Mediterranean Garden Society
The MGS in Portugal
In Portugal the MGS is affiliated to Mediterranean Gardening Association – Portugal (MGAP) ASSOCIAÇÃO DE PLANTAS E JARDINS EM CLIMAS MEDITERRÂNICOS (APEJECM), whose aims are:
To promote Mediterranean plants and gardens, through education, cultivation, conservation and recognition of their communal, environmental and economic importance in our everyday lives.
MGS members are welcome to participate in MGAP events and activities; those wishing to receive MGAP newsletters can send their email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MGAP President is David Marion (biography), Secretary is Rosie Peddle and Treasurer is Rob Peddle.
For up to date information on events, please see our website or send an email to email@example.com.
The photo at the top of this page shows a Portuguese water tank of traditional tiles with floral designs in a private garden in the UNESCO Heritage Area of Sintra, near Lisbon. Photo by Rosie Peddle.
For previous reports and articles please check out the archived (non-responsive) Portugal Branch page.
12th Mediterranean Autumn Garden Fair
A combination of beautiful weather and the prospect of beautiful plants was enough to attract a record-breaking attendance of 3,226 verified visitors for the first Garden Fair since 2019. For the first time, the event was held at the renovated site for the Horse Fair at Estoi and our partners, CONFEST, provided good food and entertainment.
Saturday morning saw eager plant buyers queueing for the opportunity to see the wonderful range of plants from over 20 nurseries attending from Lisbon and the Alentejo as well as local specialist growers. For the first time, we had three growers with a good range of native plants, and native seeds were also available at the event.
Alongside the plant nurseries were good quality craft stands including stained glass for the garden, garden tools and skilled botanic artists with original works as well as cards and notelets. Also available were herbs and spices, organic soaps and cosmetics, plant stands, jewellery and clothing – all inspired by gardens and the natural world.
For first-time exhibitors, it was a leap into the unknown, but they were all thrilled by the response of visitors to their plants and products. The new water plant nursery, Aguaflora, new succulent growers and new nurseries with tough drought-resistant plants were all very happy to take part and will be returning for future events.
Finally, it was possible to celebrate the start of another gardening year by meeting up with friends, doing some serious plant shopping and enjoying a grand day out. We are very grateful indeed to our generous sponsors for this event, including the Algarve Resident, Sementes de Portugal and the Junta de Freguesia for Conceição and Estoi.
The event is held to highlight the wonderful work done by our local specialist nurseries and to raise funds for the work of MGAP in promoting sustainable and beautiful gardens and landscapes.
Text Rosie Peddle, Photographs Kriss MacDonald for Portugal Resident magazine
International Spring Conference, Évora, Alentejo
Olivier Filippi talk “Bringing the Mediterranean landscape into your garden”
Our conference this spring was entitled ‘Bringing the Mediterranean Landscape into your Garden’. It was held in the UNESCO World Heritage University city of Évora in the beautiful springtime landscapes of the Alentejo.
The event started with a pre-conference tour in the Algarve: the group spent four days visiting gardens and wildflower hotspots including in Messines, Monchique and the west coast. Also included was the MGAP Barrocal Botanic Garden near Silves.
Finding Paeonia broteroi in flower was a highlight and, despite the dry winter, there was a good show from Cistus ladanifer in the hills and some orchids on the coast.
The Évora section of the week-long event was well supported, with 140 attending the Saturday morning talks. It was very pleasing to have with us students of landscape architecture, professional landscape architects and gardeners from around the Mediterranean who gathered together in the university auditorium.
The theme of the event was to highlight new trends in garden design and landscaping for more natural style and sustainable gardens. We were lucky to have Olivier Filippi and James and Helen Basson as our keynote speakers. They were ably supported by talks on the ‘montados’ (cork oak forests), the use of native plants in Porto Botanic Garden and new methods of teaching about, and creating, low-maintenance natural-style gardens.
A discussion session following the talks gave an opportunity to ask questions of our speakers and inevitably this included the recent advice for total land-clearance around houses in Portugal. The wholesale removal of fire-resistant plants was condemned as native hardwoods can be protective in many situations.
The event was host to the global book launch for Olivier Filippi’s new book in English “Bringing the Mediterranean into your Garden – How to capture the natural beauty of the garrigue” (reviewed in TMG 97, July 2019). Olivier says: “Some understanding of plant ecology is essential for success – how a plant interacts with its environment indicates what it needs to flourish in a garden setting.” He shares his expert knowledge acquired from decades of research.
There is much in the book about the special plant communities of the Algarve’s west coast and how to use them in a garden setting. Olivier Filippi’s pioneering approach makes for a much closer relationship between gardener and nature that puts few demands on natural resources.