Darwinian Gardeners November Outing
On Saturday 26 November fifty two members of the Darwinian Gardeners made their way to San Pedro de Pinitar for our annual pre Christmas visit to a poinsetta nursery. The sight when entering the greenhouses was amazing and the effect of so many poinsettas in one place was really lovely, plus in the smaller greenhouses were poinsetta plants of different colours, although we were advised that these do not sell very well to the Spanish market as red is the colour of choice. The week following our visit the nursery was getting ready to ship 400,000 plants to Madrid and they were especially proud last year that plants were sent to the royal palace.
Lots of plants were purchased by the group at very good prices before making our way to the Chino Big House restaurant in San Javier, which was easy as you only had to follow a car with poinsetta plants on the back seat. Everyone had a very good lunch and four lucky people won raffle prizes.
Darwinian Gardeners Day Out
The November event of the gardening club was a coach trip to Elche, which, because of the concentration of between two and three hundred thousand palm trees, is a Unesco World heritage site. It is believed that the presence of so many palms dates back to Phoenaecian times, 2,500- 3,000 years ago.
The main focus of our visit was the Huerto del Cura, a 13,000 square metre garden which includes more than a thousand palm trees and many varieties of other plants, all beautifully landscaped, with pools, fountains and delightful shady walks and seats
The garden is well over a hundred years old, and was developed by a local priest, Jose Castaño Sanchez, who owned it until 1918, hence the name, which translates as garden of the priest.
Across the road from this garden is the Museum of Palms, which includes among its displays much information about, and examples of the traditional intricate palm leaf craftwork which is a speciality of the city, and is made from bleached palm leaves. The leaves are covered by black fabric or plastic hoods which prevent them from turning green. The museum also has a garden which demonstrates traditional irrigation methods.
After a leisurely lunch we returned to the coach and eventually arrived at the Carmen del Campillo, near Catral. This garden has been developed along with the house and all the buildings during the last 36 years by its owner, who started with an empty field.
Totally enclosed from the surrounding countryside by tall trees and walls, this garden has very much the feel of a traditional arabic setting. There are hedges creating tiny courtyards some with pools or water features, and many pleasant seating areas where visitors can be served drinks and snacks. An aviary and arabic style music complete the exotic ambience.
Altogether a most enjoyable day.
The Darwinian Gardeners are an initiative of the Humanists of Murcia. Other activities organised by the humanists include two monthly walks, one easier and one harder, a monthly games evening, a philosophy group, and a discussion group. Most of our activities culminate in lunch or dinner.