The public gardens
called in at Madeira on their way back from the Americas, Australasia,
South Africa and Asia, bringing back plants with them. These were
planted in the gardens of the wealthy as well as in the public gardens.
With the fertile soils and good climate, exotic species flourished. The
Botanic Gardens, Monte Palace Gardens and Palheiro Gardens are all worth visiting.
QUINTA DA CRUZ is thought to be the home of Joao Goncalves Zarco and was one of the larger estates to be built in the outskirts of Funchal in the C15th and C16th. It was surrounded by a large garden growing exotic species of plants from across the world. The house is now a Museum of Decorative Arts, with free entry to the grounds. These are now an ‘archaeological park’ with pieces of masonry rescued from old buildings. There is also a tiny (locked) chapel in the grounds.
Cobblestone paths lead to flower beds and lawns with specimen trees. In front of the house is traditional rose garden. It is a lovely spot to drop out in the sunshine.
JARDIM DE SAO FRANCISCO, or the Municipal Gardens, in the centre of Funchal were laid out at the end of the C19th. On the site of the St Francis Convent, they have grass, specimen trees and flower beds. There is a small pond with fountains. There are small statues as well as an events amphitheatre and a small cafe with very good and free toilets. Stalls along the main path sell a variety of craft items. Lizards skitter along the stone walls in the sunshine.
JARDIM DE SANTA CATARINA are reached up steep cobbled steps lead up from Avenida sa Carniero which runs along the sea front, or through splendid iron gates from Avenida do Infante.
These are lovely gardens running down a slope to a tiny whitewashed chapel at the bottom of the gardens. There is a large grassed area with tall trees and beds of brightly coloured flowers. Strelitzia and Agapanthus provide an exotic splash of colour. There is a large pond with swans and fountains. There is a cafe but be warned there is a charge of 50c to use the toilets. The gardens are locked overnight.
||Back to top