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Lukeyork

Plants Requiring Minimal Tlc..

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I want to add a bit of interest to our garden, I'd like a few suggestions but there is only one parameter.

 

Maintance free, as we are only there 6 weeks a year.

 

So far I'm considering a few yucca plants, we already have one and it thrives with no looking after at all.

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Prep seems to be fundamental here if you are intending to plant into improverished soil. You would be planting at the right time as the rainy season helps roots establish. Select the location carefully, although the light and heat here can be a bonus, many of mine do better with a little shade during the very hot strong sunny months. So some thought into a form of layered planting with types that will not overpower each other for water. Or the types that will store their own such as succulents (a stepped effect with gravelly bed on top level). I grew 4 yucca from discarded prunings but was warned by next door that they suck up a lot of water..but very easy for an ornamental highlight sepecially when they flower - same for Aloe, of which there are many varieties some with attractive coral flowers.

So underplanted bulbs (mini daffs/tulips spring + autumn types etc.) a few small clumps of iris, montbretia, fressia, dhalia, cordaline, canna, agapanthus, amaryllis.

A smattering of Salvia types (there are so many ornamental varieties- the darker blue types good early summer, mexican and small leaf pink shrubs flower autumn)

Obviously lavender, phlomis, oregano, thyme, cistus which need very little once established. Same for geranium but they can suffer with either too much water or too little so location important, same with Nepata-catmint, osteospernum whch are both low growing and spread. Then let Poppy have some fun with some mixed annual seeds marigold, nigella, verbenas, erysimum, snapdragons, mirabilis etc. Even stick in a brassica or two for fun such as a purple brussel sprout plant, some wild ruccola and kale for supper on your next visit!

Obviously there are Oleander, Viburnum, bay/laurel, holly, mimosa, strawberry tree, winter jasmine, caper, euphorbias, best as stand alone or hedges due to invasive growth.

Perhaps a mid sized rose or budlea for a little cover. If it was a bed you were planning then possibly a feathery leaf ornamental tree like albezia at the side for shade cover. You could secure a bamboo structure pergola style over the whole bed with easy non greedy climbers to scramble in summer which also give high light shade - jasmines, honeysuckles, quince, table grape- again there a number you can keep under control or just add for seasonal interest.

Much depends on how muted you like your colour palette - children just love colour and here the bright succulent daisies are florescent! Have fun.

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Prep seems to be fundamental here if you are intending to plant into improverished soil. You would be planting at the right time as the rainy season helps roots establish. Select the location carefully, although the light and heat here can be a bonus, many of mine do better with a little shade during the very hot strong sunny months. So some thought into a form of layered planting with types that will not overpower each other for water. Or the types that will store their own such as succulents (a stepped effect with gravelly bed on top level). I grew 4 yucca from discarded prunings but was warned by next door that they suck up a lot of water..but very easy for an ornamental highlight sepecially when they flower - same for Aloe, of which there are many varieties some with attractive coral flowers.

So underplanted bulbs (mini daffs/tulips spring + autumn types etc.) a few small clumps of iris, montbretia, fressia, dhalia, cordaline, canna, agapanthus, amaryllis.

A smattering of Salvia types (there are so many ornamental varieties- the darker blue types good early summer, mexican and small leaf pink shrubs flower autumn)

Obviously lavender, phlomis, oregano, thyme, cistus which need very little once established. Same for geranium but they can suffer with either too much water or too little so location important, same with Nepata-catmint, osteospernum whch are both low growing and spread. Then let Poppy have some fun with some mixed annual seeds marigold, nigella, verbenas, erysimum, snapdragons, mirabilis etc. Even stick in a brassica or two for fun such as a purple brussel sprout plant, some wild ruccola and kale for supper on your next visit!

Obviously there are Oleander, Viburnum, bay/laurel, holly, mimosa, strawberry tree, winter jasmine, caper, euphorbias, best as stand alone or hedges due to invasive growth.

Perhaps a mid sized rose or budlea for a little cover. If it was a bed you were planning then possibly a feathery leaf ornamental tree like albezia at the side for shade cover. You could secure a bamboo structure pergola style over the whole bed with easy non greedy climbers to scramble in summer which also give high light shade - jasmines, honeysuckles, quince, table grape- again there a number you can keep under control or just add for seasonal interest.

Much depends on how muted you like your colour palette - children just love colour and here the bright succulent daisies are florescent! Have fun.

 

Prep seems to be fundamental here if you are intending to plant into improverished soil. You would be planting at the right time as the rainy season helps roots establish. Select the location carefully, although the light and heat here can be a bonus, many of mine do better with a little shade during the very hot strong sunny months. So some thought into a form of layered planting with types that will not overpower each other for water. Or the types that will store their own such as succulents (a stepped effect with gravelly bed on top level). I grew 4 yucca from discarded prunings but was warned by next door that they suck up a lot of water..but very easy for an ornamental highlight sepecially when they flower - same for Aloe, of which there are many varieties some with attractive coral flowers.

So underplanted bulbs (mini daffs/tulips spring + autumn types etc.) a few small clumps of iris, montbretia, fressia, dhalia, cordaline, canna, agapanthus, amaryllis.

A smattering of Salvia types (there are so many ornamental varieties- the darker blue types good early summer, mexican and small leaf pink shrubs flower autumn)

Obviously lavender, phlomis, oregano, thyme, cistus which need very little once established. Same for geranium but they can suffer with either too much water or too little so location important, same with Nepata-catmint, osteospernum whch are both low growing and spread. Then let Poppy have some fun with some mixed annual seeds marigold, nigella, verbenas, erysimum, snapdragons, mirabilis etc. Even stick in a brassica or two for fun such as a purple brussel sprout plant, some wild ruccola and kale for supper on your next visit!

Obviously there are Oleander, Viburnum, bay/laurel, holly, mimosa, strawberry tree, winter jasmine, caper, euphorbias, best as stand alone or hedges due to invasive growth.

Perhaps a mid sized rose or budlea for a little cover. If it was a bed you were planning then possibly a feathery leaf ornamental tree like albezia at the side for shade cover. You could secure a bamboo structure pergola style over the whole bed with easy non greedy climbers to scramble in summer which also give high light shade - jasmines, honeysuckles, quince, table grape- again there a number you can keep under control or just add for seasonal interest.

Much depends on how muted you like your colour palette - children just love colour and here the bright succulent daisies are florescent! Have fun.

 

 

Loads of good ideas as usual, Flora! As you say, Flora, I think the point for Luke, seeing as he's seldom here, is to take advantage of the "rainy season", which should have already started, but probably will soon! We planted some oleander at the end of September a few years back, expecting there to be rain, only to find a few hadn't survived, as there hadn't been rain till several weeks later. All of the plants mentioned are fine once established, it's just a bit iffy getting them going! Now must get back to some olive picking - they've started early this year, and we've a glut of quinces, too. Not to mention persimons which are beginning to mature.

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Haven't started on our olives yet, they will need 2 stages - I think the lower ones nearly ready but higher up they are still small, may be the rain will help before they drop. I left the last of the persimmon to the flying critters, not that good this year but previously have made nice spiced persimmon and mango chutney (well I liked it anyway...)

Don't work tooo hard Rosie..

 

A couple more thoughts for Luke - For the prep try the permaculture approach with some layered straw and compost - water planting holes well, backfill with compost and soil mix close up the layers whch should prevent evapouration and help soil structure as it breaks down. Callistemon (bottle brush), Teucrium and other silver leaf types Santolina (smells nice), plus for fun furry Stachys Lanata (lambs ears) for Poppy you could also pop in some sugar snap pea seeds in a circle around one of the smaller leaf flowering salvia which are twiggy so when the shoots grow they will get some support - then she can have pea pods in her stir fry veg in Spring!

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Hi Flora

 

Reading this thread with interest as we are in the same boat as Luke vis a vis visiting 6-8 weeks a year.

 

Can you explain what you mean by impoverished soil as the soil on our land looks very fertile - red earth - or am I just kidding myself.

We are back over 2nd week of November for the olives but want to also plant up a trough close to the pool, but it is a fair size to fill even with putting rubble in the bottom. its 4m long, 1m wide and 70cm deep, so if I need to mix in some compost, i may need to get a fair bit. Any guidance much appreciated. \ill try and find a pic of the trough.

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Fantastic tips as always. Our friends started on our olives this Monday.

 

Is it also feasable to plant during February or Easter as there will still be rain around?

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Feb should be fine so long as they are not tender and so subject to direct cold winds. Technically it would depend on how wet it has been up to April, also how healthy the root ball is - needs to get established before any prolonged dry heat. The aloes, succulents and herbs would probably do ok. there is always irrigation on a simple scale.

 

For the P's - the soil does vary, ours has been mainly trees over history with not much organic matter added until we began putting back in few years back - if yours has been tilled and treated like a veg plot then could well be a lot more fertile with less dominating clay. I layer up a lot of tubs/pots like a raised bed approach - so drainage crocks/broken styrofoam in bottom, layer of soil, layer of compost or rotted manure, choice of layers of woodchip/straw/hay/coco fibre/vermiculite or perlite and or mix of the little aeration beads you can buy at garden centre with the topping of compost/soil mix. I am thinking about trying to utilise some old olive stones that have composted with broken almond/mussel shells in the mix. Some sprinkle the top with a gravel or similar to reduce evapouration after planting, it depends on what you fancy putting in there.

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Loving this thread. We are here all the time, but my main problem is a sunken courtyard. It gets plenty of sun, too much in the summer and it gets very, very hot then, but in the winter the cold air sinks into it and stays there. All planting has to be in pots. I have lost so many plants there it is unreal, obviously trying the wrong things. Last winter I had 2 rubber plants down there, both with protective covers over them. Lost one, the other is thriving. The only other thing still surviving is a bougainvillea. I am going to try succulents this year, having rescued a few cuttings from one that was getting smothered by cactii, and which so far (it is early days) all seem to have rooted. Any other suggestions to add some colour? I am hesitant about cactii as there can be small children in there at times.

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That's an interesting challenge Margaret, will put my thinking cap on - just undertaking the mucking out and washing out of all floors... so will get back to you!

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S here. Sorry Flora, i mistakingly clicked the dislike rather than like function on your post. Using phone & having clumsy fingers! I tried to rectify it but an error occured...

Anyway, i liked your informative & interesting post.

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I like cactus but not easy with poppy unless there's a barrier between her and them. Might just go for a browse at the very local garden centre and see what we can find.

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I have found generally that plants grown locally survive better than supermarket bought. The bougainvillea was bought locally, although the rubber plants were from Auchan. Given up on Lidl plants except for short lived house plants to brighten up Christmas.

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Will be interesting to see if the citrus have survived the cows muching them and the summer heat, defintely new growth when we were there 11 weeks ago.

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Thanks SMB -

Am sure the citrus will be ok, you did say someone was watering occasionally, but not at all convinced cows are tempted to eat them as they are spiky, imagine they could just knock and possibly snap branches as cows can be clumsy!

 

Never tried to grow a rubber plant outdoors, left that to the mega corporates in Malaysia etc....suspect the problem in winter here may be either waterlogged/chilled roots or dehydrated leaves from cold wind as they are are broadleaf?

I agree re local grown as they should be lime tolerant and aclimatised, a lot of soft rooted, greenhouse forced plants need to be brought on carefully to get their strength up to tolerate the extremes here.

As for Lidl - I have had some successes which include Hops, Clematis x 3 varieties, Honeysuckle, Passion flower, Pieris, Nepata, a couple of roses, hollyhock x 2, Ceanothus, raspberry, canna, a couple of blue Salvia species from plug plants, geranium johnsons blue and hellebores - plus a caster oil plant whch was obliterated by a strimmer with no respect for plants...+ a couple of blackcurrants for 2 years but they died because I underwatered one hot summer.

Cuttings of established plants/shrubs do well after a bit of potting on. Like Peter, I have had some success with seeds from South African and Indian species some may need winter protection. The exotic hibiscus are gorgeous but would need protection within a sheltered veranda or similar. I have winter pansies in a trough and the petunia are still flowering - not sure how this weather will hit the olives though, mighty windy! Hope you got yours in successfully Rosie.

 

Margaret, was the sunken terrace once one of those threshing yards and are you looking for just summer colour or year round interest?

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We've managed two olive trees, but the others aren't quite ready (or at least, if they are, they're going to have to wait, as I'm not going out in this weather: strong winds, rain and very chilly!) Just to think I was in the pool 3 days ago!

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