I can’t believe I’ve been living on this tiny little island for almost 3 years and until last week I hadn’t visited Buskett Gardens. If you want a history lesson then pop over to the wiki page (here– although it’s not terribly well written). And if you want a lot of pictures then scroll on, I’ve got loads! The gardens are located between Rabat and Dingli and sit beneath Verdala Palace- an official residence of the President.
You can see from my post about hiking in Xemxija (here) that there is greenery in Malta if you go looking for it, and Buskett Gardens is one of those places. Whether you’re here on holiday or to live I would absolutely recommend a visit. My friends and I went along for a picnic- there isn’t grass so you’ll need a blanket and I’d suggest cushions as the floor is not at all comfortable- its dry and covered in pebbles and sticks. My friends had a little fold up chair which was the best idea so if you’ve got some, take them!
We went on May 1st which was a bank holiday and the place was heaving but we found a little clearing, relaxed and enjoyed some traditional hobz biz zejt and salad (thanks Celia and Drew!). It was so lovely just sitting and taking in the sounds of the wind rustling through leaves and birds singing, the smells of plants and flowers and earth and trees and watching little bugs running and buzzing around us. These aren’t things you get to experience much in Malta so it was a real treat. Whilst we were eating we spotted a tiny little scorpion and a black and yellow garden spider whose name doesn’t do justice to how terrifying it looked!
Once we’d eaten our fill and finished off two bottles of rose we packed up our blanket and chairs and dropped them back at the car and went for a little wander. There are pathways you can follow or you can go off the beaten track and explore the depths of the forests. Look out for orange trees, lemon trees, stone pines, and if anyone can tell me the name of the tree shown in the picture below I’d be really interested. I can’t figure out if the trunk is full of holes or if its a number of smaller sections intertwined.
Once we were deep inside the thicker parts, we were completely sheltered from the sky and it was like being in another world. I really felt like we were in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the circular section as the actors stage, and maybe the fairies were hiding up the stairs and watching us from the archways.
We followed the dry and overgrown old river (above) until we had almost given up hope of finding any water when we came across a darling little stream and pond which just popped up from nowhere with a few enormous tadpoles darting about.
Being somewhere so green and alive with plantlife and animals was such a change from Sliema with its cars, noise and busy harbours. I love Sliema and St Julians and am happy to live around that area but it’s nice to get away sometimes and experience a bit of the countryside that is probably the only thing I miss about England.