I shall flit around the pictures and try and make some sense of our lovely two weeks on Madeira. It will take several posts to cover the many trips, and walks we enjoyed, but it will be worth my while adding some over the next few weeks.
We stayed in a lovely hotel: The Savoy Gardens Hotel, which had great food, and well placed to walk into Funchal. We had holidayed on Madeira quite a few years ago, and our new hotel was only a short walk from the lovely Quinta Magnolia Park. It is open during daylight hours, on most days, and has a lovely variety of trees and planted areas, as well as tennis courts etc. I loved this large Camphor Tree...as children our father had set us up a swing from a branch of a Camphor Tree so of course I love them.
The succulents looked wonderful and fresh, the large ones in the background: swan neck agaves are showing off their flower spikes.
We watched lizards
and looked closely at flower spikes
Then we walked towards the bridge and growing from the floor of the ravine, the Kapok Tree with its spiny bark almost ready to shoot with its spring leaves was just starting to release the fluff from its large seed capsules, which hung down at head height as we stood looking down towards the sea from the bridge.
and on our very last day, as we were waiting for the transport back to the airport, during those last minutes, when I was nosing round the lovely gardens at the hotel, I found this little kapok lined nest most probably brought down by some blustery winds we had the previous evening.
Just a little further down the road towards Funchal are the Quinta Vigia Gardens. Sometimes they are open to the public, but you have to be lucky to get in, as it is also the Official Residence of the President. These gardens have some lovely fountains,
and plantings, several parrots in large aviaries, great views over the harbour, and a small chapel with beautiful old blue tiles.
This little blackcap was singing its lovely song
and the plant which intrigued me the most was this one
I've since found out that one of its name is the Mickey Mouse Plant, but we ought to give its botanical name: Ochna serrulata. Its the first time I have seen this shrub, some of the seeds had started to turn black, and with the yellow flowers, the red sepals, black and green seeds, this South African Shrub was a real stunner.
Just next door, a little further down the hill towards Funchal, you can step off the main road and walk down to the centre through the attractive public Santa Catarina Park. On the many times we walked into Funchal we saw different plants and flowers, this one was growing on long stems but I don't yet know its name.
and being quite early in the season, saw several deciduous trees sprouting their first flowers and leaves, and sometime you just smell a beautiful perfume and then realise that the trees lining the streets along the black and white pavements are Jacaranda, if the sky is really blue you can hardly see their blue flowers! We often stopped like Christopher Columbus
to look down over the harbour, where the large cruise ships would stop for the day.