All pictures: Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens), Madeira.
Date: Friday August 1, 2008.
Camera: Panasonic DMC-TZ3.
They call Madeira the "floating garden of the Atlantic". No surprise, really, given the lush plant life that seems to fill every nook and cranny of the island. The place positively drips with greenery, and there are gorgeous-coloured flowers -- hibiscus, hydrangea, agapantha, fuchsia et al -- in bloom in the most unlikeliest of places, whether it be rock faces, roadsides or atop concrete walls.
Indeed, the vegetation appears to be a weird, heady mix of Mediterranean and tropical plants, all jostling for attention. And there are even gum trees, which might explain the pleasant but homesick-inducing wafts of eucalyptus I smelled when we touched down at the airport late on the Sunday night.
Of course, if we had more time we would have explored more of the gardens across Funchal and the suburbs. But because our holiday was of the lazy-let's-do-nothing-but-eat-drink-and-read-books variety we only visited one garden and that was the Jardim Botânico, tucked away atop the mountain overlooking the capital and the blue waters of the Atlantic.
It cost €3 to enter, which was relatively cheap by Madeiran standards. Many of the more elaborate designer gardens charged upwards of €10. But we did have to catch a cable-car to get there, which added an additional €12 to the cost.
Still, it was worth it to wander through and admire the immaculately arranged gardens, whether it be the topiary one (above) or the cacti one (below).
The Botanical Gardens also houses a separate bird park as well as the small, two-roomed Museum of Natural History. You can find out more about the gardens via the official website.