green blue world

Abundant landscapes for people and nature


Leave a comment

Sketches for the Almaa, 2014

In the magical, palace-clad hills of Sintra, The Almaa Sintra Hostel is one of Portugal’s most special places to stay. It’s a creative place, beautifully converting used materials into hand crafted beds, bedding, furniture, sinks – you name it. Owner, Joao Mello, means it when he says they’re an eco-hostel: now they’re restoring a greenhouse in which to propagate local endangered species, and working with Green Blue World on productive and recreational garden spaces.  One area we’re beginning with is next to (and surrounding) the greenhouse; cool and shady it’s more like working in England than Portugal. Almaa staff’s dreams of home-grown tomatoes may be a bit challenged by lack of sun, so we’re putting together some initial options to consider, including: a ‘mirror garden’ from salvaged materials to reflect in maximum sunlight (picture indian mirror mosaics!), or a shade-happy space with climbers festooning the walls (sweet tea vine, hops, hardy kiwi, chocolate vine, caucasian spinach…). We’ll be discussing which to go with!…

Image

Mirror garden, or shady enclave?

Image

Work in progress!


Leave a comment

Portugal – Mountain farm (2014)

Advisory trip to a mixed acreage spread over several sites including vegetable gardens, livestock, vineyard, mixed orchard and forestry (pine and eucalyptus).  Initial client focus on vineyard and mixed orchard.  Vineyard has potential to build on existing rotation of vegetables and chickens between high-vine rows, by including rabbits (in tractors if necessary) to improve their welfare and quality.  Mixed orchard has potential to improve condition of soil and trees by altering the acequia irrigation to run on contour and avoid erosion, going organic, introduction of compost tea foliage sprays, tree guilds and alley cropping (e.g. with nitrogen fixers, comfrey, etc) with periodic animal inclusion (i.e. sheep, not goats).

Image


Leave a comment

Portugal – Geres eco-house (2014)

Edible landscaping for an eco-tourism house in the Geres Mountains, including three gardens.  The design pictured (for the back garden) integrates existing trees (citrus, olive, apple, pear, peach) with new plantings (mulberry as centre-piece, wind-breaks, nitrogen fixers, etc) in a food forest structure, with water capture and passive irrigation provided by swales connected to a tap drawing on perpetually available stream water. This garden provides a secluded and protected place to relax (with an outdoor bed!), in contrast to the sun-maximising swimming pool area.

Image