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often the setting for wedding photographs with the
        exceptionally beautiful large flowered hibiscus in the
        background or the two Lord Howe Island Palms that
        were donated to the gardens in 1941 by an elderly lady
        on the eve of her evacuation during WWII.
        From 1973 the gardens fell into a state of disrepair and
        languished for almost twenty years.                                                                                MOVING HOME?
        The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens Project started in 1991. It
        aims to restore the aesthetic beauty and interest of the
        Alameda for the benefit of visitors to the gardens. The                                                            SAVE 25% OFF YOUR STORAGE
        impressive remit includes establishing a living collection
        representative of Gibraltar and its hinterland and                                                                 SIMPLY QUOTE BMSPRING                            *
        displaying a collection of plants from Mediterranean
        climatic zones around the world. The project aims to
        contribute towards the conservation of the flora of                       Dragon trees in The Alameda Gardens
        Gibraltar and its hinterland and establish a collection of
        succulents from around the world. An active educational   They will be there long after we depart this world, they
        programme contributes towards the dissemination of   are reputed to live for 1000 years.
        information about plants, their economic value and their   The gardens are also packed with wildlife, helped by the
        conservation.                                      fact that only in extremis are pesticides and herbicides
        As you wander around the Alameda, you will find    used in the Alameda. Birds that nest in the garden
        continually changing vistas punctuated by the famous   include Blackcaps and Sardinian Warblers. Hoopoes
        Dragon Trees. The Dragon Tree comes from the Atlantic   pass through in spring and autumn. In winter Booted
        Islands of the Canaries, Madeira and Cape Verde. It is a   Eagles have been known to hunt in the gardens whilst
        member of the lily family, not a tree at all. The red resin,   kestrels can be seen all year. Reptiles include the
        known as Dragon’s Blood, crystallises and was used   harmless Horseshoe Whip Snake and the Moorish Gecko
        medicinally. The smooth grey bark is reminiscent of an   but it is the smallest mammals that thrive here. The
        elephant’s hide. Its panicles of showy white flowers   Pipistrelle Bat is the most common and is sometimes
        appear irregularly in summer and produce bright orange   about in the morning and late afternoons while the
        berry-like fruit in winter. The oldest dragon tree in the   gardens are open. At night it is the turn of Schreiber’s Bat
        gardens is probably about 300 years old, predating the   and the European Free-tailed Bat, fleeting shadows,
        gardens themselves. How they arrived there is a mystery.   flitting between the trees in a frantic search for airborn

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   42                                                  June 2019                                           June 2019                                              43
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