Madeira, Portugal, Island of Flowers

Painting in plants creates art.  This art is the highlight of the Jardin Botanico in Madeira, Portugal.  Landscape design is a combination of texture, color, structure, climate and patience.  An artist working in oil must allow time for the canvas to completely dry.  The garden painter working with a palate of plants must wait for the art to grow.  All this must be done again and again to keep the art of the garden in view.  It is a significant commitment.  As a living creation it requires devotion far beyond the painter using oil and brush.  Once the painting is sent out into the world the painter has little if any further stewardship.  This is not so for a garden creation.

When the landscape art is designed, planted, nurtured to grow into its full potential it is at all times impermanent and fragile.  In such a large garden the designer must leave the creation in the daily care of the gardeners. There is a watering schedule which must never be missed, there is a cleaning and sweeping routine which must be done to keep the masterpiece visible.  Then there must be careful, corrective clipping and trimming while all the time keeping the masterpiece in its fixed design.  Out of sight replacement plants must also be cared for in sufficient numbers to touch up a fading bit of color in the canvas.

There is a sweet reward for those who keep the plant art alive and thriving.  As they work at their job they are present at the viewing of this great art.  Their reward is the spontaneous sounds of delight and awe in a multitude of languages as visitors see for the first time a landscape masterpiece

Madeira an island in eastern Atlantic is known as the “Floating Garden” and celebrates a Festival of Flowers every spring.

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