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Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo

January 7, 2018
Viera and Clavijo Botanical Garden

Cactus garden

Images can fool you, can’t they? For you’d think that I’d gone global rather than local. Snapping a shot of New Mexico for my latest random photo. Except I haven’t left the island. What you in fact see before you is El Cardon, Gran Canaria’s token plant. And I only needed to travel as far as Tafira’s Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo to do so. A mere bus ride from home.

Jardin Canario

Tafira Alta: The high life in Las Palmas

Tafira is Las Palmas’ version of a posh suburb, home to the rich and famous including José Manuel Soria, minister for Industry, Energy, and Tourism. The garden’s director is David Bramwell, a bouncer at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club in a past life. An expert on local botany, he’s written no less than 30 books on the topic. Leaving you in no doubt as to what would be his specialist subject on Mastermind.

Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo

The garden takes its name from José de Viera y Clavijo (1731-1813). A noted botanist and historian, he wrote History of the Canary Islands (Historia de Canarias). Born in Tenerife’s Realejo de Arriba, he died in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Swede growing

1952 saw the founding of the Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo. Set up by Swedish botanist Eric Ragnor Sventenius, it aimed to safeguard the native flora of the Canary Islands. The Swede remained the garden’s director until his death in a car crash in 1973. David Bramwell replaced him a year later.

A partridge in a (non) pear tree

El Cardon is the natural habitat of both the giant Gran Canarian lizard and skink. Its seeds feed birds including the turtle dove, wild pigeon, and partridge. What’s more, it also makes for rather a striking photo as I’m sure you’ll agree.