Paraiso Mexicano: Gardens, Landscapes, and Mexican Soul

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Clarkson Potter, 2002 - Gardening - 240 pages
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The gardens of Mexico are some of the most extraordinary in the world, and the people of Mexico have cultivated a deeply spiritual connection and reverence for their land. Through generations of toil and inventiveness, they found ways to tame the soil, using bold combinations of plants. As Alfonso Alfaro writes in his introduction, the "culture was synonymous with plant life, and plant life was transformed into art."
That heritage is still alive today in Mexico, and Paraiso Mexicano beautifully renders and celebrates this legacy in the country's exceptional gardens and landscapes. There are more than 280 photographs of radiant flora, emerald gardens that seem to levitate over manmade lagoons, modern creations of concrete and sand, and public squares, centuries in the making, that will dazzle with their brilliant and elegant composition. Many of the spaces produce fruits, vegetables, spices, and medicinal herbs alongside vibrant floral strokes of crimson bougainvillea, blue agave, wild lupine, and dahlias--the national flower of Mexico. Even structures play an aesthetic role, as world-renowned architect Luis Barragan demonstrates in one of his gardens by planting a pepper tree so its shadow would fall singly against the face of a luminous yellow wall.
Marie-Pierre Colle has filled the book with gardens from the tranquil seacoast to the hurried metropolis, from the hidden patios of colonial homes to public landscapes. The builders and keepers, farmers, laborers, and artists such as Octavio Paz, Diego Rivera, and Mexican film legend Maria Felix--her garden has never before been open to the public-help illuminate this mystical world that so symbolizes the rich and complex culture ofMexico. With breathtaking photography, Paraiso Mexicano is a sensational and provocative collection that captures these fleeting glimpses of paradise.

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About the author (2002)

Marie-Pierre colle is the author or co-author of several books, including Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo and Mexico: Houses of the Pacific. Of Mexican-French heritage, she began her career as a journalist in New York and has worked for such magazines as Vogue, House & Garden, and Condé Nast Traveler. She currently resides in Mexico.

Alfonso Alfaro is the director of the Institute of Investigation of Artes de México. A doctor of anthropology at the Sorbonne, he is the author or coauthor of several books published in Mexico.

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