The Hesperides’ Garden is proposed as an “enclosed garden” (hortusconclosus) whose enclosure opens occasionally, as a wink, suggesting the passerby the possibility of entering the world different from the garden area.
The mythological story serves as storyline, played by different plants and sculptures, with the backdrop of intermittent cypress walls.
The layout shows the rationality of a collectible garden space which is blurred by the vegetation itself, providing the closest component to the world of the sensations.
The beautiful garden borders with the Botanical’s fencing appropriating a stretch of the Gaspar Bono Street, so that it becomes part of the garden itself.
Two large entrances are located in this encounter with the street, main entrances whose metallic doors have descriptive phrases of the myth of the Hesperides. Two other accesses: reinforced concrete doors, stationed in the Passeig de la Petxina opposite to the church of the Jesuits, maintain the continuity of the perimeter fencing, materializing with the same treatment as that.
The garden’s geometric structure is very strict, so it always suggests the rationality of an area of vegetable collection, since the route will be in blurred in the future by the vegetation itself, bringing the nearer component to the world. Thereby, formal garden components are arranged in an orthogonal grid. On the west side, there are three decreasing longitudinal height terraces leading to the garden. On the south side there is a pergola accompanying access, sliding sideways on it and allowing a preliminary overview to get into it. On the eastern side, trimmed cypress walls erect as visual sequences, as proceeds from the Gaspar Bono Street or a total theatrical vision on the closure of the Botanical crowned by the magnificent profile of its leafy trees’ tops.
The central garden space is configured as an esplanade from which the viewer can watch the spectacle of different images or watch episodes of the story’s argument: the Tree of Golden Fruit, the sculptures of the Nymphs and its metamorphosis into trees, the Hero sculpture or the Great Dragon, also metamorphosed into a snake.
Water is another essential component of the gardens’ history; it is shown several times surprising the passer. A fountain flows at the highest point of the garden, hidden among citrus trees. Its shape is labyrinthine and prompts to mystery. Water springs up from the ground and slides by gutters which go over terraces of citrus, dipping into its final stretch and flowing buried under the esplanade; it reemerges in the pond where the nymphs metamorphosed into trees are reflected. Finally another pond, the innermost, keeps water quietly, surrounded by walls and cypress. The goddess of gardens overlooks in it, becoming a place for relaxation.
The idea of gathering in this garden a collection of citrus, a genre which combines the Valencian garden tradition, the agriculture undisputed in our land and the botany due to its collectible character, retrieves one of those species which existed in the former collection the botanical garden had once: Citrus Lemon variegatum, multiformis Citrus, Citrus Bergamot … which were the last bastion of ornamental citrus world. This collection is represented by the eight agronomic groups which make up the genus citrus: citrus, lemon, mandarin, bitter orange, sweet orange, grapefruit and pomelos, grown as a tree, potted or trellised, different techniques fromlligadors d ‘ horts or Valencian gardeners, which were so prized in times of Alfons the Magnanimous, handled with real skill and are unknown today in reality.
The citrus genus belongs to the botanical family of rutaceae and the golden apples of the Hesperides refer both to the botanical origin and the mythological origin of citrus. The earth -Gaia -gave Hera these golden apples as a bridal present when she accepted Zeus. The goddessfound them so wonderful that she made them plant in her garden. She entrusted the custody of the apples and the wonderful tree which produced them, to Ladon, the immortal hundred-headed dragon. She also placed the threenymphs of the Sunset as keepers, the Hesperides, named Aegle, Erytheia and Hesperia -Blazing, Red and Arethusa the West- names which recall the colors of the sky when the sun goes down.
Hercules was commissioned, among the twelve labors which should make him a hero, to steal the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides. He fetched the fruits of immortality and seized them beating the Dragon, which was transported to heaven where he became a constellation: the snake. The Hesperides, desperate for losing apples whose custody had committed, were transformed into trees, elm, willow and poplar and so we see them in the garden.
- TIME SCHEDULE
- Fall-Winter: 10:00-18:00
- Beato Gaspar Bono (between the Botanical Garden and GV Fernando the Catholic)
- 4.700 m2
The Hesperides’ Garden is proposed as an enclosed space where the mythological tale has served as storyline and has been interpreted by different plant species and sculptures.
With the backdrop of intermittent cypress walls, the presence of water, which flows from the fountain,accompanies a complete citrus collection represented by 54 different varieties.
The vegetation is supported by sculptures, representing Hercules, the metamorphosis of the nymphs into trees and Venus Aphrodite, keeper of gardens and orchards.