Anne Cabrol, Master Gardener 2017, reveals the secrets of her award-winning garden

23 Jan 2018

Through her “Happy People” garden, Anne Cabrol brilliantly interpreted the theme of Carré des Jardiniers 2017, “The good care of Doctor Garden”. We interviewed Anne to learn more about the thinking behind her garden design. Soon, you’ll know everything about 2017’s Master Gardener!

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Discover all the Carré des Jardiniers 2017 finalists

The theme this year was “The good care of Doctor Garden” – a real challenge! How did you approach it?

First of all I asked my friends what the expression “well-being garden” meant for them. This survey not only allowed me to avoid clichés, but also encouraged me to create a garden that reflected and represented me, and what I would like to have. With this in mind, I designed the main axes that would govern my garden: cocooning, exchange and expression. With its linked molecules forming an angular chain, I found oxytocin, the pleasure hormone, very interesting graphically. It led to the path on the ground and the choice of hexagonal and octagonal spaces in the garden. The smallest details of every space in the garden have been considered. For example, on one of the walls, there’s an image of a woman wearing hexagonal jewelry and the names of the team members are inscribed on her collar. The journalist, Nicole Maïon, noted how the initial impression of simplicity that emanates from the garden is followed by the gradual discovery of details.

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We tried to create different feelings within the garden. I made the cocoon with liana and was inspired by land art (a contemporary art movement that uses nature as a frame and material) to work the plant in an attractive way.

Under the cabin, a device playing relaxing ambient music allowed us to cover up the sounds of the surrounding trade show. Elsewhere, the garden was covered in concrete, insulating it and allowing visitors to escape. Under the pergola, we constructed furniture from raw materials which gives a warm ambience. Apart from the foam cushions and the big concrete walls (supplied and made by our sponsors: Plattard for the concrete and Bryoflor for the foam), everything has been built as a team, because for us, well-being also means manual work and the pleasure of do it yourself. We also thought about the exterior of the garden, making sure it was attractive and welcoming, while offering continuity with the garden interior. We had seats and a lawn so visitors could rest, and we embellished the wall with a drawing of a tree.

The therapeutic garden: how do you make the most of its virtues?

What help did you have to create your garden?

My Carré des Jardiniers team was supported by other agencies from my company TARVEL. This garden has grown from a personal project into a business project, in which our colleagues participated with enthusiasm, for example, providing raw materials (such as tree trunks). Their moral support has given us wings: it's great to see that we can make unusual projects flourish within our company. We also had a lot of meetings with our partners to explain our concept and ask how they could enrich the project. It’s really been a team effort, both internally and externally.

What’s people’s reaction when they visit your garden?

I wanted to offer a very open space, which didn’t impose a single path on visitors, because well-being is also synonymous with freedom. We found that many people were spending time in the cabin, or wanted to relax in the nest of lianas. The paint bombs were emptied very quickly on the expression wall as intended. Visitors also came to lunch under the pergola. I realized that people felt the same way about the garden as I did.

What has this experience brought you in TARVEL?

When you’re on a construction site, you have notions of working time, profitability and specific constraints. Here, although there was a budget to keep in mind, it was above all, a uniquely human experience. The whole team got closer and solidarity increased, while roles remained well-defined by each person’s strengths. When you work on a project such as this, you give of yourself at the same time as receiving personal enrichment. Within the company, this project has helped to strengthen the links between the services through the support they’ve provided. This proves that even the most personalized projects can be successful. It’s also a strong message to our customers: we’re showing that we know how to think differently, that we can innovate – it’s very important to be able to demonstrate this!

What does winning the competition mean to you?

First, I would like to thank my team, everyone at TARVEL who supported us, and my sponsors without whom none of this would have been possible. The goal, beyond our pride, is to show that there is diversity in the landscape and to promote respect for the environment in gardening, combined with new technologies. Well-being is also about the pleasure of working with the land, as shown by the growing demand for participatory gardens. That’s why garden design must evolve: companies can offer coworking outside; installing USB plugs for working outdoors, etc. We must succeed in adapting the work environment by combining nature and technology – which is all very possible. Thank you Anne Cabrol for this testimony! Our congratulations on winning the title of Master Gardener 2017 and well done to each of the finalists.  

Photo credit: Paysalia / Elisabeth Rull and Kasia Strek

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