Los Tres Jardines | San Pedro
Los TRES JARDINES - San Pedro de Alcantara
by Marianne Hill
Parque de los Tres Jardines (Three Gardens Park) in San Pedro de Alcántara was opened in October 2012 and it is located in the low lying (flood) plains of the River Guadaliza to the east of the town on the site of an old nursery.
The 'three gardens' refers to the three different garden areas which could originally be found within the park - the "jardín árabe" (Arab garden), the "jardín mediterráneo" (Mediterranean garden) and the "jardín subtropical" (subtropical garden).
The Arab garden measures 7,200 m2 and it featured elements of Arab traditions such as geometric shapes and water features. This garden included species such as palms, orange, pomegranate, fig and olive trees.
The Mediterranean garden includes pine forests, meadows and a riparian forest. It has an area of 51,000 m2, of which 20,000 m2 are pine and enriched with rosemary, arbutus, hawthorn and broom. The remaining 31,000 square meters, is pasture.
The subtropical garden features the typical vegetation of Costa del Sol. Its 8,000 m2 shows the diversity of the region with species such as ficus, the jacaranda, hearts of palm, oleander or orange.
Unfortunately, since the grand opening in October 2012 by the Marbella Mayor and Environment Minister of the Regional Government, when the park was described as the the pulmón verde (green lung) of Marbella with its 10,000 plants, the gardens have been neglected. The of the Arab garden in particular has almost completely disappeared, both plants and water features.
It proves the problem in urban management all over the world that "it is easier to create something than maintain it". This is a text book example. The gardens were created by the regional government with EU funds and by signed agreement maintenance was to be jointly undertaken. The Town Hall was responsible for security, cleaning, rubbish, electricity and water bills, maintenance of buildings, street furniture. Junta de Andalucia responsible for maintaining plants and green areas. The ownership of the park was to pass to the town hall in October 2015 when the joint maintenance agreement expired. This eventually happened in April 2018 making the Marbella town hall fully responsible for the park. However by 2020 little had improved.
The town hall had never issued tender documents for the running of the kiosk café. They found problems with the water features, including the fountain that stopped working within months, and claimed that not being involved with the original construction they found it very difficult to maintain. They reduced the labour force and vandals have done damage at night.
Since the plants in the Arab garden have 'not taken', and the Town Hall has said it plans to change this area to something for sport and cultural use when they take over ownership.
However there are still lots of wonderful plants throughout the park and there is an abundance of trees and vegetation. Tres Jardines is a lovely, spacious park, measuring 9 hectares and it has lots of great features but it is looking a bit tired. The first hint of this can be seen at the main entrance where the large white letters that spell out the name of the park are, on closer inspection, rusty and dirty. More rusting is evident on the signs that direct visitors around the park, giving information on the plants and wildlife that can be seen.
Los Tres Jardines | Children's Playground
Adjacent to the car park is the first of two children's playgrounds. This first playground is designed with older children in mind and includes some challenging climbing frames, see saws, swings and a zip wire. Around the playground are grassy areas and a few picnic benches which make a good site for a birthday party. In the warmer months it is common for these tables to be reserved early in the morning by locals in readiness for parties later on in the day. The play equipment here is clean and well maintained.
On the opposite side of the park is another playground. This one is designed for younger children and has a sand pit, swings, a roundabout, some smaller, less challenging climbing equipment, trampolines and also a fun 'telephone' on each of the opposite sides of the playground. Imagine a cross between a home made yogurt pot phone that we used to make when we were children and a bugle and it will give you an idea of what it looks like! This park isn't as well maintained as the one on the other side but it too is surrounded by lots of grassy areas and a few benches and so is another hot spot for birthday parties. There are two blocks of public toilets located on this side of the park as well as a kiosk, although this is rarely, if ever, open. I myself have never seen it open.
On the far side of the park there is a man made 'body of water'. On the map this water is described as a 'lagoon' although that is a rather grand name for what looks more like a small lake or a duck pond, but whatever you choose to call it it is a place where you can feed the ducks, swans and even turtles, either from the bank or from the small bridge that crosses the lagoon/lake/pond! Unfortunately, this too is looking a bit tired as some of the surrounding banks have eroded away and the base material beneath the earth is exposed.
Los Tres Jardines | Lagoon
One of the more unique features of Tres Jardines is the dog park that was opened in December 2013. This safe, enclosed haven for dogs measures an impressive 4500 sq m and it is well equipped with various agility apparatus, picnic tables are provided for owners and there is even a sandpit where dogs can do their 'business'. (Owners are expected to clean up after their dogs and there are fines for anyone not adhering to the rules.) From the smart appearance of the park all of the owners do care for the facilities.
All of the different areas are connected by a series of wide pathways that meander through the park which makes it an ideal place to go for a walk or for a run. Bikes are not supposed to be used in the park but children on scooters are a common sight.
Tres Jardines is a fantastic place to go and hopefully it will soon be given a bit of care and attention in order to restore its former lustre.
Tres Jardines is tucked away in the industrial estate in San Pedro, just off the BP roundabout on the Ronda Road. It is easy to find and parking is provided inside.
The Tres Jardines Park is open from 08,00 to 22,00 and there is no entrance fee.