See if you can work out in which order the vegetables shown should be grown in REEP’s latest gardening game – http://reepinfo.org/a-crop-rotation-conundrum
Today is the 174th birthday of Gertrude Jekyll, one of Britain’s best known and best loved figures in British garden history. As Jekyll in the ancestor of the REEP Director’s husband, Richard McLaren, she has a special place in the hearts of REEP who dedicated this year’s international ‘Growing Gardeners’ conference to her.
In honour of Gertrude Jekyll’s birthday, here is a poster we produced about her for the ‘Growing Gardeners’ conference.
Founded in 1839, Seville’s Museum of Fine Arts is home to a collection of works from medieval times through the early 20th century, notably a choice selection of works by Spanish artists from Seville’s Golden Age of painting, the 17th century. The buildings and beautiful cloister gardens within date back to the late 16th to early 17th centuries when they were built as a convent for the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción. We hope to take our Scholars here to see the cloister gardens next year during the REEP McLaren Scholarship in Spain.
Converted from the old Santa Ana Ceramic Factory, Seville’s Ceramics Centre is designed to educate people about the long history of ceramic tile production in the Triana district. Visitors can see the old kilns and production materials of the Santa Ana Factory, as well as examples of ceramic tiles from Moorish times to the present day. We hope to take our Scholars here next year during the REEP McLaren Scholarship in Spain – maybe they’ll even get to try their hand at decorating ceramic tiles!
On Inés’ recommendation, I visited another potential site for the 2018 REEP McLAREN Scholarship – Monasterio de nuestra Señora Santa Maria de las Cuevas. Better known as ‘la Cartuja’, this fascinating monastery began its life in Moorish times, when caves were dug in the area to extract clay to make pots. When an image of the Virgin was discovered here in 1248, a shrine was erected and named Virgen de la Cuevas (Virgin of the Caves). Rebuilt as a monastery in the 15th century, it was here that Christopher Columbus stayed to worship and plan his second voyage to the new world. During Spain’s Napoleonic invasion the monastery was abandoned, remaining so until the English merchant, Charles Pickman bought it and converted it into a ceramic-tile and porcelain factory. Pickman won many international prizes for his ceramics in the 19th-20th centuries and his designs are still held in great esteem today. Today, the monastery is home to Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo (CAAC).
What a fascinating history and what a clever use of space too! Who would have thought that a tile factory could sit so attractively inside the buildings and patios of an old monastery!
Did you know that as well as being the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, Seville’s Cathedral de Santa Maria De La Sede started life as a Mosque? How wonderful to see Islamic and Christian styles together in one beautiful building – no wonder UNESCO have named it a World Heritage Site. Anyone familiar with Marrakech may find the Cathedral’s Giralda tower familiar – it was once a minaret identical to that of La Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech. As if that wasn’t enough, inside Seville’s Cathedral is the tomb of the great explorer, Christopher Columbus. His tomb is held aloft by four figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during his lifetime. We hope to take our Scholars here next year during the REEP McLaren Scholarship in Spain.
Our 2018 REEP McLAREN Scholars will be delighted to visit Plaza d’España and Parque Maria Luisa when they are in Seville next year. Built for the Ibero-American Expo in 1929, the gorgeous plaza seamlessly mixes Renaissance, Mudéjar and Gothic styles of Sevillian architecture – the neighbouring Parque Maria Luisa is equally lovely.
This morning I visited another garden that we would like to take our REEP McLAREN Scholars to visit next year during the Scholarship in Spain – Palacio de Las Dueñas.
A Renaissance-style palace with Moorish and Gothic flourishes, the palace of Las Dueñas features Islamic-style ‘patios’ (courtyard gardens), divided into four with decorative tiled paths and fountains at their centre. The palace was built in the 15th-16th centuries, as the home of the Dukes of Alba. It became a popular meeting point for European royals and international personalities in the 20th century, including Queen Victoria Eugenia and Jackie Kennedy!
As our 2018 REEP McLAREN Scholars will be studying faith gardens during their Scholarship in Spain, we simply have to include a visit to the Alcázar in Seville. I visited here for the first time today during my research trip to Spain.
Mudéjar and Christian architectural styles are united in this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alcázar palace. Originally a 10th century fort, the Alcázar was enlarged and redesigned over the centuries. The palace complex features several beautiful patios (courtyards) and gardens laid out in the Islamic char bagh style.
In addition to exploring gardens in the time of Cervantes, our 2018 REEP McLAREN Scholars will be studying faith gardens. Spain is a wonderful place to explore this theme, especially because of its Moorish and Catholic history. Inés and I visited Escorial this afternoon to see one of the most famous monastery gardens in Spain – that of Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial. We hope to take our Scholars here next year.
Better known simply as ‘El Escorial’, this incredible Royal Monastery was built by Phillip II in the late 16th century as a place to see out his final years. Today the site is managed by Patrimonial Nacional – the Spanish ‘National Trust’ – and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first is the Botanical garden of the University of Alcála, the second is the Cervantes Birthplace Museum. As the theme of Round One of the Scholarship (Britain, 2016) was gardens in the time of William Shakespeare, we would like to expand on this is Round Two by exploring gardens in Spain during the time of Shakespeare’s literary contemporary, Miguel de Cervantes. So, this morning Inés and I visited Cervantes’ hometown, Alcála de Henares, to explore two sites we would like to include in the 2018 REEP McLAREN Scholarship programme.
Today I visited Real Jardín Botanico, Madrid – one of the gardens we hope for our REEP McLAREN Scholars to visit next Spring. These lovely botanical gardens were opened by King Carlos III in 1781, with the aim of creating a garden in which to grow and display plant species from every corner of the Spanish Empire. They were also intended to be used to grow medicinal plants to supply Madrid’s hospitals. Today, over 30,000 plant species are grown in the botanical gardens, with the most notable collection being of Mediterranean flora.
I am in here in Seville with Inés to plan Round 2 of the REEP McLAREN Scholarship, which will take place in Spain next year. This afternoon we visited Casa de Pilatos to see the beautiful patios and gardens of this Renaissance/Mudéjar-Gothic palace. We hope to take our 2018 Scholars to visit here.
Casa de Pilatos is a gorgeous Andalucían palace which was built in the 15th-16th centuries by the Enríquez de Ribera family. Influenced by 16th century Italian design, the ducal owners gradually added flourishes of the Italian Renaissance to the Palace, seamlessly fusing it with the the traditional Andalucían Mudéjar-Gothic style. Sadly, the family lost it’s titles during the 17th century and the architectural importance of the palace was largely forgotten until the 19th century Neo-Mudéjar craze, when the Moorish style became popular in Andalucía once more. Further Mudéjar features were then added to the palace and it is today celebrated for its harmonious blend of mudejar-Gothic, Renaissance and romantic styles, and for its beautiful patios and gardens.
* Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus in Spain. Mudéjar-Gothic is a term used to refer to the incipient Gothic style and the Muslim influences that were integrated with it.
I am in here in Seville with Inés to plan Round 2 of the REEP McLAREN Scholarship, which will take place in Spain next year. This evening we visited Hotel Las Casas de Judaría to see the famous patios within. We hope to take our Scholars there during the Scholarship next year.
At the heart of the hotel is a labyrinth of 27 small, traditional Andalucían houses, each with its own plant-filled patio. Every patio is unique in style, with lush planting, fountains and decorative tiles, and balconies bursting with hanging potted plants. The patios are connected by a network of underground tunnels, so wandering around the hotel is like wandering around a little Spanish village. The hotel’s history began when a Spanish Duke bought a small house in Seville’s Jewish Quarter – it expanded as he gradually added more and more of the neighbouring houses to his collection.
You can see the photos of my visit here on the rhiannon@reep Facebook page
This week I’ve joined Inés in Spain to plan the 2018 REEP McLAREN International Gardening Scholarship which is due to take place in Andalucía and Madrid next Spring. Keep an eye on the news page as I’ll be posting about some of the gardens our Scholars may be working and gardening in.
This week REEP Director, Diana Lazenby McLaren, and her husband, Richard McLaren, held two meeting at their home in Warwickshire. The meetings were attended by REEP trustees and supporters from England, Spain and, in absentia, Morocco. The purpose of the meetings was to evaluate REEP projects over the past 12 month and to discuss our programme of work for the coming year and beyond. The meetings were very fruitful and we all left feeling excited about our forthcoming plans.