Mediterranean Garden Society

The MGS in Portugal

In Portugal the MGS is affiliated to Mediterranean Gardening Association – Portugal (MGAP) ASSOCIAÇÃO DE PLANTAS E JARDINS EM CLIMAS MEDITERRÂNICOS (APEJECM), whose aims are:

To promote Mediterranean plants and gardens, through education, cultivation, conservation and recognition of their communal, environmental and economic importance in our everyday lives.

MGS members are welcome to participate in MGAP events and activities; those wishing to receive MGAP newsletters can send their email address to

MGAP President is David Marion (biography), Secretary is Rosie Peddle and Treasurer is Rob Peddle.

For up to date information on events, please see our website or send an email to

The photo at the top of this page shows a Portuguese water tank of traditional tiles with floral designs in a private garden in the UNESCO Heritage Area of Sintra, near Lisbon. Photo by Rosie Peddle.

For previous reports and articles please check out the archived (non-responsive) Portugal Branch page.

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Past Events

April 2019
International Spring Conference, Évora, Alentejo

Olivier Filippi talk “Bringing the Mediterranean landscape into your garden”

Our conference this spring was entitled ‘Bringing the Mediterranean Landscape into your Garden’. It was held in the UNESCO World Heritage University city of Évora in the beautiful springtime landscapes of the Alentejo.

University of Évora

The event started with a pre-conference tour in the Algarve: the group spent four days visiting gardens and wildflower hotspots including in Messines, Monchique and the west coast. Also included was the MGAP Barrocal Botanic Garden near Silves.

Group on the pre-conference tour of the Algarve

Finding Paeonia broteroi in flower was a highlight and, despite the dry winter, there was a good show from Cistus ladanifer in the hills and some orchids on the coast.

Cistus ladanifer

Anacamptis pyramidalis

The Évora section of the week-long event was well supported, with 140 attending the Saturday morning talks. It was very pleasing to have with us students of landscape architecture, professional landscape architects and gardeners from around the Mediterranean who gathered together in the university auditorium.

Group photographed at the historic Casa de Borba garden

The theme of the event was to highlight new trends in garden design and landscaping for more natural style and sustainable gardens. We were lucky to have Olivier Filippi and James and Helen Basson as our keynote speakers. They were ably supported by talks on the ‘montados’ (cork oak forests), the use of native plants in Porto Botanic Garden and new methods of teaching about, and creating, low-maintenance natural-style gardens.

Montado in March

Montado in spring

A discussion session following the talks gave an opportunity to ask questions of our speakers and inevitably this included the recent advice for total land-clearance around houses in Portugal. The wholesale removal of fire-resistant plants was condemned as native hardwoods can be protective in many situations.

The event was host to the global book launch for Olivier Filippi’s new book in English “Bringing the Mediterranean into your Garden – How to capture the natural beauty of the garrigue” (reviewed in TMG 97, July 2019). Olivier says: “Some understanding of plant ecology is essential for success – how a plant interacts with its environment indicates what it needs to flourish in a garden setting.” He shares his expert knowledge acquired from decades of research.

Formal gardens visited at Quinta do General, Borba

There is much in the book about the special plant communities of the Algarve’s west coast and how to use them in a garden setting. Olivier Filippi’s pioneering approach makes for a much closer relationship between gardener and nature that puts few demands on natural resources.

President - David Marion
David was a career diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service and came to Portugal in 2013 directly from a four-year posting in Turkey. After five years as Counsellor (Management) and Consul in Lisbon he decided to "retire" to Portugal and relocated to Loulé. In Canada he served three terms as a Reeve (Mayor) of a municipality and was active on a wide range of local, regional and provincial boards. David also operated a landscaping business for 15 years and thoroughly enjoyed his  outdoor work amongst all the plants.

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