Category Archives: Historic gardens

The Alhambra’s Parador in Granada: The Gardens

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  The patios of the Alhambra are iconic images of Granada and the best known gardens are those of the Generalife, the vacation palace on the other side of the Alhambra complex.

In the vast complex of palaces that is the Alhambra, this former monastery has been converted into one of the Paradors, Spain’s government-owned luxury hotels set in historic landmarks. In addition to the Alhambra gardens it overlooks, the Parador has its own gardens with a distinctly Mediterranean feel to them and lush plantings of lavender, rosemary, roses and irises.

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Alhambra’s Patio de Lindaraja: Courtyards in Granada, Spain

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  The patios of the Alhambra are iconic images of Granada.  While not as famous as the Patio de los Leones, the Patio de Lindaraja is the most garden-like of the patios and a green oasis in this stunning palace. It is enclosed by arched columns and ornate galleries above, from which a sweeping view of the city below can be seen. From the garden below, the effect is almost monastic.

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Alhambra’s Iconic Patios & Courtyards in Granada, Spain

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  The patios of the Alhambra are iconic images of Granada.  Best known are the Patio the los Mirtos and the Patio de los Leones.

According to Wikipedia, “The Court of the Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes) is part of the palace and fortress complexe of the Alhambra. It is located east of the “Guilded Room” (Cuarto Dorado) and west of the “Patio of the Lions” and the Baths. Its current name is due to the myrtle bushes that surround the central pond and the bright green colour of which contrasts with the white marble of the patio. It was also called the Patio of the Pondor or the Reservoir (Patio del Estanque o de la Alberca) because of the central pond, which is 34 metres long and 7,10 meters wide.[1] The patio is divided in two sides by the pond, which receives its water from two fountains. The espace has chambers and porticoes around it. These porticoes rest on columns with cubic capitals, which have seven semicircular arches decorated with fretwork rhombuses and inscriptions praising God. The central arch is greater than the other six and has solid scallops decorated with stylised vegetal forms and capitals of mocarabes.”


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Also in Wikepedia, “The Courtyard of the Lions is an oblong courtyard, 35 m in length and 20 m in width, surrounded by a low gallery supported on 124 white marble columns. A pavilion projects into the courtyard at each extremity, with filigree walls and light domed roof, elaborately ornamented. The square is paved with coloured tiles, and the colonnade with white marble; while the walls are covered 1.5 m up from the ground with blue and yellow tiles, with a border above and below enamelled blue and gold. The columns supporting the roof and gallery are irregularly placed, with a view to artistic effect; and the general form of the piers, arches and pillars is most graceful. They are adorned by varieties of foliage, etc.; above each arch there is a large square of arabesques; and over the pillars is another square of filigree work. In the center of the courtyard is the celebrated Fountain of Lions, a magnificent alabaster basin supported by the figures of twelve lions in white marble. ”

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Madrid’s Royal Botanical Gardens: The Succulents Greenhouse

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid cover eight hectares in the heart of the city, next to the world famous Prado museum. They were designed in the 18th century (1781) during the age of Enlightenment as part of a remodeling plan for the Prado area under Carlos III.

The gardens boast an amazing 30,000 plants, divided amongst smaller themed gardens such as the rose garden, the vegetable garden, the fruit garden, all laid out in squares along the central intersecting alleys. There is also a fantastic complex of greenhouses at one end, as well as a large pavilion and a long arbor covered in many varieties of grapevines.  It is laid out on four terraced levels.

With such large and varied gardens, it would be impossible to cover it all in one post. In this post, I am featuring one of the more modern greenhouses, housing the gardens’ succulents collection. Note the use of vertical gardening on the very tall interior walls, as well as the catwalk along the top joining this greenhouse with the subtropical/tropical one.



Gardens of the Mosque of Granada

Granada, in southern Spain,  is of course most famous for the Alhambra and Generalife gardens.  The Mosque of Granada is located in the Albaicin, the Moorish quarter and oldest part of Granada, at the top of the hill and affording spectacular views of the city and the Alhambra on the other side of the river. The gardens are typical of Moorish gardens found in Andalusia, with pebble patio flooring designs, and fountains.


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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