She was from a family of antique dealers, managing an art gallery in Paris. He was a reporter and photographer, covering conflicts in Europe and the Middle East. They met at a friend’s party, fell in love and made a blissfully happy life in the French capital. Until one of their brothers invited them to Ibiza in 1975. “It’s paradise here,” he told them.
And so it began. After a month’s holiday on the island, life in Paris wasn’t the same. In less than a year, Fernando and Bernadette had moved to a rural house in Sant Agustí with no running water or electricity. “But we were the happiest we had ever been,” they say together, as we stand in the grounds of their sprawling Lombribiza cactus nursery.
Today Lombribiza houses over 3000 cacti. “When we first moved here I tried planting many different types of plants, trees and vegetables. But everything died because of the salty water,” recalls Fernando. “The only thing that survived was a cactus, so I planted more and more. Our friends would marvel at them and would forever be asking for small cuttings to take home and grow their own. And so I thought, maybe I can make a little business out of this!”
The business has grown exponentially over the years. As the island and its inhabitants strive to save water, the cactus is quickly becoming one of the most fashionable plants to have in the Ibiza garden. The business today exports all around the world and has some cacti that are over 100 years old, costing in excess of 5000 euros. Also on site is their Garden Art Gallery, where local artists such as Bonet Vallribera and Lula Martins exhibit.
Carrer de Porroig, Km. 0,3. San Josep / Tel: 971 800 450.