The Garden Guide

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

Cadiz garden design

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503. Gardens of Cadiz. A few years ago, says La Gasca, Cadiz was an opulent city, and supported, at great expense, many pleasure-gardens on the small space of land which lies outside the Puerta de Tierra. They have, however, all disappeared, and the principal gardens now (1828) left in Cadiz, are those of the convents, and some small but very beautiful ones belonging to the hospital. In these latter, Musa sapientum produces well- ripened fruit. La Gasca states that in these gardens are cultivated for ornament many varieties of Capsicum frutescens, cerasiforme, microcarpon, &c., and the Clarisia volubilis of Abat, which Jussieu has called Arredera, a corruption of the Spanish word enredadera; which is the general name used for all twining plants. There is in Cadiz quite a passion for flowers, which is gratified, in some degree, by the inhabitants of the city buying all those brought from the gardens of Puerta del Santa Maria, with which they convert the very roofs and balconies of their houses into gardens. They cultivate in the open air various species of Mesembryanthemum, Cactus, and Pelargonium, with many bulbous roots from Peru, Chile, and the Cape of Good Hope. The pleasure-gardens in the Puerta del Santa Maria, and in Chiclana, belong chiefly to the merchants of Cadiz, and supply that city with abundance of flowers. In these gardens are cultivated many of the African and American plants already mentioned. La Gasca states that he saw in them two trees of Erythrina poianthes of Brotero, covered with blossoms and half ripened fruit, which the gardeners assured him annually produced great quantities of seed. Poinciana pulcherrima, Adenanthera pavonina, and Clementia nitida (in the Havannah called Mate), with other American plants, are also cultivated. In 1823, General Uriarte preserved in one of these gardens the cochineal which had, during the absence of the illustrious Cabriera, perished in Cadiz. In San Lucar de Barramada there is a very celebrated geometrical garden, called Del Picacho, the property of the Marquis of Saravia, a Castilian noble, who resides in Cadiz. It is ornamented with fountains and statues, and contains many rare exotics, among which are some small trees brought from the East Indies in 1819. The favourite flower at Cadiz, as well as throughout Spain, is the pink (Dianthus), of which the varieties are infinite: the lilac, anemone, jasmine, sambac, sweet basil, mirabel (Chenopodium scoparium), and various succulent plants, are also greatly esteemed; the beautiful varieties of the poppy are also well worthy admiration, especially as this plant may perhaps some day form a profitable branch of Spanish husbandry. The cultivation of the Mimosa pudica (which produces great quantities of seed in the open air) is also very general: the Mimosa sensitiva is cultivated in some gardens. There is no house without a few pots of Alexandrian laurel (Ruscus racemosus); or garden in which the sponge tree (Acacia farnesiana), in Spain vulgarly called aromo (spice), is not found; indeed, in the south of Spain it is almost wild. They have likewise introduced many varieties of fruit trees, which formerly were only to be found in botanic gardens about Madrid. Among their creeping plants may be observed many species and varieties of Ipom£'a and Convolvulus, the Ipom£'a Quamoclit, coccinea, and heterophylla, both maurandyas; various Cucurbi-taceï¾µ, Phaseolus Caracalla, Dolichos lignosus, Clarisia volubilis indigenous at the Havannah, with many species and varieties of other plants.