L’Occitane Garden to recreate Haute Provence

banner-Chelsea-2016-illustration-2One of my highlights at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was the L’Occitane garden (Gold) designed by James Basson, so I am delighted to see that James is to return for 2016 with a garden to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of L’Occitane.

The 2016 Chelsea garden is a design bringing to life the Haute Provence where Olivier Baussan founded L’Occitane in 1976. I feel sure that once again James will weave his magic to bring to us the heart of Provence where Olivier found a discarded old steam distiller and started producing essential oils from local rosemary and lavender growers, which he then sold at local markets.

The garden is a recreation of the beauty of the harsh environment of Haute Provence and will present the edged of a lavender field, looking out onto rollng hills and stunted woodland. The plain beyond the garden represents local agriculture with the lavender and almonds typical of the region.

A gentle stream runs from a stone hut through the middle of the garden before disappearing under a dry stone bridge. Scent and colour play an important part and add to the sensorial atmosphere of this garden.


Designer James Basson (pictured above) has won awards at RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court shows as well as a Gold Medal for ‘Flowers and Peace’ award at the Gardening World Cup. The design will be modeled around Basson’s first-hand experiences in Provence where he has a home and will bring together three hundred different plant varieties specific to the region.

The garden is inspired by the landscape where L’Occitane founder Olivier Baussan grew up,” says James. “It includes aspects from the open river plane through to stunted woodland, where the agricultural lavender fields and almond groves coexist with a beautiful natural landscape where hot summers and scarce water leave their imprint.

Sponsors L’Occitane have always had strong ties to the authenticity of the region and its close relationship with nature, a theme clearly represented in their Chelsea show gardens.

We wish James and his team every success in the build-up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 and look forward to seeing another stunning garden.