Apr 272017 0 Responses

The NZ connection – Gardens of Monserrate

Whilst in the magical town of Sintra we visited three Palace gardens – all had quite different styles.  I’ve chosen to write about Monserrate as it had some wonderful plant collections as well as having a very beautiful palace.

Lots of information can be found on the internet regarding the palace and its various owners so I won’t go into detail here but would like to point out the important placement of two New Zealand native trees – the Pohutakawa and Rimu.

The nearest tree to the Palace is an enormous Pohutakawa – too wide to get into a photograph – all I can glean from books is that it must have been planted between 1863 and 1875 when plants were brought in from NZ and Australia.

The enormous Rimu is given centre stage in the middle of the only large lawn area in the garden. (Pohutakawa top left, Rimu mid-right in the photo above)

Throughout the garden there are also many giant tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand and these look magnificent from the various viewpoints.  The terraced gardens containing Mediterranean shrubs and many of the old rose beds are being replanted this spring – it is great to see that this magnificent garden is still being renovated and improved.

For more pictures of the Palace and wonderful garden see the Green Door Face Book page – click on the link in the far right green column.




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Apr 182017 Tagged with , , 0 Responses

Cork Oak – Quercus suber in Southern Portugal

Probably the one thing I love the most about Spain and Portugal is the countryside – and the Cork Oak fields.   Thousands and thousands of acres of trees stud the semi- wild fields and all of them have the tell- tale marks of cork stripping.  They’re semi-nude up to around 2.5m high and have trunks of varying colours depending upon which year their cork was harvested.  Pinky/red hued trunks = newly harvested – over the years the trunks gradually go grey and then black.

The Oaks cover the countryside and the wide canopied trees look so beautiful.  It’s such a pleasure to see land that isn’t completely just grass and it looks so completely natural.  I never get tired of driving through it.

Prior to writing this blog I did a bit of research – as you do….  never want to get facts wrong, and I came across this terrific article that you should check out.  It has a wealth of really interesting info. On the Cork Oak, history, the industry, how it’s harvested and grown, the value of cork and the varied uses for it – apart from corks for wine bottles!

Phil and I have both purchased beautiful cork wallets and if I get the chance to go shopping again… a pair of cork sneakers and a belt will be coming home too!

Please click on this safe link below and find out more about this terrific tree  – I found it really enlightening



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Jun 182014 0 Responses

Leucadendrons – colour your garden in winter

Leucadendrons appear everywhere at this time of the year with their bright colours starting to show already.  They are particularly valuable in the garden in winter as there is little else that is in flower – not to mention colourful to pick.

Some of the best red varieties are L. ‘Safari Sunset’ (of course) which was raised in N.Z. in 1964 and without a doubt has been the most significant hybrid bred for many years.   A finer foliage red flowered variety which gives a finer look in the garden and for picking is L. salignum ‘Mrs Stanley’ or ‘Jack Harre’.  ‘Inca Gold’ is still hard to be beaten for a bright yellow.  Read More…

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