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Parques de Sintra has completed the planting of more than 500 cacti and succulents in the Mexican Garden in the Park of Monserrate

14 Aug 2023

On 11 August, Parques de Sintra finished rehabilitating and enhancing the cactus collection in the Park of Monserrate's Mexican Garden, planting 554 cacti and succulents of 16 different species, donated by the Association of Friends of Monserrate.


The completion of the project was marked with a celebration attended by the Mexican Ambassador to Portugal, Bruno Figueroa; the President of the Association of Friends of Monserrate, Dinah Azevedo Neves; and the Board of Directors of Parques de Sintra, represented by directors Sofia Cruz and Luís Calaim. In a symbolic act of celebration, the guests planted the final specimens of cacti and succulents.


The Mexican Garden is one of the most surprising areas of the Park of Monserrate, where Francis Cook created a natural outdoor environment for the cultivation of plants from the four corners of the globe, taking advantage of the natural conditions and microclimate of the Sintra hills. Located in the hottest and driest part of the park and covering approximately 5,000 square metres, its installation led to a complete transformation of the property's main valley, diverting the water line and building a complex system of supporting walls to create terraces, paths and an efficient water collection and transport system.


After being destroyed by floods in 1983, this important botanical collection in the Park of Monserrate remained almost completely buried until its restoration by Parques de Sintra between 2009 and 2010, with a project by architect Gerald Luckhurst. Following a complex process that required in-depth research, more than 3,500 plants of 402 species belonging to 11 botanical families were planted there, including the Cactaceae family (including the genera Echinoactus, Ferocactus and Cereus).


The restoration of the Mexican Garden was inaugurated on 24 September 2010 with a Mexican Fiesta, organised with the support of the Mexican Embassy as part of the celebrations for the Bicentenary of Mexico's Independence.


In December last year, the Mexican Garden was once again affected by heavy rains that caused flooding and washed away soil. All the planter boxes were partially buried and many species were replanted last winter and spring, namely salvias, marigolds and zinnias, recreating the tropical vegetation of lower north America. With this planting of cacti and succulents, the process of replenishing and enhancing the collection of Mexican species has been completed.

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