Former President of the Republic Ramalho Eanes, biologist Jorge Paiva and landscape architect Fernando Santos Pessoa will take part in the inauguration ceremony on March 10.
General Ramalho Eanes, former President of the Republic, will be in Querença, Loulé, on March 10, at 14h30, to inaugurate the Manuel Gomes Guerreiro Eco-Botanical Trail (PEB-MGG), the first in Portugal dedicated exclusively to Mediterranean flora.
The project, named after the Algarve’s most prominent 20th-century scientist, born in Querença, was designed by Fernando Santos Pessoa, a renowned Portuguese landscape architect. While scientific consultancy was provided by Jorge Paiva, an award-winning biologist who named new species for science and will be present at the inauguration.
Covering an area of 1,5 hectares, the garden was developed on a south-facing slope, integrating more than a hundred species, some protected or endangered, including trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, herbs and bulbs.
Landscape architect Fernando Pessoa says he has been witnessing the desertification of the interior for several years. The abandonment of the mountains, agriculture and watering systems, and the implications for the landscape. These are demographic changes that add to climate change.
Believing that communities can positively intervene in the landscape as an integral part of nature, Fernando Pessoa decided to “give a helping hand”, digging, gathering stones, looking for seeds and creating conditions to reorganise and recover the landscape.
Passionate about Mediterranean flora and a believer in the possibility of achieving a balance between human action and the preservation of ecosystems, he aims to show that it is possible to plant “against the current”.
As the garden’s almost exclusive choice of native plants is prepared for periods of drought and significant temperature variations, these hardly need watering throughout the year.
“This will be yet another representative nucleus of the flora capable of resisting – let’s hope – the climate changes that have been announced for decades but that one believed in. It is the only salvation for this not to become a desert”, he insisted.
The in situ garden is free of admission and is located next to the A Tasquinha do Lagar restaurant. Following the two-year delay of its inauguration due to the pandemic, visitors will now finally be able to visit the multiple species of flora characteristic of the Algarve and Mediterranean region.
In addition to their identification, many plants, shrubs, and trees also feature a QR Code allowing visitors to obtain additional scientific information on a mobile phone or tablet, thanks to an application developed by the University of Algarve.
Some QR Codes provide videos that serve as a framework not only for the flora but also for personalities related to the garden, such as Manuel Gomes Guerreiro and Fernando dos Santos Pessoa.
The project, which took several years to implement, is also intended to take root among residents and visitors, who will thus have one more incentive to visit the interior and learn more about the flora and local traditions.
The idea is also for schools and universities to benefit from field trips, combining physical exercise along the slopes, the fresh air of Barrocal and technology with the pedagogical use of gadgets to learn more.
Budgeted at more than €200,000, the PEB-MGG is funded by the CRESC Algarve 2020 Programme under the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund. Loulé City Council is a partner and co-finances the project.