Category Archives: Formal gardens

The Alcazar Gardens in Cordoba, Spain

The Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos (Alcazar of the Christian Kings) blends the formality of royal palace gardens with the strong Moorish influence often found throughout Andalusian Spain’s gardens.

The gardens are laid out as terraces, with the top one collecting water from the mountains and irrigated the lower terraces. This top terrace features two large pools, and steps lead to the lower terrace which features three large ponds. A middle terrace is located at the southern end.

The gardens are planted with tall cypress edges, while boxwood in a grid pattern edges rose gardens. The water features are the focal point of these gardens, and the entire perspective follows the large pools framed in by the plantings.

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Castle of Trevarez: The Italian Garden

The castle of Trevarez near Chateauneuf du Faou in northern Brittany, France, is one of the last great castles built in France. Construction began in 1892 for a French politician and brought together all the faste and excess of the Belle Epoque, frescoes, carvings, marble, mosaics, ornate panels and fireplaces.

It is often referred to as the pink or red castle, because of the pink color it gets from the bricks used.  It was unfortunately bombed in the 1940s, and has not been occupied since, but it is being renovated by the government who purchased it in the 70s.

The gardens were neglected as well for many years and have been slowly brought back to their original glory, one area at a time. The grounds are extensive, with stables, a large wash house, theme gardens, formal gardens and much more.

In this post, I am featuring one of my favorites of the Trevarez gardens, the Italian garden. It features a pond and grotto, a row of unusual fountains, and a lawn all along the side with a small water canal leading to the stairs going to the Romantic Garden. The Italian Garden is just to the side of the castle.

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Castle of Trevarez: Castle and Formal Gardens

The castle of Trevarez near Chateauneuf du Faou in northern Brittany, France, is one of the last great castles built in France. Construction began in 1892 for a French politician and brought together all the faste and excess of the Belle Epoque, frescoes, carvings, marble, mosaics, ornate panels and fireplaces.

It is often referred to as the pink or red castle, because of the pink color it gets from the bricks used.  It was unfortunately bombed in the 1940s, and has not been occupied since, but it is being renovated by the government who purchased it in the 70s.

The gardens were neglected as well for many years and have been slowly brought back to their original glory, one area at a time. The grounds are extensive, with stables, a large wash house, theme gardens, formal gardens and much more.

In this post, I am featuring the castle itself with the formal gardens in the front. The castle is sited so as to overlook the valley in the back and enjoy a stunning view of the gardens terraced below, including a large collection of azaleas and rhododendrons directly below which were unfortunately not in bloom at the time of my visit.

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Formal gardens with sundial and birdcage in axis
Formal gardens with sundial and birdcage in axis

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Front view of the castle
Front view of the castle

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The azaleas and rhododendrons below
The azaleas and rhododendrons below

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Ovelrooking the Italian garden to the side below
Ovelrooking the Italian garden to the side below
Alley of hydrangeas below
Alley of hydrangeas below

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Sevilla’s Alcazar: Ladies Garden and Hydraulic Organ in the Mannierist Gardens

The Alcazar of Sevilla is an outstanding example of Mudejar architecture and one of the most beautiful palaces of Andalusia. Originally built by the Almohades dynasty, it was expanded upon by later rulers through the Middle Ages until the Reconquista by the Catholica rulers, who subsequently added to the palace as well until the 19th century. The Alcazar remains to this day the official residence of the King of Spain in Sevilla.

The gardens were developed in the Moorish style as an integral part of the palace design, with extensive patios, fruit orchards, produce gardens and landscaped grounds, to produce food for the palace as well as aesthetic pleasure. As with all moorish gardens, water features are everywhere.

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The formal, or mannierist gardens, are laid out at directly along the palace and bordered by the fantastic grotto gallery. They are made up of several smaller gardens and architectural elements. In this post I will concentrate mostly on the Ladies Garden, with the Fountain of Neptune, the Hydraulic Organ and the Lion Pavilion.

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Alcazar Gardens, Sevilla

A Carmen Garden in the Albaicin in Granada

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  But throughout the old town of Granada are also many walled gardens known as “carmen” This particular one featured here is on the hill of the Albaicin, the Moorish quarter and oldest part of Granada. It is laid out in somewhat formal squares but with a wide variety of planting giving it color throughout the seasons. The view alone would make this an absolutely stunning garden to sit and linger in.

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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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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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