Waterwise Gardens bark

About the company

Marilyn Medina Ribeiro

Marilyn Medina Ribeiro moved to the Algarve in 2008 and, having initiated the waterwise approach in local hotel projects, decided to broaden her offering to embrace a wider audience.  Waterwise Gardens was founded in 2013 to provide a real alternative to expensive, dull, and stressed gardens, providing services from intial planning to construction and maintenance over time.

Two keen gardening grandmothers had encouraged Marilyn’s interest in plants from an early age, but she qualified and worked as a graphic designer before returning to this passion.  A fortuitous move to the Ashdown Forest reawakened her love of nature, while enquiries with friends revealed a wealth of nurseries and nearby gardens offering work. Meanwhile, she discovered that a BSc in Landscape Management was being offered at a nearby horticultural college and enrolled, taking the RHS Certificate in Horticulture via evening classes at the same time. Maintaining her jobs with private clients and nurseries during the first two years, the final year was spent working part time for environmental consultancy Jacobs, supervising landscape maintenance contractors in public spaces.

At the end of the degree, Marilyn had the chance to work in Portugal when the Head Gardener position became available at the Romantik Hotel Vivenda Miranda in Lagos. Following a hugely exciting but challenging year, the opportunity arose to work as Garden Manager at Hapimag, managing the transformation of the conventional grounds into a landscape of native plants.  Once the project found its own momentum, she felt that the time was right to start her own business, to promote and support a more sustainable approach to land management in the Mediterranean climate.