My wife and I visited the gardens in October 2012. We took the bus from Funchal and the driver was very helpful and told us when we reached the stop and how to get to the garden gate.It was a quiet Saturday afternoon and there were few people in the gardens. We had an enjoyable few hours and enjoyed the various aspects, rose garden but late in the season and the lilly pond. The small tea room was clean and inviting and we had a drink and a sandwich... all very nice.
It was sad to see that the areas just outside the main garden and down in the ravine (inferno) had been badly damaged in the summer wild fires. There had been a lot of clearing but still evidence of the damage. Other visitors disliked the smell of charcoal but the people can do little about that as it was a terrible natural disaster and will take time to heal. It was still worth a visit.
We then walked up the hill to the levada and walked westwards in the direction of Monte, called at the Hortensia tea room and then caught a but out s0die the tea room back in to Funchal.
A pleasant and relaxing afternoon.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.