The 20-acre garden straddles a breath-stopping, Lalique-green river, flowing through the smooth, rock-edged pools from which its Spanish name, Las Pozas, is derived. During the rainy season, waterfalls course into them from a 150m (500ft) rock face, on which flourish 18m (60ft) to 24m (80ft) trees and bamboos. Hidden within the rainforest is a surreal concrete jungle – enormous man-made trees, bamboos and flowers – many painted in once-bright colours – that range in height from 1.2m (4ft) to 9m (30ft).
The main entrance to the garden is through the Gateway of Snakes, a giant avenue of stone serpents. Other crazy creations are the Terrace of the Tigers, the House of Three Storeys (which actually has five), the Palace, and the Cinema, with its six flights of Escher-style staircases. James was wild about animals of all sorts, travelling the world with snakes in his luggage, and many of the garden pavilions were designed to hold an aviary or a menagerie.