Jardim Orquídea. Tribute to fire-fighters.

Jardim Orquídea

Photo of Jardim Orquídea, completely burnt out

Todays Diario carries this awful photo of Jardim Orquídea, on the southern edge of the Botanical Gardens, where a collection of 50,000 fully-grown orchids was destroyed on Tuesday night. The private collection dates back 110 years and had been maintained over four generations of the Pregetter family. Jardim Orquídea was considered to be one of the largest private collections in the world, with many of the specimens extinct elsewhere. Only 2000 plants are thought to recoverable and with a normal growing cycle of up to 20 years the future of the gardens remains uncertain.

Richard Turner, part of the team behind the excellent “Madeira in a Nutshell” guidebook has set up a crowd-funding appeal aiming to raise as much as €50,000 to assist Jardim Orquídea. An ambitious target, but as he says, it’s only €1 per orchid.

Tribute to fire-fighters

Crown gathers to pay homage to fire-fighters

The “homage” to the fire-fighters last night in Funchal was well attended and the procession through the city centre took in many of the headquarters of the rescue and security services that have done such an incredible job over the last five days – GNR, PSP, BVM, Municipal Fire-fighters, Red Cross and Army. The bombeiros are continuing to monitor specific areas where the fires are re-igniting on a small scale – this was happening in a few areas yesterday, including the ecological park. None of these are considered serious.

Going forward

Concern must be growing among the authorities over what might happen if the region was to experience a period of heavy rain. With the hillsides on the south coast being unstable and missing a lot of the usual vegetation, the possibility of an almost instant run-off could easily result in floods and landslides. Ironically, we do need some rain to let recovery begin. Another question that is being raised, concerns the amount of privately owned land which is not maintained, becomes overgrown, and provides “fodder” when fires break out.


Graphic of blog page viewsOne of the strange aspects of reporting on this story over the last few days is how quickly interest has dissipated in the fires that have ravaged the island, and how little news coverage there has been on the likes of the BBC throughout the events of the last few days. Maybe the media at the moment is too focussed on the Olympics? Nevertheless, interest has taken the total number of comments recorded on the blog past 15,000 and the total number of page views to over 3,600,000 over the last seven years, despite a meltdown due to demand as the story first unfolded last week.

36 Responses to Jardim Orquídea. Tribute to fire-fighters.

  1. Keely, U.K. Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 10:55 #

    Thank you so much for your continued reporting particularly on recent events, but also throughout the year. We will hopefully be joining the tourist population again at the end of the month, and are looking forward to sharing the delights of the island. Such a shame that some of the more historic garden areas have been lost to the fires.

  2. Thomas Brown Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 11:05 #

    Quite sad, no I’m furious actually,that UK TV stations have made so little mention of this tragedy. BBC in particular spent much more time focusing on someone’s Grandma on celebrating her little grandchild’s near miss at the Olympics.

  3. Richard Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 11:57 #

    The loss of the Jardim Orquidea is a global disaster. I cannot begin to imagine how devastated the Family Pregetter must feel.

    Perhaps a way to recover this farm is through “Crowd Funding”. Is there someone out there who has this kind of experience to start the ball rolling?

  4. John Brady Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 12:12 #

    Horrified to learn of this. I do have a lot of photos of past visits and I hope that in time, the Jardin Orquidea can recover. Actually there has been quite a lot of coverage of the fires on the TV in the UK on BBC, ITV and Sky. However it has been parceled in with fires in Spain, Portugal (mainland) and France where they too have suffered. I agree that the Olympics have dominated the news and that is why the fires have not been headline mews.

  5. Ben Morgan Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 14:16 #

    Though I am here at present and finding out a lot of information by local people, I have also been kept informed by both this site, the BBC site and SKY site.
    I have also been contacted by many a person back in the UK by the virtue of social media whe have found this information from BBC, ITV and Sky?
    TBH I was quite surprised that people had contacted me fro the UK knowing of these fires.
    I do believe the coverage has been good by the UK media? I’m not sure how the press has reported this?

  6. Ann Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 14:24 #

    Glad that the fires are more or less doused (hats off to the firefighters ????), so sad about the devastated Orchid Gardens ??
    I heard more about the fires on BBC radio and via the Internet than on TV, but there was some coverage there. Maybe the problem is that not many UK people, relatively-speaking, seem to know what or where Madeira is, nor does it (thank goodness) have the kind of issues that seem to attract a certain type of catastrophe-gathering journalism. We were in Madeira in June and will be back for Christmas. ❤️❤️

  7. Elsie Teixeira Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 15:27 #

    We live in the rural area of Madeira and we have been very busy with cleaning up so there is not much time for social media. We had two small fare ups of fire in our area which were easily put out with buckets by the home owners. They were smouldering tree trunks that flared up with the wind. We are all still on high alert but now life goes on. I am very upset about the Jardim Orquídia. The people from this Island are mostly strong resilient people and don’t let tragedy hold them back for long. For me this is still the best place on the planet to live.

  8. Evelyn E Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 16:18 #

    Is this the site that has been caught blogging real-time on recent events whilst not even in Madeira?

  9. mauricereed Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 16:29 #

    Sorry Evelyn, can you please e plain your post.

  10. Evelyn E Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 16:56 #

    I understood from another website that a blogger had been reporting first hand on the fires when in fact they were not even on the island.

  11. Admin Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 19:21 #

    Certainly not this blog Evelyn – I have been here throughout and witnessed everything – very worrying at one point, particularly when people die just metres from where we used to live. The blog is regularly copied so it may be one one of these websites.

  12. mauricereed Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 20:35 #

    I suspect that you mean Tobi who lives on the island and runs a well known blog. He is apparently in the UK at the mo but has been keeping abreast of the situation through friends and contacts and reporting it.

    At least he has reported it, the beeb didn’t seem bothered with all their efforts put to reporting the olympics.

  13. Joanne Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 20:40 #

    what does it matter if someone is not even on the Island – it isn’t a crime to report what is happening, what a stupid accusation, if the blog has correct information it is better than nothing at all. It appears to me that this blog is the one which copies as the other one is always the first one with information – who’s copying who – pathetic

  14. Patricia H Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 21:22 #

    Thank you for keeping us informed about the fires. As regular visitors to Madeira we are so sad for those people who have lost their homes and for the devastation at the Jardim Orquidea.

  15. Emily Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 21:35 #

    Well said Joanne. I couldn’t agree more.

  16. Samantha Cox Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 22:29 #

    I put a comment here earlier but hasn’t shown. So, I will try and repeat it….

    I also run a Blog but didn’t keep it updated as I was caught up in the fire and nearly lost my house…….But Tobi did an excellent job of keeping us all updated by literally sitting on the computer and reporting as the news came in. Between his Blog and the RTP Madeira website, it was the only up to date source of information to turn to in our hours of needing it! So, what if he is in the UK at the moment..he has a huge circle of supportive friends and family here, that pulled together during this disaster……his love of his home showed that by sticking with us even though he wasn’t actually here.

    I was interviewed by the BBC on the Wednesday morning, after the s___ hit the fan, that report went out throughout the day through many of the BBC streams. It did seem that outside media coverage was thin, but the people who know and care have rallied with support from the little they heard about it anyway….

    I find that the constant dig at Tobi and his Blog to be petty…if I were to bring back my newspaper and report the news as well, would I be accused of copying too?

    Stop worrying about others and just get on with getting the news out if that’s what you want to do and who cares who gets it out there first! Readers will read and absorb what they want and don’t get where they get it from!

  17. Evelyn E Monday, August 15, 2016 at 08:06 #

    I think the problem here is that someone gave the impression of being here when they weren’t.

  18. Joanne Monday, August 15, 2016 at 08:27 #

    It has never been a secret that he had to be in the UK for personal reasons, he still manages to post news very quickly. He is a Madeiran resident, but everyone has to get off the Island from time to time for various reasons, it doesn’t reduce the ability to keep up with what’s going on.

  19. neal Monday, August 15, 2016 at 08:33 #

    Just checked recent posts – the Jardim Orchidea story is copied word for word on Tobi’s blog.

  20. Gary Flint Monday, August 15, 2016 at 08:39 #

    Hi Evelyn, I think you will find that Toni has never “given the impression” he is on the island at the moment, he has been clear that he is at home for personal reasons and would be here with is other half if he could. It is testimony to him that those that do follow his blog kept him updated from the island and all other info is freely accessed through the web and media sources so some duplication can occur. I can only stress it was all good up to date info that kept people home and away informed when much of the media was ignoring it.

  21. Admin Monday, August 15, 2016 at 08:43 #

    I know Richard Turner personally, it was he who copied the story and sent it to Toby to promote his fund-raising for Jardim Orquidea – I spoke to him yesterday and it was a genuine mistake on his part.

    • Richard Monday, August 15, 2016 at 09:24 #

      It is a fact that I copy pasted the text in an e mail to Tobi. It was a stupid mistake on my part. I was just trying to raise awareness of the Jardim Orchidea tragedy, to support the fund raising I am atempting for the farm.

  22. Admin Monday, August 15, 2016 at 09:22 #

    I have added a link to Richard Turner’s crown funding appeal above.

  23. Karen Monday, August 15, 2016 at 09:43 #

    People should be grateful for any information available!
    Info on Tobi’s blog enabled me, currently in Uk , to contact a friend in Calheta and get her to take a trolley full of supplies to the fire station in Calheta.
    If I only read this blog I would not have known about their request.
    I’m not on facebook so would not have seen it there.
    equally there is stuff on here that it’s not on Tobi’s blog.

  24. Debs Monday, August 15, 2016 at 10:31 #

    I don’t understand why Richard says it was a stupid mistake on his part to send the email to Tobi. Surely if you are trying to raise awareness/funds, the wider the information is spread the better. I totally agree with Karen regarding information on both sites. More praise to Tobi that despite personal problems in the UK, he has managed to keep his blog up to date with all the news, requests for donations and some amazing photographs.

  25. philD Monday, August 15, 2016 at 10:41 #

    Content aside, the sites do look very very similar – search/translate/weather/instagram sites/useful links etc…..

  26. pete Monday, August 15, 2016 at 10:47 #

    Every body doing the same thing in their hearts and minds (Madeira). The island will heal, by people. then she will smile with its flowers and the people from Madeira will raise it flag with joy and says Thanks.

  27. christine callaghan Monday, August 15, 2016 at 11:21 #

    What a really good idea of yours Karen. I wish we had thought of that as we have friends who live in the area also but felt unable to help with this request living in the UK. The photo on Tobi’s Blog of the bombeiros laying on the ground obviously from total exhaustion was really moving. They all deserve extra monetary awards. As for Evelyn E – why do you need to criticise Tobi? In my view he did the best job in keeping us informed. As I had difficulty adding a comment to his blog I emailed him directly over my concerns for the area our friends live and he sent me 5 updates directly to my email. He said he had actually had 400 emails and tried to answer them all. A big Thank You to Tobi if you ask me.

  28. jorge Monday, August 15, 2016 at 11:53 #

    I have no idea who Tobi is or about his blog, but if it for news about Madeira it ought to be better quality information than on this one, which is really just tourist quality, seemingly aimed at the british people who live here or come here on holiday.

    Obviously the blog is here to attract visitors to the mother website, of which this blog is a part, and which on its own would not even show up in a websearch for holiday rentals through low visitor numbers.

    I look at it a few times a week as I find the news amusing, and often different in content and accuracy to that reported in the press of Madeira. The comments too show that some people have been misled or misinformed, but if the matter is of importance I will say so.

    Now that we seem to have a squabble perhaps I will visit more often.

    Have a good week people.

  29. Isabella Monday, August 15, 2016 at 12:12 #

    For goodness sake !! I totally agree with Jorge. Don’t you think there is
    more to life than slagging someone off about copying your blog, when he probably didn’t know it was copied !! Maybe there should be an apology to him for that.

  30. Mikael Monday, August 15, 2016 at 12:22 #

    Just want to give a big thumbs up to Admin for updating the blog and for providing us with great updates on the phone during last week’s fires in Madeira. We had to clear out of Funchal for a couple of days but we got off cheap. Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and those who lost their homes. We hope that everyone in Madeira recovers quickly from this ordeal

  31. Karen Monday, August 15, 2016 at 12:33 #

    hi Christine, no credit to me , I just sent a couple of quick emails to friends in the area who I knew would want to help and hats off to Ellen who legged it to Pingo with minutes to spare before closing time.

  32. James O'Sullivan Monday, August 15, 2016 at 13:50 #

    Hats off to both blogs that between them keep us all well informed. News is news wherever it comes from – and praises for both individuals that covered the recent events better than the BBC.
    It takes a lot of time and effort to run an efficient blog – often for little or no return … from one who knows!

  33. Emma Monday, August 15, 2016 at 15:09 #

    Why all this bickering!!! Does it matter if anything was “copied”, don’t we copy the news from the papers to go on the blogs?
    The most important thing is to get on with life, help those in need and promote Madeira again. This island is paradise and too good for those that just moan and bicker.

  34. Admin Monday, August 15, 2016 at 15:17 #

    Isabella – if you read the Comments above in order you will see that I was the first to exonerate Toby as the text was clearly copied by accident.

  35. Stephen Crotty Monday, August 15, 2016 at 16:13 #

    Tobi or not Tobi, that is the question. The answer: does it really matter as long as the information gets out. Oh and by the way I kind of copied the first bit from some bloke called Shakespeare !!

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