As you take a leisurely stroll through the resort or sit looking out from your private terrace, I am sure we have all thought just how beautiful and immaculately maintained the gardens are, which form such an integral part of Fairways. Our specialist garden contractors Straight2U who, in their distinctive green t shirts, work here all year round have, according to Lúcia Correia, “the best job in the world”. At the weekly meeting with Cláudio, the Fairways Maintenance Manager, they discuss the most pressing tasks for her eight-strong team of gardeners, who work side by side with Fairways 5 permanent onsite gardeners and pool keepers. “Our biggest challenge is to go unnoticed while we do
our work”, Lúcia says. “After all, members and guests are here to enjoy a quiet, relaxed holiday within these beautiful surroundings.” “Our next challenge is ensuring the gardens look their best throughout every season and at all times, so succession planting throughout the seasons is very important”.
Automatic irrigation means that hot, dry summers can be managed. We use a drip irrigation system in as many situations as physically possible in our gardens. We are all aware of water consumption in the Algarve and always follow good practices as winters are very mild and summers very hot.
Pruning the trees
A specialist company is outsourced for these services as they require special qualifications and follow strict safety measures. The palm trees historically were pruned every two years. However, around ten years ago, primarily due to an infestation from a weevil that eats these trees from the inside, we moved to annually. Unfortunately, we have now lost 15 palm trees that were planted back in 1989, when the site was originally developed. The ones that have been most affected are the Canariense palm tree, which look like a big pineapple and obviously offers more food to the weevil. Some have been substituted by another more resistant type of palm tree, the Washingtonia, but in most cases we have replaced with indigenous trees, such as: olive, almond, lemon, orange, grapefruit, carob, fig and peach. We even have one cork oak tree, which was here before the resort was developed. It’s amazing how it grew taller after we harvested its cork four years ago. The distinctive umbrella pines fortunately need attention only every three years! I wonder how many of these trees you recognise as you stroll through the grounds.
Fairways in bloom
During the winter, we tend to make more use of the shrubs, like hibiscus, several species of French lavender, phormium, teucrium combined with other flowering plants, such as dew flowers (drosanthemum), magnolias, pyracantha and calla lilies. Two old favourites, lantanas from the verbena family and bougainvillea, are superbly reliable shrubs that can flower all year round. In November and December, callistemons (bottlebrush) provide spectacular displays. In January, bird of paradise (strelitzia) comes into bloom, as well as daisy (argyranthemum). In February, narcissus bulbs start to flower, and trees such as prunus (plum family) and almonds provide blossom. March sees geraniums start to get into their stride and once April arrives, with its roses, amaryllis and alliums, Lúcia doesn’t
need to worry about colour anymore.