Jardim Botânico José do Canto
UNESCO World Heritage Designation :
Yes nº 2033 - 2006
Type of Historical Garden:
Botanical (XIX Century Romantic Botanical Garden)
Rua José do Canto, 9, 9500-076 Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
Google Maps Coordinates:
Access from the provincial capital :
Yes, 1km by foot, car or minibus, to the historical city center
Access from the nearest place to the site :
Yes, City of Lagoa at 9,6 km by car or bus
Summer From 9 a.m. to 19 p.m. and Winter From 9 a.m. to 17 p.m.
Visitors’ Reception Centre
Activities for the general public
Parking for private vehicles
Parking for buses
Access for people with disabilities or reduced
Others: Hotel “Casa do Jardim”
Nearest parking for buses:
Yes, at 400m in Avenida D. Manuel I
Nearest parking for private vehicles:
Yes, at 50m
Days open to the public:
Opens all year except December 25 and January 1
Types of visits:
Free visits and one guided visits a day
Duration of visits:
Guided visit about 45 min. Free visit all day long
Maximum number of visitors in a group:
Maximum number of visitors per day:
Adults and children over 12 years old 4€
Senior over 65 years and resident in Ponta Delgada – 2€
Children between 8 and 12 years old – 2€
Children up to 8 years – free
Prior purchase of tickets:
Activities for the public:
Once a year in The Open day to local population 1st or 2nd Sunday of July
Nearest cultural destinations:
– Carlos Machado Museum – http://museucarlosmachado.azores.gov.pt
Nearest natural destinations:
– S. Sebastian Church (Igreja de São Sebastião/Matriz) No website
– Gruta do Carvão – http://grutadocarvao.amigosdosacores.pt/pt
– Lagoa das Sete Cidades – www.visitazores.com
– Lagoa do Fogo – www.visitazores.com
Casa do Jardim – http://www.josedocanto.com/casa-do-jardim/
Parque Atlantico Shopping Center – https://www.visitazores.com/
Crafts, gastronomy, gift shops etc., at the site or in the area:
Image credits: “Fundação do Jardim José do Canto”.
Natural environment of the garden
José do Canto Botanical Garden is a place of great landscape and botanical interest, populated by trees that impress with their monumental size of peculiar morphology. The current garden has an area of 5.8 ha and more than 3000 species from all over the world. It is located almost in the center of the city of Ponta Delgada, surrounded by an urban area, except on the west side, where is located another private garden.
Historical background of the garden
José do Canto (1820-1898) was a cultured wealthy man and a nature lover. Well versed in the secrets of botany, he established contacts with botanical gardens and nurseries from around the world, from whose he bought, sold or exchanged plants.
Since the mid-19th Century he turned his garden, located in Santana, Ponta Delgado, into an outstanding space for the acclimation of thousands of species, many of them later introduced into his landscaped woods at Furnas and Lagoa do Congro.
Still in the 1840s, he commissioned the project of the Park to David Mocatta (1806-1882) in London, a man considered, at the time, very tasteful and influenced by his long years of study in Italy. The project has the date of 1845 and the streets of the Garden maintain until today mostly the design of the initial project. For fifty years, living in Paris or S. Miguel, José do Canto acquired permanent species for the Garden, contacting the largest nurseries of the time in person of by letter. His letters make constant references to acquisitions, botanical parks visited or contacted by letter, nurserymen, merchants and suppliers of the species acquired, (in a letter refers to a lot which, being ready to be shipped from the garden of Algiers to S. Miguel… was eater by a plague of locusts…) prices; transportation of purchases to the Island, (instructions to agencies and even to ship commanders) etc, etc.
The continuous expansion of the park and its botanical enrichment lasted more than half of the nineteenth century. From the 40’s (the project is ready in 1845/46), until 1898 (year of the death of José do Canto).
In the highest zone of the property, was built, already in the XX century, Casa do Jardim, a neoclassical style mansion built with tillage stone and stone of the island.
At the southwest end of the José do Canto Botanical Garden are the Chapel of Sant’Ana and the ruins of the gathering annexed to it, founded in 1624 by António de Frias. The set was classified as a property of public interest. The (former greenhouse) pavilion remains fully integrated in the harden and retains all the primitive appearance of “Victorian” greenhouse. Undoubtedly the largest and most relevant construction of this nature existing in S. Miguel and maybe in the Azores.
Description of the Garden
By the end of the XVIII century a number of large Botanical Gardens were created in the Azores. One of the richest in species is José do Canto Botanical Garden, planted from 1845, by José do Canto (1820-1898), a member of the Azorean landed gentry. It covers around six hectares in the heart of Ponta Delgada.
During more than a century it has been visited by many travellers, among whom many famous and well-known personalities, such as the King of Portugal Dom Carlos, Franklin Roosevelt, Jorge Amado, etc., etc.
Almost all of the trees planted in this garden, – due to the richness of soil and climate -, developed very well, and many of them in a spectacular way, specially calling the attention due to their gigantic bearing, beauty of their tops, strong trunks and roots. Among many others, the remarkable specimens of “metrosideros”, “ficus elasticas”, “araucarias” should be noted.
Several buildings exist in the park. The Chapel of Saint Anne (XVII Century); the Manor (XVIII Century), now being adapted to an hotel; the Victorian green house, now used as a Pavillion; the Palace (XX Century) built in strict neo-classic style and considered as a major achievement of Azorean artists and craftsmen. José do Canto’s monument and King Charles memorial, are also located in the Park.
The garden is open to tourism. In the ground floor of the Palace, is located a comfortable “bed and breakfast” (14 rooms) guest house (Residencial Casa do Jardim).
The great hall of the Palace and the Pavilion are frequently rented for parties, conferences, concerts and other events.
The Garden is inscribed in the “Botanical Gardens Secretariat” who depends from UNESCO, and is one of the few Portuguese botanical gardens mentioned in its catalogue.
1842 – José do Canto marries Maria Guilhermina Taveira de Neiva Frias Brum da Silveira (owner of the lands on which José do Canto planted his botanical Garden)
1843 – José do Canto ordered from the architect David Mocatta of London the project of the Park and Palace.
1845 – The (abovementioned) project was ready.
From the 40’s up to 1898 (the year of José do Canto’s death) – continuous expansion of the park and its botanical enrichment.
1806 – Dr. Edmond Goeze, director of the Botanical Garden of Coimbra, visited S.Miguel and José do Canto Botanical Garden.
1898 – José do Canto dies
1937 – José do Canto’s daughter dies, Margarida Brum do Canto Hintze Ribeiro, and the garden is divided into two fractions of unequal size. One corresponding to the extreme north of the property where there was a house (inherited by Antonio Brum do Canto Hintze Ribeiro, Margarida’s Son), and a bigger area with the remaining part of the garden (inherited by Maria da Graça, Margarida’s grand-daughter)
1936 – Maria da Graça marries Augusto de Athayde and the property is still owned by their descendants.