Ponta Delgada- the gardens

I think we’ve agreed that the streets of Ponta Delgada by night are spellbinding, when Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres comes to town.  We savoured the atmosphere that evening, knowing that we had just a few hours the following day to confirm our impressions.  An afternoon flight was taking us onward, to the island of Sáo Jorge.  After breakfast, a left turn from our hotel led us uphill, in search of botanic gardens.  I liked the menagerie we passed by.  Down a cul-de-sac, still more lay in wait.

A small chapel looked down, from the top of the hill.  Some of the balconies were garlanded with flowers as we passed by, and hounds stood to attention, guarding the city shield.  17th century Capela de Sant’Ana is within the grounds of the Jardim Botanico José do Canto.  The gardens had scarcely opened, but a young man directed us up some ancient steps.  As we stepped inside, the gloom was pierced, lighting the wooden altar.

José do Canto(1820-1898) was a wealthy man with an interest in botany, collecting specimens from around the world.  His private collection covers about 2 acres, with palms, eucalypts, a flurry of agapanthus and lots of determined, softly nodding pink lilies, which seem to thrive in this climate.  I admired the bark and patterns created among the trees.  By far my favourite was the enormous fig tree (Ficus Macrophylla), with its fantasy of roots.  The conservatory, hiding in the background, gave it a wonderful air of mystery.

I really enjoyed the luxury of having this tropical paradise all to ourselves, but visitors were starting to arrive and I could no longer pretend I lived in the big house.  Just a little further along the road I hoped to find Jardim Antonio Borges.  A more public space, initially this was a little disappointing, but you had to marvel at the lake and grottoes.  Small cockerels strutted around, calling piercingly to each other, and there was an even mightier fig tree, providing doubtful entertainment as a playpen for adults.

The weather had turned grey again, and just a little damp.  We found ourselves killing time as we waited for the taxi to take us to the airport.  I know it’s not Monday, but what else but cake?

78 comments

  1. The fig tree is amazing, (it all is) I didn’t know they grew that big, it looks like it could uproot itself and wander off. There’s some talented artists there, really fantastical if that’s a word. So much exotica, lovely Jo 🙂

    1. I always fancied a fig tree, in a planter for the patio. Now I’m having visions of it stomping around the garden, having a hoe-down with its friends 🙂 🙂 And no- not much happening with the garden plans. Must be because I keep dragging him off to places. 🙂 Up to Aveiro for a few days for his birthday next week. It’s flat, canal country so shouldn’t be too strenuous 🙂 Hugs, darlin! I love it when you come around.

  2. OMG! Missing Portugal so much! Wondering if you caught either of these spas in the Azores: https://www.terranostra-gardenhotel.com/wellness-place.phphttps://www.furnasboutiquehotel.com/en/spa-and-thermae

    Haven’t been, but heard about a place, not far from Aveiro, (loved Aveiro…) where you bathe in special teas in a tub out in the open and cooked an incredible meal that is delicious and healing. http://www.moleirodacostama.pt/

    Did I mention my healing miracle since I returned? It’s about eyes. My AMD is gone! I think it’s all the mineral water I drank while I was there, all the olive oil and clean, fresh air – unless it was all the prayers I said at all the cathedrals I visited…

    Meantime, as I might have mentioned before, I’m applying for Polish citizenship. Using the original papers my parents had to get into this country, I’m using to get back to Europe. Feeling I belong in Europe right now.
    Adore the sardonic sense of humor of the Portuguese people, and love the sound of their language. Occasionally, I hear a word or two that sounds like they’re using the x, y and z of Polish but a completely different meaning. I suppose they’re just old European words that have been traded among ships and tribes forever… Looking forward to learning another language … at my age… btw- I noticed less age discrimination too…

    1. Hi Krystina. 🙂 🙂 We actually stayed at the Terra Nostra hotel for part of our trip and I will be writing about it at some stage.
      I’ve not heard of the place you mention in Aveiro but we’re going there next week for my husband’s birthday so I’ll keep my eyes open. 🙂 🙂

      1. There are a lot of places like that though aren’t there? Where you are pleased to have been but wouldn’t return to. So many new places to discover that it’s never an issue.

  3. what a lovely read, Jo! and the garden is beautiful, i’ve never seen such huge and unique roots. love the snapshot of statues and everything else. thanks as always for taking us along! 🙂 🙂

  4. Amazing fig trees! A bit OTT for my garden I think. We saw some beauties in Australia. And I drooled over the cake – cheesecake? I tried to tear my eyes away and look at the flowers, but it was no good. Sorry.

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