PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Garden Visits (Part 3)

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.

Our last garden visit of the day was to Rua do Cadoico, a garden near to the town centre of Loulé in the hills behind Faro, which is the personal private garden of the president of MGAP, Burford Hurry. He has been gardening in the Algarve for 26 years and has lived in his current house (and garden) for 12 of them. He comes from an African background where heat, drought and cold are not uncommon factors in gardening.

View of the house

View of the house



Rua do Cadoico is tucked away from the bustle of the town on a steeply sloping site alongside an all year round waterfall. It is terraced on three levels, with the magnificent waterfall running straight through the heart of the garden. Burford has utilised the springs to provide humid areas for different species of ferns, apparently in the olden days the women of the village came to his property and washed the clothes communally in the river as it flowed through.

The waterfall

The waterfall

Another view of the waterfall

Most of the trees were already present when he bought the property, including a huge Morus alba. The mulberry was growing on the hillside, a fantastic specimen at roughly 50 years old. It had a colourful climber, Canarina canariensis, growing through it. Also know as the Canary bell-flower, it has beautiful orangey-red veined flowers. I also loved Lantana montevidensis, a low-growing, trailing variety with purpley-pink flowers.

Morus alba

Morus alba

Another view of the house

View of the house from the bottom terrace

I noticed some interesting training techniques on certain plants. A Carissa macrocarpa had been pruned into a perfect bonsai, Punica granatum had an unusual sprawling habit and a Ceratonia siliqua which had been specifically shaped to provide shade in the garden. I liked how Burford had cleverly manipulated the plants to maximise their full potential.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the visit. The layout of the place was unique, unlike any garden I had seen before. The use of hard landscaping elements (the walls, terraces, paths and steps) enhanced the planting greatly. The use of pots filled with bulbs and succulents was also very effective.

View from the top terrace

Another view from the top terrace

View of Burford's garden from the top terrace

The balance of plants working with the natural surroundings created an atmosphere of harmony. I find the use of water in any garden relaxing, Rua do Cadoico epitomised that for me.


Me in the bottom terrace, photo by Rob Burstow

PGG trainees with Burford

John, Dagmar, Jo, Becky, Burford and Rob

Burford was a lovely guy, it was great to meet him and very generous of him to show us round his garden. We hopefully made a good impression for other PGG trainees who go there in the future.

Plants noted:

  • Aloe ferox
  • Bougainvillea
  • Canarina canariensis
  • Carissa macrocarpa
  • Ceratonia siliqua
  • Chamaerops humilis
  • Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Clivia miniata
  • Cycas revoluta
  • Iris spuria
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Morus alba
  • Olea europaea
  • Punica granatum
  • Strelitzia reginae
  • Tradescantia pallida
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica



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