New 'insect hotel' opens
If you're interested in plants, trees and gardening in general then you'll know full well that without insects many, many plants would not exist. In fact team plant/insect has existed for millions of years working together for their mutual benefit and assisting pollination, protection and seed dispersal.
The human team at the Soller Botanic Garden have also played their part in helping along this plant/insect mutualism as part of their efforts to preserve the wild plants, flowers and trees of the Balearic Islands and other parts of the Mediterranean for future generations.
They've just constructed and opened a new 'insect hotel' which has been built to encourage all the forms of insect life which help to propagate native flora; bees, wasps, flies, moths, butterflies, beetles and other creepie crawlies.
It's a five star, five storey insects' delight with 'rooms' furnished and decorated with all the things they love – old pine cones, bark, leaves, branches – ideal for relaxing after a hard days work pollinating plants and scattering seeds. As part of their educational activities, the staff have placed information boards nearby with all the details of the insects that will be probably be inside.
The Botanic Gardens themselves are a wonderful place to visit, calm, relaxing, and a must for garden enthusiasts. They're divided into different sections covering every aspect of plantology of the Mediterranean.
M1- Plants from torrent beds or that grow on the cool side of mountains.
M2- Coastal zone plants: rock plants that grow on cliffs and land near the sea.
M3- Reserve Collection: endangered taxa and those special interest.
M4- Oak forest flora: area representing the evergreen-oak forests and shady places of the higher parts of the islands.
M5- Mountain flora: area showing the highest peaks of the Balearic Islands, complemented by a collection of rock and fissure-loving plants, an another collection of species that grow in scrub areas with rosemary and thyme.
M6- Fresh water flora: this is divided into two areas: one of species that grow in damp and shady environments and another of species that thrive on dunes an beaches.
M7- Collection of flora from the Canary Islands in which their principle ecosystems are represented with the most significant genera that have their closest relatives in the Mediterranean.
M8 and M9- Collection of flora from other Mediterranean islands: the most significant flora of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and Crete.
Ethnobotany (plants used by man for food and medicine)
M10- Ornamental area: a collection of plants for the Mediterranean garden. A sundial surrounded by a collection of cacti and succulents.
M11- A collection of medicinal plants ranging from those most commonly used in a today's pharmacopoeia to those best known for having formed part of medical lore throughout history.
M12 and M13- A collection of fruits trees and vegetables native to the Balearics. The area is devoted to education, conservation and research into the many varieties traditionally grown on our islands.
It's a truly fascinating – and beautiful – place where, if you're on holiday from a colder northern European climate, you're likely to see plants and flowers which are unfamiliar to you. You could combine a visit with a browse around the lovely town of Soller and a tram-ride down to the port for a complete day out!
Here's all the info you'll need;
◾November, January and February, from 10 am to 2 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
◾March to October, from 10 am to 6 pm (Monday to Saturday)
◾Closed: Sunday, holidays and December.
◾Groups more than 12 persons: 6€
◾6-year-old minors: free
See map above for directions from Soller station