Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Perú.

Hotel Molino Gardens

Over the years, we have made a considerable investment of time, knowledge and resources to create a living world mimicking the power, mystery and simplicity of nature.

Holmes is the author, propagator and the driving force behind this live masterpiece.

When you are in Hotel Molino, join us in spectating its beautiful botanic universe in miniature.

General Principles

Gardening involves an understanding of the complexity of the gardening process, equivalent to a chess game with nature, because there are so many variables.

Our first and foremost principle is to try and be as “bio” as possible. We only use natural fertilizers and bio pesticides, oftentimes just garlic and lemon. We propagate most of our plants ourselves, reducing the need for transport. We only use rainfall and a mountain water channel to water our plants. We try to limit the use of electricity and fossil-fuel powered machines; all of the digging and pruning is done using the power of human muscles, and grass cutting is performed with low fuel consumption mowers.

Secondly, Molino gardens are a place to share with others. We don’t cut flowers that provide food to insects and birds (which really only leaves us a choice of hortensias, eucalyptuses and fallen flowers for interiors decorations). We plant plants that look beautiful to us, humans, but we also ensure there is a healthy amount of flora that attracts bees and birds.

Third, just as the gardens are the source of work, inspiration and learning for us, we would like them to play a similarly beneficial role for you, too.

Our fourth and last principle, and the founding stone of Hotel Molino, is that of diversity. As you continue reading, you will find out about the variety of garden types you can enjoy.

Before we go there, let us mention that different aesthetics require different balances between controlling nature and cooperating with its requirements. The degree of control depends on the gardener’s objective. For example, the English wild woodland style of gardening in the mid-19th century is dispensed with controls after planting, and any interference, such as pruning, would have been inappropriate. At the other extreme is the Japanese dry-landscape garden, beautifully composed of rock and raked pebbles. The artistic control in this type of garden is so firm and refined that the intrusion of a single “natural” weed would spoil the effect.

It would be boring to have just one type of garden, we think. Hence, balancing control of nature and cooperation with it, Hotel Molino features the following gardens.

Types Of Gardens in Hotel Molino

Flower gardens

Trees and shrubs are the mainstay of a flower garden. These permanent features were planned first, and the spaces for herbaceous plants, annuals, and bulbs are arranged around them. Blending and contrast of colour, as well as of forms are important aspects that we consider in planning a flower garden.

Woodland gardens

The essence of the woodland garden is informality and naturalness. Paths curve rather than run straight, and are of mulch or grass rather than pavement. Trees are thinned to allow enough light, particularly in the glades, but anomalies may be left, and any mature tree of character can be a focal point.

Rock gardens

Rock gardens are designed to look as if they are a native part of a rocky hillside or slope. To design rock gardens, we observed and utilized the untouched characteristics of the land: sloppy hills and the stone water channel. For the rocks we added, they were laid on their larger edges, as in natural strata.

Water gardens

The water garden represents one of the oldest forms of gardening. Egyptian records and pictures of cultivated water lilies date as far back as 2000 BCE. The Japanese have also made water gardens to their own particular and beautiful patterns for many centuries. Many have an ornamental lantern of stone in the centre or perhaps a flat trellis roof of wisteria extending over the water.

The range of moisture-loving plants we use for damp places at the edge of the pool and waterfalls is lavish and includes many beautiful plants such as ferns, irises, sweet pea and papyrus.

Herb gardens

Most of the medieval gardens and the first botanical gardens were largely herb gardens containing plants used for medicinal purposes.

In Molino, for much of the year, you will find herbs such as thyme, rosemary, fennel, mint, verbena, and dill for savoury foods and drinks.

Vegetable gardens

The old French potager, the prized vegetable garden, was grown to be decorative as well as useful; the short rows with little hedges encompassing them and the high standard of cultivation represent the model of the art of vegetable growing.

The vegetable garden requires an open and sunny location. Good cultivation and preparation of the ground are important factors for successful vegetable growing. It is also desirable to practice a rotation of crops, such as in farming, to prevent the carryover from season to season of certain pests and diseases.

Terraced gardens

Availability of flat terraces built on hilly slopes has made the development of attractive terrace gardens possible. These gardens follow the same principles as others except that the depth of soil is more shallow, and therefore the size of plants is limited.

Scented gardens

Scent is one of the qualities that many people appreciate highly in gardens. Scented gardens, in which the scent from leaves or flowers is the main criterion for inclusion of a plant, have been established, especially for the benefit of blind people. Some plants release a strong scent in full sunlight, and many must be bruised or rubbed to yield their fragrance.

In Molino, the most fragrant plant is melon floripondio growing next to Room Tambo. The sweet scent of floripondio envelops Tambo in an inspiring mist. As such, this room is especially suited for those who came to Peru in search of mystifying experiences.