Opened to the public in March 2016, this beautiful garden is located in the city’s Mouassine district, on the site of a former Marrakech governor’s residence. A haven of peace that transports you back in time and through history to the Saadian dynasty, the secret garden consisting of two courtyards with lush gardens, fountains and majestic buildings combining botanical diversity and architectural beauty.
Evoking Morocco’s colonial approach to garden design, the first courtyard is packed with plants from North and South Africa, the Mediterranean, Australia, Southern California and other regions with climates similar to that of Morocco. Trees in this courtyard were sourced from nurseries in Sicily while a Casablanca nursery supplied the majority of plants. A complex blaze of colour, this scented part of the ‘Jardin Secret’ with its many flowers evokes the Red City’s exoticism and romance.
The much larger, second courtyard is where the original 18th century garden was created and has now been replanted in keeping with traditional Islamic garden design, notably in the shape of the garden’s original chaghbar cruciform layout, complete with its central fountain and accompanying rill. The quadrants have been planted with grids of lemon and orange trees while olives line the courtyard’s south and north walls. Beneath the trees, a meadow effect has been achieved by a profusion of Mexican feather grass (Stipa tennuisima) interspersed with a mix of California poppies, lavender and tulbaghia.
Divided by a contemporary pavilion with staggered walls, the two gardens are quite separate and distinct, the planting of the larger Islamic garden contrasting with the simplicity of the more intimate and complex exotic garden.