The Botanical Garden just turned 60 years old.
I was not a big fan of plants, since in my childhood my grandmother made me weed our garden during my summer holidays. After a difficult start, in the last couple of years I made quite a progress to develop a close relationship to the beuatiful plants of Madeira. Also, in Madeira the Botanical Garden has not been my favourite, but I have to admit that there are many interesting corners and lots of hidden gems, if you take your time to discover. I will show you my favorite ones as I have been returning to the Botanical Garden in the last weeks quite often.
The Botanical Garden has quite some dragon trees, but in Madeira there is only one left in the wild. Did you know that the baby dragon trees have only one head? And then, as they grow they start growing their heads as well. So we are quite similar, actually. Some people say that you can count the age based on the junctions leading to the heads. Others say that heads develop when the bring flowers.
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The famous carpet
The flower carpet of the Botanical Garden is one of the most famous sights of Madeira that you can come across in travel guides and postcards. The interesting bit is that the pattern is being changed all the time. The workers of the Botanical Garden just pick the branches of the iresine and plant them according to the new pattern. I love this new one, it reminds me of the beautiful mandalas painted by Olga Drak one of my favourite artists in Madeira.
In Madeira in general you can come across endemic houseleeks which are the size of your head. Also in the Botanical Garden you can find all endemic ones which help you the identify them when you see them in the middle of nowhere on a rock growing out of nothing.
Greenpea and friends
The Botanical Garden has a section of endemic plants and also a wide range of egzotic ones. Besides these logical combination you can also find vegetables, fruit trees and herbs as well. Practicall everything that stays alive and as you can notice after a couple of hours in Madeira, not just everything stays alive here, but they also grow huge. You can see here some bizarre ones that are special to my heart.
+ Interesting fact: Microclimate
The Madeiran Government has been searching for long years for the perfect spot of the Botanical Garden. A place where not only the endemic plants but also the egzotic ones can grow. Not only succulents but also palms and plants from Siberia. After a long search they bought the estate of the Reids family that starts on 150m of altitude and goes up to 300m. In this range they could split all these plants and the feel happily at home as the microclimate within the Botanical Garden varies significantly. Now just imagine if this is the case in the Funchal bay, how many microclimates you can find on the island.
As the Botanical Garden celebrates its 60th birthday, if you are coming to Madeira, you definitely have to visit this garden. It is a typical bucket list item, but nevertheless has lots of secret gems that would be a pity to miss.