The Gardens of Montjuïc, Barcelona: 3. Gardens of Miramar and poble sec viewpoint

From the Gardens of Joan Brossa you will end up on a main road heading up toward the castle. On your botanical journey you need to head down the hill and towards the east on the map. You will enjoy lovely views of the city and a steep decline towards the Miramar Gardens, the Miramar Hotel and the Poble Sec viewpoint. Here’s the map again to remind you – you are leaving the orange area and heading for the red:

Poble Sec viewpoint

This is the best place to view the city at the northern edge of the Miramar Gardens. viewpoint across the city that you can see from the northern side of the Miramar Gardens. The notice boards would tell you all about the geological origin of the Barcelona plain, if you could understand Catalan.

What you can see in the picture below, taken in summer 2016, is the Sagrada Familia under construction on the far left side, spanning to the right the main spire of the cathedral of the Barri Gotic old town, and then the two octagonal towers of the St Maria del Mar church. Just to the left of the central tower block (Edifici Colon) is Barcelona’s gherkin – the Torre Agbar, and on the far right a classical building which is a military museum and then the Columbus Monument column.

Miramar Gardens

The Miramar Gardens, coloured red on the map, consist of formal beds and, on the eastern side, a fine avenue of Phytolacca dioica trees. The notices tell us that the garden was developed by a French landscape engineer Jean Claude Nicola Forestier for the International Exposition of 1929. Its terraces – and the so called Forestier steps which are to the east of the avenue – are built of Montjuic stone.

Miramar Gardens looking south, with Miramar Hotel on the right
The avenue of Phytolacca dioica trees

Phytolacca trees are a remarkable South American species from Argentina and Uruguay. Their wood is very spongy and they have evolved from the herbaceous phytolaccas which include the North American pokeweeds. Phytolacca trees are widely planted in the streets of Barcelona but these are the oldest you will see in Spain. They have very gnarled and interesting stumps!

Phytolacca dioica in flower

Miramar Gardens provide an opportunity for Barcelona council to show off its bedding among box hedges and topiaried trees. But in the margins by the hotel there are a few interesting shrubs including brugmansias, abutilons, persimmons, avocados and jujubes.

Formal beds, topiary and statues
A yellow Brugmansia

When you’ve tired yourself of the Gardens of Miramar, head south and you will find, beside a restaurant, some steps leading down to the marvellous Gardens of Mossèn Costa and Llobera.

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