Bonsai collection of the Real Jardín Botánico
The Real jardín Botánico, CSIC, exhibits the most famous and acclaimed collection of bonsais in Spain. Felipe González Márquez, -then Prime Minister- began the collection in the Moncloa Palace in the year 1987 and it was finally donated to the CSIC in 1996. It is made up of a hundred trees and bushes grown by him and his collaborators in accordance with the oriental garden art. It was the maestro Luis Vallejo, who most actively participated in its formation and maintenance.
During the decade in which the collection became established, the Prime Minister’s predilection for cultivating bonsais became well-known and widely publicised. Not only were his bonsais exhibited in the Moncloa, but facilities were also built there in order to store and work on the plants, as not all of them were in fit condition for exhibition to Palace visitors. He spent many holidays collecting species from their natural habitat in order to later transform them into bonsai. Friends and dignitaries gave him gifts of further select specimens. He also took advantage of some of his trips abroad – such as that to Japan in 1991 – to visit famous gardeners, where he acquired specimens. Mª Teresa Tellería, Director of the Garden took great interest in seeing that the Collection was exhibited in appropriate facilities. The design of the grounds, which were expressly remodelled for them, was commissioned in the year 1998 to the landscape gardener Fernando Caruncho, with whom the architect Pablo Carvajal collaborated. In the beginning Isabel Casans was also involved. The installations consist of an exhibition area, a greenhouse, a nursery-store, a workshop and a hall for demonstrations.
Finally, in 2005, the bonsais were put on exhibition to the public. The grounds are situated at the most elevated point of the Garden, which borders on Alfonso XII Street. It is a plot of land facing east, from which a large part of the Garden can be viewed.