A humble apology to readers for the late posting of this months newsletter and article which will follow in a few days. The reason for the delay was outside our control. The computer just went down!
After the mixed bag of weather in June temperatures and humidities have soared. One benefit for gardensi s that after the damper spring than usual there is plenty of morning condensation and dew in many gardens , especially inland. Working on the veggie/soft fruit plot at day break means wet feet and trousers and we delay the harvesting of raspberries andstrawberries until the suin has been up for an hourfor, or indeed as today wait until the cooler late evening hours. From Malaga to Barcelona today a storm threatened and half the day was cloudy but for many inclñuding ourselves the welcome rain , especially for gardens, has not arrived as yet. It is 10.00 pm so still time for an over night storm.
It did not come. Nor the nextr day although skies were threatening for a vfew hours. But calm without the unseasonal strong winds which friends in Catauña report.
Now is the time of year when many gardens suffer as a result of poor soil preparation, poor plant selection and planting, the lack of effective mulching to retain moisture levels and reduce surface evaporation, and poor watering strategies. So if plants start to look poorly it may be that water is not getting down to the deepest roots in the garden or in containers.
There is a chart in our book ‘Aparrtment Gardening Mediterranean Style’ that indicates typical watering need for thirsrty and drought resistant plants in a variety of types of containers in full sun and shade, and in the summer and winter. The vaRIAtions in moisture needs are enormous.
Gardens to live in July
Although many owners of Spanish gardens let their houses in the summer most do not. But both full time residents and short term stay holiday makers need gardens to have shade and interesting features beyond a pool and Jacussi to enjoy the summer to the full. Have a look at the posibilities in ‘ Your Garden in Spain’.
Baton changing plants
We are amazed when we are told that houses are let for the summer because there is little colour after the spring displays. Something is being missed as if one brouses through the plant descriptions in Part Four of the book mentioned above there are plenty of summer flowering plants , espeecially those of subtropical origin. When you plan a new garden or set out to improve an existing garden do set oiut to have colour all the year round with groups of seasonal plants taking over from each other without a gap in the same way that a well drilled relay team hands over the baton withoput dropping it!
Sources of Neem
Even though the multinational garden product company Flower added a neem product to its product range this summer some readers still find it difficult to trace this widely used general insecticide which has been around for at least five thousand years. If you have problems they can be obtained by mail order from www.trabe.net, www.niem-handel.de and www.planetstienda.com.
A new Spanish garden disaster
Heard that a fourth insect disaster is now speadinf through Spain in the dsame way that some years ago the geranium moth, the palm weevil and the tomato tuti fly did likewise. The new risk is to algaves from a beetle that bores into the succulent leaves to lay its eggs. Todate the same chemical recommended for palm trees are being used. Todate we have not heard of an ecological product althoiugh we understand that the palm tree problem is being takled in parts of the Middle East with products that include neem oil.
If you local gardening or social club is interested in an autumn or spring talk do contact us soon.
New distributor of our books in Spain
If you own a shop and are interested in stocking our gardening books we have just heard that our publishers have added SGEL as a national distributor to there network of distributors. You can find out more from SGEL or email@example.com .
Happy summer gardening, growing and living.
p.s Just remembered we mentioned books for reading in the summer hammock or lounger last month. Have just read three fascinating thriller books by Michael Hillier the chairman of CBW – Costa Blanca Writers. Have a look at www.mikehillier.com.
(c) Clodagh and Dick Handscombe July 2011.