May 12th Garden talk with lunch

We were delighted to have Dr. Martin Hodson, plant scientist and environmental biologist, delivered a talk to visitors of Jardín de la Alpujarra.



The subject of the talk was ‘How garden plants tolerate a hot dry climate’.  Ironically, on the day we all gathered together to focus our attention on this subject the weather was neither hot nor dry.  The cloud was down, we were dressed in jumpers and fleeces, and at about 11.00am the rain started.  But we were undaunted!


We collected ourselves in the new garden building at Jardín de la Alpujarra, and after coffee and cakes we sat down to attend to the main issue of the day.  Martin was faced with a collection of avid gardeners and had to admit that, whilst a plant scientist and expert, he was no gardener himself.  He then proceeded to introduce the science of botany that had many of us searching into the back of our brains and trying to dredge remnants of old biology lessons.  We were told of stomata and boundary layers, of carbon 3 and carbon 4 plants, of the physiological interconnectivity of live organic matter, and so much more.  Our intellectual brain cells were certainly engaged, an event that does not happen up here in the Alpujarras as frequently as we might like.  Then Martin brought us back down to the day to day business of growing plants, and with a scientific background was able to give us some excellent advice on how to approach gardening in this mediterranean mountain region.  This led on to a lively question and answer session that was thrown open to the floor.


At about 12.30 it appeared that the there was a break in the clouds and Martin proposed that we take a tour of the garden here where he could elucidate his talk with specific examples of plants growing here.  It was fascinating to see his biological science come to life, and this provided another opportunity for an informal discussion of our own experiences - successes and failures.


Lunch followed at 14.00, and a great feast was enjoyed by all - including second helpings.


Such an enjoyable day, a chance to meet new people and to reconnect with those we already know.  A chance also to put an intellectual accent on our daily activities and to enjoy some very tasty food.  We are grateful to Martin and his wife Margot for giving up their time, not only on the day of the talk but in the many hours of preparation.  The day was perfectly pitched at this group of keen gardeners, it reinforced our practice, gave us a scientific background to our labours and made us keen to redouble our efforts.  The next day the sun was shining and I have no doubt we were all back in our gardens.



May 12th 2017

Some pictures from our inspiring day at Jardín de la Alpujarra

Some May flowering plants

Pictures taken in the garden at Cortijo Opazo

More information about Martin Hodson:


Dr Martin J Hodson is a plant scientist and environmental biologist. He is Visiting Researcher (former Principal Lecturer) in Environmental Biology at Oxford Brookes University and an Associate Member of the Institute of Human Sciences, Oxford University. He is also Operations Director for the John Ray Initiative (JRI) an organisation connecting Environment, Science and Christianity. The communication of science to the general public is one of Martin's major passions. Martin has over 100 publications, mostly in international scientific journals, and concerning plant mineral relations, archaeology and palaeoecology. He has also published a major plant science textbook, Functional Biology of Plants, co-authored with Prof John Bryant of Exeter University.
Martin has got to know Jardín de la Alpujarra as a visitor over the years, he and his wife, Margot, have always been very supportive of the development of the garden and have been interested to watch it grow.  We are very grateful to the two of them for giving us their time and proviidng us with much needed intellectual stimulation to lift our minds form the soil.

Jardín de la Alpujarra

Entrance €3,50 - all proceeds to the garden association.


Entrada €3,50 - Todos los ingresos a la asociación.


Not for profit association registered with the Diputación of Granada no. 7123


Asociación sin ánimo de lucro, registrado con la Diputación de Granada número 7123



Jardín de la Alpujarra
Cortijo Opazo, Ctra Atalbeitar 0.2km
18415 Portugos


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Tlf: +34  646430656 646430656 

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