The past six months has been a record breaking period of drought along the Spanish Costas and for many it continues. We luckily had a heavy storm yesterday afternoon but it cut short my traditional Easter Monday Paella Party in the colourful garden – but luckily we had finished desserts and coffe and infusions could be drunk in the dry of the plant lined covered terrace outside the kitchen.
Already the mountainous valley in which we live looks greener and the ground is soft enough to plant and sow summer vegetable plots. Tomorrow I am leading a walk and it will be interesting to see how many native wild plants are in flower. Walking the slopes of the valley and the mountain lands beyond , in many areas not worked since the Moors left Spain in 1609, is a good way of understanding how natural plants adapt to shortages of water by by searching out remnants of moisture under rocks and putting down long deep tap roots. Practices we follow in our waterwise garden.
In gardens new weeds will have to be dealt with for a couple of weeks but in the large areas of abandoned agricultural lands the shrub lands are no longer dry but they will now become an even denser jungle land and even greater fire risk during the hot summer ahead. Twenty seven years ago when we enjoyed a first Easter Paella the hillside was cleared regularly by thousands of grazing sheep and goats and by villagers collecting fire wood, herbs, plants to dry for making baskets and string etc.. All activities largely abandoned during the big drive to build apartments and houses for Spanish and foreign retirees and holiday makers – many of which have never been sold and ex-agricultural construction workers are largely out of work.
But if you are interested in living in the sun there are many bargains to be had by keen gardeners interested in year round colourful and productive gardens.
Hope to see more of our readers using our books out here in the coming years.