Tag Archives: gardens

Maria Luisa Park in Sevilla: the Garden of the Lions

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 first one showcases the Garden of the Lions (11) and the Fountain of the Alvarez Quintero Brothers (14) just behind it. Both are stunning in very different ways. The Fountain of the Lions features large fountains surrounded with sculptures and geometrical borders with a clear Moorish influence. The Quintero fountain is a masterpiece of tile work that ties in with the incredibly detailed allover moasaics of the Plaza de Espana at the other end of the park.

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A Stunning Andalusian Patio at Sevilla’s Alfonso XIII

Hotel Alfonso XIII, or the Alfonso as it is often referred to, is a historic landmark building in old Seville, near the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Inaugurated in 1929, the year of the World Fair that was instrumental in bringing to Seville the Plaza de Espana and Maria Luisa Park, it is a materpiece of neo-mudejar, or neo-moorish style, architecture, with arches, tile murals and water features.  The patio is truly the heart of the hotel, with reception rooms, lounges, and the restaurant all laid out around it, and it is indeed a treat to spend a leisurely hour there having drinks or coffee there. The grounds outside are also landcaped in a distinctly Andalusian style.

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And of course, the stunning reception rooms around the courtyard.

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Montjuic’s Greek Theater Gardens in Barcelona, Spain

The Greek Theater Garden started out as a rose garden, the second in Barcelona, and was created in 1929, like many of the gardens in the Montjuic area, for the International Exhibition.

You may think the greek theater itself is older, but it is a replica, also built in 1929. The Epiduro Theater in Athens, Greece, was used as the inspiration, which may be why it looks so authentic. The theater is used for cultural events, first and foremost the Greek Festival, during which many plays and performances take place there.

This lovely garden is adjacent to the Laribal Gardens, and starts with a larger terrace at top with a formal layout of rose borders and trees overlooking the greek theater, then a long pergola allows for sitting and enjoying the view over the rest of the mountain.  Click here for an excellent article on these gardens.

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A Rose Garden in Brittany, France with 100s of varieties

In northern Brittany, France, just outside of the small picturesque town of Le Faou is a nursery specializing in roses. I never featured a commercial establishment in one of my posts before, but in the middle of fields of roses is a lovely rose garden showcasing many of the species cultivated there, from shrub roses to climbing roses, to old fashioned roses, and a pleasure to browse for anyone who enjoys roses as I do.

I will be writing another post about this garden as well, showcasing some of the individual varieties of roses.

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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 in France: The Japanese 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 Japanese gardens.There were originally two Japanese gardens: a smaller one nearer the main entrance and a larger one at the other end of the domain on the other side of the castle, but this latter has yet to be redone the way it used to be and after many years of neglect very little is left of it and the woods have reclaimed most of it.

At the entrance of the Japanese garden is a small pavilion; note the intricate paving, the bamboo, and water feature.

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Past the pavilion is the Japanese rock garden with plantings and rock river beds for the stream.

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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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