Nature interview with landscaper Camille Muller

Nature interview with landscaper Camille Muller

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For Camille Muller, the garden is not a decoration because it is above all an ecosystem. Between natural gardens in the countryside and technical challenges in the city, he creates original and beautiful spaces while respecting the environment. He gave us his time to present his work to us and give us some advice.

Why did you choose this job? What is your background ?

I come from the countryside, from the farming community to put it simply. My grandfather was a farmer jeweler and my father an agricultural engineer. We always had a vegetable garden and the children had their square to cultivate. At 13, by planting peonies, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I first did a BTS 'Parc et Jardins' then I had the chance to work with Gilles Clément in Paris before setting up my own business. Many artists have chosen me to design their garden. Getting into their world jostled me by introducing modernity and architecture into my creations. My work has become more refined, more readable. Peter Klasen particularly questioned me, while Marithé and François Girbaud allowed me to create a lakeside garden in the heart of Manhattan. The gardens made abroad, Madagascar, Spain, Greece, allowed me to express my creativity in very varied biotopes. The other exciting part of my work is dialogue with humans. I opened up to new cultures and approaches. In addition, it is essential to empathize with the sponsor so that his garden has meaning.

The roof of your Parisian house is for example a real place of nature, how do you transform a space into a garden?

I like plants and little town so at home, I wanted to nibble on concrete. To transform a space into a garden, you must pay attention to techniques such as overloading, watering or waterproofing. By following the rules, you can have a successful garden anywhere. And if technique is essential in an urban environment, in a natural space, it is the knowledge of plants that is essential. You don't place a palm tree or an olive tree anywhere.

What advice would you give to city dwellers who dream of their share of nature?

The most important thing is to respect the constraints of the place, whether on the terrace, the balcony or even on a window sill. First, it is important to respect the authorized loads, which must not exceed 250 kg per square meter. Plants, wet earth and pots, it all gets very heavy! It is therefore preferable to use a light and draining mixture. Choose it natural like potting soil and pozzolana. And think of an automatic watering to prevent your plantations from dying in summer. Then, it is necessary to make so that the plants can flourish by choosing the species well because you play with living things. So, in the shade, we opt for an undergrowth garden with ferns, mosses or holly. In the sun, it's more complicated: heat in summer, cold in winter, so you can opt for continental plants. The idea is to respect the microclimate of the place. This is what makes the strength of each garden in the manner of the natural places that we like (seaside vegetation, or that of the mountain pastures). In town, if you want to bring in a bit of nature, think carefully to do it in an ecological way because amateur gardeners often pollute without realizing it.

You are environmentally conscious, how does this translate into your work?

I have always had an ecological approach which is above all to have common sense, and this long before it was fashionable. People used to live in the countryside and recycle everything, whether it be compost or animal feed. The garden is precisely a way to rediscover real gestures and rediscover the concept of the seasons. Now, I claim ecology in my gardens, this is an accepted part of my work. What is amazing and touching is that all the new customers follow me in this choice. In a garden, it is not necessary to use only new. On the contrary, recycling stimulates the imagination while saving money!

What are your tips for those who want to create a green garden?

An ecological garden is for me two things. At first, the easiest way is to start from the existing and enhance it. The idea is to stage the site by creating full and empty spaces. Do not go against what exists. The second point is of course to pollute as little as possible! Do not concrete at all costs, placing natural stone slabs on sand works as well and allows many plants to settle there. Avoid black pebbles for example because they come from the Philippines and prefer local products that minimize energy-consuming and polluting transport. For wood, we do not choose exotic species that have no real traceability. Prefer retified wood from our forests. To ask the nurserymen for organic plants is to create a demand and therefore new sectors.

To help the readers, can you give us a garden address to visit and advise us on a nurseryman?

Most of my creations are private gardens, but you can visit the Lantilly vegetable garden in Burgundy in summer. It received the "Remarkable Garden" label in 2004 and 2009. And for your purchases, why not Botanic! They have a real commitment to ecology and will accompany you in your desire for a natural garden. A must read: "Hands in the Earth" by Camille Muller in the Ulmer edition