SET back from the hustle and bustle of the Costa del Sol lies an oasis of calm boasting stunning views across the Mediterranean.
Alcuzcuz house and gardens – perched on a hillside above Benahavis – have belonged to the family of interior designer Jaime Parlade for more than 150 years.
The gardens are influenced by botanist Jamie Caffery, one of the first landscape gardeners to arrive on the Costa del Sol in the 1950s, and described by Parlade as ‘a great mentor to me’.
“There are plenty of trees here over a hundred years old: palms, pines, rubber trees, orange, lemon, olive and carob trees.
But over the years we’ve also introduced plants, including a very special collection of mimosas, some cypresses, and countless shrubs and perennials,” explains Parlade.
“I spent my childhood and adolescence in Tangiers where I would go out with my mother to the souk to buy exquisite flowers from the Rif women under the great ombu trees.
I was deeply impressed by the gardens of our friends in the famous Vieille Montagne district of the city.
Mostly our friends were English people who had retired from the colonies and the gardens were full of surprises and eccentricities.” The dedication of Parlade – who lightheartedly admits to a fear of being considered a ‘garden bore’ – is clear to see throughout the grounds.
“I am deeply involved with my garden and I find it hard to be away from it for more than a month,” he adds.
Picture taken from Hidden Gardens of Spain By Eduardo Mencos, published by Frances Lincoln www.franceslincoln.com