Seville was really in a ‘Carmen Miranda’ mood last weekend, as we had a wonderful 4 days in the city, basking in sunshine and with blossom bursting out all over. The Cercis siliquastrum blossom was looking amazing- a great slap of cerise pink plastered all over bare branches. For about ten years, I had a Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’ which makes a really beautiful small tree, about 3m all around, with the incredible blossom followed by heart-shaped glossy green leaves. Sadly, the increasing dryness in the soil did for it, I think, and I haven’t retried.
Even roses were beginning to open- it isn’t a long season with the heat and the dryness, but Rosa banksiae lutea was flowering fit to bust everywhere, draping itself artistically over walls and banks. The green of foliage everywhere was fresh and new, and in the Palacio de las Duenas, which I visited last year when the bougainvillea was all in flower at the end of May, the lemon blossom was mingling with the ripening Seville oranges.
Fountains and pots are essentials in the Mudejar garden, the Spanish style of borrowed ‘Arabic’ art and style which was so big in 19th century Seville. The Contessa de Lembrija went a few steps further and massively redesigned her Palace to accommodate many original, highly decorated Roman mosiacs taken from the now-famous site at Italica, outside Seville. The ground floor of the Palace is an astounding display case for mosaics, ceramics, and many everyday objects in superb condition. Along with Roman relics, she had a passion for ceramic tiles- and there are some fabulous rooms decorated with beautiful tiles floor to ceiling. And pots to die for….
Internal courtyards don’t all have fountains. Simple planting and a positioned pot are all that is required to make a relaxing space.
And the same Colocasia esculenta can be seen surrounding a cream stone fountain, with no water in the Alcazar.
Up in the hills beyond Italica, scrubby areas near a beautiful little church were studded with this early Iris, Iris planifolia. For all the world, it looks like a plantain if you just see the leaves, but then up come these stubby but determined blue irises. Fantastic.
And what about these kick-arse angels? In that quiet little church, there they were. One each side of the main aisle- no messing with them.