Watch: Dar tal-Kleru gardens being revived

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

One of the last remaining green lungs in Birkirkara – the grounds of the Dar tal-Kleru – is being regenerated through a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Malta and Infrastructure Malta.

The collaboration between the two was launched following a proposal by environmentalist and sports educator David Azzopardi, who is voluntarily assisting in the regeneration of the gardens of the residence for elderly and sick priests. Azzopardi is voluntarily assisting in the regeneration of the gardens, liaising with Infrastructure Malta, with the home’s administration and other organisations to secure the required resources and push the project forward.

The project covers 20,000 square metres of green areas surrounding the Dar tal-Kleru, which Infrastructure Malta started supporting earlier this year by planting 700 cypress trees around the perimeter. These trees are creating a shelterbelt for the rest of the gardens, in which IM is planting another 700 trees, including carobs, Judas trees, bay laurel, olives and oaks, as well as fruit tree species such as white and black mulberry, pomegranate, plum, apricot, peach and apple.

IM’s architects and landscaping contractors also helped the home’s administration plan a new layout for the gardens, making them more accessible to its elderly residents. At present, parts of the gardens are only reachable through steep ramps and uneven paths.

Transport Ministry workers have been repairing existing footpaths and forming new ones, and instead of using slabs, they are planting over 1,790 rosemary shrubs to delinate new paths around the tres.

IM is also installing a new irrigation system and several outdoor benches. with the support of other benefactors, the home is also incorporating a new rosary garden and an indigenous grove that can eventually be opened for educational and school visits. Parts of the grounds will continue to be used as a kitchen garden, allowing the community to grow its own herbs and vegetables.

Gardens to be named Ġnien Laudato Si

Mgr Anthony Cassar, the home’s director, said that the project will help improve the quality of life of its residents, and thanked IM and Azzopardi for the initative.

He also announced that the garden will be named Ġnien Laudato Si’, after Pope Francis’ second encyclical, in which he invites all people of good will to care for our common home.

The Archdiocese’s administrative secretary Michael Pace Ross explained that the garden could eventually serve for educational purposes, where students may learn about indigenous Maltese trees. But Pace Ross added that it could also offer the young with an opportunity to meet the elderly priests who had dedicated their lives to help the faithful.

He also encouraged landowners and authorities to protect the few open spaces left in our village cores, which provide much needed oxygen to our communities, and which would have a positive effect on everyone’s health.

IM and the Archdiocese of Malta are also working together to plant more trees in other open spaces administered by the Church.

Individuals or organisations who would like to suggest open spaces that Infrastructure Malta can consider for the planting of new trees are encouraged to send their ideas by email on sigar.im@infrastructuremalta.com.