Some interesting correspondence this week has brought to the fore the question of illegal and non-native invasive plants. Having looked on Facebook and all sorts she can't find any reference to the one plant she would like to know more about, and if in fact it is illegal. In this case it is buddleia commonly known as the butterfly bush.
Now I can only quote that my own buddleia was bought for me from a garden centre so would hardly be considered 'illegal' if it can be openly found for sale in a commercial centre. Our reader in fact questions the authenticity that has been posted by considering some of these remarks coming from ' bored people inventing themselves as part-time policemen'.
Just to move away from gardening for the moment, any subject of the moment is best forgotten if it has been bandied about around the coffee table or on social media be it Brexit, Covid, gardening or anything else, these bored part-time policemen always seem to know better!!
So we will return to the subject in hand , our own gardens. Through the winter months as I have been cutting back the shrubs and trees I have been doing the usual 'sticking bits in'. I frequently comment on this by way of propagating new plants, there are two ways to look at these cuttings, the row of jam jars or beer bottles on the shelf filled with water with the cuttings sitting in the water until they show roots growing, which is when they are best gently planted into plant pots to establish themselves before being planted out in the garden or on the terrace.
The other option is sticking them directly into soil either where you want them in the garden or in a pot. Admittedly one cannot actually see if roots are growing just wilting leaves or healthy growth to tell if they have taken root. Every gardener will have his/her own favourite method.
Now I would like to mention a few of the shrubs that I know grow easily by this propagation method and now to see some results is really exciting. Yes I start with Buddleia, Lantana , frequently referred to here as the Spanish flag because the most common variety is a variegated red and yellow, the colours of the Spanish flag.
Echium or Pride of Madeira is a wonderfully flamboyant shrub that has dozens of tall flower spikes when fully mature. It takes root from a cutting and can spread to several feet across and more than six feet tall. It is said not to have too long a life span so best to propagate a few cuttings to replace the older one from time to time. Roses of course can take from their own cuttings as will Plumbago, Bougainvillea and Oleander to name just a few that seem to thrive in our climate.
In fact the best way to make any of those I have mentioned really thrive, they need to be cut back hard every year to encourage new growth the following flowering season. I must admit it is a little late for the 'cutting back' now but taking cuttings seems to work any time of year so long as they are kept well watered in the dry season and away from the direct sunshine. I will leave succulents and Cacti until another day.
I have not mentioned the really difficult shrubs yet, these are not happy in the soil here in Mallorca so are best potted up as apposed in the garden. Camellias, Rhododendrons, Hydrangea, Gardenias, Azaleas but, and here is the big 'but' non of these shrubs like the hard water or lime content to be found on this island. Some older built houses have a water catchment tank under the house purely for rain water and this will surely be the best should you want to nurture the above mentioned shrubs. But why look for the difficult ones when so many just thrive without even asking them.
I wonder if I dare go into the subject of some of the intrusive climbers, Honeysuckle, Bignonia, Passionflower. Many of these just seem to appear over the garden wall without even having planted them. Its up to you if you want to uproot them or allow them to take over. It will all depend if you want a really regimented garden or allow it to have wild corners and a natural tangle of shrubs. You may well come to regret those corners that are left to themselves because when 'cut back' time does come around you will find yourself with more rubbish to throw away than you ever imagined.
This of course leads on to the subject of disposal. A good old bonfire from time to time which also produces ash which is good for the soil but from now on do watch the date. Any time during this month the bonfire ban will be introduced for this year. At the latest the end of the month of May and sometimes a little earlier, Civil Protection will be announcing this. Be sure to take note of this because there are heavy fines if the rule is ignored . There has already been mention of a few wildfires so all burning must be in a contained incinerator or not at all.