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

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

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.

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Past Events

October 2023 - Silves
Autumn Mediterranean Gardening Fair

Autumn Fair 

The Autumn Mediterranean Garden Fair took place in Silves on 28 & 29 October. We are very pleased to let members know this was again a great success, with an estimated minimum of 3,300 visitors. It was great to see many happy faces, and lots of full bags of plants and bulbs being taken to the Plant Créche. The predicted bad weather on Sunday did not deter visitors and it was a busy day for everyone. The Event has again added further funds towards delivering our future plans.

Bulbs for sale at the fair

October 2021
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.

Queueing for the Garden Fair

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.

Plant exhibits

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.

Olive oil stand

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.

Succulents on display

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

April 2019
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.

University of Évora

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.

Group on the pre-conference tour of the Algarve

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.

Cistus ladanifer

Anacamptis pyramidalis

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.

Group photographed at the historic Casa de Borba garden

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.

Montado in March

Montado in spring

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.

Formal gardens visited at Quinta do General, Borba

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.

President - David Marion
David was a career diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service and came to Portugal in 2013 directly from a four-year posting in Turkey. After five years as Counsellor (Management) and Consul in Lisbon he decided to "retire" to Portugal and relocated to Loulé. In Canada he served three terms as a Reeve (Mayor) of a municipality and was active on a wide range of local, regional and provincial boards. David also operated a landscaping business for 15 years and thoroughly enjoyed his  outdoor work amongst all the plants.

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