JOIN HE­LEN YEMM IN THE GAR­DENS OF MAR­RAKECH

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - GARDENING -

Hav­ing vis­ited Morocco ear­lier this year with Sue Mac­don­ald, the owner of Box­wood Tours who mas­ter­minds The Daily Tele­graph’s gar­den tours, I can now spill a few beans about a tour to some of the finest gar­dens of Mar­rakech that I will be host­ing from Apr 27 to May 1 next year, with tour leader Kirsty Fer­gus­son, gar­den and travel writer.

No tour to Mar­rakech would be com­plete with­out a visit to the Jardin Ma­jorelle, the fa­mously blue gar­den of Yves Saint Lau­rent, and in fact we will be im­mers­ing our­selves in YSL for a day, with a visit to the fas­ci­nat­ing and ex­tremely slick YSL mu­seum and to an­other very pri­vate gar­den made by Saint Lau­rent and his part­ner, Pierre Bergé.

Also on the list of trea­sures will be Tom Stu­art-Smith’s Le Jardin Se­cret – an am­bi­tious and highly ac­claimed restora­tion of an an­cient Is­lamic gar­den – and there is much more be­sides.

This tour is, as usual, about more than just gar­dens and plants. On my “speed-date” I fell se­ri­ously in love with Mar­rakech, with its fa­mous pink­coloured pise (rammed earth) walls and build­ings, its in­tri­cately dec­o­ra­tive tile (zel­lige) mo­saics, and with its vi­brant and bustling Med­ina. We will have a guided tour of the Med­ina and have made sure there will be time to soak up the at­mos­phere of this city, and (dare I say it) do a lit­tle shop­ping.

We will be stay­ing at a small and exquisitely stylish guest­house ex­traor­di­naire, Jnane Tam­sna in the city’s out­ly­ing Palmeraie, and I can there­fore vouch for the tran­quil­lity, the beau­ti­ful food and the warm hos­pi­tal­ity ex­tended by its own­ers and cre­ators, Amer­i­can eth­nob­otanist Dr Gary Martin and his wife, Meryanne Loum-Martin.

I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to my re­turn, so please join me.

Box­wood Tours Ltd. Rhiw, Llanbedr, Gwynedd, LL45 2NT (01341 241717; box­wood­tours.co.uk).

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