miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2018

The Rain in Spain

Well, to begin with, there is not much rain in this part of central Spain.  Suffice it to say that our annual rainfall is not calculated in inches or in centimeters, but in millimeters.

Every now and then, however, we get one heck of a storm.  Hail and pelting rain by the bucketful are often accompanied by wicked winds.  We had one such storm just a few weeks ago.  The interesting thing is that our village got blasted, while villages a few miles away had not a drop of rain.  As the locals would say, "se nos cayó una nube", meaning "a cloud dropped on us".  The effect of these singular storms is magnified by the fact that our thick clay soil gets cooked under the summer sun, turning to terracotta and unable to absorb the water fast enough, most of which runs off.

Here is a video of flooding after that cloud came through.  You'll see topsoil floating about as well as a watermelon and a melon from neighbors' vegetable gardens that were washed away.  If you notice, there is a round grey street sign that is nearly covered.  Not all the water is going under the bridge; instead, it is going over.

This past Saturday, another nearby town was also hit hard, causing even greater damage.  Yet here, we had not a drop.

Time to clean out the culverts before the next storm hits.

viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2018


Good and bad, several unexpected events have occurred this past year: the death of my father, my change in riding disciplines from hunt seat to dressage (if you know anything about riding, this is HUGE), pneumonia (twice!), and my eldest son’s acceptance to a university in Massachusetts to study aerospace engineering (Go, Danny!! Miss you.).  Equally unexpected is my desire to post a blog entry after so long.  However, I’ve found that there is very little online information about gardening in central Spain (specifically, the continental Mediterranean climate or Köppen Csa at 2300 ft), and my favorite Spanish go-to blog, El Jardín de Bemi, has been closed.  So, I am hoping that my meager experience might be of use to someone, somewhere.

I have just returned to my garden after two months in the US.  When returning home after vacation, gardeners are often anxious to see in what condition they will find their garden.  I tend to prepare for the worst (what if the drip irrigation system has failed?) yet hope for the best (will the wisteria provide lovely shade on the back patio?).  Of course, I have hours and hours of weeding, dead-heading and pruning ahead of me, but this year’s garden survived surprisingly well.
The front garden, after a 2-month hiatus

Unexpected, though, was the growth of the parthenocissus tricuspidata on the front retaining wall, which has grown more than 10 ft (3 m) in two months. 
Parthenocissus tricuspidata will have a date with the shears after turning red. 

Likewise unexpected was the recovery of my young quercus ilex, which has never done well in 5 years and has had sooty mold (capnodium) this spring.  It is now covered with its first diminutive acorns.
Quercus ilex

I was shocked to see how this 2-year-old walnut tree has grown 4 ft this summer, doubling in size!  Looks like someone found a nice crack through the granitic mass below. 
Walnut tree

And the delicate 6-year-old olive trees that are planted in just a few inches of soil over granite?  One is finally producing olives!
Olea europaea

My experiment with a tradescantia pallida clipping in a full-sun garden box has also done surprisingly well.  I’m hoping it will do as well as its mother plant in semi-shade.

Tradescantia pallida

But, let's be honest: with a view like this, who's looking at the garden anyway?

lunes, 6 de junio de 2016

In a Vase on Monday - The Garland and Pierre de Ronsard

With temperatures of 90ºF/32ºC, the roses in my garden have an increasingly shorter shelf life.  It's time to get them inside, where they will last a few days longer.

Here, I've used The Garland and Pierre de Ronsard in an antique Sure Seal mason jar from my grandmother's house.  It's actually my favorite "vase"!

I'm linking with Rambling in the Garden for this week's In a Vase on Monday meme.

lunes, 30 de mayo de 2016

In a Vase on Monday - Great Western

Well, it's Monday, so here's what I've got in a vase right now.  I'm linking with Cathy for her weekly meme.  Do stop by.

Great Western, a gift from a gardener in Germany

One of my favourite rose scents