Spanish/Mexican garden heritage | William Welch |Central Texas Gardener
Spanish/Mexican garden heritage | William Welch |Central Texas Gardener


What a beautiful space. Thanks so much
for opening your garden gate for us and it just proves that gardens in Texas
have varied cultural roots and I’m here today with William Welch who is the author
“Heirloom Gardening in the South” and then we’re going to be
exploring the Spanish cultural roots of so many Texas gardens.
It’s always great to have you on the program, Bill.>>Thanks Tom, it’s always great to be here and this is a a very exciting topic I think to reflect upon because they’re so many
ways it’s part of our past and in so many ways that it can be part of our present
and future.>>Of course the first Europeans in Texas
were the Spanish. The first the towns in Texas were San Antonio and
towns of that sort. All built with the
classic Mexican plazas etc. and that the town planning filtered down into the
homes didn’t it? >>Absolutely, it did and the patio homes and the overhead structures for shade and the have the general things that were
part of the Spanish architecture became ours.>>Well and there’s
a certain wisdom to what the Spanish brought with them because they came from a like climate.>>They do say they were coming from a
are relatively hot, drier climate, it fits so well so here And particularly making shade, you know, with the grape vines. So I said to him that you know we might make a little wine while we’re enjoying the shade. But anyway so
many these things that fit in different ways.>>Well you know when I
think I’ve Spanish gardens, I go back to even pre-Spanish civilizations. I think the more
civilizations in southern Spain and Granada And of course on one of the world’s
classical a garden spaces at the Alhambra in Granada. And the incredible use of a minimal amount a water, really. >>Absolutely, they were they were geniuses at it. They’d take a small reel water and move
it through a property and the sound of it, the sight of it, you know, cooled everything there. And it just didn’t take a lot of water to make a big effect in these gardens.>>And you mention the shading and that would come in, you know, a lot of these were courtyard-like spaces And all the periphery would
typically have like cloister like coverings.>>Yes, yes>>And you could kind of navigate around the garden or be in close contact with the
garden but be sheltered from the brutal heat.>>Absolutely, absolutely. It just worked
beautifully in this climate and you know
we see lots for example serve it in in today’s
our homes and gardens. It’s really great when we see a really
good example of it to be inspired even further.>>I don’t know for me, there’s something special and magical about a walled space,
walled garden.>>It’s very intimate.>>Intimate and there’s always as own you know if you go travel in
Mexico or places in Europe that have that
Mediterranean climate, you walk down the streets lined with walls and the
beautiful gates and you always wonder what’s on the other side of those gates? You might hear a little water, you might smell a rose but it’s all mystery.>>Yeah fragrance was another big thing about the Spanish. They loved fragrant plants and so often used jasmines and gardenias and things
like that to help add the fragrance to the
garden.>>A lot of the plants that are red hot right now in
terms of Texas gardening have kinda Spanish roots as well too. Thinking of citrus, for example.>>Oh yes, citrus, The Spanish brought us citrus, they brought us figs. They brought us pomegranates.>>All plants we’re turning back to now.>>Absolutely, they fit into the
climate, they’re beautiful and in many cases, certainly in those three, they’re edible things for our gardens. Sustainable edible plants, that not only work for us but they don’t
require, you know, a great deal water or management.>>You know when I think I’ve the Spanish gardens that we’ve talked about fragrance, we’ve talked about a
little bit about the use of water, color always a something I think of as well. Sometimes really bold, striking colors.>>Very bold, striking colors are very much part of it.
And also flamboyance with design
and bringing tile into it and quite often colorful
tiles into the into the garden is a
good thing but certainly we think of bougainvilles in a garden. One of the more typical type things that we utilize that
typically a colorful Hispanic taste.>>Well you mention tile and I think of the beautiful colors that come with that. And now I think of the wild popularity
of the glaze pottery, for example, and while much of it is coming from
Asia, the color palettes that we’re buying and what we’re seeing in our
gardens feel very Spanish.>>They do, they really do. I think we can say that they’re rooted in that culture.>>Right, people have certainly
embraced that use of bold color and forms.>>Indeed, it’s a a great thing to add in. We can do it in containers and certainly
container gardening is another concept that comes to
us and also the whole idea roof gardens, the Spanish invented roof gardens. Unless maybe the Romans did. They was a little borrowing going on.>>Borrowing has been going on for a long time. I think the hanging gardens of Babylon.>>I remember one in particular in Mexico
City, the garden center for the garden clubs there had a roof garden on it and really nice low water use container plants and we’ve
got all these things of Mexican origin some of these sedums and you know succulents that do so
well for us here, I don’t know why we sometimes get overly emphasized with some of the stuff
from other parts of the world when really some of these things from Mexico are probably better for us. But anyway they can really make a contribution
while not robbing us of our precious moisture.>>Right, right and you know the collections of pottery that you see and the bold structural plants in the containers
often really add up something really special. I have always love container gardening.>>Well container gardening is a great
thing, you know at this time of year if we’ve got things that be watered
every day is not quite as wonderful. But if we are careful about what we choose and select some of these things that are low water use– I have things that I don’t have to water at all. And they look really, really good and I
have others that do.>>Right, right. Well I find that even some of my super xeric plants in the Texas sun, sitting out in a pot, a drink a day is often good but you know
it’s a part of the routine and it’s an easy
thing to do. And as long as you don’t get too carried away with it and there are ways
to kind of help yourself it– putting sauces under to collect the water.>>Saucers are a great innovation, they
allow the water to be recycled into the plant and we can get by with less if we do that>>Well, you know, as Texas matures and deals with its climate and thinks about gardening
in a more responsible way than perhaps we did a generation or two ago, looking back to our roots on the
Spanish side I think adds a lot of inspiration both on the
design front and also just on the practicality side.>>Absolutely it does and you know it’s
really fun to go through some other smaller communities in Texas, I always enjoy driving through and you’ll see the use of– I know of one not to far from here and its a very modest little house, but beautiful container plants. You know and they’ve just taken some
ordinary containers and painted them bright blue and the whole effect is just really just very, very nice.>>I think there’s something about the the
spaces that reflect another aspect of Spanish culture,
Mediterranean culture, European culture and that is the communal activity. These are designed on human scale often as intimate spaces to gather Very family focused and it’s in a
courtyard of course throughout the ancient world and into you know Spain and beyond. Where
really the places– the private outdoor space is the family living space. Yeah as an additional living space.>>Absolutely they are and there are ways have less square footage, of course you
know, if we moderate their climate in there with the walls and
shading and so forth.>>A little hint of water, a fountain.>>Yes, well I think there’s some really beautiful examples and they’re examples all over Texas
but I know San Antonio in particular has
some really wonderful examples of these kind of homes and gardens. >>You know and places that people the
public go too. One of my favorite places in all Texas is
that Spanish Governor’s mansion, the back patio and
that little fountain are covered with madienhair fern and it’s lovely space and deeply fragrant plants– a giant sweet olive growing back there.>>And you know the citrus again, citrus is really making a comeback
in gardens in Texas and we’re doing some work with some other more cold hardy citrus
now in– satsumas, kumquats and some of their derivatives are really got the fragrant to blooms and the edible fruit.>>Well again
a tempting reminder or Spanish roots. Bill, as always, I could sit and visit with you for a long time any of these topics but it’s great to
have you back on the program. Again William Welch, “Heirloom Gardening
in the South,” thank you so much for being a part of our program.>>It’s my pleasure,Tom, always great to be here.>>Okay, coming up next is our friend Daphne.

4 thoughts on “Spanish/Mexican garden heritage | William Welch |Central Texas Gardener”

  1. Henry Galea says:

    Friend, as most plants don't have any fragrance any longer, I use the modern, air freshener , plugged in the garden, with the similar fragrance of the flowers near by.

  2. laney opperman says:

    wow! That is a lovely Garden

  3. CC CC says:

    Here is my. Lawn Video in Texas

    https://youtu.be/qZC8TzJ502A

  4. Arturo Gutierrez says:

    Thank you for this video. Could you add more photos & videos of garden!!??

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