Nature’s beauty has always been able to move me, to create a feeling of tranquillity within me. It was this need and certainty which led me to believe that in the abandoned Monte Palace it would be possible, with patience and persistence, to recreate my dream, to plant and to watch it slowly grow into what is today a tropical garden.
A rich collection containing a wide variety of species was planted here. They came from the different continents, with special prominence being given to the rare collection of cycads from South Africa. The cycads alone are a good reason to visit the garden.
The concern with creating a botanical garden in Madeira, an image which was perhaps a romantic one at the turn of the century, did not overshadow the presence of the local flora. A particular mood was created in which the species most characteristic of the Island could also be observed.
The desire to make a visit to the Tropical Garden a source of discovery, led me to incorporate a large collection of tiles within the space of the garden showing us the history of this art form from the 15th century up to the present. This collection could make up the substance of a future Tile Museum to be opened in Monte Palace itself, which would enrich and complement the museum network in Madeira. The concern with creating a museum underlying the tile collection also allows for the possibility for it to be used for educational purposes. Thus a wing was created for the history of Portuguese Kings, through which children and indeed all those who visit us may almost without being conscious of it, learn about some of the most important events in our history.
So that this garden does not once again return to the state of abandonment in which I found it, I have set up a foundation, which, with its Social Fund today greater than 125 million Euros, may provide for its continued existence in the future, in line with the many objectives that it pursues, in particular in the area of education, the arts and the environment.
It only remains for me to hope that you may share with me in the pleasure that I have had in creating this garden, today also your garden and that you may discover in it the same feeling of tranquillity which it always manages to arouse in me.