The Gardens of Mallorca (or… why I keep returning).

Those of you who follow my photo tours know a couple of things about me. The first is that I love gardens ( the Halifax Public Gardens in particular), and the second is that I love to cycle.
My two passions have led me to the beautiful island of Mallorca which is situated in the Mediterranean just south of Barcelona, Spain.
My husband and I first came here four years ago to prepare for our cycling adventure across France.
We instantly fell in love with this small Spanish gem and its warm-hearted people and decided to make it our winter home.

I am slowly getting to know the flora of the island which is quite different from ours, as this is a warmer and much drier place.
This is a land of oranges, olives and almonds, Bougainvillea and cacti. Agaves grow like weeds here (like in Australia). Lush is not a word you would associate with Mallorca.

Cultural center in Palma de MallorcaOrange trees are used extensively in landscape designs around the island because of their colorful fruit and their highly scented waxy white flowers. The fruit from this variety aren’t valued for their flavor. Soller, a valley located in the Taramuntana mountains on the Northwest of the island, was a major orange grower and exporter in the mid 1900 until their crops were wiped out by disease.

S'Hort del Rei below Almudaina PalaceS’Hort del Rei sits below the Almudaina Palace in the capital city of Palma, and like many of the important gardens around the island, was designed or influenced by the Moors, who occupied the island from 900 to 1200. They introduced irrigation to this parched island which only has 74 rain days a year (one of the reasons why I spend time  here).
Torrente de Sa Riera in Palma de Mallorca

As Mallorca has few rivers, torrentes (canals) have been built to direct the heavy rains of winter from the mountains toward the sea. During the summer they are totally dry. The Torrente de Sa Riera  which runs down the center of Palma, has been beautifully landscaped and is lit up at night.

Raixa in MallorcaRaixa is a 12 century garden which was recently renovated by the government of Mallorca. It was originally designed by the Moors and like most of their gardens, water is a prominent feature. The garden tumbles down a mountain, and rainwater is ingeniously collected and distributed through a series of very esthetic pools, runnels and fountains, watering the plants and orchards along the way and reserving the rest for later use.

The forecourt in Raixa, Bunyola, Mallorca.The forecourt of Raixa features another Moorish garden element – shade. Traditionally Islamic gardens feature both water and shade (both rarities in Mallorca).

Water reservoir at Raixa, MallorcaThe water reservoir at Raixa looks more like a pool, and features huge carp.

Platanus tree at Alfabia gardens MallorcaPlatanus trees are everywhere in Mallorca and in Europe as well. The Grande Alleé at the Gardens were fashioned after the European ones which are usually planted with Platanus (Plane trees).

Jasmine vine in Fornalutx MallorcaJasminum grandiflorum (Spanish Jasmine) a member of the Olive family have begun to bloom everywhere and in the last couple of weeks dispersing their sweet scent .

Olive tree in the Botanical Garden in Soller, MallorcaOlea europaea (Olive trees) are numerous and ancient on this island and produce the most wonderful fruit and oil. In fact the botanical name means ‘Oil of Europe’ and it has been attributed to prolonging life expectancy. Their gnarled silver trunks are an attraction in their own right.

Botanical Garden in Soller, MallorcaThe Botanical Garden in Soller exhibits plants typical of the Balearic and Canary Islands. It sits in a valley surrounded by mountains, making it difficult to focus on the plants.

Runnel at the Soller Botanical Garden, MallorcaRunnels disperse the water throughout the Botanical Gardens, a common feature of gardens everywhere here.

Aeonium arboreum at the Botanical Garden in Soller, MallorcaAeoniums (a native of the Canary Islands) are found everywhere in Mallorca. I have one as a houseplant at home, but it has never flowered so I was surprised by these red flowers. They reminded me of the Euphorbia milii (Crown of thorns) we have in the Tropical display beds at the Gardens.

Billbergia nutensI spotted this large clay pot filled with what I thought was a grass with pink tips. On closer inspection the pink tips turned out to be stems from which descended the most interesting flowers. It proved to be a bromeliad named Billbergia nutens (Queen’s tears) from Brazil (no wonder I loved it) .According to Wikipedia, it’s the most common Bromeliad grown… common where?

Prunus and topiary at the Alcázar in CórdobaI snuck this one in. This garden is in the Alcázar of Córdoba on the mainland. During Easter weekend I toured Córdoba in the pouring rain (the most rain they’ve had in 50 years). This corner of the garden lifted my drenched soul. So did the Mesquita and the wonderful food, but that is another blog in itself.

I apologize for not having posted sooner. I had that dreaded flu for the whole month of January, then I left for Spain and time just slipped by.
On Monday the Gardens re-open for the season (feels weird saying that since they have occasionally been open this winter). I know it’s been a hard winter but soon the sun and the warmth will return and we’ll once again be moseying down the Gardens path.
I don’t return until the end of April so I won’t be sharing any photos until the beginning of May. I can’t wait to see what’s popping up.
Thanks for your patience.
Hasta pronto!
Serena

 

All copy and images copyright © Serena Graham-Dwyer,  2013. If you wish to use any part or whole of an image, in any manner, please contact us.

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14 thoughts on “The Gardens of Mallorca (or… why I keep returning).

  1. Hola Serena. As always, great pictures of Mallorca. They rekindled happy memories of visits to the island with my brother. But the item that particularly caught my eye was the one from Crdoba. Those urns, are they topiary, fashioned perhaps from the famous maquis, or some sort of moss growing over actual pots. Don’t show Bev, she will want some for our Gardens. Keep away from Canada for another month at least as it is the coldest, bleakest spring on record. Regards, Lyndon.

    • Lovely to hear from you Lyndon and Congratulations! on your Lifetime Achievement Award.
      Those urns are topiary though I’m not sure what the ‘famous maquis’ are. You’ll have to educate me.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for posting this article. Your photographs are balm for the soul of someone who is still dealing with snow on the ground in a very grey northern BC.

    • Cycling lots… and have seen many lovely plants and gardens while on my bike. Mallorca is more famous for cycling (and hiking) than for gardens. There are literally tens of thousands of cycling tourists here per year. Paradise!!!!

  3. Is there any advice /insight you could share with two fans of yours who wish to plan a trip to Mallorca ? Any tips at all greatly appreciated. Love your blog and look forward to every entry, donna

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