Caroline Menzel’s Garden Legacy

Mastering nature's palette in Mallorca's privileged gardens

Garden designer Caroline Menzel calls herself a “dream broker” with an intuitive and emotional gardening style, leaning more toward green textures and form over florid colourful blooms. She has designed gardens for some of Mallorca’s most privileged properties. The first thing I ask my client is: “What is your earliest garden-scape memory? Was it a park, a field or a formal garden? This tends to inform how one feels about plants.”

The 77-year-old German designer started her training when she was living in London. She also studied at the Inchbald School of Design. She began designing gardens and writing about them before the two-year course finished. Appointed the garden columnist for German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, she went on to write a weekly review for 15 years.

Her knowledge and years of expertise are why she has become the go-to consultant for some of Europe’s most important estates. Her understanding of plant species (which she refers to casually in Latin) comes from “making a lot of mistakes, planting things and experimenting with what would grow.”

Painting with botany’s canvas

Her own garden is her most personal work, a “laboratory” surrounded by oak tree groves. An unusually dense and leafy landscape for Mallorca, the mossy terraces are flanked by hedges of Buxus and Tucrium, and Cypresses are trimmed and shaped precisely to create geometric symmetries. Mulberry, Eleagnus, and Ebbingei create layers of green leading the eye through the surrounding oaks to the fields in the distance. The subtle framing and creation of vistas is not a happy accident, however. Much as a painter employs paint to draw your gaze, Menzel achieves the same effect in her gardens.

Photos by Sara Savage, Alexander Warren-Gash & Mark Whiting