It’s the end of another trip and boy it’s been a hot one. The weather that is. It’s been a scorcher. Like the UK I’m having to water. We do have an irrigation system which comes on every other day but I’m giving the beds a bit of a soak as well. I’m not a great fan of these drippers. Great for individual plants where needed but as a general water supply they can be pants.
We are lucky – we had tremendous rain here in the Spring – to be fair it didn’t stop and the reservoirs and reserves are sufficient that there is no prospect ( yet) of a ban on water for the garden. We do get regular cuts in the campo. But we have a massive water deposit under the terrace for emergencies.
It’s interesting. Some things were early or roughly on time others are a couple of weeks late. I thought we had no figs this year but on closer inspection we do. Loads of them. All will ripen at the same time and maybe when I’m not here. That’s another interesting thing. I can be away for two or three weeks and I miss things. Flowers are in bud when I leave and are gone when I return. Here today. Gone tomorrow. A bit like me really.
But the garden has been a delight. We weren’t here much in July last year so it’s good to see what is and what isn’t flowering. Oh. And what has gone over. Like the alliums.
The Alliums were glorious this year. Bought and shipped to Spain by Peter Nyssen they have been such a delight in the garden. The soil is poor – as Georgie the Flower Farmer said when she was here in March ‘ you need a ton of top soil delivered’ I’ll be back to help!
But the flowerheads are now sead heads and look great as they dry. Karen from Peter Nyssen says she picks hers and sprays them to prolong the interest. For now they can stay where they are !
But there will be more Allium next year. A lot more. I’m lucky that I can get them shipped direct to Spain. Makes life easier as it’s more difficult to source them locally. You can but not the varieties.
Just as I return to the UK the stephanotis comes into full flower. The plant is grown in a pot against the wall of the house and I haven’t done much with it. The plant not the house. Some water. A bit of a feed. But this year there are loads and loads of buds. Many of which are now opening. Such a glorious scent. It’s no wonder it’s called bridal crown as it has been a popular favourite in bridal bouquets . I learnt something new last year when I found a large seed pod on there. Apparently quite common in a hot summer. This is one of last years. Obviously.
I’ve mentioned before that there is a steep bank behind the house which has an access road between the bank and the roundabout which isn’t a roundabout. Just on the edge are some awesome cacti. Some rather sad looking prickly pears and another cactus who’s name I don’t know but should have looked up – has borne some flowers. A glorious yellow flower which is very short lived. Well it appears to be short lived. I don’t go to that part of the bank often and it was sheer luck that I was there to see this. Makes notes go there more often.
A new purchase this trip and planted under the large olive tree in the dry bed. Ptilotus Joey – Australian descent with pretty plume like flowers.
It’s drought resistant and a bit of a semi succulent. If that’s a term. I like the flowers but as a plant I am not sure. The jury is still out. I’m not sure how drought tolerant it will be. It was 32* under the shade of the olive tree yesterday. I melted.
This Spring brought the wildflowers out in abundance. Along the road verges and on our bank. They have all gone over and have turned into some beauties. This had a lovely yellow head when in full bloom. Now it’s crisp, spikey and golden. And looks great. The bank is a bit of a worry to be honest. We had it cleared last year after we moved in – the banks very steep & uneven and my balance too unpredictable for me to do it. I think we may have to do it again. But for now I’m enjoying the dried grasses and wildflowers. From a distance.
Don’t you just love a bit of Daucus carota – wild carrot? I scattered some seed from Mr Higgledy which have germinated. The flower heads are tiny. Now that’s nothing to do with the seed. They were sown late in dry ground. Hopefully they will all self seed for next year.
I know I witter on Twitter about the Strelitzia Reginae – Sorry not sorry but I can’t help myself. Even when they’ve gone over they have an air of beauty. A bit of a raggedy orange dodgy hair style kinda way. My presidential kinda flower head. I’ve cut most of them back but left one or two to remind me.
I need a reminder too that this pot is getting overcrowded. Not with the strelitzia but the self seeded agapanthus which has flowered this year.
I have birds of paradise both in pots and in the ground. I’m coming round to the thought that pots may be better for flowering. Adds to the never ending list. Buy more pots. Dig up. Replant.
I have a love hate relationship with the jacaranda. Beautiful in flower. A gorgeous colour. Really interesting seed heads. But. There has to be a but. The flowers don’t last that long on the tree. A whiff of a wind and they are off. Onto the path. Which needs sweeping constantly. Yes. It looks like there’s been a bridal party. Looks like there’s confetti on the ground. But. Thanks. No thanks.
It also needs a good prune back. It’s got really really tall and as we get a bit of a high wind at times – we are 620m above sea level in the mountains up that wiggly road so I do worry that one day you’ll hear a loud crack and it’s down on top of us. Adds “get tree man here in the Autumn” to the list.
Behind the house is a bed that needs minimal attention. Which is just as well as that’s what it gets. There are some smallish agaves growing along with my favourite the foxtail agave which I’ve posted before. There are two on the way into the town that have flowered. My oh my. They are pretty stunning though alive been told they die after flowering. That’s a hard one. Plant or flower. At this stage I’ll keep the plant.
There’s a straggly lantana there which is flowering but after the summer will be gently cut back. ( I mean hacked). I did it to one in a pot on the terrace and it did it no harm. My thought if it harms it I will replace it.
The pineapple guava has finished flowering and the fruit is beginning to set. It’s an easy growing plant and the flowers are interesting. The fruit as I’ve said before is an acquired taste.
The Durante repens continues to flower but It’s not as good as last year. That is also the case for the jacaranda and the olives. I’m just hoping it’s been the weather. Really wet. Then really cold. Now really hot. Like me.
We won’t get “Chateau Verano Eterno” but despite the lack of pruning this year there are a lot of grapes. They are black grapes and quite sweet. A nightmare on the terrace when they drop but it covers the pergola to give us the shade needed. But there should be at least enough for some grape and rosemary jelly.
I’ve planted this hibiscus in a pot. It wasn’t doing very well in the ground as it wasn’t getting enough water. Potted. Watered and given a good talking to it’s now blooming lovely. A gorgeous colour. Full of buds and brightening the terrace.
Behind the house on a more level patch well kinda level we have some Edibles.
The big fat leaves of the nispero against the blue sky. The leaves are pretty big. The fruit isn’t the prettiest of fruit and this year was damaged a fair bit by the weather. The fruit doesn’t keep and doesn’t travel well so I guess that’s why there isn’t a market for it in the UK. Even when in the shops locally or at the market it doesn’t look too inviting!
Then there are 4 mature almond trees. The blossom is gorgeous but this year it and wasn’t as abundant as last. But there are almonds. Next month I will pick them remove the drupes then dry the nuts. Then I’ll add them to last years collection. It’s all very well picking them but you have to use them.
Finally. Figs. Two fig trees. One large. One growing. I had despaired earlier in the year. I thought. No figs. But I was wrong very wrong to be honest. The tree on closer inspection has loads. All very small. All very green but there are figs. I suspect they will have ripened whilst I am away into that squishy black delight that you can pick for breakfast and drizzle with honey. Or. Leave them on the tree. Because by the time you get back they have gone over. Figs are like buses. You wait for one then they all arrive at the same time. I may be lucky enough to be able to make fig jam.
Did you know I’m a fan of agapanthus? Well if you didn’t I am. A big fan. Most are at the end of their flowering season. But a few are just coming into flower and a couple are still in bud. They do brilliantly here in Spain so with that in mind I bought 10 more at the sale. Five blue. Five white. I want some different ones and I need to find a supplier locally or one that ships to Spain. I’d like a few really dark ones. In London I have one. Black something or other.
Oleander. What can I say. A common sight in the central aisles of the motorway on our drive from the airport to the Casa. An easy grower and I didn’t realise just how many different shades and colours it comes in. The white in the garden is Almost translucent in the sunshine. There are pinks; reds, whites and peachy colours. Some looking like roses. I’m a bit of a fan for the colour they bring to the garden. But every bit is poisonous.
I bought this at the sale this week. I’d never seen it before but it’s Hibiscus moscheuos carousel. I”d like to be able to photograph the flower when it opens. But I guess I will be away. I’d also like to say that it’s raindrops on the leaves. But sadly not. I’d been watering again.
One of the hardest workers in the garden this year. I have cut back the dead flowers all bar one or two that still have some colour and they will be ready to burst into flower again in the next few weeks. Against the white wall they have looked great.
Back to a bit of Allium love. The drumstick alliums have been a revelation. They have grown in some dodgy places in the garden. Maybe because I had to plant where I could. I’ve loved them from the start of the buds right through to now where the colour is fading and they are going over. My other favourite this year was Allium summer drummer. Flowers later than the others I planted. Grows taller than any other I have seen. I must reorder for next year pretty soon. As they have done well here I’m keen to plant more on the bank.
I’d like to show you the Brugamasia but they have been so slow. Plenty of water. Sun. But no sign of flowers this summer.
I’m hoping that come the end of August the bananas I planted will be as high as an elephants eye. So no photos.
We have bougainvillea against the garage. A pinky red. That too is pants. If you want to see a gorgeous one look over our neighbours gate because I’m too embarrassed to photograph ours. I need to ask @fresh_bros and @podenco_squadencom how they do it. Oh. And they too have some glorious agapanthus.
I’m going to dig ours up. If I want to look at bougainvillea I’ll stand at their gate and stare. I’m already growing a lovely orange vine in its place. Bought for us by a friend in March. It’s sat there ever since not moving an inch until now. With a bit of sun you can see it move. Bingo. It flowers in winter/spring so we will get some colour. I think it’s bigonia Venusta.
I mentioned the plant sale. Our local – Viveros Florena – closes for the month of August. Sensible really. It’s too hot to plant. Plants need too much water to get established. Plus they need a holiday. The owners. Not the plants. So they close for the whole of August and have a sale of plants to reduce the number for watering. This is where I went on Tuesday. Nine o’clock on the dot. It’s a 15 min drive away. Quicker if you take the short cut. Which is fine as long as you don’t meet a local on the way. The road is narrow and is used by people who know the road. And drive faster than me.
You’d think after a year I’d have learnt some things here in Spain. Yes I do know they drive on the other side of the road. Yes I do know that the drivers side is different to ours. So why did I get into the wrong side of the car again at the petrol station and sit there like someone had stolen the steering wheel. Whilst the attendant and two car owners looked on in hilarity.
But I did have a car full of plants. So there.
Now I will never be selected to model. Unless maybe if it’s for shoes and gloves. If that’s the only part you’ll see. But. If you want a picture to put on your fridge door to keep people away. Then this is for you. Singularly unattractive.
Ready to venture into the garden. Whatever the time of day my legs get bitten. I needed to do 10 mins work in the middle of one of the beds. There was no option. Lycra. Socks. Long sleeve t shirt. Oh and lock the gate so none could see me. They would have thought its Max Wall. ( if your young ask your mother. Or google it)
It’s not all been gardens and plants. Well most of the time it has. Whilst the boys were here I could hear their mother shouting ‘ watch Uncle Andrews plants’ ‘get off the garden’ followed by me saying the same. Usually there are only two of us at the house. With no toys at the pool. No Lilos. No volleyball nets. No goal posts. No footballs flying around the terrace. I say we have to enjoy it whilst we can. At least for now they want to spend time with us. A broken agapanthus. A crushed oleander – it’s worth it.
So. Another month nearly over. More flowers. More plants. More heat. Yesterday so hot I sat on the terrace with fans on. It was 32* in the shade. You could normally think you were going back to the UK for some cool weather: After all the schools break up today. Doesn’t it always rain at the start of school holidays? It used to when I was a boy.
I wonder what August will bring!