French designer, Pascal Garbe
International garden designer, Pascal Garbe, lives in an idyllic village in northeast France. Whether he’s at home or away, his life revolves around gardens. This November Pascal will be in Auckland to convene the judging at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, but it won’t be his first encounter with New Zealand gardens.
Pascal has a particular fondness for Maori culture and our native plants. In 2013, he worked with a Ngai Tahu team of artists and designers who created a Maori garden in France. The garden, Te Pūtake showcases New Zealand indigenous flora and traditional Maori art. It remains on loan as a permanent feature under the guardianship of Pascal at Les Jardin Fruitiers de Laquenexy, a historic garden and tourist attraction not far from Pascal’s home in the village of Gorze.
Three hours’ drive east from Paris, Gorze is surrounded by rolling vineyards. Pascal’s home, which he shares with his wife and teenage son, is a traditional vineyard cottage built in the eighteenth century. In contrast, his garden is modern and contemporary. Lush exotic style planting abounds on on a long narrow section which Pascal has divided into distinct ‘garden rooms’. There is an intimate patio garden, an edible flower garden and a French ‘potager' style vegetable garden. “It’s very much a labour of love!” says Pascal. “Plants are life. So I absolutely need plants. No matter what.”
As well as designing gardens, Pascal has been a judge at many international garden shows, including our own Ellerslie International Flower Show. He is also the author of 18 gardening books to date, with three more due for publication in the next two years. His latest book ‘Tout se Mange dans mon Jardin’ is driven by his passion for edible gardens. “I like beautiful gardens,” he says, “but what’s even more enjoyable is a beautiful garden that is filled with flavour - Te Pūtake, the Maori garden at Laquenexy in France. Totara and kauri carvings were crafted from timbers sourced from the ruins of the Canterbury earthquakes.
edible flowers, leaves or fruits. In France, as in NZ, many chefs work with beautiful and good plants. Their media coverage has had a very positive impact on the gardeners we are.”
Since his last trip in 2013, Pascal says he is excited to see what’s changed in this part of the world. “For French people, New Zealand is a dream,” he enthuses. “And it’s not just about the Rugby World Cup. We love Maori culture, and not just the haka! It goes without saying, I’m really excited to come back and take part in this year’s NZ Flower and Garden Show!