2 0 0 3 - 2 0 1 4

Travel Logs:

2007 Scotland
2004 Spain
1996 Ireland
1992 Maui
1990 Portugal
1989 England
1983 France
1980 Big Bend
1979 Cozumel

Send a Message

Wikipedia English

In Austin:
KXAN Weather
The Art of JU Salvant
Master Gohring's Tai Chi
Personal Tai Chi
The Fragrant Garden
Shari Elkins Hikes w Dogs Austin360 Movies


The Spanish Garden

I came back from Spain in a mood to bulldoze the whole back yard, swimming pool and all. I wanted to build an oblong pool that would drop down to a series of canals and fountains. I'd line it with palm trees, and then I would have a Moorish garden. Now, wouldn't that look strange with my pink brick ranch house?

The gardens we saw in Spain were so different from what I have always known. They were gardens of a completely different kind.

They were, first of all, enclosed gardens, like the walled garden at Anne's Grove, but in a completely different style inside. They were geometrical, and the beds were all lined with little box hedges. The design is centered around the water: fountains, little aquaducts, reflecting pools, all manner of decorative means of transporting and distributing water flowing from some higher elevation.

The Spanish gardens make not the slightest concession to nature around them. It's understandable. Spain is very dry and rugged. Most places in Southern Spain, if you built a high brick wall around a few acres you would really have your work cut out for you. It would not be a matter of enhancing Mother Nature's contribution. A transition from the natural landscape of southern Spain to anything resembling a pleasure garden is hard to imagine. I never saw the slightest attempt at it.

Instead, the natural surroundings were out of sight and out of mind. From inside, you could not even picture the hard yellow plains, rocky outcrops and scrappy olive trees. Below, the walls of the Jardines de Murillo in Sevilla, and pictures of several different gardens in the same style:

Spanish Garden
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

These are large public gardens of course, and the gardens of palaces, but you see the same approach echoed in the small private gardens of ordinary houses. I should say, the older houses in town (I have no idea what's going on in the new suburbs.)

A high wall around a free-standing garden is an expensive item, but these houses are built courtyard-style. The wall along the street is continuous, and the doors open onto an uncovered space where flowers grow in pots and planters, often around a fountain.

Now that I can copy! Texas-style, with Turk's cap and Guara, succulents and blue plumbago.


But my courtyard opens onto the front yard, which is more or less an enhanced native Texas landscape, so it isn't really like a Spanish Garden after all. Native Texas-style, it looks outward to surrounding nature.

Comments? Contact me!

History | Dogs | Home | Food | Garden


About This Weblog
Anne's Grove
Bird Pepper
Brown Chow
Caswell Avenue
Dark Adventures
Dead of Winter
Fire and Water
Glass of Water
How We Travel
Indonesian Lime Tree
Miller's Kalendar
Mrs. Hipple
Murder in the Bamboo Forest
Night Animals
Night Animals by Day
Not Animals
Old Dogs
Old Letters
Pine Point
Remains of an Owl
Search for a New Dog
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Shore Street
Smith College
Snakes and Frogs
Spicewood Nativescape
Squirrel Business
Surprise Party
Visits with Katie
Welcome to Pommelhouse
Wily’s Ruff, Tail
Winter Storm
Winter Work
Year of the Night Animals