An introduction to the Gardens
The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens are located in the historic Alameda Gardens, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2016. The Alameda was established in 1816 by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Don and although the footprint has been reduced significantly since then, the original layout of the gardens remains largely intact. This includes a series of gabs and commemorative busts that attest to the gardens’ age and military history. The Alameda fell into a state of neglect during the 1970s and 1980s, but after the establishment of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens in 1991, the gardens have been rehabilitated beautifully. They now hold important collections of plants from around the world, especially Mediterranean plants and succulents.
What the Gardens do
Prior to the establishment of Commonwealth Park, the Alameda was Gibraltar’s only public garden. As such, it has long served the people of Gibraltar, the majority of whom do not have gardens of their own. As well as its aesthetic value, the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens have expanded to take on a number of other roles. Education is a key aim of all botanic gardens and the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens run a number of educational programmes for children, as well as regular tours for adults. Conservation and research are also important pillars of the Alameda’s work: its conservation efforts have included bringing the Gibraltar Campion Silene tomentosa back from the brink of extinction. The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens are active in ecological research and monitoring around the Rock, including for the Government of Gibraltar. More recently, the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens have entered a partnership with the University of Gibraltar, as an Associate Campus. This partnership will help both institutions develop their capacity for research and education.
The Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park (AWCP) is located within the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. This was established when a number of exotic animals that were confiscated by Gibraltar Customs were housed at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. Since then, the park has expanded its collections and infrastructure and is now one of the Alameda’s prime attractions. As with the rest of the gardens, conservation and education are key objectives of the AWCP.