We are starting an experimental minimal-irrigation garden in central Portugal, intending to use Mediterranean native and other drought-tolerant ornamental plants; garden owner is a leading, internationally-recognised researcher and author in the field of sustainable planting design. I am Noel, and wife is Jo. Jo's family live nearby, with her two grandchildren.
They could learn a lot about plants, propagation, Iberian flora, gardening skills. Some opportunities for learning Portuguese locally. Although we only do minimal veg growing and are not into permaculture, there are many practitioners locally who are, so making other work and learning opportunties possible.
We are well situated for further exploration of the region midway between the coast and Spain. We are also near, and within sight of the Serra da Estrela, the highest region in Portugal, an interesting areas for flora and culture. The next village to us hosts the world's only Museum of Olive Oil and a major Roman site (Bobadela) which is just about to be excavated, so also a good place for anyone interested in archaeology.
Our nearest big city is Coimbra, the Portuguese Oxford/Harvard. And we are 3 hours from the Spanish equivalent, the beautiful Salamanca.
We will need help clearing and preparing land, propagating plants, pruning and reshaping olive and other existing fruit trees on a one hectare plot. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in ecological garden and landscape design, and being in at the beginning of what could be a very exciting long-term project. There may be some vegetable gardening too. Please note that we are not running a business and we do not sell any produce.
Bedroom and bathroom in large house, vegetarian meals provided, 3 times daily. Limited independent cooking facilities also possible.
Buses and rail service from nearest towns. Coimbra and Viseu 1 hr away, Porto 2, Lisbon 3, some local walking opportunities, lots of interesting small towns and villages nearby. A big local foreigner community who do a lot of yoga retreats and that sort of thing. Possibly some eco-building and off-grid power learning opportunities too.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week