Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Gardens of Portugal by Helena Attlee

The gardens of Portugal borrow from every phase of the country’s sea-faring history, bringing together ideas from East and West in a style that is confident, flamboyant, slightly exotic but always distinctly Portuguese.

Helena Attlee’s books opens with a lively introduction outlining the history of Portuguese gardens and their place in the country’s social and economic history. It then features some twenty gardens, covering first the temperate and humid northern parts of the country and then the gardens of Lisbon, Sintra and the hotter and more arid parts of central Portugal.

Glazed tiles are everywhere – on pots, seats, garden walls and the ceilings of pavilions. This is a Moorish style adopted along with the distinctive water tanks fed by ice-cold springs, whose still surfaces mirror pavilions, trees and sky.

The camellia shade house - a striking and substantial structure made from camellias grown over a frame – is often found in the mild and humid parts of the country where exotic plants and trees thrive in great abundance. Further south baroque sculpture and elaborate stonework play a large part in garden schemes.

Thousands of visitors are drawn to Portugal each year but few of them visit its gardens. These are rarely crowded and foreign visitors often receive a particularly enthusiastic welcome. – text from inner cover.

Price: 42€ Buy Here

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