Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Botanical Garden of Barcelona

Nestled within the green and leafy Montjuic area of Barcelona (where the Olympic Stadium/Estadi Olimpic is also found) is the city's still rather obscure botanical garden. There are no glasshouses here, which makes it unique from many other botanical gardens we have visited before but instead the plants are all growing out in the open in designated areas such as Australia, California, South Africa, Canary Islands, and Chile. 


Entrance to the Botanical Garden of Barcelona


South Africa Garden at Botanical Garden of Barcelona


Flowering Aloes in the South Africa Garden at Botanical Garden of Barcelona
Flowering Aloes in the South Africa Garden

Dasylirion serratifolium
Dasylirion serratifolium 
There are no rainforest, tropical, or even plants that need cold winters to trigger growth in this botanical garden. But rather only plants coming from areas that share a similar climate to that of Barcelona hence all the plants in their collection are grown outside (apart from what they are propagating of course).


Love the winding and geometric pathways of this botanical garden!
A taste of Australia! Pathway flanked with various Eucalyptus tree

View across to the 1992 Olympic Stadium

The rusting steel retaining walls impart an industrial and contemporary feel to the place
Botanical Garden of Barcelona

This botanical garden is still rather obscure, rarely mentioned nor emphasised in travel guides but at least marked on every map we managed to get hold of. When we visited it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves during the length of our stay.


Puya berteroniana
Puya berteroniana
Aloe thraskii
Aloe thraskii
Kalanchoe
Cotyledon orbiculata
Euphorbia resinifera
Euphorbia resinifera
Macrozamia moorei
We wouldn't mind having one of these in our garden! One can wish! - Macrozamia moorei
Another Macrozamia moorei duo
Most of the acacias were in bloom when we visited, like this one - Acacia cultriformis
Ten years ago it looked like it was still under construction and was not even sure if it was open to the public (it probably was) hence we didn't bother to visit, only being founded in 1999. This time however, we checked before we flew in to the country hence our visit was planned in advance.


Aloe arborescens
Aloe arborescens


Dasylirion serratifolium
Dasylirion serratifolium
Agave salmiana with smaller Agave parryi surrounding it
The garden has meandering angular and geometric concrete pathways with raised areas supported with rusting steel retaining walls, both imparting a modern and industrial feel to the place, another unique point for this botanical garden.



I wonder how many hundreds of years old their Olea europaea trees are...

As expected, they had plenty of mature and stunning specimens to please plant lovers who are keen on native and endemic plants coming from the above areas. Some of their cycads, palms, agaves, and yuccas are particularly outstanding.


This arid border made us giggle, it could do with a make over!
This one was much better!
Agave salmiana
Agave salmiana duo
with Furcraea parmentieri behind them
Agave striata
We immediately recognised this one and love how purple the leaves are!
Pretty don't you think so?
Yucca desmettiana (syn. Yucca aloifolia 'Purpurea')
Botanical Garden of Barcelona

In some areas though the planting is still sparse and in need of more plants to be introduced there. Whilst in other parts the planting just needs to mature and should fill up their space nicely in time. Some areas are still under construction altogether, a testament on how relatively young this botanical garden actually is.




Yucca schidigera patch growing at the base of Washingtonia robusta palms
Agave eduardi (syn. Agave vilmoriniana)
Xanthorrhoea glauca
Puya alpestris that was given a haircut - like or loathe?
Conifer love at first sight! - Podocarpus henkelii
A patch of Melianthus major
Thamnocortus insignis left and Thamnocortus fraternus right

If you ever find yourself in Barcelona and you love plants, take the time to visit their botanical garden, perhaps lump it in with a visit to their Olympic stadium. The garden is still young and actively evolving but it will just get better in time. Will definitely check it out again next time we come back to this city!

Mark :-)

29 comments:

  1. This looks like a great place. I love the industrial accents, too.

    The California section made me laugh; none of the agaves and dasylirions I spotted are native to California although they grow here very nicely.

    My favorite plant of all, though: Xanthorrhoea glauca. What a stunner.

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    1. To get hold of a Xanthorrhoea glauca that big would be a dream! Their zoning thing does need a pinch of salt when it comes to the selection of plants that go in it. In fact only a part of 'California' was finished, the rest is still under construction (should have posted a pic of it!).

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  2. You found a gem there, and you can watch it come into its own on future visits. The paths and walls are great. Most of the plants would not do well here, but that's all the more reason to admire them in your posts. I do have a patch of Melianthus similar to the one you show (if it comes through our recent blast, that is).

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    1. Same here Ricki, most of the plants there won't do well planted outside in our location. Well not without some protection at least. Hope your Melianthus sails through!

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  3. I've been thinking of getting one of those purple yuccas - your photos have pushed me further in that direction.

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    1. You simply must get one or two of those Yuccas Kris!

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  4. I also visited this garden. I really liked the australian part as it looked a bit more mature. There are many interesting plants all over the garden.

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    1. Love their Eucalyptus and Grevillea collection on the Australian section Lisa!

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  5. I love obscure botanical gardens! This one is filled with amazing plants. I would think I was on another planet! Dasylirion serratifolium immediately reminded me of a hula dancer. Aloe thraskii and the euphorbia are also stunning. But the ancient Olea europaea trees have stolen my heart! Thanks for sharing this terrific garden.

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    1. They're all great looking plants Debs, and love olive tree too, with its gnarly trunk it has so much character!

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  6. Wonderful pictures, all! I loved the aloes, and those ancient olive trees look fantastic! I think my favorite is the Melianthus patch. Not only the Melianthus itself but the plants in the background make a marvelously color-saturated shot.

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    1. Thanks Evan! That patch with the Melianthus major has also reminded us of Cornwall!

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  7. Wow the colors in the Yucca aloifolia 'Purpurea' images look fake! They are just so vibrant. The Melianthus patch is also pretty remarkable, if slightly odd. Looks like they've got some fabulous specimen plants and great hardscape/framework.

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    1. It does doesn't it Loree? Gaz wasn't too keen on the yuccas snaking habit but I was just too struck with the intense purple colour of their leaves. Great hard landscaping so far, planting should get even better in time.

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  8. Some fabulous plants and combinations there, and an intriguing take on the botanical garden. I like it, it must be a wonderful way for local gardeners to see first hand what plants from other countries would thrive in their own gardens, making it a really good resource. I suppose our closest equivalents would be the RHS gardens. as their plants are labelled, but I like the zonal approach. Interesting, will be good to see how it develops over your next few visits, given you are not going to wait another 10 years ;-)

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    1. Quite a unique botanical garden without any public glasshouses at all and with everything outdoors divided into zones. Hopefully we won't let ten years pass :)

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  9. Wow, absolutely gorgeous gardens! So many beautiful plants and great photos.

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  10. This looks an awesome place to visit. Barcelona in the distant seems very pretty. And, it would be great if we can have that whole place to ourselves -- remember all the millions of people in NYBG -- so much people take away the charm of nature.

    What are the rules in EU? Could you buy some plants in Spain and bring them back to the UK?

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    1. Do visit this fab city if you get the chance, perhaps lump in with other european cities, you'll love it!

      There's free movement of plants within EU, so it's possible to buy plants in Spain and bring back to UK. We can even hand carry small plants back with us in the plane if we wanted to (which we used to do coming back from Portuguese Island Madeira).

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  11. Ooh now I've got another reason to want to visit Barcelona - the Botanic Garden! I've always wanted to see Gaudi's architecture ever since learning about it at Art College - your photos have re-motivated me to plan a visit!

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    1. You'll have to Ingrid! The chance to immerse onesel in one of his creations is a fab experience!

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  12. Beautiful views of the city. Loved the purple yucca which would make a nice companion for my O. Santa-rita. Those olive trees are gorgeous.

    The "California" section is a bit baffling as Gerhard said.

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    1. Being quite high up the rest of the city, the views from there are gorgeous! Like the sound of the yucca opuntia combo Shirley!

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  13. The Kalanchoe sp is actually Cotyledon orbiculata, and the Acacia looks unlike A. dealbata, possibly A. cultriformis. I've yet to see any Yucca desmetiana 'Blue Boy' old enough here in California to have snaking trunks. Annie's Annuals here in Richmond, California@ www.anniesannuals.com currently has some nice looking 4" pot Yucca 'Blue Boy' for those hear in the USA wanting them mail order.

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  14. Also, Aloe thraskii isn't that, possibly Aloe ferox or another tree aloe.

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    1. Thanks for the info! I've changed the captions on two of them. Will keep the Aloe thraskii for now, curious on that one as well and did cross my mind it could be something else too as A. thraskii has yellow flowers whilst ferox has red but they had A. ferox there as well and the foliage between them too looked different up close. The leaves however were more similar to their other A. thraskii which were in bloom simultaneously too, but yellow. All a bit confusing...

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  15. What an interesting Yucca with purple leaves ... I'd never seen one of those before and never thought that one would actually 'crawl'. :)

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    1. They are more available now in the UK Rosie, and never knew it crept as much as that until we saw it there :)

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