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Lou Capitani: making a dry garden in Provence

by Kate Marcelin-Rice
photographs by Louis & Sebastien Marcelin-Rice

For the full article see The Mediterranean Garden No 50, October 2007.

Kate Marcelin-Rice writes:

“When Lou Capitani came into our hands late in 2003 it thus seemed sensible to remake the garden in such a way that it would require no irrigation whatsoever. Not only would this, we felt, be in accordance with the local microclimate, but it would also enable us to face with equanimity potentially longer periods of drought brought about by climate change.”

“I should add that we live in Italy and are only able to visit Lou Capitani and work on its garden for two brief periods each year, in late spring and mid-autumn. The house is let for holiday rentals in summer. In November 2004 we took a deep breath and started work.”

The natural vegetation

Aphyllanthes monspeliensis, with clumps of glaucous grass-like leaves and
exquisite small blue starry flowers.

Wild rosemary with Clematis flammula.

 “Armed with long sleeves and thick gloves, I have been progressively reducing the height of the Pyracantha hedge in order for us to sit at a table by the hedge and look out westwards over the valley to the mediaeval walled town of Le Castellet and enjoy the sunsets over the Sainte-Baume in the distance.”

View looking west towards Le Castellet beneath the fig tree and the

Our successes

Santolina neapolitana 'Edward Bowles' and Santolina chamaecyparissus

Teucrium cossonii

Lavender above retaining wall with Salvia microphylla

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