It was an amazing coincidence that our first two-day Spring Mediterranean Garden Fair had been planned for a weekend in late March when the rain and storms took time off for a couple of days.
Following the severe drought of previous weeks, the rains were very welcome and a great preparation for getting new plants into the ground. The wet weather hampered our preparations, but everything came together in time.
It was a lovely sunny and warm day on Saturday, Sunday was also dry, and well over 2,000 visitors arrived. The two days allowed everyone time and space to enjoy the marvellous selection of plants and crafts on offer as well as allowing the nurseries to restock.
As before, we were very pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with CONFEST (Confraria Equestre de Estoi) and to have the valuable support of the Junta de Freguesia de Conceição e Estoi to stage the fair, our first Spring Fair for three years. Our other partners were Sementes de Portugal and the special help we receive with publicity from the Portugal Resident publications.
Many of the nurseries and exhibitors who were at the Autumn Fair were with us again, with new ones being included this time to hopefully make it even bigger and better. The ability to shop from over 20 plant nurseries in one place is the major attraction of the event and the range of plants on offer did not disappoint.
There were specialist growers of dry land ground covers, water plants and colourful container plants.
This event is also attracting new and established producers of native and climate-compatible plants – much sought after for drought-tolerant gardens. Apart from plants and trees, visitors were also able to see garden and plant-related items such as new producers of sheep wool, organic plant fertiliser, organic herbs and vetiver plants for controlling erosion. There was also an amazing range of succulents and specialist plants for those seeking out the rare and unusual.
It was great to see many bringing their own bags and boxes for plant shopping and the MGAP wheelbarrows did good service between the stands and the plant crèche.
The popular MGAP Book Shop had a good range of new and second-hand gardening and natural history books for sale in various languages. MGAP members also provided gardening advice and plant identification for visitors, together with the range of free-advice leaflets in four languages.
MGAP is a not-for-profit educational legal entity in Portugal which promotes sustainable and beautiful mediterranean gardening. All funds raised go to support our aims, including the internationally recognised Barrocal Botanic Garden.
The very special volunteers who help on the day make this event possible, and visitors know that they can talk with other keen gardeners for help and advice. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came along – our hard-working helpers and all our visitors. We could not hold these fundraising events without your support.
We are already planning for our Autumn Fair in late October. We hope to return to FISSUL in Silves and have been warmly welcomed by the Junta de Freguesia de Silves, who give us great support. For news on the dates, keep looking at our website.
For more information on all MGAP events, including garden fairs, then please send your email address to [email protected]. You will be added to our distribution list for newsletters.
If you would like to know more about how you can help with the work of MGAP, or if you might consider volunteering at our next fair – it is a very worthwhile experience and a great way to have fun and meet other gardeners – please send a message to [email protected]
We look forward to welcoming you to future events.