By the end of the XVIII century a number of large Botanical Gardens were created in the Azores. One of the richest in species is José do Canto Botanical Garden, planted from 1845, by José do Canto (1820-1898), a member of the Azorean landed gentry. It covers around six hectares in the heart of Ponta Delgada.
During more than a century it has been visited by many travellers, among whom many famous and well-known personalities, such as the King of Portugal Dom Carlos, Franklin Roosevelt, Jorge Amado, etc., etc.
Almost all of the trees planted in this garden, – due to the richness of soil and climate -, developed very well, and many of them in a spectacular way, specially calling the attention due to their gigantic bearing, beauty of their tops, strong trunks and roots. Among many others, the remarkable specimens of “metrosideros”, “ficus elasticas”, “araucarias” should be noted.
Several buildings exist in the park. The Chapel of Saint Anne (XVII Century); the Manor (XVIII Century), now being adapted to an hotel; the Victorian green house, now used as a Pavillion; the Palace (XX Century) built in strict neo-classic style and considered as a major achievement of Azorean artists and craftsmen. José do Canto’s monument and King Charles memorial, are also located in the Park.
The garden is open to tourism. In the ground floor of the Palace, is located a comfortable “bed and breakfast” (14 rooms) guest house (Residencial Casa do Jardim). The great hall of the Palace and the Pavilion are frequently rented for parties, conferences, concerts and other events.
The Garden is inscribed in the “Botanical Gardens Secretariat” who depends from UNESCO, and is one of the few Portuguese botanical gardens mentioned in its catalogue.