Meeting with Jean-Jacques Santiveri, creator of the Garden of the five senses and first forms

Meeting with Jean-Jacques Santiveri, creator of the Garden of the five senses and first forms

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The history of the garden of the five senses, located near Aix en Provence, is unusual. Its creator is indeed… psychoanalyst! Falling in love with the place in the 90s, Jean-Jacques Santiveri orchestrated the staging of a formidable natural space that we travel according to the senses. Classified as a remarkable garden by the Ministry of Culture, the Garden of the five senses and of the first forms mixes wild nature, plants from elsewhere, works of art and symbolic installations. Story of an original and aesthetic composition, masterfully conducted.

Tell us the story of this garden…

It is now twenty-two years since I acquired the villa adjoining the Jardin des cinq sens. Psychoanalyst by profession, I am at the start a simple lover of nature who fell in love with this small land covered with scrubland! Over the years I have enlarged the property by buying the surrounding plots: I have always wanted to cultivate my garden like souls ... Today I work this outdoor space of several hectares dedicated to the senses by transforming it season after season . My close entourage convinced me to open my garden to visitors, which I did in 2009 in order to have an outside view and judgment ... and I don't regret my choice!

What are the special features of this garden?

The garden of the five senses and of the primary forms has been grafted onto a totally natural and wild space. While preserving the garrigue and the plants of the region, I wanted to develop different plots whose plants appeal to each human sense. So I imported flowers, set up a pool of water and created different routes through which the visitor walks according to his mood. Half-baroque, half-contemporary, the garden of the five senses is a real garden of surprises, where discovery is perpetual. Each year, the property welcomes the works of a contemporary artist, harmoniously integrated into nature, to complete the more modern aspect of the garden.

How do we appeal to the senses of visitors?

It took a little imagination and a lot of work to arrange each part devoted to the senses! Hearing is solicited by the sound of water and that of the wind in the leaves of Hungarian olive trees. The taste is materialized by vegetables, which are presented to visitors as rare plants. We have also worked a lot on smell by promoting the fragrant plants naturally present in the region - thyme, rosemary - and by importing other plants with rarer essences (patchouli, helichrysum, etc.). Grasses symbolize touch: we invite walkers to gently sweep them with their hands to disseminate the seeds in a natural way. Finally the view is obviously solicited by the colors of the two main flowered areas of the garden.
The garden of the five senses and of the first forms is open to the public from July 1 to September 30 of each year. 220 Chemin de Repentance in the forest 13100 Saint Marc Jaumegarde