mushrooms. | E.P.

On sunny days we may well be tempted to go out into the garden to get on with those odd jobs that are always pending but the bitterly cold wind often keeps us indoors instead. We normally attribute cold windy weather to the month March so who knows what this upside down weather will do to us next.

There are still plenty shrubs and bushes that will need a good chopping back if the wind has not already ripped them apart. Cutting back in time can often help avoid ones plants from getting battered about by our frequent strong winter winds. But then a warm sunny day dawns and all is forgiven as we get on with that pruning. There are some shrubs that really do look better the following flowering season if they are kept in trim.

We have already dealt with the Roses a few weeks ago but there are still lots more. Buddliea (butterfly bush), Lantana(the Spanish flag) Bougainvillea, Plumbago and of course the Grape vine if you have not already done that and Datura even though it is probably in full flower now. Then of course come all the climing plants, Wisteria, Passion flower, Honeysuckle and Bignonea, all of these are known to be over exuberant and can never be really cut back too hard.

Cuttings from nearly all of these will easily take root if popped into the ground or a plant pot and there you have new stock. I have to admit that most of the shrubs and bushes in my garden have grown from a cutting. One disappointment that was bought at great cost is a Jacaranda that has been in my garden at least ten years, the streets and main bypass of Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia are lined with them and are full of flower in their season but mine has not produced a flower yet, I can’t imagine how old it has got to be to come into flower!

And now on a more serious subject. Our palm trees are still suffering every year from the awful Red Beetle that is said to have crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa several years ago. No matter the age of the palm tree, a sudden dieing back of the topmost fronds is an indication that the red beetle larvae are burrowing into the trees very heart where they each weave their own little cacoon from the palm.

Here they mature into the dreaded red beetle and reproduce time and again, we are talking of hundreds each season. It is quite sad to see the dead palm trunks just left standing when its topmost fronds have died and fallen off. There are products that can be bought from the seed merchants or call in the professional pest control companies to treat the tree every month with the hopes of saving it from the plague. I personally have lost two palm trees to the wretches and just last week found a red beetle in the garden which I can assure you I gave short shift !

We are advised to have the trees professionally removed when they are affected because the beetle just moves on to the next available tree. When the gardeners came to remove one quite tall Palm from my garden I was advised at that time to be sure to close all the doors and windows of the house because another ‘inmate’ of the tree might just run away from the falling tree and hide in the nearest place, which could be the house and that inmate is the tree rat.

Well we were all standing by to say farewell to our palm tree, even though it must be at least ten years ago , I remember it as though it were yesterday, we didn’t actually see the rat run away but it left its nest behind with four new born baby rats that hadn’t yet opened their eyes or grown any fur. Oh dear, a garden is lovely but one can find many neighbours that are not only those who live in the house next door but also find room in the garden and not exactly invited in !!

newborn tree rats

As to the flower borders and bedding plants for the spring there are many different plants that are not affected by our mixed up winter/spring weather. The cabbage family do well in the vegetable garden so why not plant up some Red Cabbage in the flower garden. I have seen rows of them in some of the public gardens around the island and believe me they do make a really sturdy and colourful display and in your own garden will be edible when fully mature, I guess that is what one can call ‘getting the best out of both worlds’, to see and to eat.

SO whilst on the subject of eating up the flower garden. Nasturtiums are another really sturdy plant that self seeds from year to year producing masses of greenery before its beautifully bright red and orange trumpet shaped flowers appear, here in Spanish referred to as ‘Capuchinos’ Both the tender young leaves and the flowers can be added to salads to give that little extra colour and an added flavour.

Watch the lawn, mushrooms are still popping up all over, be sure you know they are edible before adding them to the cooking pot, it really is fun collecting your own produce from the garden whether intended for the kitchen in the first place or not.


Mushrooms are still popping up all over so be sure you know they are edible before adding them to the cooking pot.