I wrote an earlier article about the ‘Star Garden’ (Jardim da Estrela) in Lisbon, singing its praises as a wonderful example of a classic public park/ gardens and how it has maintained an important role in the life of the capital. On a recent trip I managed to weave in an early Autumn visit, something I haven’t done before.

It was even better than in the Spring – luxuriant foliage was everywhere, people were out and about enjoying the space and the low autumn sunshine provided some wonderful lighting effects. I was particularly taken this time with the little ‘public library’ housed in a picturesque kiosk in the centre of the gardens. Obviously popular with a set of older men, who here, as in other parts of the gardens, were reading or playing cards- one suspects that they are regulars.

This seems to be a wonderful amenity and an idea that’s worth a try in UK parks and gardens! (or are there some examples already out there that I’m not aware of?)

I also mentioned in my previous article the various statues in the gardens and how these were placed here after the formation of the Portuguese Republic in the early 20th century. I made a point in this visit to seek some more of them out, as I had not noticed them before, hiding, as they seem to be, under trees or in mature shrubbery.

My visit felt rather like meeting up with an old friend, someone I hadn’t seen for some time. I was able to easily recollect their more important physical features and personaility traits, but was also drawn to some new features or angles on them. My ‘new look’ at Estrela was repaid not only with the uncovering  of more statues, but also with some superb scenes of dappled sunlight (including the dramatic back lighting of large exotic leaves), superb ‘Dragon’ and other trees, a fantastic decorative ceiling on the bandstand roof, lively play area, late summer blooms of Hibiscus and unusual tree conservation measures (filling in a hole in a trunk with brickwork!)

I wonder what the place must be like high summer when various events inlcuding live Jazz add yet another dimension to this magical place? Another visit beckons…..

Related article: Portuguese Gardens: Estrela Garden, Lisbon

Old School Gardener