I’d like to say that we researched the area for our new home in Portugal thoroughly, but it wouldn’t be true. I’d like to say that we based the design of our new garden path on local Xisto (Schist) traditions but it was purely accidental. What is and always has been part of our plan is to use the resources at our fingertips rather than buying in imported materials.
Our acre of olive trees surrounded by vines requires a reasonable amount of work using skills which are new to us, so our aim is to create a small garden near the house that requires little maintenance.
We have created a path using geotextile and laid broken stone from the building work on top. The design is a circuit around a large flower bed outside the back of the house. We discovered recently that we are at one end of a Xisto region, which stretches along a deep fissure in a mountain range caved out by the river Zezere. The houses in this region, including ours, are made from a kind of slate rock in shades of ochre, rust and clunch with touches of teal and grey. Most of them were rendered with concrete back in the 50’s as a means of weatherproofing them, but some have been renovated to reveal their beautiful stone construction. One of the main reasons for tourism in the region is to explore the countryside and walk the network of ancient Xisto paths which usually follow a circular route.
We didn’t plan the path, we simply constructed it on the routes we had been walking from the olive grove to the courtyard, to the side entrance, around old fruit trees and in one or other of our patio doors.
Read more about our gardening exploits in central Portugal here…