Plants and paper

To be certain, Mexico has many hidden gems that the average visitor cannot even begin to find. For those of us fortunate to live here, discovering them is like a treasure hunt.

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With most foreign interest in Mexican beaches (not without reason) many of these gems lie in the center “altiplano” or highlands of the country.

One of these little gems is the Jardines de México. Hidden in the south of the small state of Morelos, it is one of the world’s largest flower garden parks in the world with 51 hectares of space and exhibiting over 193 millions flowers per year.

Mexico is no stranger to growing and using flowers, which are far cheaper and far fresher than just about anything you can find in the United States. The reasons for this is that much of the country is suitable for ornamental flowers, almost year-round, and the culture uses them far more, often in elaborate arrangements.

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Truckload of marigolds used for Day of the Dead (credit Rodsj29)
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Good Friday in Xochislahuaca, Guerrero (credit Alejandro Linares Garcia)

The park is far more than just gardens to stroll through, although there are many of these. It is also home to the country’s only school of gardening and hosts a variety of cultural events, for which it has its own art gallery, open-air theater, restaurant and cabins.

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October in Mexico is generally dedicated to preparations for Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 2. Many cultural institutions hold events during this month dedicated to local traditions. Flowers are a major elements of altars for this date, and the Jardines is located in the municipality of Jojutla, which is also home to one of Morelos’ most important artisans, cartonero Alfonso Morales.

Morales has almost single-handedly revived the making of traditional cartoneria items related to festivals such as Judases for Holy Week and the making of Catrinas and other skeletal figures for Day of the Dead.

Partnering with Enrique Rodriguez, director of the Museo Morelense de Arte Popular in Cuernavaa, there is a Magna Exposición of Cartoneria at the Jardines through Day of the Dead, featuring items from 17 states of the Mexican republic. Many of the pieces are monumental in size, up to 9 meters tall.

All photos credited to Ariadne Delgado and Germán Torreblanca unless otherwise specified.

 

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