Year 2014. Terra Nostra Botanical Garden is located in S. Miguel Island which is the biggest island of the Azores Archipelago. The first spot of this garden was built by Thomas Hickling*, a wealthy merchant from Boston, who came to S. Miguel Island as Honorary American Consul more than 200 years ago. He built in this place a summer house with a swimming pool filled with thermal spring water and with an island in the center where he planted an english oak tree. The place became a garden and took different shapes and twists with its different owners and by 1920 it was very much neglected and almost abandoned. In 1935, the Hotel Terra Nostra, which was located on the land adjacent to the garden, bought part of the garden and opened to the public. A few years later, the entire property was acquired by Terra Nostra Company, which was managed by Vasco Bensaude, also a keen gardener and responsible for employing a garden specialist from Scotland, John McInroy, who came to supervise the restoration of the Terra Nostra Garden. An additional tract of land was acquired, extending the garden to its present size of 12.5 ha.
Terra Nostra is located in Furnas which name comes from one of the 3 volcanic lagoons existing in S. Miguel Island. The particularity of this garden is the water that runs through and fills the swimming pool. The water has a iron rusty colour due to the minerals existing in its source and reaches temperatures of 35-40 degrees. The public can access the Garden and can also bath in those rusty warm waters that have medicinal curative effects such as rheumatism and obesity.
Particularly located in a crater with a micro-clima within a volcanic island itself already very humid (middle of the Atlantic) the Botanical Garden is an indescribable jurassic perl worth all the money to visit.
* The english oak tree planted by Thomas Hickling still exists and is a source of shadow in the east side of the swimming pool.