Photos from Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera (Barcelona)

Here’s a few pictures from one of our trips to Barcelona’s fabulous Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera…truly a little slice of paradise on Earth! Located on the – rather steep – Montjuïc hill, in Barcelona, these botanical gardens are rightfully considered as one of the most important cactus collections in Europe. They enjoy an excellent, panoramic, perspective of Barcelona’s port and coastline, as well as a microclimate averaging a temperature of roughly 2°C to 3°C / 35.5°F to 37.5°F higher than the surrounding environs. Despite these favourable conditions (the park’s also comparatively shielded from the often intense winds of the region), in 1987, a harsh frost destroyed almost forty-percent of the collection’s diversity! A previous freeze (almost one week of temperatures averaging -6°C / 21.2°F, in 1985) had already debilitated the plants, with this subsequent one unfortunately serving the final blow for many. Happily (several decades and renovations later), we’re happy to report that the plants are now back to their full glory!

Named after a famous Mallorcan poet, Miquel Costa i Llobera, the gardens were designed and developed under the guidance of the architect Joan Maria Casamor and Joan Pañella Bonastre (a professor at the Escuela de Jardinería de Barcelona). Initially used as an outdoor classroom for botany students, they opened to the public in 1970. Since then, they’ve become a popular attraction for both locals of and visitors to the city, allowing many hours of rewarding exploration throughout their area of approximately sixty-thousand-metres / six-hundred-and-forty-five-thousand-feet.

Amazingly, these fantastic gardens play host to more than eight-hundred desert and sub-desert cactus species from around the world! Given our own specific focus on the Trichocereus, we’ll concentrate on those for this present gallery article, but representatives of other cacti and succulent genera growing at Montjuïc include Agave Americana, Aloe brevifolia, Aloe ferox, Astrophytum myriostigma, Cereus jamacaru, Cylindropuntia rosea, Echinocactus species, Euphorbia resinifera, Ferocactus glaucescens, Mammillaria species and Opuntia ficus-indica. From memory (we’ve not visited for a few years due to relocating, the gardens have been improved and we lost a bunch of photos), Trichocereus species present at Montjuïc include Trichocereus bridgesii, Trichocereus cuzcoensis, Trichocereus pachanoi, Trichocereus peruvianus, Trichocereus santiaguensis, Trichocereus spachianus, Trichocereus terscheckii, Trichocereus validus and several others – including a few we believe to be hybrids occurring naturally in the park (presumably). Incidentally, we’re told that we live close to someone who supplied a lot of the original genetics grown at Jardins de Mossèn Costa, so we hope to be introduced to them at some point soon. It would be absolutely fantastic to find out more about these excellent and distinctive plants…

We hope you like the cacti anyway – we love to play spot the Trichocereus species whenever we’re visiting the beautiful gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera. If you’ve ever in the area of Montjuïc, the park’s main entrance is situated between Carretera de Miramar and Paseo de Josep Carner. Be sure to check out all the other lovely themed gardens around the area too! Entry to all of them is free of charge all year-round, with the current opening hours available via the Barcelona council website.