Peter Calamatta has been Malta’s foremost horticultural guru for over 50 years. He studied his trade extensively in different countries which include the UK, Italy, Austria, Israel and the United States of America.
For seventeen years he advised the Malta government on the creation of an efficient commercial horticultural industry as also it’s Afforestation programme. With the help of four U.N.D.P. and FAO consultants, he introduced protected cropping under greenhouses on a grand scale which also led to a healthy export industry. A success story for Malta and Gozo which is still thriving thanks to a more demanding local market as a result of the boom which the healthy tourism industry brought with it.
Concurrently, Peter embarked on a secondary career in the field of broadcasting. His gardening programmes which spanned over 45 years revolutionized the way the Maltese people looked after their gardens and made them appreciate nature and the beauty and benefits of trees, shrubs and flowering plants all the year round. In the year 2000, he published his landmark book in English, Mediterranean Gardens. A best seller on all counts, now a collectors’ item, because it is out of print.
In 1978 Peter resigned from Government service and took the giant leap into the world of business. Single-handedly he created a landscape business which until then did not exist. He opened garden centers based on the English style which were a great novelty for those days. His landscaping works won him accolades worldwide from the likes of BALI the British Association of Landscape Industries and ELCA the European Landscape Contractors Association. In 2001, together with his son Carlos and three other prominent entrepreneurs he formed a consortium to take over responsibility for the maintenance design and upkeep of all public areas, highways, roundabouts and public gardens which were under the care of the central government. The Environmental Landscapes Consortium, the ELC, changed the face of Malta and Gozo from an arid and dusty state to a year-round display of turf, trees, shrubs and seasonal plants. A miracle which brought Malta and Gozo at par with its European counterparts. So much so that in 2010, ELCA decided to hold it’s annual conference in Malta with the sole purpose to showcase Malta’s achievements to all the other European landscapers.
Peter Calamatta’s lifetime dedication towards the embellishment of the country, recognized with the Midalja Ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika which was presented to him by the same President who wrote the foreword to his first book, the late Professor Dr. Guido DeMarco in 2003.
Peter and his wife Simone as also his children Daniela and Carlos, with their respective families, became St Julian’s residents in the year 2000 when they all moved to the new project housing in Portomaso. As soon as Peter became a St Julianite he immediately became very active in the community by helping at the newly opened Millenium Chapel. Peter and Fr Hilary became inseparable friends and have since worked very hard to provide food and clothes to needy families on a weekly basis. Peter also used his newly found hobby of singing to record a numbers of CDs to collect much-needed revenue for the Millenium Chapel. In 2016 he also produced a very original and well-researched book ”Maltese Plants of the Bible”. The Success of this book was really quite stunning. It generated over €100,000 which all went for the Millenium Chapel. These funds will also make Fr Hilary’s dream to create a Biblical Meditation Garden on the roof top of the Millenium Chapel become a reality. The garden is presently under construction and should be inaugurated by the end of 2017.
Peter was also involved in improving the quality of life of St Julianites and all visitors to St Julian’s not only by his work through the Environmental Landscapes Consortium which embellishes the garden and public areas but also by giving his input with the authorities concerned regarding traffic control and parking problems. For this, he was awarded “Gieh San Gilju“ by the council and mayor of St Julians in 2017. St Julian’s is truly proud of its prime citizen, Peter Calamatta, who has become a well-respected resident and one who has the wellbeing of all St Julian residents at heart.