Gardens in Spain enjoy a second Spring

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe, Spain’s best known expatriate gardening authors living in Spain for 25 years

Spain’s second spring

We always say that one of the joys of gardening in Spain is the second Spring and that is certainly true of this Autumn. The garden is a mass of new green growth and flowers and autumn vegetable crops are doing well. Provided we protect an ebullient row of potatoes from potential December frosts we could have a record Christmas new potato crop.

Accept the energetic plants

The combination of spring like temperatures and showers has stimulated amazing growth in a wide range of plants from bougainvilleas to autumn flowering salvias, roses to lantanas and tulbaghias to autumn crocuses and a wide range of spring bulbs that could even be out for Christmas if not slowed by frosts. Some paths are becoming blocked and windows shaded but it would be a shame to cut back plants at there best after they were stunted during the long summer drought.

Early blossoms

At the weekend noticed that some local pear trees down the were in new leaf and laden with blosssom and today our almond tree has flowers two months early and the leafless Kiwini climber has new leaves and flower buds. Also our everlasting Lunar and Hand of Allah lemon trees have unusual amounts of blossom for this time of year, a welcome extra dose of perfume.

Second crop of grapes for New Year celebrations

The long dry summer stimulated a second flowering and fruiting of our established grape vines and vines planted in March even have first year fruit. They are swelling well but to date are bitter. Have therefore harvested half and left the others on the vines hoping that one way or another we will have sweet grapes to eat as the clock strikes for midnight on 31st December.

Pray for a mild winter

With frost sensitive succulents also coming into flower we hope that this winter is kind to us. Without any frost as ten years ago before the record frosts of 2005 we could them have an amazing early spring garden.

Planting overwintering crops

With rain softened soil it is now a good time to plant some more over wintering crops such as onions, leeks, garlic, brocoli, broad beans, peas,  carrots, parsnips, fennel, celery and parsley.

Planting fruit trees

Glance through the 70 plus fruits described in ‘Growing healthy fruit in Spain’ and select some additional fruit trees and bushes to plant taking account of the guidelines given regarding the ideal heights above sea level.

Taking cuttings

Now is a good time to take cuttings of many shrubs and succulents and plant up wind and bird dropped tree seedlings to pass on to friends.

‘Making Waterless Gardens a Practical Reality Worldwide’ now a Kindle e-book

For those with electronic book readers, especially those not in Spain where hard copies can be available, our latest publication is now available as an Amazon Kindle e-book. We are encouraged by initial sales.

Preparing for the exhibition ‘Homes Gardens and Outdoor Living’ in Estepona 9/10 November

Dick went trout fishing last week and walked today to prepare for two days incarceration this coming Friday and Saturday 9/10th November in the Palacio de Congressos in Estepona where he is manning a question and answer stand, give three talks each day and launch ‘Making Waterless Gardens’.. He hopes to see some readers there. If you buy a book you can enter a draw for a few hours of personal advice in your own garden on the Sunday morning or afternoon.