Gardeners of Malta: Liz Vella

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience!

We design the places around us, then those places design us. With this in mind, it’s important to take a look at what the science it telling us: Without argument, plants, herbs and flowers are some of the best ingredients you can add to a place you’re going to live in. Its benefits to your physical and mental health are many, and perhaps, more essential than you think.

We’ve written this article as an introduction to a series we’re going to be working on: Gardeners of Malta will feature local homeowners and households who are engaging in greening up their home and are willing to offer tips and advice to fellow homeowners.

We’re kicking off our first article with Liz Vella, who had her birthday just last Thursday, and very kindly agreed to share her photos and a little bit about her story with us. Quotes have been edited up for clarity.

Liz’s house is named ‘Elizabeth’ after the diplomat John Hookham Frere‘s wife Elizabeth Countess of Errol

“I was lucky to be born in a house with a magnificent garden, my father leased Villa Frere in the fifties and used to help import and plant seeds in the garden. I was born there with my 7 siblings, all eager to learn and appreciate the wonderful garden of Villa Frere in Marina street Pieta. Now the gardens are taken care of by heritage Malta. I also got to become good friends Fernando Mifsud, garden expert and a key member at Heritage Malta. As with most of my friends, we regularly share and swap plants and seeds.

Read: Villa Frere was just granted the highest level of protection from developed by the Planning Authority!

Liz’s brother, Hubert Spiteri won an award from the President of Malta for his work in finding new species of wild bulbs and Maltese orchids.

“I have two late brothers, Hubert was an expert in orchids, cacti and succulents, and Martin was keen with flowers and vegetables, especially strawberries. I learned everything I know from my dad and my brother. I myself always had a love for birds, and I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have all sorts of birds as pets.

Question: Liz, what plants and trees are your favourite?

“When it comes to gardening, I’m in love with everything. Trees, cacti of all sizes, and succulents are favourites, but I’m also keen on bulbs, especially Agapanthus. When it comes to flowers, I like geraniums, cala lillies, canna lilies. I could go on forever, but I’m very proud of my Australian Coral tree which I sowed in a pot, then planted in our fertile red ground soil of Madliena.”

Question: Can you talk to us a little bit about your routine?

“My routine for taking care of my garden is in the afternoon 2.00pm till 5.00pm. Otherwise, I’ll do it in the morning. In summer I wait till it’s late afternoon once it’s totally dark. Above all, I just love spending my time choosing which seeds or cuttings to plant next.

Mind you, some of my trees are given to me by people pulling down their house. MI have given life to many trees that were going into the rubbish dump.”

When she’s not gardening, you’ll find Liz painting, cooking or making visits abroad.

And wherever she goes, you can trust that she’s dedicating one day to visiting the botanical garden.

Share your gardening experiences with us!

Most plants and flowers are fairly easy to obtain, but while money is rarely a problem, time and attention can be. Not everyone has the time to curate a big garden, but we bet every person can find a couple minutes every day to start greening up their home.

Something to remember: Our minds need access to nature and play just as much as any other animal in the world, there’s a reason we’re all made from the same language! If you can’t go out, then start bringing it in your home! We hope this inspires you!