The quality of light and the colors of Andalucia are astounding in any season, but in springtime they intensify and take the center stage. The extravagant displays of wildflowers every spring make Andalucia a flower lover's dream. Within the dramatic limestone landscapes of the region, over a thousand species of flowers can be found: from the tiny blue pimpernels, love-in-a-mist, tri-color convolvulus and marigolds in the meadows, through the shy saxifrages and toadflaxes hidden in cracks in the rocks, to the wild magenta peonies as large as saucers and the huge bushes of aromatic white gum cistus. There are also about a dozen of orchid species: the bee orchid, the mirror orchid, the pyramid orchid, the loose-flowered orchid and the naked man (orchid).
As a backdrop to the flowers stand many fascinating trees and shrubs: the carob, whose beans the Moors used to weigh gold; the mastic, whose resin is used to produce both glue and chewing gum; myrtle, with its medicinal and aromatic properties; and Mediterranean Daphne, which the region's shepherds use to make anti-leech collars for their sheep dogs.
Andalucia is also known for its formal gardens: the Generalife in Granada's Alhambra, the Alcazar Gardens of Seville and Cordoba's characteristic gardens of Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos with their terraced pools and the gardens of Palacio de Viana with 14 patios, citrus trees, date palms and rose bushes from the Renaissance and the Baroque.