When you buy a property in Spain,
once the interior is developed to your satisfaction, you’ll want a garden that
looks as good and is appropriate for an outside lifestyle. There are many ways
to approach this and I’d just like to pass on some ideas I have come across.
Most plots here are not flat, so
it’s surely a good idea to create steps, pathways and terraces that utilise
natural slopes. Many Moraira villas have terraced gardens of various
sizes that give either shade or sunshine according to the time of day.
Comfortable cushioned chairs and a small table make an excellent seating area
for reading or relaxing with a cup of coffee. Then there are interesting
materials that can be used on these terraces to make them really attractive,
natural stone in an informal crazy
paving style – running this same stone through all steps and paths.
Then coloured pots can be positioned
to add interest to the terraces, perhaps planted with colourful sweet smelling
geraniums. On the other hand, if there’s a terrace where you enjoy an evening
glass of wine or two, be sure to place a plant called "Galan de Noche” nearby.
In English it’s called “Lady of the Night” and that’s because its little white
flowers release their intoxicating scent at night.
”MsoNormal">Planting shrubs at an early stage of
garden development is a good idea to quickly create shade and wind protection.
The evergreen Oliander is a good choice for this purpose. It’s hardy and
drought tolerant and will grow into a large tree-like shrub. Flowers can be
white, pink or red. One slight negative is that it’s poisonous, if the nectar
is sucked or the leaves are chewed, so even if you’re hungry, don’t do
that! Another evergreen shrub that will
look good is Callistemon or Bottlebrush. As the name implies, the red flowers
are bristly like a brush for cleaning bottles. It will grow to a couple of
meters in height, and will look very impressive. That’s also true of sun loving
Hibiscus plants, and here it’s the range of flower colours that’s impressive
Bignonia Campsis is a favourite
since it flowers in early spring and lasts all summer. It blooms in clusters
and each tubular shaped flower on the cluster is some 8cm long in a beautiful
deep fiery orange colour. Ideally for Spain, it doesn’t want to be
over-watered, and will cover a wall, a fence or a pergola in no time at all,
giving welcome shade to the spot
Another plant that will grow and
cover speedily, is the trusty.Bougainvillea. Its flower colour range is
excellent, the most common being a gorgeous magenta – but crimson, deep maroon,
orange, pink and white are also readily available.
Another “must have” range of plants,
especially for seating areas and the entrance to the property, are those with
perfume. Here you are urged to consider jasmines, roses, lavenders, gardenias,
mock oranges, stephanotis and the fast growing frangipani vine, along with
freesias and lilies.
”MsoNormal">There are lots of centres around
that produce and sell statues in a variety of shapes and forms – from small
animals, elves (I hesitate to call then gnomes) and toadstalls to elegant toga
clad ladies holding urns or playing an instrument. We opted for this latter
If your garden site is indeed
sloping, then it’s a good idea to build a few retaining walls, especially
around your terrace areas, then back-filling them with topsoil will give you
useful planting areas, with rocks forming attractive compartments for pretty
trailing evergreen plants with remarkable and colourful flowers.
Of course, flowers are an essential
ingredient of your garden, but don’t forget the architectural types of plants –
like aloes and cordylines. They can be as stunning as any bed of flowers.
We have, with some reluctance,
decided against ponds or water features in our garden. The fear of providing
breeding facilities for mosquitos outweighed our love of the sound of trickling
water around our reading locations.