Our interest in improving the use of xeriscaping (use of drought-resistant plants and techniques for water conservation) along with native plant species stems from its ecological importance for nature conservation, which is also one of the Foundation’s purposes.
Given the current situation where a large part of the Mediterranean coast is occupied by urbanizations and residences with landscaped areas, the adaptation of these spaces to the ecological conditions of our environment is of vital importance.
In general, people use exotic plants from distant countries with vital requirements that are totally different from those provided by our climate, with the consequent excess in water consumption and other resources. The generalization of these exotic environments, denaturalizes our Mediterranean landscape and leads to the cornering, if not the disappearance, of native flora and fauna, causing important ecological imbalances.
In most cases, the choice of this type of exotic gardens responds to aesthetic trends that could be described as fashions, a generalized situation that inevitably leads to designing them in this way, as if it were their only alternative. FUNDEM promotes other gardening options, based on indigenous Mediterranean elements.
In this context, the Mediterranean garden of l’Albarda has been planned, with an area of approximately 50,000 square meters meters, exclusively created from indigenous flora, located in the municipality of Pedreguer, Alicante. It was initially owned by the founding president, D. Enrique Montoliu, and today it is mostly loaned to the Foundation. The aim for the future of the garden is to become the full property of the Foundation and to be managed on the money raised from public visits. Its natural and landscape quality has been recognized with the Master of Landscaping Award 2002, awarded by the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
With increasing frequency, visits are being carried out by people directly or indirectly related to gardening: professional gardeners, scientists, landscapers, representatives of different public administrations… The reference model effect of this garden is of great importance, to the extent that its ecological criteria can be considered to have been exported to many other places.
Using the garden both for public enjoyment and as a gardening model requires specific infrastructures and maintenance. Other activities also add to the demands on the infrastructure and manpower, such as 1) the construction and provision of the equipment for the reproduction of plant species, many of them used for the first time in gardening, and 2) the adaptation of spaces for the implementation of purely teaching activities, courses, practices, thesis, etc.
Here are some of the advantages of creating a Mediterranean garden, an environment for sustainability:
- Reduced water consumption: Due to their adaptation to the climate and soil, indigenous plants only need irrigation the first two years after planting. Then they can survive only with the water provided by rain, even in the summer.
- Reduced expenses: Plants are bought only once, because their reproduction is dynamic in this favorable enviroment. The only work work required is having aesthetic ideas.
- It contributes to maintaining our landscape: It is very important to preserve our environment. If we introduce native plants, we collaborate in the development of our flora. Without our help, these species will be limited to natural areas, which are unfortunately increasingly degraded and disappearing.
- The garden is beautiful all year round: At all times of the year, there are a number of plants ready to bloom, and they are constantly renewed according to the seasons.
- Its maintenance is environmentally friendly: It does not need remove pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or fertilizes…, These substances, often abused or misused, are the most important cause of soil contamination. It is enough to have a pond where insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians have access: these will restore the biological balance.