Jardin De Cactus is one of the largest cactus parks all around the world. It’s located in northern part of Lanzarote, specifically, in the city of Guatiza in the municipality of Teguise. A vivid example of landscape architecture inscribed in the natural landscape.
The project of this unusual park was created in 1970 by the artist César Manrique. It was implemented in 1989-90. Manrique worked on it for 20 years and completed in 1990, two years before his tragic death. Today, one of the best collections of cactuses in the world grows on the territory. It is simply impossible to pass by, as a huge eight-meter sculpture of cactus with spines, made of metal, rises above the main entrance to the garden. The same cactus mark is found everywhere – on door handles, large wrought-iron gates, various architectural elements, like a beautiful glass ball on a spiral staircase and etc. Manrique was responsible for the concept of the garden and its decoration, but planting was made by outstanding botanist Estanislao Gonzalez Ferr.
In total, there are over 10,000 plants growing in the garden, From giant Chereus and huge thorny balls to unusual asparagus stems and dark green corals and anemones planted here by Manrique. This botanical amphitheater is decorated with bridges and paths leading visitors to red flowers and black volcanic lava. The space of the park is hidden behind a wall of rough stone. Behind the massive gate, finished with wrought iron, begins a double staircase leading down. From it diverge the winding paths and passages. Respect for the natural environment is one of the keys of the architectural work of César Manrique and can also be reflected in the Cactus Garden, fully integrated into the landscape of the island. The windmill stands out on the black stone and is one of the best places to take a panoramic view of the garden, built in the form of an amphitheater.
On Lanzarote, many Cactus species are grown. The green prickly pear is planted here on plantations to obtain cochineal. Manrique chose the rarest and the most unusual kinds of succulents for the realization of his project. Cacti were collected from all over the world: green and multicolored, smooth, prickly and fluffy, miniature and gigantic. The concept of such garden was taken from Japanese gardens. To decorate the space, the author used all sorts of techniques of architecture, sculpture, painting.
Garden was built on a site of a volcanic quarry. For years volcanic ashes have been used as a fertilizer for plants. The Landscape of a park represents a volcano crater. The circular form of the former ravine was preserved, supplemented by stepped terraces from volcanic peat. Steps rise from the bottom of the quarry amphitheater; on the ledges here and there cactuses grow. At first, the creators restored an abandoned mill.
The center of the composition is a group of monolithic stones, left from the time of development on the bottom of the quarry. Their shape repeats the curved elongated silhouettes of cactuses. The singing of small birds and the buzz of the insects that enjoy their own oasis are the only sounds that break the peace and silence that reign in the place. On the territory of the garden, there is a cafeteria and a shop. All buildings and design elements – even garbage cans and toilets – are made in a single informal spirit. All the details are thought out and remind of cactuses – amazing, unusual and beautiful plants in their own way. Jardin De Cactus works every day from 10 am till 17.45pm.
If you are a lover of cactuses you should definitely visit Jardin De Cactus.