The Santa Cruz de Rivadulla garden is, for many, the most fascinating botanical space in Galicia for its extraordinary diversity and richness in ornamental flora, as well as for its botanical and landscape value, more than half a million plants of 400 different species.
In the second half of the 16th century the enclosure was walled up and the property was divided internally. Avenues and walkways were formed to separate the different cultivation plots and facilitate access to them. The entire monumental complex has a scale of layout, forming a single, rational and orthogonal whole, which suggests Renaissance influences.
The complex, made up of more than five hundred olive trees that flank the avenues and that we see today, is the result of an original idea that was undertaken for the first time in Galicia.
In the 19th century, Iván Armada and Fernández de Córdoba (1845-1899), known as “El Tío Iván”, considerably increased the collection of plants, especially camellias. The first citations about his plantations date back to the period between 1875-1899 and are reflected in his notebooks.
In these, "Uncle Ivan" relates that he planted several specimens of camellia next to others that were already growing in the garden. At that time, they were already 7 meters high. Therefore, it can be concluded that these "old camellias" were planted years ago, probably from 1780 to 1820. Others were planted before 1850, and those planted by "Uncle Ivan" from 1875 onwards.
From a botanical point of view, the most important thing about the property is the set of monumental trees that it brings together, among which we can highlight: the walks of camellias (Camellia), olive trees (Olea europaea), boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), gigantic magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora), Australian fern (Dicksonia antarctica), Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica), Virginia tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera), ombu (Phytolacca dioica), Pyramidal oak (Quercus robur var. Fastigiata), Washingtonia palms (Washingtonia robusta), as well as an orange tree reminiscent of old farm citrus groves.
Fountain of Jovellanos
One of the places most steeped in history is the Fountain of Jovellanos, in memory of the writer, jurist and enlightened politician, who would end here and sign the "Appendices and notes to the Memory in defense of the Central Board" in 1811. The Main Race leads us home and along the way we leave boxwoods, camellia walks or large magnolia trees.
The tour of the garden will take us through: