18 Oct, 2022 @ 13:30
1 min read

Heartwarming reason why elderly couple are doing council work for free

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An elderly couple have been maintaining an entire public garden bed along the Costa del Sol for more than a year, and they’re not even contracted to do it. 

The pair in their seventies have replanted and deweeded, and even watered the long strip on Calle Bolivia in San Luis de Sabinillas.

But they refused to call themselves gardeners, just two people who took pride in their small town.

“We just don’t like to see things look abandoned,” Rosalia Ayala said. 

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Rosalia Ayala and Manuel Iglesia have been maintaining this garden in San Luis de Sabinillas for more than a year.

From El Burgo, Ayala said she and her partner of 40 years, Manuel Iglesia, said it was a ‘reward’ to see the well-maintained flower bed. 

“We live across the street and every time I looked across to this garden in the ten years since living here we would see filth,” she told the Olive Press.

“There was always rubbish, always weeds and the city council didn’t water it very much so one day we went down with our own plants and that’s how we started.”

“When people come we want them to see a nice town, not an abandoned town,” Iglesia chimed in while scooping up handfuls of dirt. 

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The finished product after Ayala and Iglesia’s gardening.

He turned over the soil as he prepared to plant new flowers, and said they would rather work in the garden than go out, or drink a coffee at a bar. 

It has become their passion project. Ayala even put up a handmade sign in the garden bed to stop thieves who liked their selection of plants so much.

“One time we bought some new plants and 38 went missing the next day, I know because I keep track,” Ayala said.

“Please, appreciate it, but don’t steal.”


Anthony Piovesan

Anthony joins the Olive Press from Australia, where he worked as a journalist for six years. He reported for country and suburban newspapers, before becoming a political correspondent for News Corp.

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