vertical garden at les halles
January 12, 2013
Place Pie is one of Avignon’s main squares bordered by churches, many bars and restaurants, shops and the covered market, Les Halles. The market is on the ground floor of a 5 level parking garage which forms a portion of the north facing side. This facade has a most decorative finish.
Running through the slanted 3 dimensional swirls of planted crocks, resembling cliff side terrain, runs 20 m of Iris japonica. Inside, early morning, there’s an opportunity to delve into more sumptuous delights also beautifully and skilfully laid out. The French are masters at presentation. Regular and perfectly formed shapes . . . .
. . . and the knobbly and irregular forms of organic produce.
Poor picture I’m afraid of the display of hats above the boulangerie stall.
Fresh leaves from the countryside and hams and salamis from Italy . . .
. . the spice stall smells as good as it looks – full of eastern promise with cones of colourful, dry and grainy powdery textures – great contrast to slippery shells on the coquillages stall.
To finish the meal, fruits confits and calissons from down the road in Aix en Provence.
Back outside, th dry seed heads float in front of the high roof. It’s a green tone landscape in early January . . .
. . . but three hundred different species are planted on the 600 sq.m. surface. The image below shows the newly planted vertical garden. The wide expanse offered up an opportunity for Patrick Blanc to flex his artistic muscles and create a stunning horticultural canvas. Surprisingly dwarf conifers are included in the palette along with more usual suspects – cistus, helianthemum, salvia, dianthus and cytisus – now meshed together as the small leaved micraflora of algae flourished along with mosses and ferns.
Two alcoves on either side conjure up the effect of a rocky labyrinth as against a piece of flat tapestry style planting.
When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s
edge, unseen, the salt ocean
lifts its form-chicory and daisies
tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone
but color and the movement-or the shape
perhaps-of restlessness, whereas
the sea is circled and sways
peacefully upon its plantlike stem. William Carlos Williams Flowers By The Sea