Were I forced to choose between a beach and a garden, I would take a garden any day. For as enticing as the charms of a beach may be, it is the dappled shady paradise created by a sunny, richly planted garden which for me represents earth’s most sublime elysium. While the island of Mallorca may be famous for its beaches, the proportion of gardens is far lower. Having paid a visit to pretty much all of those beautiful gardens which do exist, amongst them the lush Renaissance terraces of the Raixa, and the arabic tilled patios of the Alfabia Gardens, I had one left on the list to enjoy – the Botanical Gardens in the citrus rich mountainous valley of Soller.
Soller’s Botanical Gardens did not disappoint. Created in 1985 as a centre for the conservation, study and understanding of Mediterranean flora, the garden is carefully split into diversely collected plant zones, from the cacti of the Canaries to local Balearic fruit varieties. And while many consider the Spring as a perfect time to make a visit to a garden, the autumn turned out to be a fine alternative, blessing our visit with an exquisite caramel light, and enabling for the enjoyment of a ripe harvest of shiny pink apples, ruby red peppers and yellowing citrus.
Surrounded by the dramatic landscape of the Tramuntana mountains, and benefiting from the coverage of numerous tree varieties, the garden was filled with both inspirational views and sun dappled corners made for meditative enjoyment. My favourite corner had to be the wetlands area, where a pond full of bountiful waterlilies was alive with the diving dance of dragonflies, whose rare and occasional pause on a leaf or bulrush enabled a truly unique appreciation of this fragile and elegant creature.
As ever, a garden proved that in life, the best moments are those which enable us to pause and appreciate the beautiful little things that occur naturally all around us.
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