December 06, 2008

Jules Senis, Le jardin de Rosa Mir/Rosa Mir's Garden

 
pictures (summer 2011) courtesy of Simon Turner

Outsider environments in general are rarely located in an urban area. Here is an exception: the garden of Rosa Mir, created by Jules Senis, which is located in the midst of the urban area of Lyon, France.

Life and works

Jules Senis (1913-1983), a mason by profession, because of the Franco regime migrated in 1947 from Spain to France and settled with his family in Lyon in 1951.

Hospitalized because of a serious illness, he made the promise that if he would recover, he would create a beautiful garden in honor of his mother, Rosa Mir Mercader.

Jules Senis recovered indeed and in 1957 he began arranging the garden, which is located in the midst of blocks of houses rented by the people living there.

He constructed pillars and arcades, which he abundantly decorated with shells.


Working with vertical columns like Senis did, triggers associations with the working methods of Bodan Litnianski. The two artists probably did not know about each other. The similarity must have to do with the smallness of the plot they both were working on. The Lyon garden indeed is some 400 m2.

However, it is also possible that Senis has been inspired by the Alhambra, the spanish monument he may have been familiar with.


The garden has nice flowers and plants, like roses and lavender, which when blooming evoke a mediterranean atmosphere. 


The garden also has a shrine with a small statue of the Holy Virgin.

Senis has been working on this project for twenty years, from 1957 till 1977. Some months before he died, in 1983, he was informed that the city of  Lyon in the future would take care of the garden. .

An association of friends

To ensure the continuity of the garden, in 1983 an association of friends was formed. Nowadays they focus upon its promotion by organising events and running a website and a page on Facebook (in french)

The site is cared for by the city

Since 1987 the garden is actually being cared for by the city of Lyon. It has become a monument historique.

Closed in 2011, the site reopened in june 2016 

For safety reasons in 2011 the garden was closed for the public. Only after summer 2015 a renovation started and on june 25, 2016, after ten months of work, the garden was reopened. The large upper bassins have been filled with plants and to the other parts of the garden some 5000 plants, imported from the Mediterranean, have been added.

Documentation
* Article on SPACES website (2012)
* A Picasa webalbum by Gals (2009).
* Video on Culturebox on the occasion of the re-opening (1'55, 2016)



first published dec 2008, revised may 2010, dec 2012, june 2015, june 2016

Jules Senis
Le jardin de Rosa Mir
87 Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse
69004 Lyon
open for the public saturdays 15-18 hrs, from april 1 till november  30

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