April 11th, 2012
You´ll just have to face facts…! Your Summer gardening will consist of either a hosepipe ban, or a wash out, depending on the British and Irish weather – and as for an outdoor party or barbeque – ha! - forget it!
If you are of the common garden variety then come to Spain instead … and explore some sumptuous gardens open to the public – let´s try out the beautiful region of Valencia – it´s not all just Orange trees you know…!
Valencia is a wonderful city to visit and explore. Whether you come just for the famous Paella, the fiestas of Las Fallas or the flamenco, the superb shopping, or next month on the 3rd of May for the Crosses Festival – where all the crosses are decorated with hundreds of flowers.
If that´s not enough of a floral dance for you then choose from this list of Holiday Rentals in Valencia, and spend a week or more exploring the various botanical sites as well.
Let´s start at the local park. Jardines del Real – or the Royal Gardens – once was the backyard of the of the Royal Palace…but today as since the early 1800´s you can enjoy it as one of the most splendid parks in Spain. Ponds and perfect planting sit side by side with playgrounds and areas to picnic in among the flowers, and there´even a zoo! A municipal nursery sits here too – Los Viveros – and the surrounding hedges and formal planting together with the many statues remind you of the royal past as you stretch out in the sunshine with your packed lunch.
- Opening hours: 8:00am until sunset, every day of the year.
- Where is it? Calle San Pío V.
A river runs through it
The Río Turia – a river or a park? Well, both actually.
A giant secret lies here too!
Three miles of the Turia has been converted into a park – a result of a diversion of the water some thirty years ago. This diversion was due to pretty damaging flooding that occurred regularly, so the former river bed was re hashed and re designed.
Walk along the tree lined avenues, and admire the mature planting, and what about that secret? It´s a delight for the kids…a huge model of Gulliver, pegged down to the ground as the story tells and ready for climbing by the built in slides and steps - hours of pleasure! Inside the figure you´ll find a model of the city itself – a unique place indeed!
- Opening hours: 8:00 am until sunset, every day of the year
- Where is it? The riverbed of the River Turia, close to the Jardines del Real mentioned above.
A formal affair
Sebastián Monleón was a Spanish architect from Valencia, and he was totally caught up in the romantic neo-classical style of the late 1800´s. He was commissioned to design and build the Jardín de Montforte. Marble statuary, scented flowers, formal clipped box, paths and secret stairways, a lake, a grotto, and two dramatic lions to permit you entrance.
Tulips and Hyacinths compete with Wisteria, Magnolia with Cypress and Myrtle.
The romantic illusions created by Monleón have not been lost, even though these days the whole area is surrounded by the urban life of the city around it. In 1941 Montforte was declared an Artistic Garden, and so guaranteed preservation for all time, as it should be.
- Opening hours: every day March to September 10:30 – 20:00 & September to March closes 18:00
- Where is it? Calle Montforte 5.
The Botanical Gardens
Our friend Sebastián was employed again! A little after his earlier project at Montforte, he was commissioned again in 1860 to build a tropical glasshouse, which is now considered one of the finest examples of iron architecture in Spain. It is situated within the Jardín Botánico in Valencia, which was founded in 1651, although it did change sites to where it is now in 1802.
The several other glasshouses are worth exploring, but there is also a plethora of of beds on a grid system – designed like many other gardens of the day.
What can you expect to see?
- Medicinal Herbs
- Water plants
More formal and scientific than the romantic gardens elsewhere, but concise nonetheless.
- Opening hours: Closed Mondays.
- Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 – 21:00 in Summer & 10:00 – 18:00 in Winter.
- Where is it? Calle Beato de Gaspar de Bono, 6.