Nearing my 80th birthday and having written almost 2000 gardening articles for various publications in Spain and the UK, some three hundred for the Euro Weekly News, I have decided to make this my last in order to give more time to other activities in my later active years.
I hope that the weekly articles, whether focussed on possible gardening design strategies, day to day maintenance, solving basic day-to-day problems or what to do if a major crisis occurs, have been of help when you first started a garden here in Spain or later as you gained experience but still had things to learn about the challenges of gardening along the Costas and in inland valleys.
Spain has so changed since the mid-70s when I had many holidays in undeveloped La Carihuela and before blocks of apartments with few balcony flowers marred the sea and on land views.
Unfortunately my four original books, written then with Clodagh, are no longer generally available to help you as our publisher and their main distributors closed a few years ago due to the economic crisis. Internet stores like Amazon Books and The Book Depository don’t always have residual new or second hand copies available.
However later booklets published through Create Space, the Amazon Books self-publishing subsidiary, are always available and also from a good number of other internet book stores.
‘Living well from our garden Mediterranean style’ will be of interest to anyone trying to improve their understanding of what can be grown and consumed from the garden that’s beneficial for holistic wellness. It includes a gastronomic self-audit to help you assess whether you remain a fast food addict or on the way to eating well.
‘How to use less water in the garden’ is a brain dumping of all the things I’ve used or seen on my travels to reduce the water required to maintain an interesting garden. It starts by looking at varying water needs of 30 types of gardens and finishes with a plant list of some drought resistant plants.
One plant I should now add is the Siberian succulent Rhodiola Rosea which has helped Russian athletes gain Olympic gold medals legitimately and me to improve my retirement strength and stamina. Interestingly I purchased the seeds from the USA but they arrived by post from China. Come the autumn I will try to germinate them and then grow on in the coolest spot in the garden.
The great thing about gardening as a hobby is there is always something new to try out and the ideas often come from unexpected sources. On my 80th birthday I will have had a personal garden for 75 years. The first in 1942 was started on the pile of earth created when an unexploded bomb was dug out of our west London garden and today’s garden has corners and plants stimulated not just from earlier gardens in England and Holland plus those seen in Spain, but also by world travels when working and on exotic walking holidays.
Remember that great gardens don’t start in garden centres they start with creative preplanning and the consideration of a number of options. Where possible involve partners and indeed the whole family in coming up with and evaluating features for new and existing gardens.
Well my last gardening words are now recorded and sent off to my good friends at EWN. So on the publication day of September 1, I can light-heartedly go off for an early morning walk in the mountains beyond the garden, without having to think about a topic for for next week’s article.
© Dick Handscombe