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84th INTERNATIONAL F.I.C.C. RALLY to be held in Portugal from 29 July to 7 August 2016

Date: 12/06/2015
Source: FICC

Ponte de Lima is also known for being a “Town in Bloom“ given that it puts on the best display of flowers in Portugal. Well-tended green spaces abound and there are many parks and gardens in the town and surrounding area offering countless walking possibilities and quiet corners where one can read a book or generally relax. The Parque Tematico do Arnado has four gardens, a greenhouse and a botanical garden that illustrates the history of garden art. This park is an integral part of the project to enhance the banks of the River Lima. It has a traditional irrigation system (granite water channels), a threshing floor and a granary. The Roman garden has a colonnade just like towns had in Roman times. The Labyrinth garden is terraced and is reminiscent of Knossos on the island of Crete where the labyrinth is a symbol for wisdom. In the Renaissance garden, the dominant feature is water; waterfalls and water fountains complement the typical geometrical design. The Baroque garden displays the splendour of French gardens – the green of the box hedges is reflected in the water emphasising the beauty of the layout. For anyone who likes green areas the Campos do Arnado on the right bank is another pleasant spot from where in the summer months, one has easy access to the clear, clean water of the river. On the left bank you have the monumental avenue of plane trees, the Jardim dos Terceiros and Parque da Guia. There are many gardens and squares worth visiting within this historic town too: Dr. Adelino Sampaio, Lapa, Villa Moraes and Paço do Marquês.

Since 2005, Ponte de Lima has hosted an annual International Garden Festival that opens at the beginning of May and runs until late October. Tens of thousands of visitors are given the chance to see twelve gardens, laid out around a theme that show different styles best suited to the concept of a temporary garden. Participation in this Festival is open to all, but would-be exhibitors have to provide the festival organisers with a plan that fulfills certain criteria. A jury examines the entries which are then put on display for the visitors to see. It is the visitors who decide on the winner who will be invited to stage his/her “work of art“ at the following year’s Festival. The other gardens are planted elsewhere in the town and provide the best publicity possible for Ponte de Lima’s vocation as a “Town in Bloom“.

This International Garden Festival stands alongside others staged in Europe, such as the Chaumont Festival in France and the Festival of Gardens in the Kamptal region of Austria.

Setting out new gardens and including other projects and initiatives helps make towns and regions more attractive to tourists. Ponte de Lima has espoused this idea and, by combining art and the environment, it has created magnificent garden areas in the town and in so doing has contributed to a better quality of life for locals and tourists alike.

Gardens are quite a tradition in Ponte de Lima, a small town that has three times received silver and bronze medals in the national competition “Towns and Cities in Bloom“.