The Manrique cactus garden on Lanzarote

This is the most unusual public garden I have visited. It is built on the site of a former volcano which became a quarry. On the island of Lanzarote they use the black volcanic ash particles in agriculture and also in the gardens. It spread over the ground to retain moisture, as shown in these pictures. The ash has the property of condensing water from the air as it cools during the night. The water runs into the soil below and the ash stops it evaporating during the day. Can you believe that so much volcanic ash was excavated from one volcano that it became a hole in the ground?

A Lanzarote artist and visionary called César Manrique created this cactus garden in what had become a dumping ground for rubbish. It houses a magnificent collection of cactuses from all around the world. Many of the cacti have grown to an enormous size, some as tall as a house.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.

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