The Torres Tapas Garden

The Torres Tapas Garden
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If you are as passionate about food and wine as you are about gardening then the Torres Tapas Garden at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is one not to miss.  The garden, designed by Anthea Guthrie, is a celebration of gastronomy, wine and the culture of Catalonia, where generation after generation of the Torres family has dedicated their lives to the art of making wine.

The garden features an authentic reconstruction of a vineyard in an olive grove setting.  The 300-year-old olive trees are from a working olive grove in Catalonia.  The trees are old ‘working’ trees which have been properly cropped for fruiting and not ‘garden-centre’ perfect.  A small vineyard of Tempranillo grape vines from Catalonia are planted in raised beds to give the impression of a hanging ‘hedge’.  This is a grape that is used in one of Torres oldest wines, Coronas - which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

The central rose bed highlights the colours of wine with different shades of white, rosé pink and deep wine red.  Torres use roses in their vineyards to act as an early warning system for disease.  The rose, being the more vulnerable plant will succumb to disease before the vine. 

The painted stonework on the raised beds is inspired by one of Barcelona’s foremost architects of his time, Anthoni Gaudi.  The inspiration on the wall is taken from the Casa Batilo in Barcelona.

Alongside the beds will be orange boxes in which garlic and parsley will be planted.  Mediterranean vegetables such as aubergines, chilli peppers and pyramids of green beans will be planted in baskets used to collect hand picked grapes.  This tapas inspired vegetable patch serves to supply the traditional ingredients used in tapas dishes to compliment the summer wines of Torres vineyards – Viña Esmeralda, De Casta Rosado and Sangre de Toro.

Two sides of an oak tree trunk, hollowed out to echo the shape of the burrs on the outside, frame the entrance to the garden.  A wooden shell shaped sculpture in the middle symbolises the sea.

This is a garden accomplished with grand gestures working well in a small space.  Visitors will enjoy the mystery of the amazing T-shaped vines, the great wooden sculptures, the dramatic ancient olive trees and the simplicity of the Gaudi-inspired mosaic stonework and shell pathways.  The planting has been pared back and truly minimal so that the hard surfaces and the sculptural nature of this garden can be seen at its best.

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