They were not at all what I expected as I had presumed they would be glass greenhouses, consequently it took us a little while to find Estufa Fria, Estufa Quente and Estufa Doce. They are all greenhouses just not all glass greenhouses, which if I had thought about it a bit longer makes sense. A ‘glass greenhouse’ in Portugal could not be used as a ‘Cold House’ throughout the year, and the largest of the three ‘Estufa Fria’ is exactly that a cold house. All it has is what the website describes as a ‘lath roof’, which as you can see below are wooden slats.
Most of the plants in the enormous cold house come from China, Peru, Brazil, and the Antilles. My recollection when I sat down this morning to prepare this post was that there was not much colour on the grey March day when we visited, however as I discovered and you can see my photographs tell another story!
What my memory and the photographs agree on though is the size of the cold house and beauty of the landscaping. It is enormous. In fact so big that the school party who were there at the same time as us soon disappeared from sight on one of the many meandering paths, and even their excited happy chatter was not much more than a murmur most of the time.
The second house – Estufa Quente – whilst not quite as big is just as impressive. It is a more typical greenhouse as it does have a glass dome. This hothouse is where you will find the more tropical plants such as Banana and Mango Trees, not that I appear to have taken any photographs of them. Typically I was too busy take close ups and there were also grottoes to explore.
The third house – Estufa Doce – seems tiny compared to the other two, and like the hot house was built in the 1970s. It is the Sweet House, and is where you will find all the cacti. You’ll have to visit if you want to see them though as for some reason I only took two photographs, neither of which were of the greenhouse as a whole!
As well as the three greenhouses there is also an entertainment hall and an outside area with a lake. Nothing was happening in the hall on the day we visited, but we found a very comfortable seat by the lake underneath a wisteria. Despite it being a grey day, we must have spent a half hour or more watching the gardeners feed the birds.
The Greenhouse – Estufa Fria, Estufa Quente and Estufa Doce – are open daily and well worth paying the few euros to visit. You’ll find the entrance by the lake on the left-hand side of Parque Eduardo VII. Don’t expect to spot the greenhouses though from a distance, as whilst they are opposite the wonderful Carlos Lopes pavilion, they are built into the hill and almost hidden from sight.
I’m going to return to the greenhouses again next month for my ‘Past Meets Present‘ challenge as I’ve found some fabulous photographs from when it was created in 1933 and first extended in the 1950s. So watch this space, or even better join in on 1st May with your own #PastMeetsPresent. Remember all you need are two photographs of the same scene – one recent, one old – and they don’t need to be of Portugal. I’d be delighted if you did.