Saturday, December 18, 2010

A visit to the Carmel Mission

We went to the Carmel Mission this past summer. We go a few times a year because the mission is so beautiful, and we like the town of Carmel-by-the-sea. This time, we were lucky to go on a mild overcast day, and so I ended up with quite a few good-quality pictures.

The Mission San Carlos Borromeo del rio Carmelo is one of the largest and wealthiest of the 21 Roman  Catholic Missions along California's El Camino Real.

The mission was established in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and was the headquarters of the Alta California missions until his death in 1784. The mission was abandoned and in ruins by the mid-1900s. Restoration began in the 20th century and the basilica is an active parish church today.

The mission grounds are extensive and immaculately maintained.

The gardens feature many drought-tolerant plants.

Massed together, they produce a very lush effect not readily associated with a desert landscape.

There are, of course, lots of roses, although mostly modern:-).

Roses look very romantic against old stonework. I wish I could see them together more often.

Here are some more views of the grounds. Borders of pelargoniums, Mexican sage, roses of Sharon, lavender and salvias provide large drifts of bright color, and great variety of textures and shapes.

Architectural details are incredibly beautiful and varied. They provide a nice calming background to the exuberance of garden plants.

There are some lovely statues in the garden.

This one is my favorite:-).

The cemetery is edged with trumpet vine and lined with abalone shells.

I like the mission for its peacefulness and serenity and hope we will return many more times.

Here are some views of the beautiful Carmel Bay...

...and of some wonderful private gardens in Carmel-by-the-sea.


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