Cruella (my wife) has gone to our English house for her birthday (101 in Witch years). She flew the usual way: broomstick class, but, before she left she cautioned me to be careful in the garden, mainly because she worries about my habit of injuring myself whilst she is away. Highlights of my injuries during her previous absences include: split skull, lacerated fingers, numerous falls off ladders, and dislocated fingers.
However, this time there was something different about her warning, it was a curious mixture of menace and malice mixed with false concern for my health. Anyway the upshot was that I was reworking a water feature when without warning the large cactus that I was working under reached down and assaulted me by whacking me on the head with a spine filled branch. This resulted in a scalp full of small painful spines that have all managed to travel under my skin and will take weeks to come out. The photo below shows the culprit; I think it is smirking in a cactus type way.
28th November: Things I have been doing lately.
🌿 Repairing the lawn. Regular readers of this post will know that I spend an inordinate amount of my time repairing various lawns as Nero (one of our Labradors) proceeds to dig them up at every opportunity. To stop him digging in the same place I repair the lawn by infilling with a mixture of soil and compost and then place wire mesh over the damaged spot and pinning it down with large lawn staples. The photos below show the culprit at the scene of the crime and my remedial work. My lawn now has so much metal in it that there is a danger that it will come alive like Frankenstein during the next thunder storm. (Click on each photo for a larger view).
✂️ Tidying up unruly plants. Often you will find yourself with a plant that has gone “ugly”. Either it has grown lopsided or it has been damaged by the weather. If this is the case, then now is the time of year to tidy it up and take some cuttings. Most plants have stopped growing for the Winter, but are still capable of below ground growth at their roots. The plant below sits on the edge of my veranda and is in need of sorting out. The first photo below shows it before tidying up, whilst the second shows it cutback and ready to grow.
The benefit of this process is that you should get some nice cuttings to plant. The photo below shows some viable cuttings. These are then trimmed back to a leaf node, dipped in hormone rooting liquid and planted up. With a bit of luck some or all will survive and give me more free plants.
🧺 Saving soil. In Spain it is extremely difficult to get good top soil – I don’t know why – but it just is. Any soil I have ever bought in was either clay which was useless in the Sun as it turns to concrete, or, so full of rocks and stones as to be worthless. The best way to secure a good planting medium for your garden is to save the soil you dig up when planting trees or shrubs etc. The benefit of this approach is that your soil will be fully acclimatised to your garden and likely to be more friendly to your plants then anything you buy in. But before you use this soil you need to first use a sieve or similar to remove stones and rubbish, and then add some store bought compost to enrich it for the future. Once you have completed this process then just store the finished soil in an old compost bag for future use.
The first picture below shows my patented self built “over wheel barrow soil sieve” (catchy little title, it should sell well). The second photo shows the effectiveness of my invention.
💡 Installing lighting in my orchard. I am a big fan of having an interestingly lit night garden. By using lights in your garden you extend the usefulness and beauty of your garden. Lights are particularly spectacular if they are used to pick out trees as under lighting. The photos below show some of my newly installed lights. I fitted them, but was ably assisted by technical consultancy from my friend David. If you have not yet seen the tour of my night garden then look it up on YouTube, just search for the following “Spanish Garden – a night tour of an illuminated garden in Campoverde”.