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Step off the dusty cobblestone streets and peek behind nondescript, weather-worn, faded, even grimy brick facades, and encounter the startlingly beautiful courtyard gardens of this central Mexican colonial town.Alfonso Alarcon, a landscape architect in San Miguel de Allende for nearly 30 years, says monasteries were among the first to design and plant courtyard gardens.Traditionally, such gardens are built in a cross shape with the corners, usually anchored by large trees, pointing north, south, east and west.Markus Luck has been designing gardens in San Miguel since 2006 .Mexican walls are often painted bold reds and yellows and oranges, so trees and plants tend toward simple, wide, leafy greens, or crawling ivy and simple white blooms.Popular choices for courtyard gardens include citrus trees, including oranges, limes and kumquats, olive trees, bougainvillea, ferns and lavender.
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