Tag Archives: park

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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Quimper: A Park on a Historic Square in the Old Town

Lined by benches and surrounded by historic buildings and one of Quimper’s premier theatre venues, this formally landscaped garden in the French style provides a sheltered oasis in the old own, to sit on sunny afternoons or bring a picnic.

Mixed borders are edged with low trimmed boxwood, and more boxwood and evergreens in round shapes mix with roses, sedums and other plants.

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Barcelona’s Horta Labyrinth Gardens: The Maze and Pavilions

Located in the Horta district in northern Barcelona, the Labyrinth Garden was created in the late 18th century by the owner of the estate, marquis Joan Antoni Desvalls i d’Ardena, who commisioned Italian garden architect  Domenico Bagutti. This is when the maze was created and part of the gardens in the neo-classical style.

In the mid 19th century, the gardens were then expanded by the marquis descendants to expand the garden in the romantic style with a waterfall, large trees, gazebo, statues, and flower beds.

This garden is the oldest of its kind in Barcelona. The family turned it over to the city in 1967, and it opened as a public park in 1971.

To read more about this garden, click here, here, or here for Wikipedia.

The park can be roughly divided into three main areas: the first includes the country house and adjacent gardens, the second would be the 18th century maze and pavilion, the third includes  the romantic garden and waterfall.

In this post, I will feature the centerpiece of the park, the original 18th century maze.  Three terraces lead up to a large pavilion dedicated to the nine muses. The intermediate terrace is flanked by two small open pavilions, inspired by Roman temples.

The Roman temple
The Roman temple

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Fountain on the second terrace
Fountain on the second terrace

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Large pavilion on top terrace
Large pavilion on top terrace

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Grotto on maze lower level
Grotto on maze lower level
Grotto detail
Grotto detail
Small bridge over the stream intersects the stairs leading up to the upper terrrace
Small bridge over the stream intersects the stairs leading up to the upper terrrace

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To the side of the maze, incorporated into the gardens,  is a miniature maze:

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Barcelona’s Horta Labyrinth Gardens: The Walled Garden

Located in the Horta district in northern Barcelona, the Labyrinth Garden was created in the late 18th century by the owner of the estate, marquis Joan Antoni Desvalls i d’Ardena, who commisioned Italian garden architect  Domenico Bagutti. This is when the maze was created and part of the gardens in the neo-classical style.

In the mid 19th century, the gardens were then expanded by the marquis descendants to expand the garden in the romantic style with a waterfall, large trees, gazebo, statues, and flower beds.

This garden is the oldest of its kind in Barcelona. The family turned it over to the city in 1967, and it opened as a public park in 1971.

To read more about this garden, click here, here, or here for Wikipedia.

The park can be roughly divided into three main areas: the first includes the country house and adjacent gardens, the second would be the 18th century maze and pavilion, the third includes  the romantic garden and waterfall.

In this post, I will focus on the first area of the park. The house was originally built as a country house in the 14th century, but was substantially redone in the 19th century with a moorish inspiration. The walled gardens are done in a formal style.

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From the front of the house:

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Just outside the walls,  a round terrace is the starting point for alleys leading to other parts of the park, an arbor, a statue, or ornate stairs to a terraced garden area.

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The walls themselves are quite ornately decorated and lined with plantings.

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Barcelona’s Horta Labyrinth Gardens: The Romantic Garden

Located in the Horta district in northern Barcelona, the Labyrinth Garden was created in the late 18th century by the owner of the estate, marquis Joan Antoni Desvalls i d’Ardena, who commisioned Italian garden architect  Domenico Bagutti. This is when the maze was created and part of the gardens in the neo-classical style.

In the mid 19th century, the gardens were then expanded by the marquis descendants to expand the garden in the romantic style with a waterfall, large trees, gazebo, statues, and flower beds.

This garden is the oldest of its kind in Barcelona. The family turned it over to the city in 1967, and it opened as a public park in 1971.

To read more about this garden, click here, here, or here for Wikipedia.

The park can be roughly divided into three main areas: the first includes the country house and adjacent gardens, the second would be the 18th century maze and pavilion, the third includes  the romantic garden and waterfall.

In this post, I will feature the Romantic Garden. It is the latter 19th century extension of the maze gardens. It features small hedged squares with large shade trees; the focus of this garden is the water features, starting at the top with a waterfall, continuing with canals along this narrow garden. The main garden ends with a false graveyard garden before leading to a small garden arranged symetrically around a pond.

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Petanque Park by the Sea in France

If  you have ever travelled through a village France and noticed a group of people having a heated discussion looking at balls on a dirt patch, you have seen petanque. It is a very simple game where each player has three metal balls and tries to throw them as closely as possible to the small wooden one called the “cochonnet”. It is usually played in teams, and while the rules are simple, the unevenness of the terrain must be taken into account, and there is skill involved in trying to hit the opponents ball to get it out of the way for example.

This small petanque terrain in Brittany couldn’t want for a more idyllic location, right on the water and surrounded with a small park!

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