My Garden

* May 2 * 2013 *

Here´s a little update of what I have been up to in the garden.
I have  been weeding my  …. off in the bottom part of the garden.
I know it still does not look much but before it was covered in knee high weeds for the most part. Especially between the cypresses it was really bad! The Ivy likes to take over it seems.
But look at it now

Now that´s finally done I cut down one Cypres, still one to go but it´s HUGE so just tried this one first to see how it would work out.
It´s really soft wood so it went pretty quick and easy.

The reason I cut it at that length is that I want to try to make a little bench between the 2 Cypresses.
So cleaning the one that´s already on the ground, cutting that one to make 2 extra feet and hopefully use the other one as a backrest or something like that.

Also made a new step from a pallet
The plan is to fill it up between the gaps with the stones that are, well basically EVERYWHERE.

I make little piles as I work my way through the garden, after every shower it looks that I have grown more stones then anything else.
But that comes with living on top of a mountain I guess.
I gave up on the hope that eventually there will be no more stones to be found but after 5 years of working in this garden I know that it´s never going to happen.
So I try to incorporate them whenever I can.
And filling this pallet up will make it more sturdy and a close by storage space for when ever I pick them up.

I told you it does not look like much but now I have a fighting chance to grow some fruit in this spot. It´s not the best place for it but it´s what I got. So gonna make the most of it!

Until next time!

* March 10 * 2013*

It has been a while….. but the last couple of days I finally did some garden work and have put in some new plants.

Two new climbers with sweet flowers. Yes I am trying yet again to get something growing against the wall and over.
 Now that the new road is almost in place we have a higher pavement just outside our wall and so people that are walking there are now able to see over the the wall……
I am not gonna bother you with a long and in now way understandable story of how that came about.
It´s now become a matter of privacy to get these plants to grow! GROW plants GROW!

Actually I put in another climber, but it´s a rose, a white one. And I bought it at a supermarket ( eeeeeks) Soooooohoooo, we just have to wait and see if it will catch on.
It has it´s branches covered in some sort of wax. To protect and prevent it from shooting to much in the store I guess. As you can tell I do not have much faith in this one but if it does become what the picture promises I will be one happy chica!

Also planted some creeping Rosemary along the side and I am planning to get more flowering stuff in there, but the garden centers are not prepared for it yet. Have to wait for more sunny days before they stock up.

I did some weeding and replanting as well.
Strawberries are catching on nicely.
I have no idea what the red bells are called, I bought it maybe three years ago and replanted it a few times. With one of these replanting actions I accidentally cut a piece of the roots and decided to see what would happen, and this is the result of that. It needs lots of sun so for now it lives in a pot until a suitable place is found.

Not much flowers at the moment…. the Jasmine is flowering but does not have al lot of leave action going on….

We had some terrible storms the last few weeks.
A lot of plants have dried out because of it, the leaves turn into this dried stuff and turn brown.
And one of my big planters fell, it´s made of scrap wood and very heavy.
You can see a the remains here in the corner and the plant that was in it, times 2.
I tell ya it´s HEAVY.
Because of this I was forced to change every thing around, again…
Fortunately it was raining so digging was a lot easier then normally :-))))
Unfortunately it was raining and I got soaking wet, and fell, slipped on the stairs with one of these :-((((
But I survived and almost done with reorganizing the big stuff so hopefully lots of time to take care of the little stuff the coming weeks.

And of course the never ending weeding. Rain + 18 dgr = speed weed!

Hoping that the mango´s finally have found there final destiny, this is the fourth place that they are trying out, fingers crossed and sending good vibes their way, every morning I talk to them. If I don´t have a green thumb maybe a green voice is one of my unknown talents!

Hoping that the mango´s finally have found there final destiny, this is the fourth place that they are trying out, fingers crossed and sending good vibes their way, every morning I talk to them. If I don´t have a green thumb maybe a green voice is one of my unknown talents!

Until next time and I can show you a weedless garden!

* 30 May * 2012 * 

It took a while….. the muscle pain has come and gone and again. but a lot has happened in the mean time. 

Finally the terras is closed up, there is a sun screen up and finally it is possible to really see how much space there is for new seating.
I really want a set made of pallets or something. But i am afraid it might be a bit to big for this space.
So were are on the hunt for a set that can stay outside all year and does not blow away when the storms hit in  winter.
 More likely is that is gonna be made to fit, hopefully by me, just as I want it :-)

This has happened with the little patch I created. It has filled up nicely. FINALLY it is starting to look like something. Hopefully this all will return next season.

 There are two new XXXXL pots here now. The Gardenia and a climbing Rose are already in. Just introduced another climbing Rose,  red/white striped one.

In the picture there are some Hortensias but they had to be moved because of to much sun.

I moved an orange tree al the way from down in zone 6 up here next to the new patio. It looks to be a bit full at the moment, and it is. But we are a bit overlooked at this part and we could use the shade in this part.
Also, I would like to dress this part up a bit and hopefully it will give a bit of established  feel in time. And i think an orange tree could help with that. Apart from the fact that the  flowers smell heavenly :-)

In the category new comers I give you:

From Left to Right:

Cleodendrum Thonsoniae "Blanco"

Banksiae Lutea ( small yellow rose like flowers)

( please let it become this!)


(They grow up to look like this, I hope)

In the catogary "They are getting there again" there are:

The Acanto I got from seeds, finally I grew something from seeds!

The Kiwi looks to be still alive, now we just have to wait and see if there are a male and female here…. If there are two female left I can wait forever for Kiwis

The Brugmansia´s are doing the best they can to look good, there are two together now. The other one came from zone 4, it was ther all by it self and you could tell it was not happy all alone. Maybe they will hit it off together:-)

The XXXL Hibiscus at zone 4 is getting back to it´s beautifull self. This one survived a Cabra Attack but was hit hard in a storm and burnt it´s leaves so for the last two months there were only a couple of stems over there.

*  march 17 * 2012 *

 In section 2 I started with this yesterday

And ended up with this, this morning

 I have planted Osteospermum, african daisy,  in 2 different tones and hoping that it will last, I have them in an other place lasting for 2 years already. Just need to cut them back at the end of the season.
They are at a distance from each other so they have room to grow nice and big.
In between I´ve planted some bulbs to get some real nice flowers to cut this summer. By next year it does not need to filled up again if all goes to plan.

Also put  in some Hibiscus and planning to get a Jasmine in there.
Watering has been placed, I tend to not do that straight after planting, lazy as I am.
But you live and learn and I found it works better if I do this right away. I use to water by hand every time until I got the watering in. This time I started watering before I even created the space :-))
( What I have learned is that I need to do less at a time, because the soil is rock hard it takes a lot to create spaces like this. Also walking up and down stairs with big bags of soil make this gardening a workout every time.)
Plenty of mulch, fresh soil and later this week some fertilizer to give it a kick start.
Let´s hope and pray folks! 

Next up is section 4. It desperately needs attention. Weed needs to come out and planning on putting some bulbs there as well. Also the watering system needs an extra tab, to close 1 part of this part of the system.

First I need to recover from the muscle and back pain….


We came to live in this house, in the south of Spain, about 4 years ago. Coming from Holland where just about anything grows it was a bit of a challenge to build up this garden…..

At times it was a bit daunting and overwhelming because it is BIG. And sometimes I was impatient with my fruit trees and with every other plant that I put in the ground.

Also, when we moved here we started with a renovation right away, not IN the house but OUTSIDE. So my"real" gardening had to wait for just about a year. In that time  I tried to find out what was the best place for what. I went to garden centers as much as I could( without driving my husband crazy) To see what I liked and where it would fit in our garden.

Then a lot of trial and errors went on, although the weather here is similar to California for example, not everything I wanted was going as I wanted it to. 

*Sometimes it was the sun, to hot, to much.

*Sometimes it was the sun, to little, even in summer.

*Sometimes it was the water, having water coming from a deposit and to share it with other members of our "community" was a bit of a challenge, so one summer was completely lost because of the lack of water.

*Sometimes it was the soil, living on a mountain raises issues that I had never thought of before, stones, and lots of them, and big ones. In all the wrong places!
*Sometimes the soil was to hard and dry to get anything in without a days work of digging.

*An just when I thought: "It´s getting there, it just needs to settle and grow into its place"…..

The goats came, first 2 summers…. Did not see ONE goat in my garden, ever. ( probably because there  was nothing else but palm trees) 
But last summer they came, in the night, and ate every green leave and flower they could get to!
That was a big, big, big disappointment to me. All my fruit trees that were just  about to give fruit for the first time, Grapes? Gone, Blue Berries? Gone, Avocado? Gone, Mango? Gone my Hibiscus plants all back to zero. And just when they were getting back with leaves the goats would make a visit again. As if they know not to kill the plant while eating it and how long it will take for a Hibiscus to get new leaves again.
I was ready to give up, all that work just to feed the goats in summer? no way!

* Sometimes there are huge storms, in summer or winter. Mostly during the night.
In summer time the wind is warm so leaves just burn and some pots will fly.
During winter time the wind is cold ( Sierra Nevada) and leaves just burn, or disappear completely, most pots will fly and break…

And last but not least the beetles……
Rhynchophorus Ferrugineus
This scary looking monster ( 4 cm long) is capable of eating a palm tree and kill it. It gets in through the center and starts eating and laying eggs that produces more beetles that eat and eat until they completely 
stop the trees from getting food to the top so the leaves will start to fall open like an umbrella. The tree needs to be removed, or it will attract more  and more. And it does not look very pretty a palm tree without leaves. The beetle mainly goes for this kind of Palm. They are beautiful, big and grow very slow. 

Phoenix Canariensis

So our tree ended up looking like this

And sadly we had to remove it. This whole process of being infected and removing it took about a year and a half. We were not sure if it was infected at first and after inspection by a professional Gardner that said it was still ok we left it some more and finally  I could pull the 4 mt long leaves out one by one…
Last Oktober I called in a bit of professional help with taking care of the palms. The past three years I did it all myself, getting up the ladder and taking the dead leaves off. But they have become to high and I am not risking my life for some dead leaves…
So now all the palms are checked and pruned and all I had to do was watch!
The dead palm was taken down and now it still looks like this.
We are planning to close up the terras and have the seating area over here. Hopefully I have an update soon.

The complete plan of the garden looks like this

This is the " front" part. I gave it some numbers so it would be easier to keep up.
It has different levels, nº 1 is the highest and nº 2 the lowest. nº3 is next to the steps going down.

This is the "side" part. The house is in between. Also different levels. nº3 is connected with the upper part through the watering. Nº 5 is the lowest part here going down another level .

This is the " back" part. Nº 6 is the absolute lowest part, between nº1 and nº 6  are tree levels. The house is for a big part standing in front of it. As in the south side is nº1 to nº4.

The whole plot is 1 level lower then street level. That makes it  fairly shady for most of the year because of the surrounding wall, except in high summer, when the sun is directly above the house, and therefore the garden.

So for the last three summers it has been a lot of trying out and starting all over again.

This is hopefully the year that everything that goes in stays in and starts growing like crazy!

First I closed up the sides of the garden to make sure that the goats can not come in any more.

Upstairs part looks like this now

I put up some wiring from side to side and planted to big Yucca´s right behind them, also the watering has been taken care of now. The Yucca´s came of one of the Yucca´s that became way to big, so took 2 pieces off and hope that they will catch on. In the middle I want to plant a climber directly into the ground and in front of the wires along the bottom step I planning some big pots.
As you can see already it is a semi sunny spot. In summer it will be fine but in winter time it does not catch a lot of sun. So still looking for what climber goes best here.

The lower part now looks like this

 It is a fence made from bamboo sticks with a small side that can be taken away easily for accessing behind there.
Obviously one part is a bit hanging but that will be ok soon. Right behind that small grey wall you see here it goes down like 6 meters. Now there is a big pile of composting leaves and stuff. But that has to be taken away so the goats will not use it to get around the fencing.
it does not look like much but over time the Bougainville will take over and it will be fine.
The reason we do not put up a real gate or wall or what ever, is because we own the plot next to us and we are planning to build there some day. So there is a big chance that everything that we put there now has to be taken down again in the future. So until then this will have to do.

All through January and February there was not much going on in the garden. I made sure that every thing was cut back and gave some fertilizer. Sometimes a bit of watering was needed because it has been a very dry winter, once again.

Just this week I finished the fences and now I can start with putting in new plants.

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