Buen Retiro Park: A Madrid Landmark

The Buen Retiro Park, or just Retiro as it is known, is one of the largest parks in Madrid. Located in the heart of Madrid near the Prado museum, it is the most emblematic of Madrid parks, with a rose garden, formal gardens, a man made lake, statuaries and much more; and of course the fantastic crystal palace now used as a venue for art events. It is a landmark of Madrid and worth reading more about, here is the Wikipedia link.

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An Unusual French Roundabout with a Pacific Island Theme

Next in my series of posts on French landscaped roundabouts, is this very unusual island themed roundabout in Brittany. I never cease to be impressed not only by the amount of work involved, but the sheer ingenuity that goes into the design and landscaping of roundabouts in France.

Each section of this roundabout garden makes an individual vignette to be seen depending on the road entering the intersection: underwater scene with fish and coral, beach loungers, tikki roofs and hammock, or boats. And all of it lushly landscaped in a wide array of mixed perennials that thrive in the climate of the region.

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French Stone Cottage with Roses

This lovely stone cottage is typical of the architecture of the older houses in northern Brittany. Situated in a small coastal fishing village, this front garden is filled with a variety of roses, from shrub roses to climbing roses on trellises and arbors, in shades of pink, red and white.

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A Formal French Garden in Historic Quimper

Along the old wall, next to the Quimper cathedral on one side and the Odet river on the other with its flowered bridges, is this small park. It is landscaped in the style typical of  the formal French gardens, with  the low growing edges of boxwood around the symmetrical curved borders, and with topiaries at the corners.

The less traditional border at one end is filled with elephant ears.

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Quimper Old Priory Medieval Gardens Part III: Edibles & Tinctorials

In this third and last post on the Priory gardens of Quimper, I am featuring the back of the garden (shown on the left of the map) where edibles are grown, as well as those plants used for making and coloring clothing.

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Quimper Old Priory Medieval Gardens Part II: Pavilion & Rose Garden

In my earlier post, I talked about the history and significance of this garden, and showcase the aromatics and medicinal plant garden. Here, I am featuring the center portion of the garden including the rose garden and pergola, and the pavilion with the fountain representing the source of the four fountains of Eden.

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Quimper Old Priory Medieval Gardens Part I: Medicinal & Aromatic Plants

Work on this garden was started in 1997 to create a medieval garden in the style of a convent garden in the days of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514).  The population at the time resorted to plants for most of their needs: food, medicine and clothing.

The garden has three essential components. The medicinal and herb garden,  used by monks to make their own remedies from plants not readily available in the surrounding areas and therefore grown in the garden.

The edible garden: nutritious roots, fruit, fresh or dried, beans, barley, and other garden crops made up the menu of the time.

The tinctorial garden grew plants used for clothing such as hemp, linen or catharmus which was used for red coloring.

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Note also that the medival garden is a representation of Paradise, with the fountain in the center representing the pure source from which the four rivers of Eden originate.  Plants such as white lilies and other white flowers represent the virgin.

In this first post, I am featuring the front portion of the garden, with the medicinal and herb section.

This is one of the loveliest gardens in this style I have had the chance to visit and it was also awarded “Jardin Remarquable” (remarkable garden”. It was designed not only for function but also form, with a pavilion, arbors, pergolas, benches in cozy nooks, decorative borders for raised beds, woven Plessis, and a fountain, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It also overlooks the river Odet, making it a truly enchanting setting.

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