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Garden Hideaways

9 JUN 2024

When it comes to travel, visiting gardens isn't just about pretty plants – it's a whole experience. There's something rejuvenating about connecting with nature and finding solace among all that greenery while on the move. Whether it's the sight of blossoms or the gentle rustle of leaves, gardens provide unmatched sensory delights. They also capture the essence of their region, showcasing distinctive flora. Mediterranean gardens, in particular, embody this relaxed outdoor lifestyle with jasmine scents, cicada sounds, and sun-soaked hues. At Zeus+Dione, we constantly draw inspiration from the natural landscape around us – the earth, the flora and the sun. This time, we travel from Athens to Monaco, sharing our favourite gardens, each offering a perfect blend of design, history, and tranquility.

Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins
Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins
Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins
Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins
Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins
Stavros Niarchos Park, Photo by Deborah Nevins

Stavros Niarchos Park in Athens, Greece
Athens has its own slice of Greek aromatic, silver-leaved evergreens right in the heart of the city. Designed by landscape architect Deborah Nevins in collaboration with Renzo Piano, this sunlit park encapsulates the essence of the Mediterranean while honouring Greece’s horticultural tradition. It features a diverse variety of flora ensuring there's always something blooming and the colours are poppin'. Here, you'll find olive trees, evergreen shrubs, carob trees, laurels, cypress trees, and a huge selection of aromatic Greek plants: boxwood, coronilla, cistus, lentisc, salvia, oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, roses, euphorbias—you name it, they've got it. With changing colours each month and seasonal bursts of flowers and foliage, there's always something new to discover.

Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France
Now, you can stroll through the lush greenery of Giverny Garden, Claude Monet's beloved sanctuary. This small village along the banks of the Seine owes its worldwide fame to the master of Impressionism. With the help of dedicated gardeners, Monet shaped the Clos Normand and Water Garden—two landscapes that inspired his vibrant masterpieces. Monet found his greatest muse in the lilac water lilies that grace the ponds, providing him with a captivating backdrop like no other. His genius lay in blending simple flowers like daisies and poppies with rare varieties. Here, flowerbeds burst with blooms, weeping willows sway, and fruit trees cast shade over climbing roses and hollyhocks. Peonies, geraniums, and colourful annuals line the banks, completing this idyllic, straight-from-a-painting scene.

 

Jardín de l’Albarda en Pedreguer, Photo by J.D. Hernandez
Jardín de l’Albarda en Pedreguer, Photo by J.D. Hernandez
Jardín de l’Albarda en Pedreguer
Jardín de l’Albarda en Pedreguer
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Spain, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Spain, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Spain, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein
Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Spain, Photo by Andrea Rizza Goldstein

Jardín De L’Albarda on the Costa Blanca, Spain
The Jardín de l'Albarda showcases the unique and wonderful arid-environment species of the Mediterranean, all presented with a touch of Renaissance opulence. From the herbs to the layout, everything feels incredibly organic, with ornamental details, paths, ponds, and fountains adding extra charm. Spread over 50,000 square meters, this garden is a testament to the adaptability and richness of the flora thriving in this climate. It hosts over 700 species of native plants, along with an extensive collection of roses and palm trees. Designed with water conservation and sustainability in mind, the garden utilizes rainwater collection and drip irrigation systems. Whether you're a seasoned gardener looking for inspiration or someone in need of a peaceful retreat, the Jardín de l'Albarda has something for everyone.

Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote, Spain
Located in the northeastern corner of Lanzarote, we've got the Jardín de Cactus— a visionary project by César Manrique, serving as a manifesto for redefining island living and appreciating its beauty anew. Nestled amidst prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) plantations, this garden emerged from a former picón quarry, once utilized by local farmers for volcanic ash and later repurposed as a landfill. As you wander inside, you're greeted by a stunning array of succulents, all nestled within the quarry walls. It's like a mini ecosystem, showcasing the island's connection to different geographic and cultural landscapes, particularly those of the Americas. The project, characterized by its whimsical forms, perpetuates the island's tradition of transforming its surface, using age-old techniques: raising terraces, spreading volcanic ash on the soil, and inventing forms of windbreaks.

La Limonaia at Boboli Garden, Florence, Photo Riccardo Magherini,  Courtesy of Dr. Vranjes
La Limonaia at Boboli Garden, Florence, Photo Riccardo Magherini, Courtesy of Dr. Vranjes
La Limonaia at Boboli Garden, Florence, Photo Stefano Casati
La Limonaia at Boboli Garden, Florence, Photo Stefano Casati
Jardín Exotique de Monaco, Getty Images
Jardín Exotique de Monaco, Getty Images
Jardín Exotique de Monaco, Getty Images
Jardín Exotique de Monaco, Getty Images

La Limonaia, Giardini di Boboli in Florence Italy
When life gives you lemons, build a grand limonaia. That's exactly what you'll find at La Limonaia in the historic Boboli Gardens, the heart of Florence. This stunning neoclassical greenhouse is all about hosting lemons and exotic plants. Picture the bright scents of lemon and orange blossoms mixed with spicy, woody aromas—it's a sensory treat. The Medici family loved their citrus and collected some really unusual varieties. Here, you'll encounter rare types like the arancio scannellato (Citrus aurantium ‘Canaliculata’), brought to Florence by Francesco I, and the quirky agrume ‘Bizzarria’ (Citrus aurantium bizzarria). Surrounding the limonaia is a wild mix of flowers, enhancing the enchanting ambiance. If you're into this kind of thing, Florence has other amazing limonaias like Villa Torrigiani, Villa Bardini, and Villa Strozzi.

Jardín Exotique de Monaco
Imagine a cliffside oasis cascading down the slopes of Moneghetti, with breathtaking views of the Principality. That's the Exotic Garden, a green paradise packed with an incredible variety of succulents. From tiny echinocereus to massive 10-meter-tall African candelabras, these plants store water in their thick stems and leaves. They've traveled from far-off dry lands to thrive here, basking in the warm French Riviera sun and living in tune with the seasons. You'll find a colourful mix of cacti and agaves from Mexico and Central America, right alongside aloes and Crassula from South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It's a feast for the eyes, with rare and stunning flora everywhere you look. Just a heads-up: as of 2024, the garden is closed for some renovations and security upgrades. However, the botanical center is still open for visitors.