An authentic green lung in the heart of the Santa Marina district, this garden is home to some of the oldest botanical species of Viana. With its French inspiration, is was the result of the 7th Marquis of Villaseca, Diego Rafael Cabrera Fernández de Mesa (19th century) wanting the palace to have a garden, in keeping with the fashion among other members of the nobility at that time.
The plot which today is taken up by the Garden belonged to the houses of the Counts of Torres Cabrera, along with the land where today we can find the Courtyards of the Pool, the Well, the Gardeners, the Chapel and the Gate. In 1814, the 7th Marquis of Villaseca (1767-1816), who was in a comfortable financial position having inherited various possessions and titles, thought that the palace needed more space and reached an agreement with the Counts of Torres Cabrera, who owned the neighbouring houses. As a result in 1814 an estate owned by the Marquis of Villaseca was swapped for the houses owned by the Torres Cabrera family. With these added to it, the palace almost doubled in size. The Marquis justified this move as being for: “the greater comfort and better accommodation of his growing family, and due to the lack of a Garden in the aforementioned houses, and all the other necessary sections and pieces, and for the separation of people, and for the purpose of the stables and storage of their grain and for other diverse purposes”
We do not know exactly when the garden was completed (c. 1820) but there is evidence about the French influence on its design, following designs very commonly used during the 19th century. The garden is structured into 16 flower beds of common box, inside which grow rose trees, date palms, citrus fruits, etc. The European influence on the garden combines with other earlier elements from Arabic-Hispanic gardens, such as the system of surface irrigation and the citrus trees.
Two of the walls surrounding the garden are landscaped with different varieties of citrus trees, which are among the oldest in the palace.
From the Middle East to the Walls of Viana: the journey of the citrus trees
Between the 8th and the 13th centuries, the Muslims brought many botanical products to the Peninsula from various locations ranging from Maghreb to the Far East. This included some varieties of citrus trees and other fruit trees, and these were widely used in Andalusian orchard gardens. In the courtyards, the use of trellising to make the tree grow vertically, following the wall, has been used to decorate walls where the architecture is not very interesting, and also to provide fruit. It is one of the elements of the Andalusian courtyard that has survived over the entire history of the Cordoban courtyards.
An old technique handed down from the Arabs: water extracted from the nearby pool is distributed through a channel, similar to a ditch, by opening and closing gates. The system originally designed for the garden is still in place today.
Flowering calendar for the main plants