The Town Hall of La Orotava has revived the ‘wise men and women’ project to offer guided tours of the Hijuela del Botánico, a garden declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2008 with the category of Historical Garden, which is part of the Botanical Garden of Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, and is located in the centre of the town, next to the Town Hall.
This project was launched at the beginning of 2020 but had to be suspended due to the situation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the initiative consists of a group of volunteers over 55 years of age, under the name of ‘wise men and women’, who will altruistically act as guides in this garden.
The mayor of La Orotava, Francisco Linares, has appreciated the recovery of this “interesting and enriching” initiative, as well as the “social and active” commitment of “this group of volunteers, true ambassadors, to transmit their experience and knowledge to others”.
Francisco Linares added that it is to be welcomed “that they dedicate part of their free time to promote this unique garden, a point of reference in the Canary Islands, in an attractive and affectionate way”. “This educational, tourist and cultural project is aimed at the general public, but especially at schoolchildren, tourists and groups who want to learn more about the history and all that this garden holds”, he added.
The councillor for the Environment and Climate Change, Luis Perera, explained that the volunteers receive specific training for this purpose, thus acquiring the necessary tools to transmit their knowledge and effectively carry out the informative and interpretative work of the natural, cultural, scientific and ethnographic heritage of this emblematic place.
The guided tours are free and will last about 45 minutes. They can be requested through the Red Cross e-mail. The project, which starts in March and will take place every second and fourth Thursday of the month, has the support of the Canary Islands Institute of Agrarian Research (ICIA) of the Canary Islands Government, the Sustainable Development and Fight against Climate Change Department of the Cabildo of Tenerife, and the Red Cross.
In addition, throughout this year, workshops and other actions will be developed to enhance the value of this open classroom and bring it closer to neighbours and visitors. The councillor also pointed out that the project complies with the Law of Volunteering of the Government of the Canary Islands and has the permissions of the Management of the Acclimatization Garden of La Orotava and the Professional Association of Tourist Guides of Tenerife.
The Hijuela del Botánico Garden was conceived in 1788 as a complementary centre to the Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava (today the Botanical Garden in Puerto de la Cruz). Inside there are trees of great interest due to their size, age, rarity or origin. The winding paths of the garden allow you to enjoy more than 150 species, including the Indian chestnut tree, the fire tree, the sapote tree, Australian conifers and a beautiful specimen of the dragon tree.
There are other plants such as cedars, Canary Island pines, magnolias, the candil tree or the tree of love and Canary Island palms, as well as specimens of exotic flora such as the sequoia del alba, from China; a specimen of the Chilean palm, highly endangered in its natural habitat or a Glinkgo Biloba, the only living species of the ginkgoales genus and with fossils dating back to the Permian period, in the Palaeozoic. It is also worth mentioning other architectural elements of this space such as the wrought iron gate from the end of the 19th century or its pond with some aquatic plant species.