Merry Christmas to all!
In honor of the holiday, I thought this might be a nice occasion for a festive tour through the gardens of Spain.
I had the privilege of visiting Spain earlier this autumn, specifically the cities of Barcelona, Sevilla, Cordoba, Madrid and Toledo.
While I was there, I took a number of garden-related photos. Let's start in Granada, where we spent a whole day at the remarkable Alhambra, a complex of palaces, villa, fortress and gardens built by the moors primarily from the 11th to 13th Centuries C.E.
GardenVisit.com calls the Alhambra gardens "the best and most-famous late-medieval castle gardens in Europe." I have to admit - and this may be sacrilegious to late-medieval castle garden fans, but the Alhambra gardens did not actually appeal to me very much.
In fact, to be honest, I found the famous Spanish gardens I visited to be a bit of a letdown in general. Too much in the way of endless hedges, not nearly enough in the way of color, flowers or horticultural diversity. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps Spanish gardening tastes are simply not in sync with my own.
That said, you can't traipse around Spain for a couple of weeks without finding some photogenic garden sights. Here are a few of my favorites from the Alhambra.
|The interior of the Generalife palace within the Alhambra complex. I liked the way that the arch with its intricate carvings framed this garden view.|
|Can anyone help with a plant ID here? The flowers (but not the leaves) look a little like Fatsia japonica. If this plant is hardy in zone 6/7, I'd be interested in adding such a pollinator-friendly plant to my garden.|
|In October, when we visited, the Alhambra was highlighting Celosia (also known as Cockscomb) as its Plant of the Month. Fun fact -- according to Wikipedia, Celosia is actually related to amaranth. Wikipedia further claims that at least some varieties of Celosia may have medicinal or edible uses. I've been hesitate to grow celosia since I've heard the plant is somewhat temperamental (sensitive to root stress), but these claims make me want to take another look at a plant which clearly has some lovely ornamental appeal. If you've grown (or tried to eat) celosia, please share your experiences in the Comments section below.|
|Here's a slightly different idea with a rushing stream actually carved into the handrail of the stairway. What an interesting concept!|
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