What an amazing day we had on Saturday, but, thank goodness we had sunshine - many of those attending remembered the deluges of 2012 at the same venue, so it was a great bonus to have good weather this year.
This was our first major event under the banner of our newly registered Portuguese association - The Mediterranean Gardening Association. The new group has fiscal and legal status and removes the concern of being challenged about our activities.
A new layout for the plant nurseries put everyone all together which made for a spectacular show of good quality plants. We distributed a lot of free garden advice leaflets and a lot of free garden advice too !
The talks were popular, and the propagation workshop was quite a challenge to do in two languages but fortunately our visual aids (secateurs and soggy compost) worked just fine!
The parking arrangements seemed to work well for the visitors, the shuttle bus was popular and did a good job in ferrying those who wanted a lift up from the car park.
The Plant Creche was a new feature and allowed everyone to collect plants with their cars from one point at the end of their visit. These new arrangements were a huge experiment, and it became obvious that there is work to do on refining the arrangements for parking for our own volunteers, and that for stall holders. Our less mobile visitors welcomed the provision of disabled parking on the site, and this must be part of plans for the future.
So, how did we do for our funds?
The MGA plant stall took a fantastic €800. We had bulbs for sale as well as second hand books, and the new Algarve Wild Flowers book on the MGA Info table. Not all proceeds are profit as we have had to pay for the books, and some bought in specially commissioned plants, but there will be a significant sum after that has been taken into account.
Richard has been working hard on the accounting system that we must have for our new association so it is important to have our records accurate for the AGM coming up in 2015. There were also considerable set up costs this year for the new association so it was doubly important to make the event a success.
The real headline is the number of paying visitors to the event this year, a whopping 921 people !! Taken together with you lot of lovely volunteers and the stall holders and their helpers we had about 1,000 people on site during the day. Lots of smiling faces, lots of bags full of plants and best of all, fabulous weather for our annual bash.
The strong interest in Mediterranean Gardening and the need for good quality information and appropriate plants has been proved - and now we have had the best start possible for our gardening year.
I hope everyone will be keen to get planting their new purchases, it was a very beautiful day and I hope you all had a lot of fun.
As always, please do let me know your thoughts, comments and suggestions as well as any interesting comments from our visitors.