The Gardens & Outbuildings
Organic Kitchen Gardens and Orchards
Our orchards and kitchen gardens are fully organic, and we give preference to locally adapted species and varieties. The vegetable gardens always have a wide range of seasonal choices for your self-catering menus or to take away on your island travels as healthy snacks and finger foods. We incorporate as many agro-ecological techniques as possible, such as companion planting, intercropping, green manuring and, naturally, crop rotations. We use herbs to confuse pests and we irrigate almost exclusively from rainwater - and you are more than welcome to come join us in our daily veg-growing routines: we can always use a spare pair of hands! We have all the trimmings you will need for the ultimate organic gardening experience: gloves, wheelbarrows, hand tools and other cool bits n pieces - we also have really cute child-size gardening kits, of course! :)
We want to help maintain the genetic bank of fruit varieties adapted to the islands by using stock from local nurseries, having done dozens of cuttings and planted several specimens of species and varieties linked to the natural histories of the Azores and of S. Miguel, which we intend to propagate regularly. We created all orchards / fruit areas in such a way that they can double up as educational and therapeutic tools, hence transcending the sphere of tourism by involving the local community and contributing to local development.
The Sensory Garden
This inclusive and fully accessible garden is quite different from the kitchen gardens, as it is designed in formal geometric shapes that are softened by the planting on it. Its raised beds will allow those on a wheelchair to see, feel, taste and smell the plants from a comfortable position and the elderly to enjoy a spot of gardening without bending, while small children are still able to peek in! In those beds one will find a huge array of plant species whose features stimulate senses in different ways. Aromatic herbs (culinary and medicinal) are prevalent in many beds, and there are archways and pergolas to complement the wonderland feel of this flowery corner of the grounds. The barefoot path is a linear feature in the garden which challenges those willing and able to walk to experience different textures under their feet. To add a musical component to this ensemble, the sensory garden boasts a flow form water feature: where you will enjoy watching and listening to the gurgles and flows of rain-harvested water going through organic shapes that are specially designed to enhance the water's vitality and oxygen content.
The Edible Forest and the Orange Grove
Our linear edible forest, nestled along the southern limit of the property, is inspired (as most of our zoning effort) by permaculture concepts. It is an approximate reproduction of the natural forest habitat, planted with mostly edible species of various growing habits thus using the soil and the space in a multi-functional way: creating a shelter belt, a sound and visual screen to the road in front, a wildlife corridor running along the whole of the farm length, and a wonderful source of fruity bounty for our guests, for pest predators and for general wildlife.
Along the north end of the property there is an old orange grove that was recovered and now features traditional orange and lemon varieties as well as some exotic citrus species too, making it an "open air citrus museum", complete with signposting that identifies each species and explains all about the nationally famous age of the oranges (epoca da laranja), and its importance in the economic history of the Azores.
There are several places outside where one can shelter from the frequent Azorean showers and also find very useful work and leisure infrastructures. Oh, yes... and we use them for unforgettable events too!
The barbeque porch, complete with an eco-built green roof and two proper standing bbq ovens, is on the north patio, just in front of the kitchens' outside doors. The porch has light and water so you can use it day and night, and surrounding it you will find several outdoor dining tables and chairs made from recycled pallets for an unforgettable al fresco eco-dining experience. In the main gardens, you will find two rather grand support buildings: the East Outhouse and the Crystal Palace. These awesome outbuildings are both double-acts: they are used in our day-to-day productive activities and they brush up super well as garden glam-spaces for very special occasions.