Mallorca’s Beautiful Gardens Feature in New Book
Published on 16/06/2016 by Finest Holidays - Luxury Travel
The British like to think of themselves as a nation of gardeners; few can match French chateaus for their formal open spaces. But Spain too has a long, magnificent gardening history, which is celebrated in a new book by Anneli Bojstad and Eduardo Mencos.
Among the 40 gardens (all open to the public) celebrated in “Great Gardens of Spain” are three Balearic gardens, two on Mallorca, the Raixa and Alfabia gardens in Bunola, and the Pedreres de S’Hostal in Ciudadela on Menorca.
The two gardens at Bunola are estate gardens.
Alfabia has a history dating back to the Arab occupation of Mallorca (from the 10th to 13th centuries) but, like the impressive house, has grown and changed in the centuries since. It makes the most of its beautiful mountain setting.
The gardens are entered along an avenue of palm trees, opening into the water garden, rebuilt from a much earlier model at the start of the 18th century. English-style landscape gardening had its influence in the 19th century, particularly because Queen Victoria visited Alfabia in around 1860.
Elsewhere the planting reflects Mallorca’s near tropical climate. This effect of “garden rooms” is harmonious, the outcome of centuries of design that has respected the whole and the work of illustrious predecessors.
Raixa also has roots in the Islamic period. Parts of the house on the estate date back to the 13th century.
The Italianate garden largely dates from the 18th century, laid out to make the most of views over the Bay of Palma from the Tramuntana Mountains. It features grottos and follies, Arab-style viewpoints, a garden of Apollo and a large pond.
If you’d like to visit Raixa, you can arrange guided tours and it’s best to check that the gardens are open before you travel. The gardens make a fantastic venue for summer concert evenings.
Anneli Bojstad and Eduardo Mencos call the gardens “an amazing journey to the centre of the earth, to a fantastical terrain of mysterious paths and dreamscapes.”
They are the work of an artist, French sculptor Laetitia Sauleau, who helped prevent these quarries degenerating into rubbish dumps and gave them a whole new life.
Menorca’s climate and Islamic history give it a long line of sunken Arab-style gardens, and Sauleau has tapped into that history for her network of enclosed gardens, planted with Mediterranean herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Again, it is a collection of spaces, with older, hand-excavated quarries having a smaller, more human scale that compares to the great, other worldly cavities dug out in the machines era. At the centre of it all – as in many a good myth – lies a labyrinth, though there are no monsters here.
Finest Holidays is a luxury travel specialist. We have a large selection of luxury villas – many with their own beautiful gardens – on Mallorca and Menorca. Contact us now on +34 971 13 15 41 or email@example.com to plan your escape to the Balearics this summer.
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