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Moorish to Modern

Articles: Moorish to Modern

View of Patio de la Acequia. Photo: Christine Edstrom O'Hara

For millennia, humans have cultivated the landscape for food and enjoyment. Over the long course of history, many early garden management practices have been forgotten. Some of those ancient gardening methods can be effective today when we look to places with our shared ecology—places with the same conditions of water, light, and temperature.

Landscape design with integrated irrigation technology evolved with Muslim traditions and spiritual practices in ancient Persia. Islam spread into North Africa when the Umayyads (one of the original Muslim caliphates) converted the Moors beginning in the 8th century and from there moved into southern Spain. Islamic Spain (known as Al-Andalus or modern Andalusia) is a showcase for the evolution of a sophisticated use of water for both practical and aesthetic uses. The Spaniards later carried their gardening traditions to Mexico and into California, bringing knowledge of how to live in an arid climate to North America.

The Mediterranean climate of Andalusia, characterized by hot, dry summers, mild winters w...


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