Clara Rodríguez-Spiteri Enrich is a Senior Agricultural Engineer from Technical University of Madrid.
Specialist in plant breeding, expert in botany and in the design of irrigation systems, identification and control of pests and diseases, and what is more, in the development of both herbaceous and woody crops.
Her eagerness to expand knowledge has led her to obtain the title of Master in Oenology and Viticulture. Following her career path, her master’s thesis was focused on the cultivation and evolution of plants. The placement of these with respect to the Sun, its most optimal growth depending on their diversity, and the ecosystem that surrounds them.
After a long experience acquired by family tradition, she found her calling in being a landscape gardener thanks to her Gardening and Landscaping studies at Escuela Castillo de Batres.
She is fluent in English and German.
What do you have in mind at the moment of “confronting” the blank page?
When designing a garden we have to take into account countless factors. On the one hand, the meaning and the purpose of it. Its intended use. Whether we want it to be used for walking, if we want to compliment a building, give continuity to the surrounding countryside or finally, if we want it to be a beautiful postcard put in our window frame.
The possibilities are endless, as well as the locations and the dimensions of the possible gardens.
Therefore, is the design of a small garden different from that of a large one?
Definitely, yes. We have to analyze if we want to focus on spaciousness or create a treasure in a small bottle. Whether we want our vision to be concentrated on a predominant center or make it flow towards the horizon.
What is landscaping?
For me, it means “shaping” the natural beauty.
It is interesting to know the meaning of the gardens in ancestral cultures. Initially, they were imitations of the countryside, of the first paradise. That is, Eden or Mother Nature. Subsequently, real gems were created, many of them full of spiritual and religious symbols.
The four rivers of Mesopotamia, the meaning of geometric figures, numerology or the presence of solitary natural objects are the essential factors of these treasures. Many of the historic gardens that have survived, are the true natural cathedrals, and ways to understand of the meaning of life.
I was born in India, in New Delhi. Thanks to the influence of the Near East an apparent free nature dominates there, guided by geometry, that is, by the control of civilization and science. Odorous fruit trees alternate with large trees while water, synonymous with life, flows through minimalist channels to compliment its own beauty.
It seems very complicated to transfer all this knowledge into our reality.
Absolutely. Let’s not forget that human beings need nature as such. We live thanks to the oxygen released by plants during photosynthesis, and water that microorganisms purify in rivers. Despite the fact that many of us are urbanites, we are dependent on the fields that surround us.
By this I mean, that a garden, no matter how small, brings us back to the very essence of ourselves.
It provides us with tranquility, joy, and reverie
That’s why, I believe that in the past they were given a religious meaning. A use for meditation.
What does an engineer do in such an “emotional” world?
A technical mind is fundamental. The gardens we have talked about were designed by the best scientists and scholars of their time. Even hydraulic engineers.
You have to know how to read the climate, the orientations, temperatures and annual precipitation. The characteristics of the soil that greatly limit the plants to be selected. The winds, possible pests.
On the other hand, you have to be a great botanist. Each plant evolves in a certain way, grows at different speeds. Some are incompatible with the others.
It does not seem right to me, when I see olive trees in the middle of green grass meadows. The olive tree and holm oak originally, are not the irrigation trees.
The technique is fundamental for the correct design of a garden or landscape..
That’s right. And we must add the sense of good taste and proportionality to that technique
Complex compendium of qualities as good taste can also be taught. It does not arise spontaneously. It is something that “gets soaked in” throughout a lifetime.
In that sense, I find myself to be a lucky person because I come from a family environment of aesthetes
In your opinion, why do the clients come back to you?
Mainly, because the client and I, we create a team.
The client gets involved in the project as much as he wants or his busy schedule allows him to. Bearing in mind that there are people who want to participate in the construction of their garden to the maximum, and others who also want to but lack the necessary amount of time.
Many professionals who are experts in their subjects do not have to understand plants. What seems obvious to me, after so many years of experience, can be a totally unknown world to others. For example, I love music but I don’t know how to read a music score.
The cobbler should stick to his last
Exactly. We cannot know everything.
Moreover, I count on the support and collaboration of excellent professionals with whom I have been cooperating throughout my career. Architects, Engineers, Environmentalists, and Gardening Technicians.
I firmly believe in teamwork, cordiality and collaboration.
What could be your motto?
As I have been an international consultant, there is one very used phrase.
And this is?
Customer satisfaction always comes first.