Category Archives: Theme gardens

Maria Luisa Park in Sevilla: Water-lily Pool (Estanque de los Lotos)


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 last post features the Water-lily Pool (Estanque de los Lotos).

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On the way from de Island of the Birds to the Lily Pool is the Glorieta de Juana Reina, named after a famous Spanish actress born in Sevilla in 1929.

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Then at the western end of the Park, one reaches the Water-lily Pool (Estanque de los Lotos), a stunning pond bordered by arbors.

 

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To the side is another pond and statuary.

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Towards the exit gate are centennial trees.

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An alley with a series of fountains in the Moorish style to the southern gate.

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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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Cordoba Botanical Gardens: The Andalusian Patio

The Botanical Gardens in Cordoba, Spain opened in 1887 and were designed for primarily educational and scientific purposes. They are laid out along a wide central alley leading on one side to the Collections, species native to Spain arranged in borders edges by low growing rosemary or hackberry, and on the other side the Agricultural School with a large collection of citrus trees as well as an extensive vegetable garden. In the center are greenhouses dedicated to species from the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Andalusia, as well as a lovely area featured here, dedicated to the Andalusian patio.

The patio is emblematic of Cordoba, where the Festival of the Patios has been taking place every year in May since 1933. Its origins go back many centuries to the Moorish rule in Andalusia. In this are of the garden is nor a literal rendition of the Cordoban patio architecturally speaking, but rather a display of the many varieties of plants found in them, as many as 300 here, and many suitable to container gardening.

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Cordoba Botanical Gardens: Sustainable Gardening & the Kitchen Garden

The Botanical Gardens in Cordoba, Spain opened in 1887 and were designed for primarily educational and scientific purposes. They are laid out along a wide central alley leading on one side to the Collections, species native to Spain arranged in borders edges by low growing rosemary or hackberry, and on the other side the Agricultural School, featured in this post, with a large collection of citrus trees as well as an extensive vegetable and kitchen garden. In the center are greenhouses dedicated to species from the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Andalusia, as well as a lovely area dedicated to the Andalusian patio.

In the School of Agriculture, the emphasis is on sustainability and diversity, with sustainability and organic gardening on the forefront. Plants grown are those for human or animal consumption as well as any plants offering benefits or use to people. Many different methods of cultivation are used and in those collection one can observe the different cycless of plants through the seasons.

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Citrus Medica
Citrus Medica

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Cordoba Botanical Gardens: the Scientific Garden

The Botanical Gardens in Cordoba, Spain opened in 1887 and were designed for primarily educational and scientific purposes. They are laid out along a wide central alley leading on one side to the Collections, featured in this post, species native to Spain arranged in borders edges by low growing rosemary or hackberry, and on the other side the Agricultural School with a large collection of citrus trees as well as an extensive vegetable garden. In the center are greenhouses dedicated to species from the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Andalusia, as well as a lovely area dedicated to the Andalusian patio.

he Collections are arranged scientifically along a central alley, by species and variety. All the plants included in the collections are autochtone to Spain.

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Brest Botanical Gardens Part II: The Preservation Gardens

In northern Brittany, the Botanical Gardens in Brest enjoy a privileged location in a small valley with a stream throughout, and creating a microclimate allowing endangered species to grow with additional protection. Long and narrow, these gardens are divided into the park area at one end, end the botanical gardens proper at the other.

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In this second post, I am featuring the botanical gardens, which are largely dedicated to the preservation of endangered species of plants. The water features here are more extensive than in the park area, with large ponds and ducks in addition to the stream running the length of the park. Here again, the areas around the stream are reminiscent of Japanese rock gardens, and landscaped with a profusion of bridges, ferns or bamboo groves. Note the beautiful planting of Tasmanian tree ferns along the banks, as well as some particularly large gunneras.

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More Planter & Container Ideas From Brittany Villages

This is my second post featuring some of the fantastic container arrangements, planters and hanging baskets that villages in Brittany put together from spring until late fall.

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Castle of Trevarez in France: The Art of Jacques Henri Lartigue in the 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 ART IN THEGARDENS, here the photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue, renowned French photographer and chronicler of the lives of the wealthy in the heyday of Trevarez, in the teens and twenties until the war.

Trevarez seamlessly integrates large scale photos in black and white to the gardens in a series of garden “rooms” enclosed by hedges, with a series of paths create a perfect rhythm for viewing the art against the formal and almost stark background of that part of the gardens.  Of course, in the spring, the formal gardens would be softened by the many azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom. I have included a few photos of the shrub borders for reference.

The exhibit starts by the theme gardens and ends past the hothouses and the stunning hydrangeas alley blooming into September.

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A formal French Garden on a Locronan Roundabout

Next in my series of posts on French landscaped roundabouts, is this very elegantly landscaped one in Locronan, Brittany. Round shaped boxwoods, bonsai shaped trees, topiaries and assorted evergreens give it year round beauty, while hydrangeas which have a long blooming season in Brittany) add some color.

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General view

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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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