Friday, July 12, 2013

The Hidden Gardens of Fes

During our Sacred Song, Sacred Story writing retreat in Fes, we were lucky to meet Heidi Vogels who is researching green spaces in Fes for her Fez Gardens documentary project; collecting stories, photos, information, history, artifacts, about the hidden gardens of Fes. Mostly contained within the four walls of a riad or traditional house (riad in fact means garden) they are indeed hidden from sight and many of the grand old gardens, like some of the palaces and riads that house them, have fallen into disrepair. With access that few tourists can gain, Heidi took us on a tour of some of these extraordinary gardens.

Heidi introduces the Fez gardens walk

Flower seller on the way. This flower is used as an insect repellent among other useful things.

These pots are typical Fes design. A local gardener Si Tayeb maintains the only remaining garden and orchard on the edge of the medina. He is standing strong against developers who want his garden for car park.

His assistant is 102 years old!

Peacocks are a common sight in Fes gardens.

Walking through his orchard was a sensual experience

with strong scents from the citrus trees and a family of cats.

On the way Heidi tells us how Fes is built on water- underground and above ground springs and rivers.

A hidden garden has a life of its own in this former palace.

The garden can be viewed  from all vantage points.

Oranges are everywhere in Fes

Another former palace - Palais Mokri , has a huge garden.

Forgotten and abandoned now.

Cyprus pines and fruit trees share the space.

It was thirsty work, Heidi's assistant handed out ripe green figs and time stood still.

Winding our way home past more hidden gardens.

Find out more about The Fez Garden Project.
This tour was part of our Sacred Song Sacred Story retreat.

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