The only real great project that the Association is carrying out at the moment is the restoration of the Valley of Roses, one of the three valleys of the garden, together with the Valley of Ferns and the Valley of Mexico.
The restoration of the Valley of Roses started in 2004 through the protocol we concluded with the “Parques de Sintra Monte da Lua”. At that time this valley, where rosebushes existed thanks to the Cook family, was impassable due to the invasive acacias and shrubs, which had covered the rosebushes and the passages, resulting in unknown ground.
Work for the first removal of the thicket in the Valley of Roses
Firstly, it was necessary to remove the thicket from the whole valley. Some few rosebushes that had survived were then discovered. Passages, an irrigation system and flower-beds disposed down and along the valley were also found.
This slow work, almost of an archaeological nature, allowed to move on to the project, which was developed by Gerald Luckhurst, and which abided by some principles applied to interventions in historical gardens, such as avoiding the displacement of soils, preserving the morphology of the land and the design of the flower-beds, restoring the passages and integrating these in a pathway giving access to the Valley of Mexico and to the lawn, so that in the future the visitors can go through and discover the garden in an harmonious way.
Symbolic plantation of some stakes of rosebushes after the removal of the thicket in December 2004. Some of these rosebushes survived, although they had never been irrigated.
According to the said project, rosebushes of varieties prior to 1920 will be planted, with the most possible varied periods of blooming, including some which we know already existed previously in Monserrate. Some recent types of rosebushes will also be planted, of Indian origin, but based on old varieties or natural species.
The cleaning operations had to be repeated several times during some years, as the acacias persisted in bursting from their roots several times. The existing seeds on the soil started to germinate as the sun began to warm up the soil.
Finally last year began the plantation of around 200 rosebushes. During the past year we were able to verify the blooming periods of the different varieties. We were pleased to witness that almost all of them survived. This year we ordered more, but unfortunately not always the varieties we seek are available.
This project was made possible due to the received donations, to receipts from activities, to the membership fees and to the sponsorship in the acquisition of the rosebushes.