One of the most visited sites in Morocco is a twelve-acre artist’s botanical and landscape garden. Starting in 1920 in took French painter Jacques Majorelle forty years of passion and dedication to create this masterpiece in the heart of the Marrakesh. The garden is composed like a painting with astonishingly vibrant primary colours. The special shade of cobalt blue that’s used extensively throughout the garden and its buildings is named after the painter – bleau Majorelle.
Before entering the garden itself, you are greeted with an enclosed space with a square fountain. Designed by famous American decorator Bill Willis, the colourful tiles that decorate the fountain show his interest for Moroccan artisanal techniques. The garden covers nearly two and a half acres and was designed and landscaped to emphasise each and every plants unique beauty. The garden has a wonderful mix of banana trees, groves of bamboo, coconut palms and bougainvillaea’s. Majorelle had a real passion for cacti so the garden includes about thirty members of the cactus family. Some have even been imported from the southwest regions of the United States. The decorative foliage bamboo from Southeast Asia is bunched together to create a little forest from the south to the west of the garden. There are also several varieties of palm trees in the south part of the garden.
Water is also an important feature – there are channels, ponds and fountains all filled with water lilies and lotus flowers. The raised pathways throughout the garden lead you on a journey amongst the midst of trees and all the exotic plants of different origins. The paths are also cleverly designed to allow you to see the architectural style of the majorelles original art deco studio, now transformed into a museum. The museum showcases the rich artefacts of Morocco’s indigenous inhabitants including wood, leather and metalwork, carpets and textiles and musical instruments. The exterior of the museum is painted in the vibrant Majorellle blue, which provides a great backdrop against the greenery and soil in the garden.
Situated next to the museum running next to a canal is an Arab-Andalucian styled pavilion made of chiselled plaster. With its wonderful array of colours this small architectural gem fits perfectly in the garden. There are lovely benches, which have been strategically placed throughout to provide a contemplative resting spot. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy the serenity. I enjoyed sitting and listening to the sound of chirping birds of numerous species that have found a home here.
Between the boundary walls, winding path and gentle breeze through the leaves the enchanting garden creates a refreshing oasis to the desert surrounding the city of Marrakech. With it’s exquisite collection of exotic plants and colourful design this landscaped garden design is an extraordinary place not to be missed.