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Tenerife's Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens in the Canary Islands
The Orchid Gardens of Puerto de la Cruz
The resort of Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife in the Canary Islands has the very popular El Botánico botanical gardens but the Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens are well worth a visit too.
Famous people, including the writer Agatha Christie have spent time in the gardens there, and it is said that Christie was inspired to write The Mysterious Mr Quin by the Sitio Litre.
Orchid Gardens photos
History of the Sitio Litre
The gardens are those of a mansion house dating back to 1730, at which time the building was originally a convent, however, in 1774 it was purchased by Mr Archibald Little, who was a merchant from Great Britain and whose family went on to be the owners of the mansion and gardens until 1854.
In 1856 a new owner called Mr Charles Smith took over, and he and his family carried on adding to and improving the gardens as they saw fit. Mr Little saw the grounds as a typical British garden but relocated to the subtropical island of Tenerife and the Smith family carried on this idea.
They were the owners of the house and gardens right up until 1996. The gardens are said to be the oldest surviving ones on Tenerife, and have been in existence for 230 years.
The Orchid Gardens has a part of it devoted just to the flowers it is named after and there are at least 350 different types. Besides the orchids, other features of the Sitio Litre include a croquet lawn, a fountain, a patio, water gardens and a large pond with many colourful koi carp swimming in it.
The Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens has been made open to the public. Inside it there is a shop that sells postcards, plants and memorabilia and a café where meals and refreshments are served.
In the past, a number of celebrities, including the painter Marianne North, who was famous for her pictures of gardens and flowers, visited the gardens. The German botanist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt was another well known person who came to Sitio Litre when he was on Tenerife.
There are busts of Marianne North and Alexander von Humboldt in the gardens as well as an Agatha Christie display to add variety and as a mark of respect to these famous people.
There are also carefully-tended green lawns and rose beds that contrast dramatically with the exotic dragon trees and palm trees, as well as colourful climbers like the bougainvilleas.
The orchids are all grown and displayed along a path in a special section where they are shaded from the heat and glare of the Tenerife sunshine. A giant pine tree and a dragon tree said to be 600-years-old also give shade for the gardens.
The Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens are situated above the Puerto de la Cruz town centre and can be reached down a side turning off the main road that leads to the La Paz area before continuing on past the main El Botánico botanical gardens. The path to the entrance for the Sitio Litre is just before you reach the ravine that goes on down towards the sea.
The Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens are open every day between 9.30 and 17.00 and the admission price is €4.75.
For more information on the Sitio Litre Orchid Gardens phone 922 382 417
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.