Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Mediterranean garden hotel in winter

During past holidays when visiting part of the family in the South of Spain, I was invited to this wonderful place called Casa de los Bates to have an afternoon tea.  The place was built in the nineteenth century as an estate and with Italian inspiration, it was meant to be the home to a family.

It is located in a hill overlooking the Mediterranean tropical coast of Granada, and has been restored to maintain its origins.  Time past and the building and gardens were transformed into a boutique rural hotel, and is run by some members of my in-law family, which were very happy to show us around.

The gardens surrounding the house show the also the moorish influence both in their design and use of plants and trees to organize the different sections.  Fountains and water features help creating relaxing cool areas, as a refuge in hot summer days.

We were lucky to have a very mild afternoon just a the beginning of the new year and enjoy the front porch with an afternoon tea.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Continuation post - Visit to the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid (Royal Botanic Garden Madrid)

Already into mid January and well after the holidays it is time to continue with posting regularly, so here is the second part to the visit to Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid (Spain).  The first post was dedicated to the beautiful and exotic plants inside the green house.  This second part is about the quadrants creating the gardens in an organized scheme by climates and geographical zones, and botanical families and varieties.

Let me remind that these images are from late November in a very mild fall, I am looking forward to be back in spring time when all the flowers should offer a great spectacle.  I Hope you enjoy!

This is the plan of the garden with complete information of the layout, different sections and terraces.

There was a temporary exhibition of bonsais from a private collection by a former president of Spain that had decided to donate it to the Botanical Garden.  There are great specimens really beautiful.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have a Happy New Year 2015!!!

Observing nature one can learn about its cycles and rythms, we humans, have also rules and traditions that mark the time passing.  The end of December is for some cultures the moment of reflection on the year to end, and the time to formulate the best wishes for the new year to start.
For me, is a moment of introspection, intimacy and quietness, something similar to hibernate for a very short period that helps me just connect with that "something" that will bring some sense to daily life.  It is s a time to re-consider values, re-organise priorities, not about to write "to do" list for the year ahead, but to renovate the will and the courage to, whatever it is, do it better.
Let's celebrate and share the best wishes of joy, peace, prosperity, and all good wills you can think about in the new year 2015!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Visit to the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid (Royal Botanic Garden Madrid)

Some weeks ago I visited the Real Jardin Botánico (Royal Botanic Garden) in Madrid, and is not only a botanical garden, but also a very prestigious institution for research founded in October 1755.  The day of my visit was a very warm and sunny day, I was expecting a fall scenery but I was told it has been a very mild autumn until recently and that means that the natural cycle of leaves falling did not happened until very late November.

The drawing below shows the layout of the garden and the well organized sections dedicated to plants, and trees from different climates, regions distributed by botanical families and varieties.

Image from the RJBM website
This post is about the first part of my visit and dedicated to the Estufa de las Palmas, a greenhouse built in 1856 used to house tropical and subtropical specimens.  The first section is for cactus and other plants from arid climates.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Xmas decorations findings

Last weekend I went to do some shopping for Xmas decoration, just new small touches that I like to ad what I am collecting over the years.  Since this is gong to be my first Xmas in Madrid since many, many years, all is new and in my searching I found Federica & Co, a nice concept with small shops hidden in a "cour" that offer the spirit I like.  I loved he smell of pine trees!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gardens Barge Square - Tower Bridge Moorings, a touch of spring in fall

Last May I was lucky enough to be invited by Tower Bridge Moorings to a private tour to the Garden Barges at the Tower Bridge Moorings, by the river Thames in London.  It is a so very special place in London that the minute we entered I thought I was transported to a forest and not being in a busy city.

The story of these amazing gardens started some 25 years ago and was the vision of the architect Nicholas Lacey (his firm now runs the development), who was a neighbor of the moorings and observing how vegetation was taking in some of the barges, he decided to work together with nature but in a designed way.  More than two decades from this initiative floating gardens are a reality.  They have received some awards for design but also for the contribution to ecology, since they are worked following organic techniques.
But the gardens are also a community that takes care of them and open them once a year for visitors to enjoy.  Some of the barges are studios or workshops for artists that live and work there, no need to say that there is a long waiting list to get one of the barges!

I leave you now with the images for a virtual walk.
The general view from the pedestrian path on the riverside.

The entrance to the office and moorings
And the starts right here just following the path between barges that connects one to the others

The gardens provide a fantastic habitat for flora and fauna
Trees growing healthy and creating a green environment   
One can find trees in almost all of the barges
One can find fruit trees and herbs, together with ornamentals
A beautiful maple, Acer palmatum
Flowers and flowers everywhere...
Creating masses of color
and not only for decorating the floating gardens, but also to offer food for bees
This is the view from one of the barges during low tide

A paradise, an oasis hidden in the middle of busy London!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Celebrating 200 posts!!!

I just realized that previous post was number 200, a number that deserves a celebration!
I would like to share with you the images below that show me photographing Patrick's Blanc vertical garden at Athenaeum Hotel in London.  There will be more posts dedicated to vertical gardens and green walls in following weeks.  Hope you like it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Back to activity!

It's been a long hiatus in publishing, and after few weeks of silence this blog is eager to go back to be active!  There are very interesting posts coming soon ,but today I just wanted to share a tree that gives color to the season and also brings interesting fruits that can be eaten or used to distill a rather sweet and very appreciated liquor called in Spanish Licor de Madroño.

 I really like the colored fruits and the small bell shaped flowers, they are a sign of fall into winter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Botanicals as a source of inspiration for fashion

I follow fashion news, and I always like to check on what inspires the designers for creating their collections.  Designer Carolina Herrera used tulips' shapes and colours, as the main inspiration for the S/S 2015 collection recently presented in NY Fashion Week.  I love the photo-walls with all sort of images of tulips and other botanical details.  The final outfits really show the work!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kyoto Garden at Holland Park, London

There are many hidden garden jewels in London, the Kyoto Garden at Holland Park in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is one of them, showing designed nature at its best.

It is what I would call a "boutique garden" because is small but very well designed and concentrates the essence of what it can be understand as a Japanese garden that was donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991.

The first images show the way to the Kyoto Garden from the grounds of Holland Park in a well designed paths that open to the formal entrance of the garden with distinctive elements of Japanese culture.  It really is a pleasure to walk around and enjoy the different motifs.