May 8th, 2011
Centering a vacation around Garden visits is both a relaxing and interesting holiday, and where better than the Canary Islands? A tropical year round climate and nestled in the Atlantic, but ultimately Spanish. A tropical choice without the struggle of long-haul flights, easy to reach and a wonderful destination.
Where to go?
Well, for some stunning locations, today let’s have a virtual visit to:
- Gran Canaria
- and Tenerife
Gran Canaria 1.
Having finished A levels way back in 1981, and worked for the Summer, I booked some time out that October and booked a trip to this lovely Island, it took my breath away.
One of the visits I made there is where I want to take you today, to Los Palmitos Park way down on the southern tip of the island close to the Sahara like area of Maspalomas.
Covering nearly 50 acres, the lunar volcanic landscape is quite something, you’ll discover more than 1,000 Palms of many species, and a selection of Cacti that will give you the distinct feeling that you have arrived at Lilliput!
The star of the show for me was the 200+ species of exotic birds flying around freely, their colourful plumage and loud squawking filling the skies with colour. A wonderful day out.
Open all year, 9am to 6pm
Gran Canaria 2.
Another day have a trip to the Jardín de la Marquesa, where you can Keep Up With The Arucas! Instead of using a jobbing gardener they saw fit to use the services of a French landscaper, well, it was in the 1800′s! Just 12 acres, but 2,500 species of Palms, Herbs and fountains abound, in the setting of a Banana plantation. (Gran Canaria’s most famous export) Watch out for a 500 year old Dragon tree, your pot plant will look quite pitiful at home!
Open all year, 9pm to 6pm.
Let’s island hop now, to Tenerife.
A wonderful Island and a popular destination, all year round. A plethora of accommodation is always available for sun-seekers, have a browse here..
Back to our gardening, and a little bit of England awaits you at Sitio Litre, built back in 1730 and then acquired by an Englishman and merchant of the day Archibald Little. The Hacienda house and gardens have recently been restored, fastidiously using written descriptions from the days when it was a grand affair, and also using the descriptive paintings of Marianne North. The English feeling is brought to life in the form of the many varieties of heavenly scented Roses, intertwined with paths, water features and pergolas.
Open all year, 9:30am to 6pm, not public holidays
We’re off again, to Lanzarote, another celebrated destination just 125km from the African coast and the most Easterly of the islands. Choose to stay in the resorts of Costa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen or Costa Teguise. At Guatiza, on the GC710 you’ll find the Jardín de Cactus, housing, you’ve guessed it – no less than 1,400 species of HUGE Cacti.
A breathtaking sight of solidified lava and a layer of Volcanic ash gave inspiration to the artist and architect Manrique, who used his skills and art to create a garden filled with shape and form – the design is stunning and has to be seen.
The result encompasses species which include those 1,400 types of succulents and of course Cactus, also including the Prickly Pear. Planted to attract the Cochineal Beetle, which is used for the extraction of Carmine red dye, used in medicines and red drinks, have a closer look at your Campari and soda! Yak!
Open all year, from 10am to 6pm