WITH A hot, dry climate you might have low expectations of what’s possible when it comes to creating colour in your garden. However, you might be surprised what can be achieved with a little advice.
In the height of the summer, looking out across the landscape of southern Spain you might find yourself wondering how anything can survive there. The ground becomes dry and hard and July and August may experience no rain at all.
The first important task is to suspend any vision you had that’s based on your garden ‘back home’. Chances are that the plants that flourished there are going to be distinct foreigners in your plot in Spain.
Neither should you visualise an oasis of lush green grass, just chase away your pre-conceptions and embrace the climatic conditions you find as these must dictate your choice, along with your own circumstances of course.
RESIDENT OR NON-RESIDENT?
Your first consideration when creating your garden in Spain is the amount of time you are intending to spend here.
It’s self-evident that over the summer only the hardiest of cacti, yucca or palm is likely to survive for long periods of time without water.
Succulent plants and cordylines are two more species that don’t need regular watering and can wait until your return to Spain.
They might not be the delicate, flowering plants you’re after but they will provide rich greenery to welcome you when you return.
THE CONDITIONS YOU PROVIDE
The next issue you must consider carefully is that of the plot itself. Do you have a patio that you will decorate with pot plants or have you land where you’re intending to plant?
In some cases Spanish gardens are a mixture of the two with the majority of space being tiled and perhaps just a small section of patio dug out to provide an area of earth as a base.
Gardens in Spain can look very different from what you’re used to back home. Lush grassed lawns are not a real option due to their need for frequent watering.
Instead you are better advised to landscape any land you have with tiling, fountains and seating areas. You will want to create areas of shade and light and excellent effects can be created with a relatively small number of plants to care for.
If you do decide on pot plants you should water these two or three times a week in the summer and once or twice in the winter.
It might come as a surprise that you do not have to water them every day. Pot plants can easily become waterlogged and the roots will rot.
Overwatering is one of the biggest mistakes that people make as even during the hottest periods, your plants will not need watering every day.
During the spring and summer you should add some liquid fertiliser to the water once a week, then autumn and winter this should be reduced to every 15 days.