Alameda is derived from the Spanish word Alamo, or White Poplar (Populus alba). Old writings mention these trees growing along the Grand Parade. The walks opened to the public on 14th April 1816.
The Gibraltar Chronicle covered the event thus: The walks at the New Alameda being completed they will be opened to the public tomorrow afternoon, at 4 oclock, when three bands of music will attend.
The gardens were laid out with numerous interconnecting paths and terraced beds, set out mainly with native Jurassic limestone rock, much of it tinted by the local red sand. Dry stone walls and retaining walls were also made out of the local rock.
A number of features were gradually added to the gardens, most reflecting historical facts or personalities. Thus late in 1815 General Don had requested of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Earl Bathurst, permission to construct a rotunda with a memorial to General Sir George Augustus Eliott. This did not materialise in the form originally requested, but a colossal statue of General Eliott, carved from the bowsprit of the Spanish man-o-war San Juan, taken at Trafalgar was placed at the top of the Heathfield Steps, leading up to the south of Grand Parade. That statue was taken to the Convent, the Governors residence, where it stands today, when a bronze bust of General Eliott replaced it in 1858. It stands on a marble pillar and was presented to Gibraltar by a descendant of the General.
PLANTS OF THE BOTANICAL GARDENS The plants of the Alameda Botanical Gardens are a combination of native species and others brought in from abroad, often from former British territories like Australia and South Africa with which Gibraltar had maritime links at the time of the British Empire. Since 1991 many new species have been planted, some growing in Gibraltar for the first time.
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