The garden in Casa 75, owned by American lifelong friends Pat and Rose, extends through the long terrain where the house is set.
Landscape architect Rodrigo Escamilla founder of JNMX and Andrés Jimenez founder of Archivo vegetal, worked together in the project. Their intention was to create several gardens throughout the home, with native and endemic species adapted to the particular conditions of each space.
“As the house is set in a long lot, we wanted to create an interesting transition. The owners really wanted the rooms to breathe. So we created different areas thinking of micro-environments. Most of the plants are native, with a flowering, olfactory character, especially at the beginning of the home.”
The garden that welcomes you into Casa 75 has a strong floral fragrance.
“It comes mostly from the native oregano,” Rodrigo tells me. “And we can also find some more edible plants in this garden. Basil, a pepper tree, lemongrass, passionflower vine. These are all hidden through the larger, leafier plants, like the elephant ears. And they’re also a sanctuary for bees and insects.”
On the opposite side, a raised pond with Annona glabra, Pontederia sagittata, Phragmites australis, and water lilies sit quietly between two entrances.
As we walk through the second door, we reach a bare-stone living room with a skylight, under which a Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea pliabilis), a tree, and some small potted plants enjoy the indirect sunlight.
Continuing through the long plot we reach the backyard, which features several different gardens. The first one was designed with water in mind.
“Since the pool is nearby, we thought of this space as a water-based environment,” says Rodrigo. “We planted Bravaisias and Icacos, which are found in beach areas. And we’re featuring native plants like Anacahuita tree and Lantanas, whose flowers bring a subtle touch of color.”
On the opposite side of the pool, a small cacti garden blends nicely with the chukum walls.
Past the water, and in front of one of the main bedrooms, a Maya walnut tree or “Ramón” (Brosimum alicastrum) is decorated with epiphytic plants — plants that grow on another plant or object.
“We’re also trying to create levels,” says Rodrigo, “so that our eyes make a journey when looking into the garden. The trees are our highest visuals, which end up filling the space and guiding us to the smaller plants.”
As we walk towards the end of the lot, we reach the jungle garden.
Under another large tree, Xanthosomas, Aphelandras, Tillandsias, Philodendrons, and lion’s claws grow comfortably in the shaded, humid area.
“This very ground produced many of the plants we’ve arranged in the process. The garden itself is constantly recycled and reused.”
The rocks from the plot, which predate Rodrigo and Andrés’ intervention, also work to create an environment of their own.
“In Yucatán, cacti does not grow in the desert — because we don’t have a desert. But you can find them in the jungle, especially on surfaces like these,” says Rodrigo, pointing to the rocks. “We took advantage of what we found on the ground and added endemic species, like the Pilosocereus gaumeri cactus.”
Finally, we reach the final corner of the home. In the master bedroom, a small indoor garden features two tall palm trees with epiphytes growing on its trunk. Rodrigo notes that many of the plants that have grown around it have arrived freely.
“We also work with the plants that grow naturally in a home. That’s one of the most exciting parts of the process, working with what already exists. We’re here to bring nature back into spaces, but it is wonderful to see when it comes back on its own.”
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