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Tony visits the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens and mountains of southern Spain

Tony Hall
9 March 2011
Blog team: 
Follow Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum at Kew, on his visit to the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. See the new rock garden they are creating and look at the wonderful array of wild Narcissus, orchids and spring flowering shrubs in the mountains of southern Spain.

The Arboretum at Kew Gardens has links and involvement with many botanic gardens around the world. Recently I visited the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, which I have developed personal links with over the last ten years. When I'm out there I often research Mediterranean plants in their natural habitat and take part in seed collecting trips for Kew' s plant collections.


Entrance to Gibraltar Botanic Gardens and a mosaic map

The Gibraltar Botanic Garden has recently recruited a new plant propagator, Chris, who has just returned back to Gibraltar from Kew. Whilst here at Kew she shadowed some of the propagators, including Andrew Luke who runs the woody plant nursery in the Arboretum. The changes Chris has made in the nursery since my last visit to Gibraltar are already plain to see. I took some seed and plant material over with me for their collections and use in the new rock garden they are creating.

Building the new rock garden

I also took the time to drop into the gardens to catch up with friends; the Director John Cortes, Jon Hammerton who moved from Kew's Arboricultural Unit to the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens three years ago, and I was also joined for a day in the field by Keith Bensusan, who is in charge of research and collections there.

Keith, Chris and Jon behind-the-scenes at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens

Viewing species in the Gardens

During my recent trip I was mainly looking at wild Narcissus which are a great interest of mine.


Narcissus in the wild - Left: Narcissus jonquilla Right: Narcissus cuatrecasasii

The weather was great, dry and sunny, and apart from the seven species of Narcissus I saw, there were some early orchids and sand crocus (Romulea clusiana) too.


Left: Barlia robertiana in flower, Right: Romulea clusiana in flower

I also saw heathers and many legumes out in flower, including the wonderful honey scented Coronilla valentina.

Coronilla veluntina in flower

Many of the plants collected from Gibraltar and Spain can be seen growing in Kew's Mediterranean Garden.

- Tony -


18 March 2011
Lovely pictures! - the wild narcissi take me back ten years to a very happy period living in Andalucia... Thank you for posting these.
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12 March 2011
I love the photos of the plants growing in the wild. Thanks for showing me some lovely spring flowers.
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