The gardens at Rancho La Puerta

by Yvonne on February 19, 2013 · 2 comments

in Garden travel, Landscaping

Rancho La Puerta dining hall water feature

A water feature outside the Rancho La Puerta dining hall

The gardens at Rancho La Puerta, in Baja California, Mexico, where I spent a week of winter vacation last month, are truly magnificent. I’ve been there twice, both times in January, but I am told that the gorgeously landscaped grounds are even more appealing in early spring, and that a good time to visit is in late March or early April, when spring flowers and wisteria are in bloom.

scuplture and water feature at Rancho La Puerta

My favorite water feature

The Ranch bills itself as the world’s first “eco resort” and indeed the sustainable practices they follow in the design and care of grounds are impressive.

The climate is Mediterranean, and while some of the plants in the landscaped gardens are not native to the area (like rosemary), they have all been chosen because they suit the climate. Lawn areas are kept to a minimum.

Water is a precious resource in a climate of little rainfall, and so many water-saving techniques are used, such as drip irrigation and copious application of mulch.

Aloe Arborescens

This water-miser, Aloe Arborescens, suits the climate perfectly

In the 1980s, a grey-water reclamation system was installed to collect the water used in the guest cabins. That water is now used to water the gardens during the hottest part of the summer.

Fertilizer needs are met by using compost created on-site, weeding is done by hand and the only herbicide used is insecticidal soap when necessary. (More information about Ranch landscaping practices is here.)

Head gardener, Salvador Tinajero

Head gardener, Salvador Tinajero, shows guests around the organic farm

Within walking distance is a 6 acre organic farm called Rancho Tres Estrellas, where most of the produce served at the Ranch dining hall is grown.

The farm includes orchards and intensively planted vegetable and herb beds. It’s all presided over by head gardener, Salvador Tinajero, who has worked there since the age of 19. You won’t find a more more passionate or better informed organic gardener anywhere.

We met Salvador after an early morning breakfast hike from the Ranch to the organic farm. It’s a pleasant walk through rolling native chaparral, and you work up an appetite for breakfast served at the Ranch cooking school, La Cocina que Canta. The morning we went, we were all bundled up because there had been a touch of frost overnight.

frosted lettuce

These lettuce plants at the farm easily survive a touch of frost

(More information about the organic farm that serves the Ranch is here.)

Here are more pictures of the landscape at Rancho La Puerta:

Dry-land plants thrive at the Ranch

Dry-land plants thrive at the Ranch

A main pathway with pergola

A main pathway with pergola

Built landscape features complement the natural beauty of the hillsides

Built landscape features complement the natural beauty of the hillsides

A variety of Mediterranean plants -- ground covers and trees and shrubs -- around the dining hall

A variety of Mediterranean plants — ground covers, trees and shrubs — around the dining hall

lounge at the Ranch

Lush plantings embrace the guest lounge and concierge headquarters

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda February 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

Yes, the grounds are truly magnificent. Love the natural feel to the landscaping with the muted tones and natural lines.

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Salix February 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I know that you had a wonderful time in such surroundings. Beautiful.

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