Extensive works are taking place throughout the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens in preparation for our bicentenary in 2016. This includes a redesign of the Family Beds along the Main Walk, which now includes two rows of Alexander Palms Archontophoenix alexandrae lining the avenue. Preparatory works have also begun for the construction of a Glasshouse that will be used to display succulents and other plants from arid zones in one half of it, and tropical species such as orchids and bromeliads in the other area. The public will be able to visit the Glasshouse, and updates on its development will be included in this blog.
The climbers that clamber over the frame of the Giuseppe Codali Bridge across The Dell are at least a hundred years old. The most dominant species there is the Bougainvillea Bougainvillea glabra, but it includes other species including Ivy Hedera helix and Golden Chalice Vine Solandra maxima. These had not been managed for some years and had become overgrown and a little untidy. They have therefore been pruned quite heavily. We are confident that the plants will spring into action during the warmer months and put on attractive and colourful growth. The trim also helps to alleviate the considerable weight placed on the old bridge by these very large plants.
A bust of Guiseppe Codali was recently unveiled in the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, at one of the entrances to the bridge over the Dell, which bear’s Mr Codali’s name. Guiseppe Codali arrived in Gibraltar from his native Italy in the 1870s. He was the head gardener at the Alameda and designed a number of gardens in Gibraltar and the hinterland, including the sunken garden of The Dell itself. The bust was very kindly donated by the Codali family, which is rightly proud of its heritage. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage both attended the unveiling of the statue, as did the descendants of Guiseppe Codali, some of whom had travelled from the UK to attend the event. The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens are extremely grateful to the Codali family for their exceptionally generous donation.
A team from the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens visited southwest Morocco, to study succulent plants that are native to Morocco in their natural habitat. The Alameda has been active in the study and propagation of Moroccan succulents for many years. Whilst there, the team studied plants in their native habitats, paying careful attention to soil and habitat characteristics. They also collected seeds and cuttings of some Moroccan species. Time was also taken to visit the sole, remote and isolated population of Moroccan Dragon Trees Dracaena draco subsp. ajgal. Although this population was only discovered in the 1990s, it is probably the healthiest population of this species of Dragon Tree left in the wild. Members of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens’ technical team who study Moroccan Ant ecology and faunistics also took the opportunity to carry out fieldwork. All aspects studied yielded interesting results and publication of these will no doubt follow.