Les Jardins De L’Imaginaire Garden – This new park, completed in 1999 in southwestern France, is the brainchild of an enterprising mayor. In order to attract tourists away from the medieval towns of Dordogne , he launched a competition to design a park on large site above the town. Kathryn Gustafson won, and the result is hugely popular.
Les Jardins De L’Imaginaire Garden
The publicity leaflet promises “a quest for paradise” through a sensual walk across centuries and civilizations, up and down a very steep slope. First there is the Sacred Wood with a clearing of wildflowers, and then the Plant Tunnel leads to a garden evocative of medieval monasteries. While walking through the trees, you notice golden ribons symbolic of the rocky journey of life. Farther on a Council y contemporary straight row of pylons, topped by metal weather vanes and adorned by hanging bells, makes the direction and sound of the wind visible and audible.
The pleasing shape of an amphitheater nestles perfectly in the contours of the site, each step marked by elegant, metal benches. Visitors can rest and admire the view of the town beyond the roof of the greenhouse on one side, designed by British architect lan Ritchie, and the metal structure of the rose pergola on the other.The water garden is spectacular, with a grid of fountains emerging from textured cobblestones beside a narrow canal. It cascades down a tall flight of concrete steps edged with blue perovskia and silver salix. Elsewhere a powerful, single jet emerges from a metal grille set in a lawn while, on the terrace below, a concrete brook creates another axis.This is a superb success.