Let's take a look at enjoying our gardens today. That doesn't mean there is no more work to do because springtime in the garden is as busy as any, but what we have achieved so far this year, we must sit back and enjoy. The fine weather encourages us to sit for a while in the sunshine and almost watch what we have planted growing before our very eyes.
Having spoken recently about wild Majorca, it’s fun to recap on what we can get out of it like an omelette made with eggs from your own hens, garnished with a fried onion from the string hung up in the larder, a few mushrooms off the front lawn and green asparagus tips nipped out of the plants that seem to pop up everywhere. But spring has more to offer than just that, the garden is alive with birds building their nests. I have mentioned some time ago that I use an old floor mop head to pull the cotton strands out to use as ties on those plants that need to be tied to supports. Well these little cotton ties have called the attention of a Sardinian Warbler who constantly comes to peck at them and fly off with its beak full of fluffy white cotton bits obviously to line its nest. I don't dare collect a few bay leaves at the moment because each time I go near the tree a blackbird flies out; she has a nest with four chicks already hatched out. Yes I did once dare to gently put a hand into the nest and felt the chicks as well as there still being an egg or two. I admit I get as much enjoyment out of the wild life in the garden as well as the work. More wild life comes with the bees; the trees already in flower like the bottlebrush and the orange and lemon trees are simply alive with honeybees.
All you need to do is stand near the tree, it seems to shimmer with the constant movement of the bees and their drone can be heard as you stand near them, there really is more to gardening than just hard work!
They say that the best rain of the year is always the April rain. The ground is beginning to warm up and all those seedlings that are showing a couple of pairs of leaves could well be robust enough to gently handle for transplanting no matter if they are vegetables or flowers, all will be needing their own space sooner or later. Along with these tender young transplants will of course come the danger of the dreaded slugs and snails so be sure to put some snail bait around, they are no respecter of flower or vegetable, just something green and tender and they are there overnight.
Good summer plants for this climate are the succulents and cacti family. Either of these need very little watering during the hot dry summer months. Should you have any of these, and there are plenty to choose from, take a few cuttings and pop them into new pots to encourage further growth. They just romp ahead and never need any real loving tender care, they look after themselves either in a pot on the terrace or in the garden so do consider them as easy gardening. Be sure you have an aloe amongst your collection of cacti, a tiny snippet off a broken leaf is a wonderful relief from mosquito bites and there are sure to be some of them around, a garden just invites them in. Whilst on that subject, after a day or so of rain do be sure to empty out those little puddles of water that can stand just anywhere and will be sure to be a spawning ground for the wretched mosquito so don't make it easy for them by leaving stagnant water around.
Keep an eye on the Roses, if you managed to get them pruned before San Antonio as the saying goes, that is the 17 January you could well be seeing the very first bloom for Saint George's day coming very soon, 23 April . Here I admit to repeating myself, but all gardening is repetitious and folk lore here in the Mediterranean frequently makes reference to Saint’s days as opposed to seasons or even dates as well as the phases of the moon when one should plant with the waxing (growing) moon and cut back or prune during the waning moon. And whilst speaking of the moon, this month’s full moon is known as the 'pink' moon because so many pink blooms come into flower at this time of the year. The romance of gardening can really be enjoyed at this time of year, the sun is warm enough just to sit for a while but not that hot that when there is work to be done one can feel really pleased with oneself, well I know I do!