Porto’s Botanical Garden is a space where three dimensions converge: recreation, history and botanics. It is not a very big garden – 4 ha to be precise – but it is full of old town charm.
The house the property are now runned by the Faculty of Sciences (Porto University) but were formerly owned by the Christ Order and after that by João Salabert. Finally, it belonged to the Andresen family, who sold it to the State of Portugal in 1949.
The botanic gardens are representative of the so loved recreational gardens of the 18th century in Porto. The historic relevance of the complex is also related to the Andresen family. The house was acquired by João Henrique Andresen, a Port wine merchant, who requalified the gardens to give its romantic aspect. His daughter – Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen – became one of the most prominent portuguese writers of the 20th century and her work is full of the memories of her childhood in this property.
There is a garden with two intertwined “Js”, the first letters of Sophia’s grandparents: João and Joana. The cousin of Sophia, Ruben A., was also an outstanding writer. They both have their busts at these gardens.
Among other gardens full of shapes and of Sophia’s books imagination, there is one of my favorites: the rose’s. I love to go there when the roses blow and watch them in the morning, when the dewdrops are still on their petals.
My favorite flower of the entire garden is definitely the camellia (Camelia japonica). Brought from Japan, the camellia seems to grow particularly well in Porto and is spread throughout the city.
You can enjoy a morning or sunset walk at Botanic gardens. The entrance is free and it is open from 9am to 6pm.