Category Archives: Southern Spain

SOUTHERN SPAIN – Monoculture

The countryside in Southern Spain is rolling hills with millions of olive trees.  The silvery green foliage of the olives mixes with the dusty orange soil and the greenish grey lichen on the rocks.  What a color palette.  Riding by these rows and rows of Olive trees was fascinating.  There is something beautiful about the simplicity of a monoculture (planting of only one plant), yet some blocks of Olives were several hundred years old with gnarled trunks and some were brand new fields of lithe trees.  Upon closer inspection, there was variety.  Continue reading

Southern Spain – Container Pots

Contributed by Christie Dustman

As someone who has an aversion to watering plants in pots, I have to hand it to the Spanish with their plants in clay pots.  Check out the use of clay pots in these photos.  Why keep them on the ground when you can hang them on the wall?  Just like polka dots!  As I mentioned in my first post about Spain, the inner courtyards of Spanish houses are usually tiled and don’t have extensive planting beds in the ground.  So to bring in the refreshing greenery of plants, you see many plants in pots.

Geranium Polka Dots

And instead of paintings on the walls, you see plants in pots and painted plates hanging.  Bright colors highlighted against the whitewashed walls.  How fun!

Fascinating view of potted plants


SOUTHERN SPAIN – come visit with me

Welcome to Southern Spain – and the famous Alhambra.  I visited in March this year while on a biking tour.  The Alhambra is a city on a hill within Granada and is surrounded by a wall.  It houses one of the best preserved Moorish palaces in Spain and its gardens are renowned.  The mix of rectangles and arches lends a design complexity that is dynamic yet soothing. And the use of water in many forms adds vitality and coolness in an area that reaches 110 F in the summer.

As a lover of mixing angles and curves in my designs, I fell in love with all the arches and columns, especially the way they frame views and pique excitement as your view changes dramatically going from one garden room to another.  It reminded me of the Japanese use of gates to frame garden views.  But here, the emphasis is more on paved surfaces, tiles, water features and not verdant greenery.  Check out my next post about the use of flower pots!