La Fuente Gardens an Kids playground, with its pond, gardens, tropical birds and children’s playground, is one of the best places to relax in Salobreña.
Have a look at the rubber plants that provide shade to the park. These come from the South of Asia and were introduced into Europe around 1815. Not only do they look great but they also have areal roots, which need constant humidity and emerge from the lower branches and grow down to the ground.
Their scientific name is ‘ficus elastica’ – which refers to the rubbery latex that the plant has and from which the rubber is obtained. They are a very common plant to have in gardens and parks due to their fine appearance and large tops, which are ideal for providing shade. It is also highly regarded as an interior plant and the flowers can appear throughout the year. The leaves are slightly toxic though, and contact with them (or with the latex) can cause minor skin irritations.
At the edge of the park closest to the town you’ll find a sculpture that celebrates the sugar cane harvest, an ancient crop brought here by the Arabs in the 12th century.
Unfortunately, the closure of La Caleta Sugar Cane Factory in 2006 saw the end of widespread sugar cane production in the area; although it is still grown on small-holdings.
Sugar cane is very sweet because of the sucrose it contains, and its long, green leaves form a tangled web wherever it’s cultivated; which is why the Australian method of harvesting was introduced – burning the canes the day before harvest in order to be more easily cut.
Sugar harvesting took place between April and July, and in the middle of the 14th century the population of Salobreña increased due to the extra workforce needed to carry out the harvest. You can find more information about Salobreña’s association with sugar cane by listening to tracks 12 and 18 on the audio guide – where we talk about The Red House and La Caleta – and also by visiting the Sugar Cane Museum in nearby Motril.
Behind the park you can find the local police station and next to that is the amphitheatre, a great 900 seat outdoor venue where many cultural events take place.