Gardeners from northern Europe will need to learn a different way to garden. Here, summers are without rain for months on end and winters are rainy and mild – although there can be the odd frost. The blaze of colour that autumn brings in the north is absent – there are many evergreen trees here, but spring is joyous with a multitude of miniature wild flowers carpeting the countryside and fluorescent climbers adorning the brightly painted houses .

Water is scarce and the sun can be scorching which means that lawns are high maintenance. However it is possible to create a beautiful garden that is environmentally friendly by knowing which drought resistant plants suit the soil, the seasons and the topography. A good way to find out is to join a gardening club or even look at what is thriving in the neighbours' gardens. Fig, olive, almond, orange and lemon trees need little water and have the added bonus of succulent fruit. Landscaping with gravel and indigenous rocks is popular, along with covered verandahs, courtyards and patios. Outdoor furniture and BBQs are a must as much of life is lived in the open air.   


These fairs, held in various venues in the Algarve, are well worth visiting for the wide selection of plants on sale – and the knowledge that they will thrive in a hot, dry climate. The Fairs offer refreshments, indoor exhibitors and panels of skilled gardeners who can answer your gardening queries.

Permaculture garden design