Object of the month | Holidays and outdoor life: The garden of the House

2 de January de 2018

It is in summer that we tend to overturn the view of nature and its manifestations, with aromatic fruits and colorful flowers that call our attention and monopolize the senses. At the origin of what is now the Eduardo Frei Montalva House Museum, the Frei Ruiz-Tagle family carefully planned one of the most important and endearing spaces for the former President: his garden, whose history and curiosities are reviewed below.

The summer holidays begin, time in which the classes take a break and life in the open air takes a center stage. In the Eduardo Frei Montalva House Museum we have an ideal place to share and enjoy with the family, as well as the Frei Ruiz-Tagle family in what was their home in #683 Hindenburg Street, after a tour inside the House Museum.

It is the ideal time to talk about the garden of the house, favorite place of Eduardo Frei Montalva, evidencing his great love for nature and specifically the concern he devoted to this space. Scene of his hobbies; here he read, meditated, met with family and friends, accompanied by large trees and colorful flowers that stand out for their variety of species and sizes.

To learn a little more about the history of the place, the House has the garden since the original construction, in 1937, but over the years it has undergone certain modifications. Originally it was much larger than the one that is currently conserved and in the mid-50s the family decided to make some extensions, leaving part of the land to build new rooms; the swings the place where the children played,  was replace with the dining room of the house.

In 1980, Frei commissioned the current garden design to Mrs. Chichita Sainte de Donoso, wife of her great friend and minister, Andrés Donoso.[1] On that occasion camellias and a canelo (Drymis Winteri) were planted, the latter being moved to the back of the garden at the beginning of the 21st century, due to the remodeling of the House. That same year the pool was installed, which Frei himself acquired in an antique shop; this object currently remains in its original place within the garden.

The pepper, of imposing presence, was originally planted in the garden three decades ago, so Frei Montalva did not get to know it before dying. Over the years its growth demanded that it be transplanted to the backyard.

On the other hand, we can mention that the garden had several gardeners in the period that Frei Montalva inhabited his house. In the years in which he was president (1964-1970), the managers of the garden were the same ones who maintained the green areas of the Palacio de la Moneda. A couple of years later, after leaving Frei his command, Don Federico Vera would become the new manager. Until 2016 he was still responsible for the trees and flowers of the House. After 44 years, he can rescue several anecdotes that he remembers of his stay in the house of the former President. Precisely, Don Federico remembers that Eduardo Frei Montalva was very concerned about every place in his home, without neglecting the care of his precious garden. His liking for this also led him to weed, prune and water; they were activities that produced it relax.[2]

He remembers also, some stories about the different species that are still preserved in the House. An example of this is the large orange tree, the work of Mrs. Maruja, who, from an orange seed that she planted in a container of yogurt, gave birth to that tree[3]; or the gomero, a gift that Frei received when he traveled to Brazil during his term[4]. The latter was located inside the house; its uncontrolled growth reached the roof and had to be planted at the entrance of the main door. Today it is one of the tallest trees in the garden.

There is also the hibiscus with red flowers, son of the original, which was replanted by staff of the House Museum, since  Frei Montalva died in 1982 the plant dried up. Don Federico tells that Frei loved his hibiscus and that every time he entered the house, he would give that plant a friendly pat.[5] Another of Frei’s favorite species is the one near the end of the house, called Buganvilia, where he used to read and meditate in his shadow.

This is how, as Frei Montalva took care of his garden, the House Museum maintains this with dedication, in order to remember how the former president was a lover of nature. With this landscape show, we seek to preserve part of the cultural heritage, in conjunction with the construction characteristic of the 60s.

Although with the course of time, the house has undergone small modifications, the essence and tranquility delivered by the garden is the same as enjoyed by Eduardo Frei Montalva. It is also part of our museography at the House Museum, so when some species of plant dies, you can find the same kind of plant in the garden in its originaly positition.

Like the other spaces, it is a provision for all the public that visits the House, with the objective that they can enjoy the different activities that take place in the open air, something that life can be lived particularly in the time of spring and summer, in the workshops and activities that we have available to our visitors.


[1] Compiled in internal document “El Jardín de la Casa Museo”, of the Eduardo Frei Montalva Museum House
[2] Ibidem
[3] Available in http://amosantiago.cl/el-jardinero-de-frei-montalva/
[4] Compiled in internal document “El Jardín de la Casa Museo”, of the Eduardo Frei Montalva Museum House
[5] Available in http://www.paula.cl/reportajes-y-entrevistas/50-anos-juntos/


Comentarios cerrados.