PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Garden Visits (Part 1)

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

We visited several very different gardens during our time in the Algarve. Both Rosie and Marilyn wanted to show us the diversity in designing gardens for a Mediterranean climate, primarily with the waterwise garden theme in mind.

Rosie took us to visit three gardens in one day, as well as a garden centre. The first two were near Almancil, on the coastal Algarve which were both in the litoral soil zone.

The first visit of the day was to the personal private garden of Margaret Jackson. Her background as a professional architect is shown in the house and garden she designed, it was only a quarter of an acre yet was a little piece of pure paradise.

Views of the garden

View of the garden

Another view of the garden

Margaret’s garden was right in the middle of Quinta das Salinas, Almancil, a proper urban setting. It has been established for 9 years now, a garden which showcases plantsmanship at its best.

Margaret’s dedicated interest in her garden is demonstrated by the sympathetic use of many rare plants alongside native and other more familiar plants. The use of stone, rock and gravel created texture and structure which complemented the carefully selected plants to provide colour and contrast.

View of the house and swimming pool

View of the house and swimming pool

Cistus monspeliensis

Cistus monspeliensis

It was a typical Mediterranean scene in the background with Pinus pinea, Cupressus sempervirens and Olea europaea providing much needed shade then a totally different, exotic feel in the understorey planting. Loads of various succulents and cacti, Yucca gigantea made a dramatic statement planted alongside Musa sp. The clever use of Myrtus communis as a winding hedge divided up the space and led you subtly through the garden.

Cacti with Pinus pinea in background

Cacti with Pinus pinea in background

Cistus x purpureus

Cistus x purpureus

Strelitzia nicolai was very eye-catching, the giant white bird of paradise. It had banana like foliage with a bluey-black and white inflorescence, like a dark version of Strelitzia reginae. Drosanthemum sp. and Ledebouria socialis worked well growing in pots along the edge of the swimming pool.

Strelitzia nicolai

Strelitzia nicolai

Collection of succulents and cacti

Collection of succulents and cacti

Spiraea cantoniensis ‘Reeves’ was growing as a large shrub against the wall, with gorgeous white pom-pom like flowers. Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’ was thriving, it was weird to see a rose growing next to succulents! The almost thornless stems held beautiful pinky-yellow single flowers.

Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’

Rosa x odorata 'Mutabilis'

Ledebouria socialis

Ledebouria socialis

Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans, was architecturally perfect next to various palms such as Chamaerops humilis and Trachycarpus fortunei. The collection of Kalanchoe was interesting, K. tetraphylla worked well growing in pots, K. beharensis had gorgeous velvety grey foliage – easy to see why it is commonly known as the feltbush.

Melianthus major flower spike

Melianthus major flower spike

Wisteria sinensis

Wisteria sinensis

Little or no water is required to maintain the plants now they are established. Margaret employs one gardener to help maintain her garden now, apparently he is a scavenger who will acquire plants from anywhere, usually unlabelled! The challenge is then identifying them and seeing if they’ll work in the garden or not.

PGG trainees with Margaret

PGG trainees with Margaret Jackson, photo by Rosie Peddle

Margaret’s garden was an absolute delight from start to finish, the kind of place I can imagine myself designing someday.

Plants noted:

  • Aechmea sp.
  • Aeonium castello-paivae
  • Agave attenuata
  • Aloe ferox
  • Catananche caerulea
  • Chamaerops humilis
  • Cistus monspeliensis
  • Cistus x purpureus
  • Clivia miniata
  • Coreopsis sp.
  • Convolvulus cneorum
  • Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca
  • Cupressus sempervirens
  • Cussonia paniculata
  • Cycas revoluta
  • Dietes iridioides
  • Dracaena fragrans
  • Drosanthemum sp.
  • Echium candicans
  • Gaura lindheimeri
  • Geranium maderense
  • Kalanchoe beharensis
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana
  • Kalanchoe tetraphylla
  • Ledebouria socialis
  • Libertia formosa
  • Limonium latifolium
  • Lobelia tupa
  • Melianthus major
  • Monstera deliciosa
  • Musa sp.
  • Myrtus communis
  • Olea europaea
  • Phoenix roebelenii
  • Phormium tenax
  • Pinus pinea
  • Quercus suber
  • Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’
  • Spiraea cantoniensis ‘Reeves’
  • Strelitzia nicolai
  • Strelitzia reginae
  • Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Wisteria sinensis
  • Yucca gigantea

NaBloPoMo_2015

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9 thoughts on “PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Garden Visits (Part 1)

  1. I like the scavenger. We once bought a rose discounted because it had no label attached. Because it had been left in the A section, we managed to convince ourselves that it was Aloha. Much internet searching made us no wiser, but we had narrowed it down to two. Eventually Jackie returned to the nursery and found they had restocked with Rosa Gaujard.

    Liked by 1 person

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