The Garden Guide

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

Seville garden design

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504. The gardens of Seville. As great a love of flowers prevails in this city as in Cadiz; and this the traveller immediately perceives, from the windows and balconies being filled with pots of Amaryllis reginï¾µ, Belladonna, and formosissima, Polianthes tuberosa, Narcissus, tulips and other bulbs, yerba Luisa (Aloysia citriodora Pall.), Pelargonia, and Jasmineï¾µ. Almost every house has a small flower-plot, and some have rather large ones, as well within the city as at the country-houses in its neighbourhood. The walls of these villas are generally covered with oranges, lemons, citrons, and limes, all entwined and mingled with each other; but the grounds are laid out with great regularity, and are ornamented with fountains and statues, as are almost all the gardens in the peninsula. In one garden La Gasca saw, growing in the open air, the Poinciana pulcherrima and A'brus precatorius; and his friend and fellow- professor, Don Jose Demetrio Rodriguez, told him that he had often seen two species of Plumieria among the gardens of Seville. The garden of the royal palace is curious, from the capricious variety displayed in the forms of the masses of shrubs and trees. 'In Seville,' Captain Cook observes, 'the houses often occupy open spaces with many courts; and gardens in the oriental manner are seen within the walls.' (Cook's Travels, vol. i. p. 129.) The garden of the Alcazar at Seville is more beautiful than that of the Alhambra. The hedges are small-leaved myrtle; pelargoniums, and that delicious plant yerba Luisa (Aloysia citriodora), cover the walls; and through the whole there is a thick shade of orange and lemon trees. Every where around are seen fountains throwing out the clearest water; and, by a very simple machinery, a thousand minute pipes dispersed over the walks and beds shower crystal streams upon the paths, and awaken new fragrance in the flowers. The garden is surrounded by a high wall, near the top of which there is a walk under an arcade supported by innumerable pillars. (Inglis's Spain in 1830, vol. ii. p. 80.) San Juan, near Seville, is a pretty village, remarkable for a neatness and simplicity of appearance very unusual in Spain: it is celebrated for the; fineness of its olives, and, from its contiguity to Seville, is much frequented by parties of the inhabitants of that city, particularly in the spring. The villas beyond it, and which are scattered among the olive groves at the foot of the heights, are very beautiful, and worth visiting, particularly one belonging to a nobleman of Seville. When visited by Sir A. Brooke, he thought it 'a perfect little paradise; and, notwithstanding its attractions were greatly lessened by the dry season, the lanes and hedges were covered with roses, honeysuckles, yellow jasmines, and a variety of other plants. The pleasures, however, of a country residence like this, close as it is to so opulent a city, are greatly diminished, not only by the bad state of the roads, but also from their being infested with robbers. On this account the numerous villas in the neighbourhood of Seville are seldom inhabited, being only occasionally visited by the proprietors in the daytime, and even then not without risk. Such is the wretched state of this part of Spain.' (Brooke's Travels in Spain and Morocco, vol. i. p. 60.)