The Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens in the city of Malaga were created in 1855 by the Marquis and Marchioness of Loring and subsequently extended by the Echevarria-Echevarrieta family. The gardens provide an exquisite open-air collection of tropical and subtropical flora. Plant species from Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania can be found here.
The Botanical garden was officially declared historical-artistic gardens in 1943 and they are now also recognized as Item of Cultural Interest. In spring 1990, the gardens were taken over by Malaga City Council, who opened them to the public on 21st June 1994.
The origins of La Concepcion can be traced back to the merging of several estates located at the north of Malaga. This was a home to olive and almond trees and possibly vines, though the citrus trees were the most numerous. The gardens’ creators were Jorge Loring Oyarzabal and Amalia Heredia Livermore, who purchased the land on which they stand in about 1855.
The Marquis and Marchioness’ comfortable economic situation coupled with their first-hand experience of some of Europe’s finest gardens and their commercial dealings abroad enabled them to cultivate the most exotic of plant species from around the world. In order to ensure that their dream came to fruition, they enlisted the services of a French gardener, Chamousst, who selected and planted the gardens’ flora, an endeavour for which he was awarded a number of prizes, as witnessed by newspaper reports of the late XIX century.
La Concepcion quickly earned itself a fine reputation throughout Europe, though not for its exuberantly beautiful gardens; the source of this renown was in fact the magnificent collection of archaeological remains on display in the Loring Museum, a small, Doric-style building erected on the site of a Roman mosaic discovered in Cartama depicting the feats of Hercules.
For many years, the Lorings strove to restore all of the archaeological remains that they encountered. Without doubt, the most significant of these was the Lex Flavia Malacitana, a bronze piece bearing the Roman laws that governed Malaga in the year 80AD which now resides in the National Archaeology Museum.
La Concepcion’s historical garden dates back to 1857. The area known as the “botanical garden” (collections of plants grouped in accordance with scientific criteria which are used for research and educational activities) has subsequently sprung up around it, with numerous groups of plants laid out in the manner of a garden. Fruit trees, bamboos, palms, vines, Mediterranean and aquatic plants etc. have gradually created a series of different gardens in which the visitor can both stroll and learn.
The main attraction of this romantic-style garden, which covers 3 hectares, is its collection of palm trees. This is notable for its inclusion of such unusual species as Livistona saribus and Livistona decora (L. decipiens) and for featuring a number of majestic specimens such as Roystonea regia, Brahea armata and Jubaea chilensis.
Also to be found here are Cycads (C. revoluta and C. circinalis), Ficuses (F. microcarpa and F. macrophylla), Araucarias (A. heterophylla and A. bidwilli) and huge masses of giant Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai).
The bamboos (Phyllostachys nigra and Bambusa vulgaris) add a touch of beauty to the whole ensemble, whose singularity lies in the fact that it features a large number of tropical and subtropical plants that are very rarely found growing outdoors in Europe.
In addition, the garden’s vegetation is housed in a gentle landscape filled with surprises, where winding paths lead to unique, charming corners that are home to ponds, fountains, cascades, footbridges, greenhouses and statues.
We have the Lorings to thank for all of La Concepcion’s buildings: the large Stately Home, which is currently being restored, and the building known as the “administrator’s house” were erected in the XIX century; the latter is home to both the Training Workshop, which offers courses in gardening, building and carpentry, and the Technical Department of the Botanical Trust.
Also to be found here are an old gardener’s shed, now the headquarters of the “Association of Friends of La Concepcion”, and a former schoolhouse which is soon to play host to the “Nature School”. The avenue lined with banana trees, the Swiss cheese plant cascade, the Loring Museum and theatre areas and the most attractively landscaped corners of the historical garden all date back to the same era.