“Besides the three trees recognised as monumental, the garden also has other remarkable specimens that are part of our historical and botanical heritage. ”MONUMENTAL TREES
The best way to get to know the garden is by participating in one of the guided tours offered by the Deputación de Pontevedra, which must be booked in advance on this website. You can also explore the garden on your own; if so, the information office will be happy to give you tailored advice. Moreover, each tree is labelled with the name of the species, and the map of the garden is very clear and easy to use.
In this section, you will find a description of some of the most emblematic species growing in the garden:
In alphabetical order, the first to appear in the botanical list of the castle are conifers of the genus Abies, among which the Spanish fir, Abies pinsapo Boiss, stands out. In the central part of the park, there is an imposing specimen being nearly 30 metres tall, the largest specimen of this species in Galicia; although there are hardly any Spanish firs in our region. There is another, considerably younger, Spanish fir planted in the parade ground. Other large trees are the Norfolk Island pines, Araucaria heterophylla (Salisb.) Franco; the two specimens growing in the botanical park are over 36 metres tall and are very easy to identify because of their large size and perfect symmetry. Also noteworthy are the tall, centuries-old incense cedars, Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin, which have a characteristic a rough, cracked bark.
The bark of the Oregon pine or Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, which resembles the cork oak, is quite striking, although it differs from the latter in its distinctive pine cones, having trifid bracts. The specimens in the botanical park were selected by the Marquises of Vega de Armijo and Mos, so they are around 150 years old and over 30 metres tall. Eugenio Carlos de Hostos y Ayala acquired the castle and gardens in 1935. His nephew, Carlos Alvear, a forestry engineer, enlarged the collection begun by the Marquises, and now there are many specimens of Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr., a rare species in Galicia. The Deputación de Pontevedra, the current owner, has been highly committed to the conservation and constant improvement of the garden, and incorporated two specimens of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.), which are of great ornamental value due to their beautiful leaves, which turn golden yellow before falling to the ground.
The leaves of the evergreen Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' also change colour, with green foliage in spring, which turns reddish brown in autumn and winter. The biggest specimens are located in the garden area, in front of the rural hotel known as A Pousada. The swamp cypress, Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich, is one of the few deciduous conifers in the world; hence, it is also popularly known as bald cypress". There are two specimens in the botanical park, one located in the upper area of the apple orchard and the other by the path that goes along the pond towards the sequoia. In this area, next to an impressive giant thuja, there is also a Canadian hemlock, Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr., which can be over 25 metres tall. It is outstanding both for its size and its small cones, which give it a beautiful appearance.
At the entrance to the garden there is an outstanding century-old magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.), a species native to North America. The Marquises probably chose this species for its elegance and beauty; its white flowers can be seen from late spring or early summer. There are also centenary London planetrees, Platanus hybrida Brot., which appear in photographs from the late 19th or early 20th century, where her former owner María Vinyals is also seen strolling around the garden. Now, these trees are more than 40 metres tall. The oldest hollies (Ilex aquifolium L.) planted in the garden do not reach this height, and may even go unnoticed, as they are considered to be shrubs or small trees. However, they are also of great value; in fact, one of them belongs to the 'Ferox' variety, with spines all over the upper part of the leaf, and over 13 metres high, probably the largest specimen of this variety in Galicia.
Near the holly trees, in the upper part of the botanical park, there is a specimen of river oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.), not very common in Galicia. It is also known as the "Australian pine" because of its origin; it looks like a pine, but with thinner leaves, and what looks like needles are, in fact, stems. The true leaves are hardly visible; they are ring-like scales arranged at the nodes of these fragile twigs. The Argyle apple (Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell ex Benth.) also comes from Australia and is not commonly seen in our region. Its rounded, greyish leaves are very attractive; in fact, it is also known as "silver dollar eucalyptus". In Soutomaior, it is found at the beginning of the forest path, near the farm building. Not far away, at the entrance to the car park, there is an American tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera L.), having cup-shaped, ornamental yellow flowers that are very fragrant; its colours in autumn are also spectacular, with striking golden shades.
There are several species of lime trees growing both in the park and in the woodland area. The most photographed specimens are undoubtedly those standing by the fountain of A Marquesa, in symmetry with the impressive sequoia and two specimens of Camellia x williamsii 'Jury's Yellow'. Hydrangeas, which bloom in summer, have been decorating the paths scattered around the fortress for more than a hundred years. María Vinyals, in her book published in 1904 El castillo del marqués de Mos en Sotomayor (The castle of the Marquis of Mos in Sotomayor), describes the path of hydrangeas, which can still be seen today.
Special mention should be made to the lacy tree fern, Cyathea cooperi (F. Mueller) Domin. which belongs to the Pteridophyte division. Native to Australia, it can reach up to 9 metres in height. It has a palm-like appearance, with a slender, unbranched trunk supporting a bunch of large fronds. Here, there are several local specimens, which were obtained by in vitro culture at the laboratories of the Estación Fitopatolóxica Areeiro.