Sunday, 18 November 2012


Forthcoming events in the Catalonia Branch

Saturday 19th January– 10:00 – 17:00 – Location TBA
Talk and Presentation on South African Plants in A Mediterranean Garden & Planning Session for 2013
We will watch a DVD on ‘A year in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – South Africa, which will be followed a talk by South African born Plant Guru - Peter Steadman – This will be followed by a 2013 Branch Planning Session and lunch.
If you are interested in attending the above events or have any idea for future events please contact me

Past Events
Saturday 10th November – 10:00 – 16:00
Barcelona Garden Tour
Members were very fortunate to be guided through the gardens by MGS Member Xavier Argimon (Author, Designer and Botanist). As Xavier was responsible for cataloguing the plants in the gardens it was a very in-depth tour of three gardens in Barcelona – Jardins de la Tamarita, Jardins de Palau de les heures Jardins Rodrigo Caro.  

Jardins de la Tamarita
The gardens have many fine features. On entering them, we where greeted by a semicircular pond with little fountains, water plants and two sleepy, terracotta lions, on either side. Behind them is filigree, a semicircular wire fence completely covered by a similarly wire-like climber with tiny green leaves, called Maidenhair vine.
All around La Tamarita we found quiet corners in the shade of hundred-year-old trees, surrounded by plant borders with a little entrance that invites us in to sit a while on a bench. Cool places like the Font de les Granotes, at one end of the garden, a piece of grass to sit for a moment, or places where we can enjoy the scent of flowers.
There are stone, marble and ceramic figures which have been turned into fountains, steps and paving made from slabs of natural rock and, all around the garden, the sober elegance of ornamental, terracotta plant pots, with their geraniums and ferns.
The main way through the garden is a walk watched over by allegorical statues from America, Africa, Asia and Europe. It is reached by paths bordered by dense myrtle neatly cut into geometric patterns and under the shade of tall plane trees.
At the centre of La Tamarita, in the Plaça dels Quatre Continents, the main feature is a fountain. At the top, a waterfall in the form of a grotto made from pumice stone and shells, like those many patios used to have, closes the classic part of the garden.
Next to the house, surrounded by trees and beautifully cut plant borders, there is a very quiet area with grass and benches, descending some semicircular steps, it is worth visiting one of the most charming spots in La Tamarita: the gardenia garden, where the water flowing from a fountain to a little pond in the middle, from where it spreads via small pipes, reminds us of Arab gardens.
The Tamarita Gardens are eclectic. Consequently there landscaped areas with a classical appearance and other more natural, unplanned areas, behind the house.
The wildest part of the garden is reached via a large meadow and slopes towards the stream, Frare Blanc. It is shady, cool with lots of thick undergrowth. You enter via a pergola decorated with climbing plants.
A path lets you walk along the bed of the former stream. Because it is not flat, this part seems much more natural.
In the Tamarita Gardens there are truly exceptional examples trees and shrubs. Climbing, to the right of the central walk through the gardens, at the start of the meadow and behind the sculpture representing Africa, you come across an oak tree, which is more than a hundred years old.
Palau de les Heures Gardens
Up in the Montbau neighbourhood, at the foot of the Collserola hills, stands one of the most singular buildings in Barcelona: the Palau de les Heures, built in the late 19th century. It overlooks gardens whose merit lies both in their beauty and in the richness of the vegetation, including an outstanding collection of trees.
If the house, the Palau de les Heures - with its four round towers crowned by conical points, in the style of French châteaux - is impressive, the view of the gardens from the terrace at the front of the building is frankly majestic.
The whole is of a great harmony, with broad stairs on either side of the 'palace' running down the hillside to successive sections of the gardens. Long ramps between the flights of stairs facilitate access for people with disabilities.
Boston ivy and rose bushes climbing the walls of the terraces adorn the paths, punctuated here and there with large terracotta pots blooming with fragrant geranium with its small, delicate flower.
From the bottom of the gardens, the view is perhaps even more striking than from above: the manor house looms high over the spectacularly landscaped terraces, elegant and inviting.
The south-facing gardens are laid out on terraces, the highest of which is occupied by the house and a smaller garden. The middle and the lowest - which is the largest - are both of greater note in terms of landscaping.
Both are laid out geometrically, with parterres, paths and pools in contrast to the vertical counterpoint of towering palms and the leafiness of, among other trees, large magnolias and enormous horse chestnuts.
All around there are benches for sitting in the shade of the trees or in the sun, especially on the top terrace.
Due to their height, what stand out most in the gardens are the palm trees, especially the Washingtonia robusta with its broad fan-shaped leaves, and the Canary Island palm, topped with majestic crowns. On their own, these palms give the gardens a distinctive character.
Other noble members of the tree family include magnolias, with their spectacular summer flowers, large acacias, bitter orange, olive trees, towering cedars, pines, holm oak and cypresses.
Small round parterres boast roses, while the larger ones - eight in both the lower terraces - contain big trees and palms surrounded by exquisitely trimmed and sculpted hedges.
Throughout October 2012
Gardens in the Mediteranean – Identitities and Idealised Spaces
A series of lectures where organized in Barcelona by Carme Farre – Landscape Gardener.  The lecturers included Joan Maria Roure, M. Jesus Buxo, Louisa Jones and Michel Racine and proved to very worthwhile to a number of our members

September 2012
Visit to Soljardi Fruit Nursery
Jordi Bronsom, one of the owners of Soljardi, gave members a very informative tour around their extensive Vivero.  The Nursery grows and cultivates an extensive catalogue of unusual fruit trees, nut trees and fruit bushes.  Jordi has extensive knowledge and experience in growing and treating fruit trees – which was demonstrated in an informative presentation on pests and diseases.  For further information or ordering of plants contact jordi at www.soljardi or

June 2012
Morning - Mas Bover, IRTA - The visit to Mas Bover was led by Mr. Ignasi Batlle, responsible for the IRTA's subprogramme on Olive, Nuts and Elaiotecnique . After a brief introduction in the office, we took a walk around the collections of pistachio, olive, almond and carob trees.
Afternoon - Visit to Reus. Jordi Ingles, a member of the MGS and responsible for the maintenance of various parks in Reus,  took us around different green zones of the city. (details and photos attached)


May 2012

Visit to Cervantes Rose Garden - Barcelona
Members enjoyed a truly wonderful and informative day at the Cervantes Rose Garden in Barcelona.  Hosted by Anne Neuve-Eglise who was instrumental in the design and restoration of the Rose Garden that started in 1999 and lasted 5 years. We all sat under a shady tree while Anne explained how the garden had been designed, showing us copies of the original design drawings.  Anne explained the classification of the roses in the garden (copy is attached) and took us on a guided tour of the rose garden – along a botanical pathway
There are around ten thousand rose bushes of two thousand different species and varieties - from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America.
There is a big semicircular pergola full of 233 different varieties of climbing roses. There is shade here, with benches to sit and contemplate not only the roses, but also the magnificent views of Barcelona.
The rose beds are orderly and surrounded by grass. Little paths with arches covered in roses invite you to enter. Here there are well cared for and orderly gravel paths, but you can also walk on the grass, to get even closer to the roses.
The entrance by the Avinguda Diagonal is full of roses planted for their wonderful smell. There are 235 varieties, and you don't have to be up close to smell the perfume, the whole air is full of it.
The smell accompanies you for a while as you move on and come to a sculpture of a woman and six olive trees admiring the roses. Nearby, the shade of the lime trees invites you to join them and rest for a while to admire the view.
As a rose enthusiast I have never seen such a wonderful and extensive collection of roses by country, by species and by grower.  We ended the day with a picnic lunch – thanks so much Anne for making the visit so memorable – we will return for sure.

May 2012

Garden Visits to Torre Ronsat and Mas Pica
The day started at Torre Ronsat, which has been beautifully restored by Shaunagh and Crispin Latymer.  Crispin explained the different stages of the restoration project and then took us for a guided tour through their beautiful extensive gardens, which included an olive grove and wildflower garden.  We were able to see some wild orchids including Seraplas Lingua.
We then walked through a wildflower meadow to visit Mas Pica which has been elegantly restored by Giles Money-Coutts.  Giles explained how he had restored the Masia and how he had designed the garden to be mainly drought tolerant.  The garden consisted of a number of rock walled terraces, which had been made from a attractive rock from within the garden.  It will be great to go back to see the garden when it is established as it certainly has been well planned. 
It was a very interesting and enjoyable day thanks to Shaunagh, Crispin and Giles.  The day also raised 57 euro for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Charity – thanks to the members contributions.
May 2012
Wildflower Walk in Montseny
Christopher Witty took us on a truly remarkable guided walk of the area of Montseny. This year proved to be one of the best years ever for wildflowers – the group saw many different wildflowers including many different and unusual orchids. 
Chris’s knowledge of Wildflowers gained from his extensive travels is so interesting – thanks again Chris.  We hope to repeat it next year if Chris is up for it. Although only 8 members attended the event it was an exceptional day.  Chris recommends the following two-wildflower books: 
  • Les Orquidies del Montseny by Meritxell Maymo I Reverter – Published by the Museu de Granollers – Christopher can help with copies if you cannot find
  • Collins ‘The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe’ – Available from Amazon

April 2012

Guided tour of the show gardens at Cultidelta in Amposta
This visit encompassed 125-150 different Mediterranean plant species.   It was an extremely educational visit which ended with a short trip to Els UIlals de Baltassar wetland, which are fresh water surges that create small natural lagoons with specific vegetation made of caladium mariscus and nymphaea alba
PHOTOS 5 & 6
After lunch we visited Raimon Corbero´s experimental garden with its many different trees and plants together with an amazing Wisteria.  We also visited the garden of Raimon’s mother who has created an amazing English garden in the hills of Catalonia, where she grows peonies, and orchids among other things.  We sampled some gourmet pizza and wine made from Raimon’s own vines.  What a lovely end to a great day. 
March 2012
Visit to Can Torres and Talk on Organic Gardening, Companion Gardening & Worldwide Organic Movement
At our visit to Can Torres twenty-eight members enjoyed a very information presentation on the Worldwide Organic Movement given by David Pierson and an enlightening talk on Organic and Companion planting by Karen.  Afterwards two groups toured around Karen and David’s beautiful garden perched high on top of the Gavarras Mountains overlooking Girona.  They have designed both their vegetable and flower garden with precision whilst incorporating their main objectives ‘organic, recycle, sustainability’.  Thanks so much Karen and David.  Photos can be seen on the MGS Catalonia Blog.
PHOTOS 7 & 8



AUTUMN 2012 - Joan Ball (
Hi Everyone
I hope you had a really good summer and that the heat did not affect you and your gardens too badly.  The autumn appears to be very warm and also dry so a little more water may be necessary.  Gill pound has given us some good tips, which are below, and of course there is lots of information on this topic if you go the MGS Website.
Future events in the Catalonia Branch

  • Wednesday 17 OctoberLecture organized by Carme Farre - Imagining and feeling identity by creating and walking through Mediterranean gardens - M. Jesús Buxó | Dr. of Anthropology, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Barcelona
  • Tuesday 23 October - Lecture organized by Carme Farre - Manifesto for Mediterranean gardens - Louisa Jones | Dr. of Literature, Lecturer in History of Art and specialist in the gardens of Provence
  • Wednesday 24 October - Lecture organized by Carme Farre  - At the heart of the invention of the modern garden: the Mediterranean - Michel Racine | Landscape gardener, urban planner, DPLG architect, Lecturer at the École Nationale Superieure du Paysage de Versalles
  • Saturday 10th November – Xavier Argimon will give us a tour of three gardens in Barcelona – Jardins de la Tamarita, Jardins de Palau de les heures Jardins Rodrigo Caro – details of the gardens and plants are attached.
  • Saturday 15th December – South African Plants in A Mediterranean Garden – we will watch a DVD on ‘A year in Kirstenboasch Botanical Gardens – South Africa, and discuss which plants are best for our climate – this will be followed by a 2013 Branch Planning Session and Christmas lunch at my house.
  • If you are interested in attending any of the above events or have any idea for future events please contact me

Past Events
·       22nd September – Visit to Soljardi Fruit Nursery – Jordi Bronsom, one of the owners of Soljardi, gave members a very informative tour around their extensive Vivero.  The Nursery grows and cultivates an extensive catalogue of unusual fruit trees, nut trees and fruit bushes.  Jordi has extensive knowledge and experience in growing and treating fruit trees – which was demonstrated in an informative presentation on pests and diseases.  For further information or ordering of plants contact jordi at www.soljardi or
Latest News and Views
Some Advice from Gill Pound…
October and November should bring some rain and are an excellent time for planting the majority of plants - trees, shrubs, perennials and hedging plants – while there is warmth and moisture in the soil - autumn plantings will generally be better placed to withstand drought the following summer than spring plantings.  (I would make an exception for more tender items such as plumbago and bougainvillea – these are better planted in the spring so that they can get roots down before dealing with winter cold.)  Most plants, even if they are ultimately drought resistant will need supplementary watering during their first summer or two.  When you are choosing new plants for the garden remember that this is a difficult climate; we have hot, dry summers, quite cold winters in much of the region and strong winds.  Check on the drought tolerance and winter hardiness of plants you are interested in.  Choose plants that come from Mediterranean climate zones of the world, or from other areas with similar climates rather than tropical or temperate zone plants; they will perform better and require less watering.

 When planting remember to dig a square hole about twice the depth and twice the width of the pot the plant came in (or root ball if you are planting a bare root plant), mix the excavated soil with some organic material (such as compost or terreau de plantation) and some sand or gravel to improve the soil  and use this  mix to backfill the planting hole.  First, unless the weather has been wet, fill the planting hole with water and let it drain away; meanwhile standing the plant in a bucket of water so that the root ball is moist.  Then half fill the planting hole with your soil/terreau/sand  mix and place the plant, fill around the sides with the soil/terreau mix and firm into place.  Keep an eye on the water requirements of your newly planted items.  For taller shrubs and trees you may well want to stake the plant so that it isn’t rocked by the Languedoc winds.  Note that the late autumn is also the best time  for any transplanting you want to do in the garden.

In 2013 I would like to have another educational workshop from Gill Pound if there is anything you would particularly like know or learn about please let me know.

Beetle-Mania continues….
In the summer issue Pam Benson shared with us how they were successful in eliminating the Red Palm Beetle, Rhynchopophorus ferrugineus. Pam has kindly updated us as to her progress
We have been treating our Phoenix Canariensis for 7 months now, spraying with Picudorojo de las Palmera” from “Flower” every 4 weeks.

We have been delighted to see that even over the very hot summer the palm leaves have stayed a deep green, even at the edges.

The plant has grown strongly over the summer and now has a conventional appearance, unlike the poor spike we left after the initial prune in February (see photo).

Keen eyed observers will note that some of the fronds are cut short; this is a legacy from the February prune. I intend to remove these in the winter before spraying the cut edges with insecticide”

If you are not as successful as Pam in treating your palms you must dispose of the Palm immediately.  The problem is that Palm trunks are virtually impossible to burn, so must be ground to a powder which is them passed into a chamber where it is suffused in super heated vapour to kill any living organism. The sterilized sawdust can be re-used. 
So it is important that you use a specialized tree person to dispose of any trees.  Please contact me if you require a specialized tree person.
I would encourage you to be vigilant in searching this problem out.  The problem with the Palm weevil plague is, as mentioned in the previous newsletters, an egg-bearing female which can deposit 200-500 eggs in a single visit to a Palm tree. However, this can happen a number of times on that one Palm and at different times. We have seen Palms, literally crawling with maggots of different sizes, as well as hundreds of cocoons housing the pupating grubs plus dozens of adults. They reduce the fibres of the tree to lifeless pulp. The smell can be quite awful (apparently like a dead fox). Heavily infected Palms are noisy! One can hear the grubs munching away at the juicy fibres of the Palm on their quest to grow to the required size, so that the parents can seal them into specially woven cocoons where the grubs metamorphose into adults.
If anyone has any other advice and experience on how to deal with the dreaded beetle please let me know
A New Member
I am pleased to introduce two new members that live in Calonge, Monica and Bruce Ogilvy-Morris, who you may have met at a number of events.  Monica runs the gardening group for the U3A. 
We are hoping to get a new leaflet explaining the MGS and its benefits – which will help us in marketing our branch.

Juliet Collins, one of the Friends of the Catalonia Branch has donated 50 copies of an academic catalogue of every book, magazine etc. written about roses – the book normally sells for 180 euros but we are giving them away free – if you would like a copy then let me know.
Ask the Expert
Members can ask gardening questions through “Ask the Expert” a personalised MGS service available through the website. From the home page - click on “Gardening information”. From any other page on the website click on the sixth item in the left-hand column, which is simply “Information”. If you have a query about the service you may contact David Bracey at
Lecture on line
The Making of the European Mediterranean Landscape
The keynote talk given by Prof Oliver Rackham at the 2012 spring’s conference in the Algarve is now available on line, with slides. The lecture is called The Making of the European Mediterranean Landscape” – and is a fascinating description of the history and ecology of the Mediterranean, a subject on which Professor Rackham is an authority. To watch and listen, go to
MGS AGM 2013
The AC has announced their recommendation that the next AGM is to be based in Athens in November 2013. This will be put to this year’s General Assembly in Adelaide.
·       Saturday/Sunday 20 and 21 October  - Autumn « plantes rares » festival at Sérignan-du-Comtat
Saturday, from 10.00am, will be a plant exchange, open to all. To register contact Marie Hollebecq at
On Sunday, from 9.30 to17.30, there will be a plant fair with 45 stands. Olivier Filippi will give a talk on «L’alternative au gazon en zone méditerranéenne» at 14.30. For a list of participants go to
·       Thursday and Friday 6/7th December - Languedoc Branch AGM – Malaucène, in the Vaucluse

·       Thursday 8 November –Villa Gardens of the Celio – In one of the greenest and least populated parts of Rome, a visit to Villa Celimontana – with spectacular old trees - and Villa Wolkonsky – the official residence of the British Ambassador. For more details contact

·       Tuesday 13 November and Saturday 17 November –GROUP – Lectures and Fungi Foray on the Tuesday and exploring further afield in a smaller group on the Saturday.  Contact for more details.
·       Friday 1 to Sunday 3 March 2013 – CONFERENCE – Friends and Foes in the Mediterranean Garden – Guest speakers: Roy Lancaster, Jim Gardiner, Elizabete Marchante and Francis Hurst.  Supplementary days of visits to local members’ gardens. Contact Rosie Peddle for more information and to express your interest in making a booking.  Tel: 00351 289 791 869  or by post to
·       Saturday 17 November – 11.00 –-- Meeting at Edith Haeuser’s home in Jávea. News from the AGM in Australia, exchange of experiences with an unusually dry hydrological year, and discussion about possible branch activities in 2013. Contact Edith Haeuser at
·       A one-week trip to Croatia open to all MGS members – April/May 2013 – will start in Dubrovnik, move on to the island of Hvar, then into mainland mountains and back to the charming seaside town of Trogir, with an excursion to Diocletian's Palace in Split.  A two-day extension will explore Paklenica and Plitvička Jezera National Parks. For more information contact Alisdair Aird at


·       May 2013 – UK Branch - Visit to the Hérault, France – Gardens, vineyards and a visit to the nursery and garden of nurseryman Olivier Filippi, guided by him.  There will be a wild flower walk led by Gill Pound, whom many members know as an experienced gardener, speaker and propagator. Her nursery at Caunes is popular and respected by MGS members in that area. There will also be at least one visit to a good wine grower in the area with a wine tasting arranged by Master of Wine Rosemary George, also a member of the MGS.  The dates for this visit are not yet known but it may be five or six days between 11 and 19 May. 

Plants for special and difficult situations, also gardens and nurseries in Provence and the Languedoc
Members of the MGS Languedoc branch have compiled several useful lists.  Contact the branch head, Christine Savage, at

Making a Dry Garden
Mulches and Compost
The Waterwise Garden

These are now available in English, Spanish Portuguese, German and French as printed leaflets or as .pdf attachments to an email. 
The MGS Seed List
A seed exchange for MGS members run by Chantal Guiraud. New seeds added following the AGM in Majorca and visits to Costa Blanca as well as donations received in December.
 A list and information on how to order, see MGS website:
MGS members entitled to 10 free packets each year
The MGS Forum
A new, live, internet forum for anyone interested in Mediterranean plants and gardening. Send your garden/plant queries to the forum.

Moderated by Alisdair Aird, Oron Peri and Fleur Pavlidis this can be accessed at
TMG Index/Archive service
Articles from past issues of The Mediterranean Garden journal
To receive the text of past articles by email contact the editor, Caroline Harbouri, at Find articles by going to the website, go to MGS Journal, then click on ‘General Index’ for an A-Z by topic.
Information about the administration of the MGS Minutes of General Assemblies and Administrative Committee meetings Financial Statements
Minutes of the Administrative Committee from 8th September are available – please contact me if you would like a copy.