-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Inspiration from Morocco

We recently spent a week in Morocco - splitting our time between Marrakech and a very relaxing chill-out hotel in Ourika Valley.

Overall, it was interesting - I can't say it was among my favourite places I've visited (and I feel a bit guilty about that as have some friends for whom it is their dream destination). But, it just wasn't really my style.

However, as always when travelling, I did get some ideas:

Decorating outdoor features with tiles

palais el badii - 20

This is the remnants of an old fountain or well in the Palais Badii, next to one of the sunken terraces full of orange trees.

I'd seen outdoor tilework as decoration before, eg: by Gaudi in Barcelona. But what I liked about this was that it was less mosaic / crazy paving like. I think I also like the fact that this is so weathered that only remnants remain. If it was still covered in tiles as it would have been originally, I wouldn't like it as much.

Interestingly tiled paths

palais de la bahti - 29 palais de la bahti - 23

These are from one of the courtyard gardens inside the Palais de la Bahti. The bit I like is the square white paving stones interspersed with the strips of mosaic-ey style colour. I would want to keep it subdued though - eg: I don't like so much the photo on the right when it joins up with the bright mosaic and fountain thingy.

Cactii can be interesting

jardin majorelle - 21 jardin majorelle - 19

We spent a few hours visiting Jardin Majorelle, which is apparently one of the most famous Marrakech gardens, renowned for its plants and use of colour. The most striking feature was how vividly the pots and buildings were painted - really bright blue, interspersed with lemon yellow and shades of red. It was almost like the pots were as much a star of the place as the plants. There was no grass - just red gravel - and the plants were predominantly succulents, cacti, bamboo or palms. You can see all my photos of it here if you're curious.

Although the garden was interesting and very well suited to the climate, it isn't the kind of garden I would like to have. BUT I have learned that a couple of strategically coloured pots in a shady area can work brilliantly, especially if you make a feature of them on a plinth. And, if they're large enough and grouped together, cactii can be beautiful. Of course, we'll never be able to afford such giant specimens, but hey I can dream. :-)


mountain walk with donkey - 11
But the most inspirational of all was the donkey we met when we went on a hike. We paid extra to have the donkey along - I love animals - and so far as I was concerned it was just like we were taking a dog with us. (I refused to let the donkey carry my bag - so he didn't have any load at all, it was a day of rest for him as well as us).

The donkey was very sweet, and once we got going they took off his harness and just let him wander alongside. He responded to verbal orders, and enjoyed nibbling at grass as he walked, looking around, basically really good company.

So Dave has agreed, I can have a donkey or two as pets at Amherst. They would be a lot easier to look after than a horse and they would be good company for the sheep. :-)

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