If you are interested in plants, especially unusual and rare ones, you should definitely visit the Argotti Botanic Gardens at Floriana, a fortified town in the South Eastern Region of Malta. Today these Gardens make integral part of the University of Malta. They are 3rd in the list of the oldest Commonwealth’s botanical gardens. By the way, despite the garden’s history begins in far away 1600's it was officially recognised as a botanical garden only in 1890. Today numerous plants’ admirers come there every day to see a great collection of Mediterranean plants and national herbarium exhibited for the gardens’ guests.
The Argotti Gardens has long history of transformation from private plants collections to University’s botanical garden, which became a piece of pride for the whole country. Initially the Gardens existed as two separate ones, belonging to different people: the Knight Don Emmanuel Pinto de Fonseca and Bailiff Ignatius de Argote y Gusman. But when Emmanuel Pinto became the Grand Master in 1741, Ignatius de Argote redeemed Pinto’s garden and over course of time he merged it with his own one.
Subsequently the gardens received several valuable contributions of plants into collections made by famous Maltese botanicals and other noblemen. A lot of plant varieties, mostly medical ones, came to the gardens from St Elmo. Carolus Giacinto, the Professor of Botany, guided this relocation. After his death the Professor of Natural History Stefano Zerafa undertook these responsibilities. Few more contributions were made by Count Alfred Caruana Gatto and Professor John Borg together with his wife. They brought to the gardens great collections of succulents, cactuses and Mediterranean flora.
Except that the Garden is a great exhibition of various plants it is also a place of architectural interest. Since it began its development in 18th century it has valuable stylistic features of that period, such as Nympheum and the Summer Villa built by Argote, for example. In early 2000s the University of Malta started several projects on restoration of the Argotti Gardens’ architectural objects and on plants collection enrichment.
The Argotti Botanic Gardens were not always available for visiting. Only in 1974 the public section opened its doors to welcome guests. Fortunately, nowadays the Gardens are open for the locals and tourists, individually or with groups. You can also contact the garden employees to organize specific group tours.