Palheiro Gardens are high in the hills to the north of Funchal They are not as easy to get to as Monte Palace Gardens or the Botanic Gardens so are a lot quieter. At over 1500’, the gardens have good views down to Funchal across Ribeiro do Inferno, a steep sided wooded ravine.
The estate was bought at the start of the C19th by the Count of Carvahal, who built a hunting lodge here. The Count had spent time in England and planned an English style garden around the house. He was responsible for introducing Camelias to Madera and planted many in the gardens along with specimen trees. He also built a small private chapel in the gardens dedicated to St John the Baptist.
The estate was sold to the Blandy family in 1885. They employed the architect who had designed Reid’s Hotel to build a new house on a small natural terrace to the north of the old house, which is now a luxury hotel with a golf course. The house is private, but can be glimpsed from the gardens.
The estate still belongs to the Blandy family. They have continued to develop the garden and have introduced many new species from around the world which thrive in the sub tropical climate and fertile volcanic soils.
It is a ten minute walk from the ticket office down a rough track past the gardens in below the house. Hedges divide a rectangle into six smaller gardens with the highlight the sunken garden with its small pond.
Round the outside of the hedges are herbaceous borders. Beyond the formal gardens is an area of grassland with specimen trees, including this beautiful tulip tree.
A small man made water channel separates the main gardens from the chapel and the rest of the gardens. At the end of May there was the constant sound of frogs croaking.
The long border drops down the side of the valley beyond the chapel. To one side is the formal rose garden. At the end of the long border, steps drop down to an attractive topiary feature of peacocks.
The Jardim da Senhora is a lovely area of informal flower beds which drop down to a small pond with water lilies with the tea house beyond.
These are very attractive gardens and there are a lot more flowers than at Monte Palace Gardens. They do need at least two hours to enjoy them.
“Map of gardens”:https://images.app.goo.gl/X3RYAaJt5PqwXqQ27
There are lots more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/madeira/palheira/index.html