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The Casa Velha, Madeira's first country-house hotel, and once home to the Counts of Carvalhal, looks down onto the Palheiro Gardens, from a clearing shaded by the magnificent trees that are its outstanding feature.
The gardens contain a myriad of forest species growing alongside mature camellias and numerous exotics. Numerous generations of the Blandy family, who took over the estate in the late 1800s have personally nurtured the gardens, developing them into the masterpiece of biodiversity they are today. A recent addition is a rose garden planted in 2007 by Christina Blandy—who now oversees the gardens with the help of a highly committed team. This oasis of calm, as well as the wider estate, also provide a habitat for over twenty species of birds—some of them very rare. Both Macaronesian Sparrowhawks—of which there are just nine pairs, and Madeira Laurel Pigeons—a protected species native to Madeira—can be spotted nesting in the gardens’ trees.