With Love, from Tangiers Morocco

For almost four weeks in April and May I took a study sabbatical and had the rare privilege, and pleasure, to visit some truly inspiring gardens and homes in Morocco. Some were public gardens, but many were private, and exclusive access to these, with the designers and owners was immensely rewarding, inspiring and educational.

Morocco is a magnet for anyone with a love of rich colours, textures and a taste for the exotic – such as myself. Islamic and Moorish art and architecture have been a passion of mine since high school, and certainly represent my own, personal, preferred garden style – particularly the paradise, enclosed, courtyard gardens.

In Tangier, I had the opportunity to visit Villa Leon L’Africain – the private home and garden of French collector and philanthropist Pierre Berge. It is truly an extraordinary place and widely considered the most beautiful example of the French Colonial Style of architecture in Morocco. Originally built in 1912, Monsieur Berge bought the villa in 2007, at which time it was in a state of deep decay and required “heavy work” to restore, or more correctly, reconstruct it. The building reconstruction was headed by Studio KO of Paris, and the end result is exquisite. As a private home, we weren’t permitted to take photos inside, but you can see some interior shots online which will give you a sense of its decadence.

Story and photography by Susan Crichton-Walsh.