Prairie fleurie
Gilles Clément

1500 square metres

Annuals (borage, phacelia, white goosefoot, cornflower, corn cockle, pale flax, corn marigold, corn poppy); biennials (yellow sweet clover, purple foxglove, wild teasel, viper's bugloss, damask violet, common evening primrose, Eurasian white hairy thistle, mullein, chicory, dyer's rocket, scentless mayweed); and perennials (sneezewort, common yarrow, clustered bellflower, harebell, rampion bellflower, fennel, meadow cranesbill, field scabious, musk-mallow, wild sweet William, pigeon scabious, white campion, spike speedwell, common columbine, Carthusian pink, ox-eye daisy, birdsfoot trefoil, golden flax, blue flax, St John's wort, English plantain, European goldenrod); and more…

Born in Argenton-sur-Creuse in 1943, Gilles Clément lives and works in Crozant, in the Creuse département, and in Paris. A teacher at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage (National School of Landscape) in Versailles, this horticultural engineer, landscaper, writer and gardener also designs parks and gardens for the public and private sectors and is currently working on the theoretical and practical aspects of three research ventures: The Garden in Movement, a concept based on his own garden and applied to public spaces in France and abroad since 1983; The Planetary Garden, a humanist ecology project with a political edge; and Landscapes of the Third Kind, a concept that took shape during a landscape study carried out for the Art Centre a year before his 'Drinking the Water from the Lake' charter.

The flowery meadow was only part of what was to become the 'garden island', together with the many other gardens Gilles Clément had designed for the banks of Vassivière Lake in the charter. Drawn up with the multidisciplinary collective COLOCO, the charter was commissioned in 2002 by the Art Centre under director Guy Tortosa and the Lake Vassivière Joint Management Committee.

An early outcome of the charter was a large flowery meadow in the south of the Island, in 2007; a welcome enhancement of an area left somewhat neglected in spite of being clearly visible from the beach and the Auphelle lookout.In the spring of 2014 the Art Centre revived a strip of flowered grassland running along the shoreline path; 12 Aquaculture students and 15 students in the final years of their Agronomy and Living Systems studies at the agricultural secondary school in nearby Ahun actively contributed to the project, under the supervision of teachers Elisabeth Pradeau (Planning) and Grégory Chaussade (Sociocultural Education).
The scheme was coordinated by farmer Jean-Pierre Bény from Champsanglard in the Creuse, in association with Gilles Clement. Natural farming methods were used, with seeds for perennials and biennials being bought from various independent producers in the surrounding Limousin Region. The meadowland being a living, constantly evolving enterprise, the Art Centre invites students to visit the site and inventory its different species as the seasons change.

The rebirth of the Flowery Meadow in 2014 was backed by the Electricité de France Foundation.

Published by Silvana Editoriale, the Drinking the Water from the Lake landscape charter is on sale (in French) at the Art Centre bookshop.

Copyright : Noémie Maestre