I’m back, but to be honest I wish I hadn’t gone away. Despite my leaving detailed care instructions, (Cruella my wife), has systematically neglected my garden. She has neither watered, weeded, sprayed or basically just loved the garden. She knew that I was preparing for this years Campoverde Open Garden Day on 27th May between 11 and 4. When she saw me crying at the devastation she just stood there laughing surrounded by her chickens saying “what, what, what’s the matter”. The worst thing is I now know chickens can smirk. I have been working night and day to try and save what is left of the summer garden.
Anyway I have reported her to The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Crimes Tribunal. This meets in The Hague, next door to the War Crimes Tribunal. I am busy preparing my case against her and I am hoping for a hearing in the Autumn. Anyway, let’s dry our tears and get on with the gardening.
13th May 2023. Things I have been doing lately:
Saving my Roses and other plants. There are a number of pests that will infest Roses and other plants this time of year, so it important that you stay on top of them. Inspect your plants every day and deadhead frequently for succession flowering. Failure to do this will leave you with diseased plants that will not repeat flower. The photos below show the damage to my roses, oleander and Dipladenia all caused by Cruella’s neglect. The first photos show the damage from greenfly and wooly aphids the second shows wild garlic allowed to grow through the roses. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The answer to all of these problems is to spray the plants weekly with your favourite spray. I know that some of you like to be organic, but personally I use the spray below. For wild garlic, pluck the flowers out at the bottom of the stem and do this daily. The photos below show my spray and my wild garlic plucking in action. Finally, and very importantly feed your roses and other plants, it is essential for healthy floriferous plants in Spain. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Lawn care. I know not many of you have lawns in Spain, because it is stupid to have one. But Hey Ho, I love my lawn, and this is where Cruella (my wife) has been at her cruelest. My lawn has been turned into the equivalent of the Gobi Desert. The grass has not been watered, chickens have been allowed to dig and there are bare patches as if beasts with cloven hooves have been pawing the ground. And that is how I know that Cruella has had her coven round for a party.
Anyway, if your lawn is looking terrible you need to do the following. First cut it on the highest setting possible. Then give the lawn its first feed of the year. Once you have spread your fertiliser, water profusely but only in the evening and after the earth has cooled. The first photo below shows the state of my lawn. The second shows me after mowing the lawn. What you can’t see in this photo is that I am completely covered in dust – it was like mowing in a sandstorm. The final photo shows the lawn food I prefer. Ideally your lawn should have three feeds over the summer growing season. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Saving my seedlings. If you have been growing plants from seed then now is the time to “prick out your seedlings”. Basically this involves teasing out each of your new little plants and replanting them in a separate tray or pots to let them grow on before planting out into the soil. Start by assembling everything you need, including:
- Good compost
- Perlite to mix into the compost to make it free draining
- Seed trays or pots for your little seedlings
- A dibber to make holes for your new plants and a pencil to tease them out with
The photos below show my assembly and the process. Make sure that as you gently tease our your new seedlings you hold them by their leaves and never by the stem. If you hold by the stem then you can easily damage their capillary system in the stem. Finally, place your new seedlings on your potting bench and leave them for two weeks to harden off before planting them out. Whatever you do don’t let them dry out. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Put drip trays under your pots. I don’t normally think of myself as a gardener with pots, but in fact I have some 30 or so plants in pots. Anyway, as I stood idly watering my pots the other day I noticed the precious water running out from the bottom of each pot. I instantly punched myself in the head for being an idiot and immediately rushed off to buy drip trays to place under each pot.
The benefit of drip trays for plants in Spain is twofold. Firstly they stop water run off. Secondly they aid hydration as the water from the drip trays evaporates and keeps the plants misted. The photos below show my drip tray strategy in action. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Campoverde Open Garden Day 2023. Finally, if you want to come and see what is left of my garden, meet Cruella and her chickens and see Tango the lonely blind Labrador then come along and make a day of it. Just to cheer you up there are four other lovely gardens you can see if you don’t want to come and see my waste land. Details below:
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