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We live in such a dynamic and exciting world where everything seems to compete for our attention, gardening and horticulture are one of the activities that many people turn to for escape from the rat race. Long known to be quiet reflective gardens, Islamic gardens have offered throughout the centuries places of refuge and quiet for their users. Through a long history and large geographic area, these gardens pulled together ideas from many different people that came in contact through the spread of Islam in the first few centuries after Christ, many examples exist from Spain and Morocco to India and beyond, but few examples are as well preserved or as spectacular as those in southern Spain.
One of the most fascinating aspects of these gardens is the culture that built the gardens and hides what is perhaps it’s greatest trait of all--that Christians, Jews and Muslims lived and often worked side by side to create without question the most dynamic and stimulating culture in Medieval Western Europe.
Intrigued? Wish to hear more? Join Garden horticulture extraordinaires, Mike and P.K., as they share their experiences and the lovely accompanying images of their visits to some of the greatest gardens on Earth. Their lecture, The Islamic Gardens (March 20, 7 p.m. at Cherokee Ranch and Castle) will start with gardens in the year 711 A.D. when the Moors arrived in the Iberian Peninsula and end in 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews and the Fall of Granada, the last Islamic Kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula. We visit the mosque gardens of the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the garden of the cathedral in Sevilla (a remnant of the Mosque in Sevillea), the ruined palace and garden of Madinat al-Zahra outside of Cordoba and finally the Alhambra and the Generlife in Granada.
"As a horticulturist I find it interesting and partly ironic that gardens are some of the best physical reminders along with buildings and historic writings of a culture of acceptance in Medieval Spain involving the three big religions of the medieval western world. We’ll run through 800 years of history to end in part with a neatly wrapped package…. the modern nation of Spain. Along the way, tolerance will be forgotten, but reminders of Al Andalus wither intentional or accidental still echo throughout the world in places as far removed in space and time as Argentina, Albuquerque and Denver." - Mike Kintgen
Guest Blogger: Mike Kintgen
Mike is a Colorado native with a degree in horticulture from Colorado State University. He has worked at Chicago Botanic Gardens, Rhododendron Species Foundation and has been involved with Denver Botanic Gardens since he was 12 years old. Rock Gardening has been a special interest of his for 20 years and he is the current president of the local rock garden society.