This years spring gathering took place once again at the Pine Cliffs hotel near Albufeira on the Algarve following a very successful event held there in 2013. Our focus this year was very much on the succulents of the plant kingdom and the organising group had come up with some very knowledgeable speakers to take us on a global tour with suggestions for our mediterranean gardens along the way.

The weekend started with timely wildflower walks and garden visits on Friday and Monday, neatly sandwiching the more intense talks programme of Saturday and Sunday. Sue Parker and Pat O’Reilly took a group along the Algibre River on Friday morning and Marilyn Medina Ribeiro followed this up with a guided walk at Fonte De Benemola on Monday, just missing the worst of the heavy downpairs of the day. Both walks were described by one participant as an ‘orchidfest’ and there was some competition to see who had spotted the most species during the visit.

A special treat on Friday afternoon was the inauguration of the Botanic Tour of the Hotel Gardens to celebrate the new self-guided tour and brochure. A first for a hotel and resort on the Algarve. This was well attended by conference delegates and a good introduction to the huge range of plants from many parts of the works that grow here on the Algarve. If you would like to make the garden tour, just ask at the hotel reception at Pine Cliffs.





I would like to take the opportunity to thank the kind garden owners who opened their own private gardens to visitors to the conference. This is always a very popular part of the programme and I know visitors really appreciate the chance to visit and talk with gardeners in this area. This year visitors had the choice of newly planted succulent gardens, more established general interest gardens and a visit to Quinta da Figueirinha for encounters with fruit trees, ancient olives and carobs and plant trials.


Our specialist speakers took us on tours of Central America, South Africa and the Siskiyou Mountains of the western United States. All had excellent suggestions for plants and trees that should perform well for us in mediterranean climates. Derek Tribble took us to South Africa and showed us Aloe brevifolia and Aloe plicatis among many other interesting plants from this botanically rich area. Paul Spracklin shared the photos of his many visits to Mexico hunting out rare Agave species in their native habitat, including Agave potatorum and Agave titanoa.

Our keynote speaker on Saturday morning was Roy Lancaster. He shared with us his visit to the spectacular Siskiyou Mountains, his visit was guided by the well known nurseryman Sean Hogan and Roy recommended his book to us for hints on arid zone gardening. The magnificent specimens of pines and drought resistant shrubs included Pinus lambertii, Arbutus menzeisii and Rhamnus californica.


Marilyn Medina Ribeiro covered making gardens in the varied range of soil types of the Algarve, and Gerald Luckhurst told us the fascinating story of the restoration of the historic Mexico garden at Monserrate Palace in Sintra near Lisbon.


This was also an opportunity for getting to know other gardeners, and the talking went on throughout the weekend, friendships formed, gardens visited, diversity of plants well demonstrated – all in all a great way to spend a weekend !


Cacela Gardens owner Bruno has supported many of our events, he was at the Garden Fair last year selling good quality plants.

30 % off PLANTS and 20 % off all other products

From Bruno Falcato, “Unfortunately I have to tell you that after 10 years, some of them struggling against the crisis, we are forced to close the Cacela Garden Centre. The company, Miniterras, will go on in Lisbon and the Algarve – if we have construction works, but we will close the garden centre soon, by the end of July or August. The only good news that I can give you is that we are discounting our prices with plants 30% off; other products 20% and we can negotiate further discounts for bulk purchases.  Please  pass this news to the MGS contacts or to any company that could be interested in the garden centre or some of our stocks.  Thank you for your help at this difficult time. “

You can contact Bruno via email  bfalcato@gmail.com  The garden centre is on the right hand side of the EN125 heading towards Vila Real just after the turn off to Cacela Velha, their tel no is 281 951 527.

QM country shop & garden centre  near Sta Barbara de Nexe will be closing for a break from the 1st August. The Simpsons are taking a pause  and having a re-fit and a re-think!

Many bargains and clearance in the garden and in store, so please pop in the next couple of weeks and take advantage of our massive clearout!