Category Archives: City Parks and Gardens

Cadiz’ Historic Parque Genoves: The Botanical Garden

The old city of Cadiz is a peninsula bordered on three sides by the ocean and on the land side by walls, with the modern Cadiz having expanded passed those fortifications. This charming walled city is a compact maze of narrow streets, mostly pedestrian, but dotted with squares, and plazas, and of course the beach and promenade give it a pleasant open feel as well. The main green area in Cadiz is Parque Genoves.

This historic park situated at the very end of the peninsula on the waterfront dates back to the end of the 18th century. It was enlarged in the 19th century and manymore trees were planted, at which time in became known as “Paseo de las Delicias”, garden of the delights. Then in the late 19th century, it bacame a botanical garden under the direction of Eduardo Genovés y Puig, a garden designer from Valencia.

There are really two main areas to the garden. One side feels more like w whimsical park, with a man made lake, a waterfall, a mountain with cave, dinosaurs in the water, duck houses and a beautiful kiosk. The other half has a formal promenade with topiaries and the botanical garden area with an extensive collection of trees and succulents. In this post I am showcasing botanical garden section of the park.

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Cadiz’ Historic Parque Genoves: A Whimsical Garden on the Water

The old city of Cadiz is a peninsula bordered on three sides by the ocean and on the land side by walls, with the modern Cadiz having expanded passed those fortifications. This charming walled city is a compact maze of narrow streets, mostly pedestrian, but dotted with squares, and plazas, and of course the beach and promenade give it a pleasant open feel as well. The main gree area is Parque Genoves.

This historic park situated at the very end of the peninsula on the waterfront dates back to the end of the 18th century. It was enlarged in the 19th century and manymore trees were planted, at which time in became known as “Paseo de las Delicias”, garden of the delights. Then in the late 19th century, it bacame a botanical garden under the direction of Eduardo Genovés y Puig, a garden designer from Valencia.

There are really two main areas to the garden. One side feels more like w whimsical park, with a man made lake, a waterfall, a mountain with cave, dinosaurs in the water, duck houses and a beautiful kiosk. The other half has a formal promenade with topiaries and the botanical garden area with an extensive collection of trees and succulents. In this post I am showcasing the first area of the park.

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Maria Luisa Park in Sevilla: Plaza de Espana

Maria Luisa, Infanta of Spain (1832-1897) was the younger sister of Isabella II, queen of Spain. She married Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, youngest son of the French King Louis Philippe, and became Duchess of Montpensier.

Most of the grounds that form Maria Luisa Park today where originally part of the Palace of San Telmo and donated by Maria Luisa to the city in 1893 to be used as public gardens. The palace , a magnificent example of Spanish baroque architecture was rehabilitated and converted in the 1990s into the seat of the autonomous government of Andalusia. It stands today just outside Maria Luisa Park.

French urban planner and landscape designer Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, who also created the Bagatelle Rose Garden and the Laribal Gardens in Barcelona, started work on the park in 1911. Also in preparation of the 1929 World’s Fair, architect Anibal Gonzales began work on the Plaza de Espana building and some of the pavilions.

Under Forestier, who had been heavily influenced by the gardens of Andalusia and Morocco, the Park became a Moorish inspired extravaganza of tiled fountains, ponds, arbors, pavillions and other structures, planted in a lush Mediterranean style with vines, bougainvilleas, roses, palms orange trees and flower beds.

I discovered Forestier’s work when in Barcelona, visiting the stunning terraced Laribal Gardens on the hill of Montjuic.  These gardens lead from fountains to gazebos to arbors to rose gardens to the top of the hill where you discover the sweeping views down the hill with water stairs inspired by the Alhambra leading back down. This element of surprise and wonder is one I have found in all of Forestier’s gardens, whether in Paris at Bagatelle, Morocco at the Jardins d’Essais or here.

This park being such an expansive and complex creation, I am featuring it through several posts.This one one showcases the Plaza de Espana. Although not strictly a garden of course, the Plaza de Espana is not only emblematic of the city of Seville, but also the focal point of the park around which much of the gardens are laid out.

It was designed for the World Fair of 1929 and is now used for central government offices. It is a masterpiece of Renaissance Revival architecture, designed by Aníbal González. It features a series of tiled alcoves representing the provinces of Spain.

 

Plaza de Espana is laid out in a half moon, with the building curving around a monumental plaza with canals and tiled bridges. The square is tiled in the peble style so often found around Andalusian patios and squares.

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Barcelona Ciutadella Park: The Formal Gardens

The Ciutadella Park in Barcelona is the largest and oldest city park. It was established in the mid 19th century and was for a long the only substantial green space in the city with about 70 acres of paths, trails, a lake, and assorted statuary and buildings. It is home to the Parliament building, the Barcelona Zoo, and the Geological museum. It is perhaps most famous for the very large waterfall fountain designed by Fontsere in the 1880s when Gaudi was his student and is believed to have contributed to it. It was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition. See my other post for more on the fountain and the rest of the park.

The gardens by the Parliament and the Zoo are the most formal part of the Ciutadella, with neatly trimmed hedges, rows of plane trees, roses borders and a fountain.

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Jardines de Cuenca: A Cliffhanging Garden in Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the “white villages” of Andalusia in southern Spain. It is most famous for the steep cliffs separating the two sides of town and the jaw dropping view they offer. Ronda also has one of the oldest bullfighting arenas and Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles were frequent visitors. streets are actually named after them.

I visited Ronda in the winter, so I did not see the Jardines de Cuenca at their very best.  The season however in no way detracted from appreciating this unique site,  and the stunning views from this small garden literally hanging over the canyon. It is laid out as a series of small terraces, climbing up into the center and towards the main bridge, and planted with palm trees and succulents that are well adapted to the summer heat of southern Spain.

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Barcelona Ciutadella Park: Fountains, Gaudi and Gardens

The Ciutadella Park in Barcelona is the largest and oldest city park. It was established in the mid 19th century and was for a long the only substantial green space in the city with about 70 acres of paths, trails, a lake, and assorted statuary and buildings. It is home to the Parliament building, the Barcelona Zoo, and the Geological museum. It is perhaps most famous for the very large waterfall fountain designed by Fontsere in the 1880s when Gaudi was his student and is believed to have contributed to it. It was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition.

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Barcelona’s Archaeology Museum Garden

Montjuic is a majestic hill in Barcelona overlooking the port, west of the center. The entire hill is a series of parks, gardens, museums, and other monuments, as it was developed first for the 1929 International Exhibition held in Barcelona Spain, then again for the 1992 Olympics. It is home to the Olympic ring, Arata Izosaki’s sports palace, the Catalan Art museum, the Spanish village, the Barcelona Botanical Gardens, the Archaeology Museum, the Greek Theater, the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion, the Juan Miro Foundation, the Laribal Gardens, just to name a few.

The Archaeology Museum has small gardens laid out around a fountain. The arches and statuary in the back, and the tall cypresses give it the feel of an Italian garden.

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