commitment to Nature’s Beauty
In 1947, the garden was then opened to the public, but shortly fell into abandonment, until Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé acquired Majorelle’s appreciation.
“We quickly became very familiar with this garden, and went there every day. It was open to the public yet almost empty. We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature. And when we heard that the garden was to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did everything we could to stop that project from happening. This is how we eventually became owners of the garden and of the villa. And we have brought life back to the garden through the years.”
– Pierre Bergé
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980, also deciding to live in the Villa Bou Saf Saf, later named Villa Oasis. Since 1999, new plant species have been added, increasing the total number from 135 to 300. Species vary from cacti, palm trees, bamboo, weeping willows, carob trees, jasmine, agaves, white water lilies, datura, cypress, bougainvilleas, and ferns, all from the five continents of the world.
Yves Saint Laurent passed away on June 1, 2008, in Paris. As promised, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden of the Villa Oasis, where a memorial was built in the garden. Visitors can now remember him and his unique contribution to fashion, while getting to jump inside the eyes of YSL. “It is a way for artists to live on…” says Pierre Bergé, now leading the Jardin Majorelle to Morocco’s top destinations, welcoming over 50,000 visitors.
One stroll through the Jardin Majorelle and suddenly the toxins of life fade away, and the natural beauty gifted to us all shines through…