The Royal Botanic Garden, Madrid, Spain
|Larix Bonsai in fall color|
|Museo del Prado|
The terraces are divided by clipped hedges of Laurus nobilis punctuated by statues of historic figures in the field of botany. The uppermost terrace is called the Terrace of the Laurels, with a fine collection of bonsais added in 1985. Below this is the Villanueva Pavilion, which was exhibiting a fantastic collection of botanical paintings called Images of Paradise. This show featured stunning botanical paintings of tropical flora from South America from the renowned collections by José Celestino Mutis (1783-1816), and the modern private collection by Shirley Sherwood from Kew Gardens in London.
|One of the Grape Arbors|
|The Desert Garden|
Below this is the Terraza de las Escuelas Botanicas, which contains 12 square beds with plants arranged phylogenetically, from the most primitive species to later states of evolution. There is a small fountain at the center of each of these beds.
|Terraza de las Escuelas Botanicas|
The Terraza de los Quadros is the lowest terrace with 16 parterres containing ornamental, medicinal, aromatic, endemic, and edible plants, and a small orchard of fruit trees. The parterres are lined with low clipped boxwood hedges in either linear, square, round, or octagonal shapes which breaks up the monotony that is often found in formal gardens.
|Vegetable Beds, Terraza de los Cuadros|
|Square Parterre, Terraza de los Quadros|
|Ulmus minor, the Field Elm|
|Steps cut around the roots of a Cypress Tree|
|Puerta del Rey|
I hope to give a lecture at the Royal Botanic Garden before I fly home in early March, perhaps the prelude to a lecture I will be giving twice in Southern California in April on ‘The Pleasure Garden’ including fantastic Islamic gardens and architecture I am seeing while traveling in Morocco and Andalusia in Southern Spain.