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The Yucatan – The Project

by germinatrix | April 15th, 2009

I just can’t leave you guys hanging anymore – I HAVE to show you the images of the Hacienda Project. I can’t show you any of the new additions – Jorge is doing some EXTREMELY dramatic work – but I will show you pics of the old factory that serves as the base for what is becoming a unique, extraordinary, site-specific experience.

entering the hacienda entering the hacienda

The building is an old sisal factory that has been in ruins for decades. Some of the stones used to build the old structures came from ancient Mayan villages – there are layers upon layers of history here.

the beauty of the old factorythe beauty of the old factory

Everything about the site is crumbling, and Jorge is keeping much of it that way – the idea here is not to clean anything up, it is to create interesting relationships between the old and the new. We’ll be reinforcing that within the landscape. We want to encourage plants to crawl all over the old and new buildings, so that the effect will be something like drawings of early plant hunters coming upon the ruins of Mayan temples, where the jungles have taken over.

this will be an indoor garden - it has no roofthis will be an indoor garden – it has no roof

You can’t really tell from these pictures, but the gardens are going to be vast – there is alot of ground to cover here! We have so many trees; we’ll need to edit some of these to sharpen up the focus of the spaces.

the super cool monster treesthe super cool monster trees

But I will not for the life of me touch ONE LEAF on the most amazing prehistoric monsters I have ever seen – these enormous ficus trees! Just look how they have grown over and through their stone containers! Truly inspiring. They show what happens in this climate – plant life will not be denied! It will grow, push in, break through… if it can, a plant will explode through stone to get where it wants to go. I want to push some tillandsias (air plants) in between the roots and stones and create crevice gardens. I found a few tillandsias growing wild in the branches of some trees. Sigh. The beauty!

I will be traveling to the Yucatan pretty frequently for a while, so I’ll be keeping you up to date on all the happenings. And, if there’s time, I’ll have to do some more exploring – there is so much to inspire a gardener down there! For instance, while visiting the site, Jorge and I spied the most incredible bird – turquoise and yellow, with black markings – WOW! Surely it was a messenger; an avatar. I have to get those colors into the garden, don’t you think?

my avian inspirationmy avian inspiration

And now, time to go home. Back to reality … sigh…

But I’ve got a blooming agave in my garden I just HAVE to share! It’s a good 12 feet tall! SOOooooo cool! Stay tuned, friends…

9 Responses to “The Yucatan – The Project”

  1. Wonderful pictures of an already amazing garden. I used to hate Ficus trees planted in yards – until I visited the Yucatan and saw how huge and beautiful they can be!

  2. germinatrix says:

    oh, Mary Beth, so you’ve seen the magic in person! I feel the same way about ficus – the really have to be in their full glory, and then they sing.
    And yes, I am lucky to have things to work with already in the space – I love responding to existing plants! I like a place with history, and man, does this have history!

  3. I feel so lucky to be going along on this adventure. I can’t wait to see and learn more…

  4. Hi…
    and wow look at the design on that old factory! Amazing architecture, and totally fitting for the area. It is going to look great!
    Have you seen the horror movie about the Myan vines and how they end up killing everybody?!!
    I caught this movie only the other night and thought of you, and your design project.
    I don’t want to creep you out or anything, going back to such a similar environment! But not a bad horror flick if you are into ancient Myan ruins and aggressive vines! :-) You know me.
    Nothing as scary as the garden phalluses though! If you can handle those, horror movies are a breeze, a breath of fresh air, (and that is exactly what you need with those nasty chaps around). Another horror movie is, I am sure pending.
    The ficus tree looks incredible, like the ancient “Ents” from Lord of the Rings! I just bet they roam around the grounds when you are asleep, drinking the left-over ritas!

    Such a cool place.

  5. First of all… WELCOME BACK! second of all – these pics are awesome. Makes me want to get there… heck of an excuse to go. ;) Those trees are amazing. Truly amazing.

  6. germinatrix says:

    Loree! We are going to be learning TOGETHER! The Hostess/ Patron is hooking me up with a Mayan botanist to advise me on the use of indigenous plant material and to figure out how we adapt my palette successfully to the Yucatan. There are so many beautiful things on the site already, but YOU know what I am going fill the garden with! SPIKES! Agaves, aloes, opuntias, cereus, euphorbias, as well as all the tall skinny pole cactuses – this part of the Yucatan is very subtropical, so the dry plants flourish just as beautifully as the big leafy sexy ones do. We are going to have fun watching it come together! Lets cross our fingers – because projects this big always have their issues … but even the difficult situations are wonderful learning opportunities. No matter what, it will be educational for all of us Germinators!

    ESP! omigod. Remember what I wrote when I first found your site? Where HAVE you been all my life?!? I LOVE THE RUINS!!! I went to see it in the theatre when it came out. I got the dvd. And whenever it is on cable, I watch it. It is a serious inspiration for this project, except for all the bloody death, of course… And I swear – when I first saw the images of these trees, the first thing I said to Jorge is “We have ENTS!”
    What most people don’t know about me is my very serious love for Horror and SciFi. I can’t get enough! And I love gardens that have a certain mystery to them … I’m sure that my attraction to huge plants, spiky plants, and oddly shaped plants has something to do with my desire to create a Horror/Monster Garden. Could this be the one?
    It is so cool that you knew about The Ruins. That makes my day!

    Hi James! I am SO glad to be back – thanks! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the pics … they ALMOST capture about HALF of the awesomeness down there. You and your wife should take a trip to Merida when you can – it is lovely, the people are so friendly, and there is serious fun to be had. Me and my husband Jan started going there with Jorge and his wife about 7 years ago, just because we heard it was so special. I never imagined it would turn into such a wild opportunity. But it is a magical place – things take root easier…
    I see a vacation in your future…!

  7. Suasoria says:

    What a fantastic place. I looked at a property that was an ex-sisal factory online some time ago when we were having, ahem, a much different real estate market. Even on the Internet it has a magical quality.

    Strongly encourage them to build a cottage on the property for my retirement – I don’t need much, just make sure it’s plumbed for a dishwasher and two bathrooms.

  8. germinatrix says:

    Susa! A little cottage, that’s all – and one for me, too! I’ll float the idea and see what happens. I am also hoping the Host and Hostess will be so charmed with the garden that they’ll adopt me. Crossing my fingers…