10 mots pour un retour au jardin by Marco MARTELLA – Château de Bénouville

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10 mots pour un retour au jardin by Marco MARTELLA – Château de Bénouville

10 words to return to the garden

The Romans believed that every species was inhabited by a minor divinity, a genius loci guarantor of their singularity. Establishing oneself in a site, and building there, implied a dialogue, a negotiation with the god in question. And making sure he stayed. For the Ancients, the danger consisted in inhabiting a world devoid of spirit and, therefore, of meaning. These sites are, today, quite a rarity. They have become commonplace, been transformed into functional areas, with no affective link, they are walked through without the slightest exchange between the traveller and the decor around him. Hence, the site having lost its sense, in this “disenchanted world” as the sociologist Max Weber referred to it, the divided man estranged himself a little more every day from the earth. A garden, be it old or modern, of princes or labourers, useful or ornamental, private or public, is a laboratory. Man has always relentlessly experimented different ways of existing on earth, swaying between nature and culture. In bygone days, the garden was a concentration of dreams of ideal beauty or cosmogonies. It is now, first and foremost, a resistant enclosure. Because it escapes the market, because it cannot be consumed and because it constantly places us in the presence of a place, a site.

Marco Martella


In 2010, Marco Martella founded Jardins, an annual journal published by Editions du Sandre and focusing on gardens in their poetic and existential dimension. Each issue focuses on a specific theme: “the genius of the site”, “re-enchantment”, “time”, “shade”, “retreat”. Among the authors who have contributed towards the journal’s content, the following are worthy of note: Gilles Clément, Bernard Lassus, Fernando Caruncho, Cristina Castel Branco, Carmen Añon Feliu, Roberto Penone. Marco Martella has published studies and monographies on the gardens of the département of Hauts-de-Seine, where he is in charge of the valorisation of green heritage. He is also the author of an essay on garden art entitled Le Jardin perdu, a work he signed under the heteronym of Jorn de Précy, a fictional 19th century gardener and philosopher, translated into Italian under the title E il giardino creò l’uomo (Ponte alle Grazie, 2012).

Further reading :
Le jardin perdu, Actes Sud, 2011