Marigolds are beginning to flower. | ARCHIVO

Why on earth are we all wearing ourselves out with all this gardening when all we have to do is look around us to see a natural garden unfold?

That of course is a silly question to ask but what I really want to say is just how lovely everything is around us in a natural garden. Very near where I live there is a whole field that is just golden and deepens as the sun warms up. It is full of a tiny wild Marigold that appear every year just filling the field with colour. Along the roadside my pet hate, the Oxalis is beginning to come into flower. Its clover like leaf and acid yellow flowers stand out everywhere, its just in my lawn that I hate them, really they are part of the natural beauty of this garden Island.

On the rocky mountainsides there are clumps of heather that never need watering and I haven’t even mentioned all the different greens of the trees, some of them turning to yellow and gold as their leaves begin to fall. Let nature do the work for us and we can sit back to enjoy this garden.

The South East of England was always known as ‘the Garden of England’ and I am sure this Island could be known as the jewel of the Mediterranean. I guess I am biased because I live here and love every minute of it so I had better stop dreaming and get on with the work!!

I frequently mention that by looking around us we can see what the locals are doing and copy them. What I have been noticing are all the fields which had been ploughed over are now harrowed down to fine soil which is an indication that crops must surely be about to be sown so get digging up those rough abandoned corners and prepare the soil for planting something. It is still time for all those spring vegetables, peas, beans and broad beans for example.

There is still time to plant peas for the spring crop

If it is purely a flower garden we want then we must start to sprinkle some of the seeds that we collected as they were ripening at the end of their flowering season, surely that is why we put those bags of seed heads away in a safe, dry place, well I know that is what I say to myself when they come to light several years later. I must admit there are many times I should ‘do as I say’.

If it is a natural looking flower bed we are after then sprinkle the seed and just hope it comes up naturally, we might recognise a few weeds and pull them out but most of all, get the seeds in. Some are already showing just where they have naturally fallen so can be left where they are if that is what you want. Alyssum, Corn Flower, Love in the mist, Nasturtium, Poppy, the list is endless and makes life easy.

It is still time to consider cutting back those shrubs that respond better to hard cutting back each year to enhance the following seasons flowering. A couple I haven’t mentioned are Lantana and Plumbago. These certainly need to be cut back to just twelve inches above the ground. Some of these may be cuttings that can be planted to see if they take root, as always remove the lower leaves to plant only the bare stem making sure that there are several leaf joints below ground where the roots will grow from. I always get great satisfaction out of a cutting taking root and forming a new plant that has cost nothing.

Although the lawn will hardly grow at all until the spring the weeds frequently need cutting to allow some sunshine to get through to the grass. It certainly won’t need watering after all the rain which unfortunately is what has encouraged the weeds to grow.

Some potted indoor plants like to be put out into the rain for natural watering so long as they are sheltered from the wind, actually, there is nothing better than rain water especially here on the island where the water is very hard.