The park was the brainchild of Thomas Hickling an orange grower and merchant from Boston and for awhile the US consul to the Azores, based in São Miguel. In 1780 Thomas Hickling built a small wooden house in five acres of land.
The son, the Viscount of Praia and Monforte, continued his father’s work with the help of Portuguese and Scottish garden designers. He further developed the park’s infrastructure to include lagoons. Trees were imported from all over the world, some of them still living. The oldest of the species are approaching 140 years old.
In 1930, the hotelier Vasco Bensaude acquired the garden after he built the Hotel Terra Nostra Garden. He hired John McEnroy of Scotland as head gardener and continued expanding and restoring the plant and flower collections. The brilliance of McEnroy put the finishing touches on an already good park to become a superb garden, known all over Europe and more recently starting to be discovered by the rest of the world.
Going to the Azores, or more specifically to São Miguel without visiting this garden is much like going to Rome and not visiting the Sistine Chapel." -in: http://portugal.com/blogs/visitazores/2009/01/15/terra-nostra-park/