Statement of Intent

MOORISH FLOURISHES IN A CONTEMPORARY GARDEN

Created by the Orange Coast College Horticulture Club

Embellished with Moorish aesthetics, our garden hopes to intrigue visitors by incorporating their signature design elements, which are both highly functional and stylistic.

As the Moorish empire expanded during the Middle Ages, their gardens evolved to incorporate a variety of local tastes and regional designs, thus becoming treasure chests of successful plants, irrigation techniques and architectural and ornamental nuances from across their sphere of influence. The Moors adapted an enclosed rectangular-shaped Persian garden design scheme which created an oasis with an aesthetic sense of paradise that could induce an inner sense of peace. Functionally ideal in arid Moorish regions that are climatically similar to ours, these protected spaces created shade and helped to conceal valuable water sources. Meticulously planned canal systems effectively distributed water, and long narrow reflection pools were used to evenly distribute humidity from evaporation. A wide variety of plants could be grown in Moorish gardens because optimal growing conditions were created by the utilization of precision-engineered grid quadrants; fruits, vegetables, spices, medicinal plants and colorful ornamentals could be grown in tandem and harmony. Fragrant plants were featured along walkways and near building openings in the direction of prevailing winds to provide a pleasant scent to living spaces.

Furthermore, though Moorish gardens were always designed with utility and function as paramount components, they had a strong multidimensional essence that featured daring architectural structures and incorporated elaborate ornamentation, including impressive tile work which displayed amazing geometric patterns that were highly imaginative, yet showcased symmetrical balance. Moorish gardens will appeal to the whims of contemporary gardeners because these eclectic collections were organized within a formal, well-ordered template.

By featuring an updated Moorish garden at the spring garden show, we hope to provide inspiration for using exotic flare and Moorish flourishes in contemporary garden designs.

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