Well, well, May is nearly out and just a few days ago we had that sudden drop in temperature and a lovely rainy day for the garden just to prove what the proverbs and sayings mean. We needed to pop that extra cardigan back on but the rain was worth it, everything in the garden seems to hold its head up after a refreshing rainfall.
Unfortunately the weeds go along with that but they do come up easily when the ground is moist. When its all over the weather really invites you back into the garden to get all those odd jobs done.
Growing in abundance
One of our most popular flowering plants must surely be the Geranium which could be Spain’s national flower it grows in such abundance here. It seems to weather all conditions, sunshine and shower, heat and cold and comes in a beautiful range of every red, white and pink some turning to the mauves and lilac colours.
You can allow them to grow to at least three feet tall or keep them cut right back in pots to just a few flower heads but full of colour all the same. There are single blooms and doubles and trailing plants either taking over the garden or neatly kept in pots on the balcony.
There are those who like to cover the whole of their balcony railings with rows and rows of well kept poted Geraniums of every colour that make all passers by stand to admire them. Now I am not talking of the most difficult of plants to cultivate, I would almost go to say it is one of the easiest.
To begin with I have found that a cutting with a healthy bunch of leaves just popped into the soil, be it pot or the garden and there it will make its own healthy root system to start a new plant all over again.
My very first cutting was brought to me by my shepherd friend who just took over my garden whilst he was tending his sheep nearly 45 years ago and now every Geranium plant in my garden has come from that original cutting. Here again we revert to local sayings, never tell who you take your snippet from and that will insure the cutting actually takes root and grows!
Just as important...
There is other more serious cutting and snipping needing to be done right now. Here I refer to trees and shrubs that were cut right back to the bare wood when it was pruning time. One of these I would like to mention are the Citrus trees.
My own Bitter Orange tree had not been properly pruned back for years so when it was cut back after the crop had been harvested this year I did wonder if the bare branches would ever grow an orange again.
Now these bare branches are full of tender new growth, much more than we will ever need and certainly not fruit baring shoots. Not only that many of them are growing inwards filling the whole of the tree with growth that won’t let the air through when the full heat of the summer sun is on it.
So, whilst this new growth is tender just snap off all the ingrown shoots, when they are tender and new they will probably simply rub off with your finger and thumb or cut easily with secateurs.
It goes along with what I mentioned last week of rubbing off vine leaves and branches with no fruit forming, all these extra leaves that don’t allow the free flow of fresh air also encourage fungal growth and insects that will spoil any tree and encourage plagues of them.
Another fast growing shrub/climber after pruning is Bougainvillea. You can either let it grow just as it likes over a pergola or along a supporting wall or clip it back into a boxed hedge at whatever height you like. This boxed effect can look absolutely stunning when all you see is the brilliant colour of the bracts cut into the height you want them.
The other format is just left to itself where it will grow yards long forming a colourful shade, it’s at that point where you choose if you want it long or short, either way the coloured bracts are always stunning and part of a Mediterranean garden.
This is a shrub that will grow well on a terrace kept in a pot and cut back to the shape and size you want to fill in any corner or once again, encourage it to grow up a wall with just a little support.
There really are just as many plants that can be adapted to a terrace as well as in the garden so we can all enjoy them.