For the first time, two 400-year old gardens in Valletta will be open to the public during the Valletta Green Festival from the 6th till the 8th May.
The festival is a Valletta 2018 initiative that aims to inject colour into an otherwise urban landscape. The gardens lie in the heart of St. Catherine’s Monastery – a 16th century building in Republic Street run by cloistered nuns – and the Archbishop’s Palace in Archbishop Street.
Both gardens will be open between 9am and noon, and again between 4pm and 7pm during the three days of the festival. Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman Jason Micallef said, “The festival offers a unique opportunity for families to visit Valletta during the Mother’s Day weekend and enjoy these secret gardens in the heart of the city. By means of the Valletta Green Festival, the Foundation is focusing on the cultural, economic and social regeneration of Valletta while contributing and encouraging environmental and ecological improvement.”
Already in its third edition, the festival will once again feature the Infiorata – a large carpet made up of over 80,000 potted plants, bringing a pop of colour to St. George’s Square. However, this year’s edition of the Infiorata will also convey a special meaning.
The plants are in fact being used to reproduce the outline of one of the early plans of Valletta and its fortifications. This highlights the historical importance of this city, which was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Meanwhile, the colourful background design surrounding this outline is an artistic reinterpretation of the grid of straight streets which characterises Valletta.
This marriage of past and present symbolises Valletta as we know it today on its 450th birthday; a city where contemporary customs and fashions live side by side with a rich architectural, historical and social heritage. Environmental Landscaping Consortium Chairman Peter Calamatta said, “One of the main attractions of the Valletta Green Festival is the Infiorata featuring over 80,000 potted plants grown over the past 12 weeks at (ELC) nurseries. Following the festival, the flowers will be replanted in public gardens and green spaces around Malta and Gozo.”
On the 7th May, Tikka Banda sessions will be taking place from 10am till noon, while Charles and Friends will liven up St George’s Square with a mix of blues and jazz music from 8.30pm till 10.30pm.