Garden design – Cruella versus the drone

At this time of year – as we move towards the end of Summer, I like to think about the shape and structure of my garden and whether there are changes I may want to make. I am fortunate in that I have a friend (David) who has a drone and is happy to fly this over my garden giving me excellent video and still shots of the various parts of the garden. I then use these to assist my decision making on any changes I may wish to make throughout the garden.

Unfortunately this year Cruella (my wife) decided that she would like to do this for me as she believes her flying skills may open up new business opportunities for her. The problem with this was that David’s drone takes much better pictures than Cruella. Also, Cruella is in the middle of her annual moult when she changes from her Summer colours and shape to her Winter mode which means she can only really fly at night. Anyway to cut a long story short out of fear of what she would turn me into (most recently a Sloth) I gave in and said she could have a go.

The first photo below shows Cruella in her Summer colours and shape. The second photo shows her in her Winter guise. The third photo shows Cruella’s attempt at garden photography.

This was her best photo attempt, the rest were of bats.


Needless to say I am sticking with David and the drone despite her threats. To be honest with you I made a good Sloth.

31st August. Things I have been doing lately:

🧩 Reassessing my garden. In garden design there is a saying I am fond of “structure is a function of purpose” in effect this means you should be able to look at something and from this know what it is meant to do. This is especially true of gardens. Your garden should be designed and shaped around you and your life. For example my garden is shaped around 5 distinct areas:

  1. morning garden
  2. afternoon garden
  3. orchard
  4. dry garden
  5. wild wood

🌞 The morning garden. This is directly in front of the house and has Three small lawns, a path way leading to the front gate, two small water features and various islands of planting including trees and various plants. The purpose of this area of the garden is more or less ornamental. It is pleasing to the eye presents a nice area to have your morning tea whilst you sit on the Naya and read the paper. It is also the first part of the garden that guests see. This first and second photos give you a good overview of the garden design and planting structure, the the final photo shows you the Cheshire Cat sitting in the middle of my big donut shaped Bay tree. Click on each photo for an enlarged view.

🐕 The afternoon garden. Is a different creature all together as this is dominated by a large lawn where the maurading Labradors used to run around. But since one is now blind and the other can hardly walk their activity on the lawn is more like a crazy fairground dodgem ride as they bump into each other and one or both of them falls over.

in addition to the large lawn, there is hedging, a stream water feature, and a large Mulberry tree with seating underneath. Separating the lawn from the tree area are two beds of old English Roses with various islands of planting in the gravel. The first two photos give you an appreciation of the planting and design, whilst the third shows you the sorry state of the lawn. In case you are wondering what the black things on the lawn are, these are severed burnt heads. Cruella leaves them there to warn off strangers! Only kidding, they are sunflower seed heads left there to feed the birds. Click on each photo for an enlarged view.

🌳 The orchard. This is exactly what it says a collection of fruit trees. These include: Orange, Lemon, Fig, Olive and Persimmon. We use the fruit from all of these trees at various times of the year. The trees are always under review as they are of various ages and you need to plan ahead if you always want fruit.

In addition to the fruit trees I also vent my artistic talent by stacking up branches of pruned trees to make what I call wooden sculptures, but, Cruella calls firewood. The orchard also runs along side and frames the outside kitchen and presents a pleasing aspect as if you are dining in a bower. A large Dame de Noche sits beside the seating area and provides heady evening scents as you sit with your glass of wine. Don’t forget, you only ever need one lemon tree that is plenty. The photo below gives you an idea of where I will be putting a new tree later this year.

The space middle, bottom left has a small old orange tree that will be coming out this year

🐪 The dry garden. This small garden sits at the bottom of the drive on the right and is home to a collection of succulents, cacti, yucca and various other drought resistant plants. A small border of euoniums and an oleander separate the parking area from the garden. Even the smallest gardens in Spain are capable of providing you with an interesting dry garden by using a variety of leaf and stem shapes. The photos below show the dry garden. Click on each photo for an enlarged view.

🌲 The wild wood. This is a large garden that is mainly left to nature. There are all sorts of creatures that inhabit this area and I have tried to encourage a varied eco structure by leaving fallen and cut down trees for insects and animals. In addition where trees have been cut down I have requested that logs be left in piles and these form excellent insect hotels for bees and many other insects. This area also has a Casa de Madera (log cabin) where guest stay when they are visiting. It makes a very pleasant abode and helps them to escape Cruella’s nocturnal howling and screaming. The photo below shows the guest accommodation and an overview of the wild wood.


Time for you to get stuck in. I hope these photos and descriptions will inspire you to take a fresh look at the design and structure of your own garden. As always if you want any assistance or advice just contact me. Also if you would like my friend David and his mighty drone to take aerial photos or a video of your house and garden then again contact me and I will put you in touch. David’s charges are very reasonable and the end result is always stunning. If you would like to see a video overview of my garden produced by David then go to YouTube and search for the following: “Spanish garden – a tour of a Summer garden in Campoverde”.

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.

7 thoughts on “Garden design – Cruella versus the drone”

  1. Hi Andrew, I know the problems of planting things up in July, something I would not normally do, but having lost all my seedlings this year I did buy some plants, but it has been a disaster mainly. But at least I have kept the spider plant cuttings alive!

    I would very much like to get together and visit each others gardens, so drop me an email and we will sort it out. I have great hopes that we can have your garden in next years Campoverde Open Garden.

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    1. I like the idea of a shark in a moat. By the way someone has given me a peach tree cutting that is growing very well. I plan to plant it out this Autumn but I worry about too much Sun; what do you think?

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      1. Cutting?! I have been trying unsuccessfully to get a cutting from my peach tree for years! Anyway, I have never known a peach tree to complain about too much sun. The bark is sensitive to scald, but only if pruned improperly, or if the limbs get so heavy with fruit that they sag enough to expose formerly shaded bark. If it does not fluff out enough to shade its trunk while young, you can temporarily strap a wide stake to the south side of the trunk. It does not need to support anything, but just shade the bark. I have never found it to be necessary, because my trees branched low.

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  2. As a newbie to gardening I do enjoy reading this blog regularly although I then glare at my own garden & wish I was further on in my plans for it. Sadly the plants I did buy have mostly perished (note to self: don’t pot up in July/August in Campoverde).
    Although folk say it’s impossible to kill a Spider Plant here’s the first person who can!
    Anyway, another fun read Mr McC & hopefully we can meet up for some tips soon, now that the weather is looking likely to cool down enough that I won’t kill anymore plant purchases.

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