Gardens of Montjuïc, Barcelona: 1. Gardens of Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer

If you are coming from the Parc de Montjuïc metro station, turn right and walk past the cable car station and turn right again up the hill. In a short distance the entrance to the garden is on your right. The green notice gives you a map and I advise head straight up to the top pond so you can walk down.

The walk up the steps will be through a glade of evergreen Magnolia grandiflora and feijoas (Acca sellowiana, or pineapple guava) trees. There’s an occasional bed of Tulberghia violacea and banks of Pennisetum grass before you arrive at the top lake, which feeds the lovely cascade of ponds.

Tulberghia violacea bedding
Pennisetum grass

But the greatest delight is to walk downhill and look at the cascade of ponds and their water lilies, lotus flowers and waterside plants.

A cascade of ponds
Each full of aquatic plants
Water trickles down from pond to pond

Here’s some pictures of plants you can see:

Water lilies in pink…
Red and white
And more pink

I have been lucky enough to see lotus blossoms, which are not closely related to water lilies and show distinct differences.

This is the American lotus flower, Nelumbo lutea,

Lotus flowers and leaves can stand well clear of the water, and the seed pods are quite distinctive. There are only two lotus species, Nelumbo nucifera – from India and Asia – and N. lutea from North America. The latin name Nelumbo is Sinhalese for lotus.

Here you can see lotus leaves and a bud, to compare with water lilies in the foreground
Lotus fruits are large discs with the seeds inset
Thalia dealbata, the powdery alligator flag, native to the southern Mississippi

The magnificently named powdery alligator flag is widely planted. How its name arose is a mystery, except if you look at the flowers they do look powdery, apart from the purple petals.

Powdery alligator flag flowers
Another American native – pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata)
Sagittaria montevidensis – the giant or Californian arrowhead

At the bottom of the cascade there is a large pond with a fountain. Around here people sit and enjoy the shade cast by the white poplar trees.

The bottom of the cascade
Populus alba ‘Pyramidalis’ – white poplar trees
The poplars have beautiful bark

There is also a statue of a girl holding what could be a bunch of flowers.

Let’s note at this point that the garden is named after the Catalan poet Cinto Verdaguer (1845-1902), often given the priestly title Father [Mossen]. He’s known as the prince of Catalan poets and an example of his work is inscribed under the statue:

Bonica es la Rosa
Mes ho es el ram
Mes ho es el lliri
Que floreix tot l’any

This translates as:

Lovely is the rose
But so is the bouquet
And so is the lily
Which flowers all year round

To continue on the botanical journey you simply have to cross the road as you leave the garden by the gate near the lower pond. You are moving from the pink area on the map to the orange: The Gardens of Joan Brossa.

Going up Montjuïc

If you want to go further up Montjuïc (to the botanical garden or the Petra Kelly garden for example) go back to the top of the pond cascade and cross the wooden bridge. You will then see a tunnel under the road and on the other side you will be rewarded by a glorious bank of Plumbago.

Plumbago bank

Carry on and turn first right to take you up onto the higher road. Admire the oleanders along the road and the view over the Montjuïc plant nursery.

An avenue of oleanders
Montjuïc plant nursery

The botanic garden and the Petra Kelly garden is signposted to the left, so walk on past the oleanders!

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