Gardens may be divided into formal, botanical, public and private, each illustrating in different ways many of the influences that have formed Spanish culture.
   Formal gardens
   The oldest and some of the best known formal gardens are in the south of Spain in an area dominated for centuries by Arabs and Moors. The Patio de los Naranjos (Patio of the Orange Trees) in Cordoba was laid out in the tenth century, the orange trees being planted in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Patio de los Naranjos in Seville dates from the twelfth century, and the gardens of the Alhambra and those of the Generalife from the thirteenth and fourteenth, all displaying features derived from the Islamic garden. Typical are the paved courtyard enclosed by high white stucco walls and divided by intersecting paths into geometrically shaped beds, usually square or rectangular, linked by irrigation channels; formalized planting such as rows of trees; water features such as pools and low level fountains; decorative coloured glazed ceramic tiles (azulejos) used particularly on the lower half of walls, fountains and benches; ironwork grilles (rejas) covering the exterior of windows and acting as gates in doorways.
   Nor did Moorish influence on the design of formal gardens end with the loss of political dominance. The gardens of the Alcázar in Seville were built for Peter the Cruel in the middle of the fourteenth century by craftsmen from Granada and Toledo and were essentially Islamic in character. Over the centuries, however, the influence of European styles became more prominent. At first, they were frequently amalgamated with Moorish styles, a combination known as mudéjar, as in the sixteenth-century gardens of the House of Pilate and the House of the Sisters in Seville with their classical sculptures, Gothic balustrades and renaissance fountains. Alternatively, they were added to existing gardens, such as Charles V's pavilion, with its renaissance features, in the Alcázar gardens and his two additional courtyards in the Alhambra. In purer forms they were the inspiration for the gardens of the Casa de Campo and of the Palace of El Pardo in Madrid and the Island gardens at Aranjuez, all laid out by Charles V in Italian style with square beds, geometric patterns of planting, and sculptures and fountains at path intersections. Similarly, the garden of La Granja, begun in the eighteenth century by the Bourbon King Philip V, is in French style with parterres, avenues, pavilions, fountains and cas-cades. The many monastic and cloister gardens in Spain also provide good examples of formal styles, and in general in Spain these styles lasted longer than in France or England.
   Botanical gardens
   A wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers are known to have been grown by the Arabs in their gardens. Lists include orange, lemon, citron, bay and cypress trees; myrtle and arbutus; and roses, irises, gillyflowers, violets, lilies and narcissi among the flowers. Jasmines were introduced from Persia and at least one species of lilac. Also introduced were lavender and several herbs, among them dill, fennel and savoury. From the sixteenth century onward, botanical expeditions were sent from Spain to the New World; cacao, cocoa and various spice trees; tagetes, nasturtium, fuschia, passionflower and the dahlia; and, of course, tobacco, are but a few of the huge range of new plants brought back from that region. Attempts were made to establish botanical gardens at various sites, the first by Philip II at Aranjuez, until the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid was created in 1755 under Ferdinand VI from the gardens of the royal apothecary at Migas Calientes, and then moved by Charles III to its final location at the Prado and officially opened in 1781. In 1981, after long periods of neglect, it was restored by Leandro Silva and re-inaugurated with the dual purpose of promoting scientific research and providing a public amenity. It was also Charles III who in 1788 commissioned the Marquis of Villanueva to create the Acclimatization Garden of Tenerife in La Orotava, which specializes in tropical plants. Other important botanical gardens are at Valencia and Barcelona.
   Public gardens
   Modern public gardens in Spain are largely the work of architects. Some of them were originally private gardens that have been remodelled, some are better classified as parks, and others are a direct result of the tourist trade. Several hotel and apartment schemes on the coast have substantial architect-designed gardens, for example, Los Mon-teros with its woodland garden, Puente Romano with its series of gardens and courts leading to the sea, and the Jardines de las Golondrinas with swimming pools, palms and exotic Strelitzia plants.
   Private gardens
   The styles of private gardens vary greatly from the simplest of courtyards with terracotta pots planted with cinerarias or geraniums, to the lavish planting of country or suburban villas. Many Islamic features are still common, notably that of the garden as an enclosed space with white walls, iron railings and grilles, planting beds, ornamental tiles and low fountains. New plants have continued to be introduced, but it is beginning to be recognized that the modern fascination in Spain, as elsewhere, with novelties is leading to the creation of gardens costly to maintain in terms of water usage, fertilizers and pesticides and to the exclusion of native species almost to the point of extinction.
   Further reading
   - Casa Valdés, M. de (1987) Spanish Gardens, Woodbridge: Antique Collectors" Club (an expert view of Spanish gardens).
   - Correcher, C.M. (1993) Gardens of Spain, New York: Harry N.Abrams.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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