Elie Semoun loves to put hands in the earth and proclaims to anyone who will listen. Or rather read it. The comedian has just published Lawn prohibited, Editions Ulmer, a way to share his passion of the garden with the public. “Yet, in my family – Jews from Morocco and Algeria, there was no tradition of the plant and the animal. I believe that my passion for nature came from aquariums and fish, a bubble in which I am a refugee at the death of my mother the year of my 11 years. When I create a new “table” in my garden, I found the pleasure of imaginary worlds of my childhood, but, now, they become real.”
” I am devoting time to my garden, of energy, of money. I bring the same diligence to the writing of my shows ”
His little corner of paradise, as he says, is in perpetual evolution. He planted, uprooted, replanted differently each parcel of the land by successive as an impressionist… Sculpting the garden in his image, at once whimsical and structured. Besides, he has just to snatch the magnolia, which adjoined the house to design a new composition on the slope released, marriage of azaleas, a holly without the prickles, plant panthers ( Farfugium japonicum ), of which some have leaf curl. “Each time, I tell myself that I don’t have a place to change but I still find it.”
In the morning of November, this jumble organised glows in the shades of autumn. In front of the lake which extends to the lawn, a yellow ginkgo gold seems to be taking up the sun, while a red maple blood sets fire to the shade. When asked if he needed a landscape architect to assist it, it says: “I’m a control freak. I hate to let the others do at my place, except my buddy Dominique Dumont. He is my stage manager, for twenty-five years, this garden belongs to him as much as me. But, as a general rule, I do it all myself.” drawing his inspiration from his immense library full of books on gardening.
Memories of a tour of The little basin encircled with ties is covered in moss and water lilies. Jean-Christophe Marmara/JC MARMARA / LE FIGARO
“I cut the three trees since I’m here, two magnolia trees and a plum tree. It was necessary to make room for the ideas that I had.” And especially get rid of the garden accents of 1970s of the previous owners, that he hated. Cobblestones and rails for the SNCF came to replace the cement to highlight the massive, draw walkways and stairs.
Behind almost every plant, every tree, there is the memory of a tour – he often come home the car packed full of plants – or the gift of a friend. Dropped off in front of the beautiful stone creamy of the abbey of Senanque (Vaucluse) during a visit to the monks who had requested his help in the media, it has placed an order of 12 tons. Now, they form a wall of dry stones, in the area with the most sunny. This is where it was installed in a hotel in insects and two bee hives. “there is only one species that I hate in nature, it is the hornet asian, it has wreaked havoc in my hives.”
face it, the first basin considered too small became a bog, litter of choice to the carnivorous plants. The actor has even built a refuge at the edge of the water, a greenhouse, brought from Bali, cabin luxury for the child that it is always a little, where he writes while listening to jazz on a small radio.
“I realize more and more that the plants are happy, unhappy, they may suffer. Then I observe, I listen and I try to understand what they tell me.”
How to describe the kingdom of Élie Semoun? First of all, a happy jumble, imbued with a bohemian spirit, inherited from his circus owner, as evidenced by the advertising signs, disposed here and there, the buddhas who play from the elbow with a cock a little rusty. Chairs and benches in wrought metal of the 1930’s have been purchased to his friend François Levantal with whom he has shared the stage in the play The Closet , deckchairs lined with lichen grisaillent nicely in a basin encircled with ties, overgrown with moss and water lilies. “It was dug out, two years ago hardly. The olive tree found in a nursery during a tour to Valencia arrived five years ago only. It looks like it has been there for 450 years, its age. I like that the things give the impression of being here forever.”
Chairs and benches in wrought metal of the 1930s dot the garden. Jean-Christophe Marmara/JC MARMARA / LE FIGARO
exudes a charm infinite, but in reality, here there is no room for chance, everything was meticulously thought of, chosen, created. “I spend time in my garden, energy, money. I bring the same diligence to the writing of my shows,” , insists this perfectionist.
here’s who is amazed by a tree foliage is a little thick and shiny: “I’m proud of it, it is a camphrier” , says he crumpling the leaves, which perfume the atmosphere immediately. And as soon as it grieves in front of a tree fern ( Dicksonia antarctica ), which végète. “I love the ferns and euphorbia. I surely made a mistake by putting it there. I’m noticing more and more that the plants are happy, unhappy, they may suffer. Then I observe, I listen and I try to understand what they tell me.”
Elijah assures him, he is crazy about his garden, loves the find as if it was a person, a friend. “I will treat, and he makes it by his beauty. I don’t like the word maintain. I try to leave him his freedom, it has many faces and it pleases me.”