In 1998, it was considered the 4º Best European Botanical Garden, for the uniqueness and rarity of its collection. The location in a valley offers outstanding views towards the surroundings, and simultaneously, excellent conditions for the installation of native species, representative of Azores archipelago’s habitats.
The project intends to value the botanical garden in various dimensions: Botanical, recreational and cultural. The growing number of visitors demanded a strategy to rehabilitate the existing part, in what concerns landscape and botanical value. It also boosted its expansion, and it was our challenge to create a new concept for the expansion area. The design uses a contemporary language in recreating the ecosystem’s dynamics. It also reinterprets the natural and cultural landscape features of each taxon (specimen, genera, or family) that exists in the archipelago, adding value to the visitors, providing a new approach in terms of the contents.
The Botanical Garden is composed of four homogeneous zones: a) Quartéis (subdivision blocks with high clipped hedges of camellia), b) Endemic Arboretum and c) Endemic Herbaceous, Ferns and Bryophytes (expansion zone).
Patterns of stone walls were designed, together with traditional farm cultures, medicinal plants, invasive and Azorean garden plants, aiming to expand the interpretation potential of the garden. The new area adopted an organic design, inspired by the Azores volcanic geomorphology, incorporating a whole program of habitats. Materials used are traditional, which allows full continuity between the old part and the new garden. While respecting the traditional role of a botanical garden, embraces vanguards, preparing it for future challenges and landscape design: namely designing with endemic ecosystem functioning.