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Peaceful paradise

The first private botanical garden in the Algarve was inaugurated on Saturday evening (September 30) at the Monte do Casal hotel, which is located in the hills behind Estoi.

Guests at the well-attended event included the president of Tavira Câmara, Macário Correia and the president of the Estoi Junta da Freguesia, Dr José Paulo Brito.

Hotel owner, Bill Hawkins, told The Resident that there has been a substantial investment so far with further expenditure expected as the botanical garden develops. He was very proud of the new development and was thankful to all the expert advice he had received.

The botanical garden is comprised of two large lakes covering an area of 1,250sqm with trees and plants being planted all around the area, with information provided about the different species. Each landscaped lake has been constructed for a different purpose – marginal plants and various varieties of waterlilies were planted in the Olive Lake for fish life, while the Pine Lake will attract bird life.

A bird sanctuary within the garden was designed using the professional advice of bird life specialist for the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve and Faro airport, Luís Moreno. Dra Luísa Damasio from the Algarve Regional Department for Agriculture is an expert in freshwater fish and has advised on the types of sturgeon and koi that will be introduced into the botanical garden.

Mary Wildner from the Environmental Management course at the Loulé Higher Institute was consulted about environmental issues and ways in which natural resources can be utilised to optimum effect.  An environmentally friendly feature that has already been introduced is rain collection containers set into the hotel, allowing water to be reused for irrigation.  

Following a suggestion from Mayor of Faro, José Apolinário, Bill Hawkins is involving the children at the Estoi junior high school to develop their green fingers at the gardens and lakes.

He will assist Principal Dra Dulce Diogo in developing a practical botanical programme for the students.

For more information, call 289 991503 or e-mail montedocasal@mail.telepac.pt