Cruella (my wife) and I are currently at our English house, so I thought I would embellish my international gardening credentials by doing a two countries post on the blog. Before we went away I had some things to finish off in our Spanish garden and of course when I got to England I had the usual cutting back issues.
Anyway without any further ado let’s play international gardening.
16th September: Things I have been doing lately.
🍑 Removing nets from soft fruits. By now all your fruits such as figs and grapes should have finished fruiting and you can now take off the protective nets. If you didn’t put nets up then you probably didn’t have any fruit, but the birds did! It is important to take the nets off now as they can always be a hazard to small birds. The best thing to do is cut the nets off, they will probably have some holes in anyway, and if you try and take them off to save for next year you will only damage the tree. Nets are very cheap so don’t be such a cheapskate, buy new ones next year.
If you have Persimmons don’t take the nets off yet, for although the fruit appears hard, as it ripens on the tree so it becomes soft and the birds will be triggered by the bright yellow colour of the ripe fruit. Also don’t worry if all the leaves have fallen off your Persimmon tree this is meant to happen; the leaves are meant to sacrifice themselves for the fruit. A bit like Jesus, if you think about it.
The photo below shows some old bloke cutting the nets off a fig tree. Cruella says this is me, but I have a different image in my minds eye and I don’t believe her.
👅 Letting Mother in Laws Tongue see the light of day. Mother in Laws Tongue or Sansevieria trifasciata is a common plant here in Spain and is loved for its variegated leaves and drought hardiness. I have various clumps here in the garden and I noticed a large lump pushing through the membrane next to one of them. Out of curiosity I slit the membrane open and there were two new little Mother in Laws Tongue. From the photo below you can see they look just like the little creature that popped out of John Hurts chest in “Alien”.
🍇 Picking the grapes of wrath. The photo below shows the sum total of our grape crop this summer. I have three grape vines and this is all I get thanks to the great drought. Luckily I am not relying on this grape harvest for wine.
🏴 And so to England.
As usual when we arrived our English garden is a bit overgrown and wild. But this actually quite suits it as it is set out as a small walled garden with the river as a backdrop.
✂️ Cutting things back in the back garden. The first thing I usually have to do is a gentle cut back of everything. The aim of this is just to shape things up a little bit and make sure we can walk up and down the garden safely. The main cutback comes in January.
The first photo below shows the back garden just as I am about to cut it back. Apart from a general tidy up, in particular, I cut back the Roses that tend to have Hips at the end of the season. I am not really a fan of hips so I take them off so that the plant does not waste energy on them. Another plant that needs a tiny trim is the Hydrangeas. These grow over the pathway down the garden, but I really barely touch them. You must leave the spent Hydrangeas flowers on till next year’s new growth comes through. These protect the new growth from frost; this of course does not apply in our part of Spain, but in England it is very important.
The Second and third photos below show the Rose hips and the spent Hydrangea flowers. The final photo shows a large Oleander that I had to cut back a few years ago as it suffered in an English snow storm. I think I will cut it back again this year as it got a touch of frost last Winter and is just too big for its position.
✂️ Cutting things back in the front garden. The front garden like the back garden is small “but perfectly formed”. There is a small walled island bed planted with various shrubs lots of Yuccas and various medium size trees and shrubs. The main cut back here does not come till January, so again it is just a matter of tidying and trimming up. The only difference is the Yucca flower spikes. Like Spain the unusual hot weather in England has produced a fantastic and profuse flowering of Yucca. You need to cut these off when the flowering is over so that the plant does not waste its strength on seeds. The photo below shows the Yucca before trimming.