of the gardeners
The third of the Pool-Well-Gardeners trio completes the set of service courtyards for the houses of the Counts of Torres Cabrera. It got its name through being used to store the gardening team’s tools. The most noteworthy feature is the wall covered in plumbago, creating a vertical garden, and the archaeological objects and tiles added in the 20th century to give it a statelier feel.
Before it was known as the Courtyard of the Gardeners it was called the Courtyard of the Dogs. It formed part of the group of service courtyards for the country houses of the Counts of Torres Cabrera, where the staff from the rural properties stayed while visiting Córdoba. When these houses were incorporated into Viana in the 19th century the courtyard continued to be a workplace for the gardeners, who kept their tools where the current multi-service room is located.
The key developments in arriving at the current appearance of this courtyard were the modifications ordered by the 2nd Marquis of Viana in the early 20th century and, later, by the 3rd Marquise of Viana, who lived in the palace until the 1980s. Both added different types of archaeological and decorative objects to beautify the working courtyard and give it a statelier feel.
Objects were brought from both the estate of Moratalla (Hornachuelos) and the Viana palace in Madrid (current official and ceremonial residency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Nowadays the courtyard has, among other pieces, fountains, niches, columns, tiles, a church lintel, etc.
This tradition of decorating stately courtyards with objects of this type comes from the middle-class tradition of the 19th century. The middle class were very keen on using antiques to complement and decorate courtyards. In the absence of sculptures they were decorated with archaeological pieces, furniture, coppers, ceramics, plinths, etc. The wall covered with plumbago or blue jasmine, splendid in summer, is the main botanical feature.
On the opposite wall you can discover lots of small details that create the setting. Pots of geraniums, asparagus ferns, spider plants, elephant’s food and centaurea are discretely distributed around the courtyard so as to not overshadow the plumbago.
Courtyard of the gardeners
When the spring. When the air of April.
When the German irises dawn.
When the almond and orange trees
announce their early sensed news.
When the miracle of the plants on the mountain tops,
the fertile plains of Córdoba and its courtyards,
the nostalgia of its bars, open to other days.
Here, before the veneer of blue jasmines and geraniums
spread around the fountain which spills it delightful
monotone into the silence Waters from the river Colador,
underground, deep, mysterious, fertilizing the unknown
germ of the earth, its secret, among dark roots.
Corner of paradise between gardens of notable artifice.
Spring of the Ajerquía at dusk.
Bells of living water flowing between flowerbeds (…)
Mario López Viana, courtyards of poetry (1995) (patios de poesía)
Flowering calendar for the main plants