The Garden Landscape Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Spanish gardening

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496. Spain enjoys a great diversity of climate, which, as La Gasca observes, enables her to propagate, at small expense, the greater part of the most precious vegetable pro ductions found in every quarter of the globe. This is clearly manifested by the numerous plants from hot countries, which thrive in her gardens, and which were introduced by private individuals, from laudable curiosity, or enlightened patriotism. Those which are the production of northern regions are also found growing spontaneously both on the summits of her high mountains, and on their sloping sides. These fine dispositions of nature would, doubtless, have been turned to more advantage by the inhabitants, had not a depraved government been purposely throwing, for the space of more than three hundred years, insurmountable obstacles in the way of their efforts. A great many enlightened and patriotic Spaniards have repeatedly, though fruitlessly, endeavoured to overcome these obstacles; receiving, as a reward for their benevolent zeal, only sad and bitter disappointments; persecutions, dungeons, the galleys, expatriation, and even death. Such has been the result of their toils, and such will it ever be in countries where there is no liberty to permit the diffusion of useful knowledge through the medium of the press; where no objects are encouraged but those which are not only useless, but hurtful to the national welfare; where no guarantee is to be had for the security of individuals and their property; and where no one can call the soil his own, or cultivate it according to his free will or pleasure. (Gard. Mag., vol. i. p. 235.)