The plants in the gardens of the Monastery of Yuste

Ornamental and medicinal plants can be found alongside horticultural plants

We are not discovering anything if we say that Emperor Charles V loved fruit. This explains the large number of fruit trees to be found in the gardens of the Monastery of Yuste. These trees share space with all kinds of ornamental plants.

In the orchard garden of the Monastery of Yuste you can find everything from horticultural plants to others for ornamental or medicinal use. Thus, given his predilection for fruit, he ordered the planting of peach, plum, cherry, pear, apple, quince, almond, walnut and chestnut trees.

In addition, he also ordered the planting of strawberry and orange trees, whose fruit he consumed, although their planting was purely decorative. On the one hand, the strawberries were used to cover the flowerbeds, while the orange trees covered the perimeter walls, a function that was also fulfilled by ivy and honeysuckle.

As for vegetables, there are references to garlic, onions, cabbages, cauliflowers, carrots, lettuce and turnips. In addition, there are two plants of American origin, the tomato and the pepper, which had a purely ornamental function. However, as far as the latter is concerned, the Hieronymite monks soon put them to culinary use and became producers of what was to become the red gold: paprika from La Vera.

In addition to the plants mentioned above, other ornamental plants that the emperor liked were cut flowers (carnations, roses and peonies). Of the former, the emperor is recorded as having a predilection for a tiny garden of carnations, the care and watering of which was entrusted to a local man. As for roses, rose bushes were used in the arbours and tunnels of greenery. In addition, and to a lesser extent, vines were also planted for this purpose.

As for hedges, they could be found along the walkways or at the edges of the gardens, and the most common species were myrtle and boxwood.

Finally, the aesthetics of the garden were also enhanced by the existence of small, pretty, enclosed vegetable gardens dedicated to the production of medicinal and aromatic plants.

SOURCE: Gardens of La Vera

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