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24th Annual General Meeting
Alicante Spain
Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 October 2018

General Assembly     Pre-AGM Tour     Post-AGM Tour

AGM Programme of Events - FULLY BOOKED

Thursday 25 October
Registration and Welcome Reception
The programme will begin in the evening with registration and a welcome reception in the Sala Almirante of the Melia Alicante Hotel, with its spectacular views of the city and the coastline.

Friday 26 October
Visit to the historic city of Elche and some of its gardens, the Palmeral Museum and to private gardens in the fertile well-irrigated plain to the south of the city.
Elche is a most beautiful city situated in the largest palm grove in Europe (declared a World Heritage Site in 2000). Three hundred thousand date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) surround the old city centre in parcels of land known as ‘huertos’, where lines of palms enclose and shade the ground where fruits and vegetables are grown. The most famous of Elche’s huertos is the Huerto del Cura, which is still a private garden, but which welcomes visitors from all over the world. In the past many important people came to see the famous multi-trunked ‘Imperial Palm’, so named after a visit by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1894.

The ‘Imperial Palm’

The nearby Palmeral Museum shows the history of the area and illustrates the lives of those who lived and worked in it. One of the most recently constructed gardens in Elche, the vertical garden on the wall of the Calaforra Tower, will also be visited.

Vertical Garden in Elche

One of the private gardens near Elche to be visited will be that of Branch Heads Alan and Carol Hawes, with its variety of different ‘garden rooms’, including areas dedicated solely to plants from Australia, Africa and the Americas. Lunch will be a typical Spanish paella, taken in a splendid private garden with a Roman theme, set in the quiet countryside south of the city. The day will end at an atmospheric Arab-style garden, where we can explore the fascinating garden before enjoying some of the many types of tea and delicious pastries, as dusk falls and the Moorish lanterns illuminate the garden.

Moorish Tea Garden

After returning to Alicante the evening will be free, with a chance to try one of the many nearby restaurants.

Saturday 27 October

Gardens of the mountainous interior of Alicante Province
We shall travel northwards from Alicante to the mountainous interior of the province to visit two historic gardens in the Romantic style. They were both completed about 1850 but have very different histories. The Jardín de Santos, near Penáguila, was created by an enthusiastic member of an aristocratic family who had travelled widely in Europe, visiting many gardens for inspiration in the design of his own, on a site outside the village where his family lived. As the years passed it fell into a decline until 1986, when it was given into the care of the village authorities, who restored the garden and opened it to the public. It is a delightful place to visit, with a beautiful central pool surrounded by a pergola, parterres, a small wood containing a grotto and a labyrinth. There is also a small museum which explains the history of the garden.

Jardin de Santos

The Brutinel Garden was built by a successful businessman, the owner of a paper factory, whose profits allowed him to pay for the construction of a complicated hillside garden with an amazing and beautiful pavilion (see the article by Jacqueline Charron in TMG 84). This comprises a huge conservatory (recently wonderfully restored), some sitting rooms and an interesting aviary. This garden is still in private hands and the owners are offering us a rare opportunity to visit it.

Brutinel Pavilion

As a complete contrast we propose to visit the Espacio Natural Casa Tápena, which is the first Centre of Sustainable Gardening in the area. It aims to demonstrate the practical aspects of sustainability by providing attractive demonstration gardens using drought-tolerant plants and different mulches. There is also an interesting agricultural zone with examples of the traditional fruit and vegetable crops of the Alicante province.

Casa Tapena Demonstration Garden

In the evening, in the Melia Alicante Hotel, there will be a talk by Antonio Regueiro, the secretary of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden Madrid, who is a specialist in the design and restoration of botanic gardens. The rest of the evening will be free for participants to enjoy the nearby local restaurants. 

Sunday 28 October

The General Assembly
We shall begin the day with a scenic drive along the coast northwards from Alicante to the town of Javea, where the Parador de Javea Hotel will be the venue for the General Assembly at 11.00 a.m. Afterwards, a lunch will be provided at hotel for those registered with the AGM programme of events. We shall then travel a short distance inland to the Garden of L’Albarda, where we can enjoy guided tours or wander around this splendid garden. It was created in 1990 on a five-hectare site, and now demonstrates the great richness of the flora that thrive in this climate and is a model of excellence in the world of Mediterranean gardens. It contains more than 700 species of native plants as well as an extensive collection of roses and palm trees. It also has a formal garden, orchards and wild gardens which recreate the ancient Renaissance gardens of Valencia, which were widely influenced by Arab culture.

Albarda Garden’s Formal Garden

The spectacular blue tiled wall in the Albarda Garden

See also Edith Haeuser’s article in TMG 92.

In the late afternoon we shall return to Alicante for a farewell dinner at the Melia Alicante Hotel.

Cost – AGM Programme of Events
The cost per person of the main AGM programme not including accommodation will be 380 euros including the welcome reception, coach travel to gardens visited on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, garden admissions, lunches, evening talk and the farewell dinner.

There is in addition a registration fee of 40 euros, non-refundable in case of cancellation.

Hotel Information and Prices
Please make you own hotel bookings and mention the Mediterranean Garden Society or MGS. These three hotels are recommended, and rooms have been provisionally reserved in them. You can also make your own arrangements for accommodation in Alicante through, Airbnb or the various hotel booking sites, although prices may vary from those quoted below.

Melia Alicante Plaza del Puerto, 3, Alicante
The Melia Hotel in Alicante is where the committee meetings are held, registration will take place, and the welcome reception, evening talk and farewell dinner will be held.  The coaches used for the Alicante garden visits will pick-up and set-down at the Melia Hotel.

If you wish to book directly, rooms at the Melia Hotel have been provisionally reserved for arrival 24 October and departure 29 October (5 nights) and for arrival 25 October and departure 29 October (4 nights).  The room rates (including tax and breakfast) are 128.25 euros for singles, and 147.50 euros for doubles per night.  The hotel has reserved the right to adjust these rates after 14 May but is not expected to do so. 

Jambo Travel is handling the bookng. Email or telephone on +34 966 461 010 and speak (in English) to Vivi or Carmen. Mention that you are an MGS member. Jambo Travel’s office opening hours are Monday-Friday 09:30-13:30 and 16:00-19:00, and Saturday 09:30-13:30. Please check the time in Spain before telephoning – Spain is currently 8 hours behind Melbourne and 9 hours in advance of Los Angeles.

Tryp Ciudad Hotel, Gravina, 9, Alicante 03002
Tryp Ciudad Hotel is a three-minute walk from the Melia Hotel.  Please note that there are several steps up from the street to the hotel lobby. 

If you wish to book directly, rooms at the Tryp Ciudad Hotel have been provisionally reserved for arrival 25 October and departure 29 October (4 nights). The room rates (including tax and breakfast) are 69.00 euros for singles, and 75.00 euros for doubles per night. 

Email or telephone on +34 965 210 700 and speak (in English) to Raquel or Jorge. Mention that you are an MGS member. Please check the time in Spain before telephoning – Spain is currently 8 hours behind Melbourne and 9 hours in advance of Los Angeles.

Explanada Hotel, Calle San Fernando Nº18, Alicante
Explanada Hotel is close to the Tryp Ciudad and is a four-minute walk from the Melia Hotel. 

If you wish to book directly, rooms at the Explanada Hotel have been provisionally reserved for arrival 25 October and departure 29 October (4 nights). The room rate (including tax and breakfast) is 50.00 euros per room (whether single or double occupancy).

Email or telephone on +34 965 204 694 and speak (in English) to Aitur.  Mention that you are an MGS member. Please check the time in Spain before telephoning –Spain is currently 8 hours behind Melbourne and 9 hours in advance of Los Angeles.

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