“In the gar den there were all kinds of fruits, scented shrubs, vegetables and fragrant herbs such as jasmine, privet, pepper, lavender, roses of ever y species, plantains, myrtle and all types of aromatic bushes. It was a gar den without equal, a piece of paradise, and if anyone were to visit it in a weakened state he would come out as strong as a lion. Wor ds cannot describe its mar vels and wondrous things found only in paradise.” (Stor y of Ali nur Al- Din and Miriam The Girdle-Girl from The Arabian nights)

The planned area of the garden was 80 hectares. 80 hectares of parched sand Paghera managed to transform into something very like a paradise, with an elegantly original reinterpretation following the canons of an Islamic garden against a background of culture, tradition and technological innovation.

Beyond the formal garden overlooked by the main palace lies a series of private gardens for the family and special guests: the water garden, the perfume, citrus and fire gardens and the secret garden.
The main entrance to the property is protected by three sets of gates and as many security checks which all have to be passed before you get to the formal garden dominated by concentric rings of clipped hedges framing a central fountain. Between the orderly hedges are masses of flowers in an ever-changing welter of colour chosen to suit each guest’s tastes and inclinations. The plants are specially bought for each occasion and flown in on the prince’s private Boeing jet. The entrance is flanked by two spectacular English-style parterres, with sinuous arabesques of marble and shaven lawn framed by colourful borders of flowers. Tiny flecks of glass capture the sun’s rays during the day and then gently glow in the dark to create a magical atmosphere.


Strolling along the paths of this garden you can smell the water in the air, like the scent of rainy day or the aftermath of a storm.

A little further on lies the water garden with its enchanting springs, streams and waterfalls, calm basins, dancing fountains and spurts of water leaping playfully from their flower-laden hiding places in time to the music piped throughout the garden.
Strolling along the paths you can actually smell the water in the air, the same scent as that of a rainy day or the aftermath of a storm, a precious gift much appreciated in a desert climate like that of the Emirates. The presence of water, the symbol of life, has always been considered an essential component for an Islamic garden, far more than any architectural or botanic feature. It is considered a garden’s soul, its driving force, the energy that invigorates it and makes it an evocation of paradise. And in this garden water is experienced with all five senses.

The perfume garden is a riot of flowers, scented bushes and fragrant herbs, a selected collection of plants specifically designed to immerse visitors in an inebriating welter of fragrances and emotions. The best moment to enjoy the scents of this garden to their full is in the evening, when its carefully orchestrated bouquet of perfumes reaches a climax.


The scent of vanilla fills the air during the harvest of the Musa paradisiaca, the old-fashioned scientific name for the banana plants surrounding this third garden, dedicated to over 500 different types of citrus trees and rigorously grouped by species. Close by the citrus garden are the greenhouses, magnificent constructions in wrought iron and glass guaranteeing a stable microclimate where plants can flower and grow as if they were in their natural habitat. Divided by type, they are home to both rare collections of plants and flowers and all types of spring vegetables and fruits.


The fire garden is a homage to the native desert landscape, with its sand dunes and palm trees, dominated by the Phoenix dattilifera, or native date palm. An image of life, because dates have always been an essential foodstuff for desert dwellers. The garden is decorated with scattered lit fires as a constant reminder of the source of the Prince’s and whole country’s wealth, it’s black gold, oil, whose rigs and refineries burn fiercely night and day. This is where parties are held, a place to dance the night away barefoot on the sand. Around the garden are numerous yurt-like tents and marquees liberally equipped with every possible comfort and innovative technology, a traditionally-inspired, but supremely comfortable, modern way of entertaining guests.


Last comes the secret garden, with paths wending their way through thick, luxuriant vegetation to a series of very private glades far from prying eyes. A garden to play hide and seek in, to enjoy your favourite pastimes in, from falconry to romantic trysts, in discreet green arbours sumptuously furnished in a fairytale fashion with divans, cushions, carpets and every imaginable comfort.

Then there is the huge organic kitchen garden where every imaginable vegetable is grown, imported from all four corners of the globe. Its irrigation system creates a fine mist of spray to help the plants survive in the hot desert climate. It even provides artificial dew, or nada in ancient Arabic, a word which over time has come to be a sort of metaphor referring to the concept of generosity, as generous as the rains and their guardian clouds. Yet another allusion to the life-giving element of water and its host of meanings.Vi è poi l’angolo dell’orto, immenso, coltivato secondo i dettami dell’agricoltura biologica, dove cresce ogni tipo di verdura, giunta qui da ogni angolo del pianeta. L’irrigazione avviene attraverso la creazione di piogge occulte, microscopiche goccioline di acqua atomizzata che irrorano gli ortaggi permettendogli di sopravvivere nel torrido clima tropicale. Viene ricreata artificialmente persino la rugiada, nada in arabo antico, parola che nel tempo ha finto per esprimere una sorta di metafora linguistica che rimanda al concetto di generosità: generose sono le piogge e le loro custodi, le nuvole. E ancora tutto rimanda all’acqua vivificatrice e ai suoi numerosi significati.

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