The latest activity by the GTA took us to the production nursery at Wied Incita Attard. This nursery is now run by the Environmental Landscape consortium (ELC) after the public private partnership set up for the landscaping and general maintenance of public areas and gardens in Malta. 29 persons turned up and the active participant was Mr Paul Foster the Nursery Manager.
We all have seen the great number of plants decorating the Maltese roundabouts. These are cultivated at this nursery where emphasis is being made on the selection of those species which are most adapted to our environment and which can be grown sustainably. Propagation is carried out in greenhouses in weed free soil. Processes include research into rapid propagation techniques and compost materials. In fact pumice is being used to increase drainage and porosity. Most of the work is done manually though we did see a machine filling the pots with soil and one of workers patiently transplanting the small plants one by one. 95% of the seasonal flowers currently being planted on roundabouts, central strips are being produced in their entirety in Malta using local labour.
In the waste zone area great piles of posedonia were being left in the sun and rain so that the salts would be removed. This natural resource can then be used to add important nutrients to the soil.
In the tree growing section we could see the rows of olives and red palm trees weaver free. The latter can be moved after two years and will help to enhance various sites in Malta.
Whilst we were impressed by the great number of plants and trees nurtured from just seeds going into thousands it is a pity there is still the use of pesticides. Hopefully in the future more natural ways of protecting the plants can be adopted instead of or at least in combination with these pesticides. Visits for students are welcome. Horticulture today is growing into an important trade so students can learn about this interesting field of study.