In this month's column "Cristina Morozzi's Reading List: Must-Read Interior Design Books" we talk about gardens and the outdoors: learn more about Gilles Clement and his books, "Il giardiniere planetario" and "Ho costruito una casa da giardiniere".

With this issue of The Magazine being dedicated to the outdoors, this selection of books aptly features two works by Gilles Clement that are all about gardens: Il giardiniere planetario (The Planetary Garden), and Ho costruito una casa da giardiniere (I Built a House as a Gardener)

Born in 1943, Clement is a well-known French writer, entomologist, gardener and garden designer, landscape architect, and botanist who teaches at the École nationale supérieure de paysage in Versailles. He has designed several public and private parks and gardens, including the famous public park André-Citroën park and the new Quai Branly gardens in Paris. 

In his book Il giardiniere planetario, which gives an overview of his philosophy, he suggests that we learn to see diversity as a guarantee for the future and that we understand the mechanisms that bind all living beings together in nature

And in his autobiographical book Ho costruito una casa da giardiniere, he recounts how he built a house on his own deep in the French countryside in the 1970s. It had a garden around it, and he designed it as an observatory of plant species, a laboratory of nature that reflected his concerns about the environment, and as a place to observe time. The story also serves as a means of retracing his steps in life and as a gardener.

He considers himself a popularizer, and in Il giardiniere planetario he writes: “To popularize is not to distort knowledge to make it vulgar, but to formulate, in simple terms, the complex adventures of our planet and its inhabitants”.

Cristina Morozzi