Quote of the Month

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.

~Mirabel Osler

Monday, 31 March 2014

April 8th Visit & Mature People's Perks.......

 La Concepcion Visit
 - For our next meeting on Tuesday 8th April, a small group of us are scheduled to visit La Concepcion Gardens, Malaga.  Quite a few members indicated to me, that they weren't able to attend but if you now discover you can join us, you are very welcome.
I have space for the first two people to share a car, (we were not enough to hire a bus) or otherwise you need to make your own way there for 12 noon, see website  www.laconcepcion.malaga.es

 for map.   The club is paying for a guided English speaking tour and your entrance fee;   Please advise me cindyjones19@hotmail.comthanks

And - Reminder!!!
Pensionistas need to bring IDs on Tuesday 8th

Just in case their Wisteria doesn't meet expectations.....

Brian and I share ours with you

Friday, 28 March 2014

Purple Day - Invitation to Visit Local Garden this Sunday !

Sunday 30th March from 4 - 6pm,
Greg and Carol Starr are opening their beautiful garden to visitors.
Free admission with cava and cakes!
This is to celebrate "Purple Day" which is a worldwide organisation for Epilepsy Awareness.
Any donations received will go to this very underfunded charity.
Wear something Purple and warm (the weather looks a bit grim!) and enjoy a tour around the garden!
There will also be an opportunity to purchase cuttings and plants.

For more information and directions please email Greg at gregstarr4@hotmail.com  or ring mobile 676 536 604.
We look forward to seeing you there.

The Annual Festival of Cacti - Benalmadena

Please <Click> below to see all the details of this fantastic opportunity on our (almost) doorstep

Saturday, 22 March 2014

April Meeting- Visit to La Concepcion - Please Respond to Cindy

Carol has asked me to arrange our next garden club meeting for Tuesday, 8th April, 2014. 
We are proposing to visit the gardens of La Concepcion, Malaga to see the magnificent trees and hopefully the amazing Wisteria too!!!!
Hopefully you received a Garden Club Blog with the details, asking for a response by 20th March.  I notice to date, that you haven't responded and I am sorry to "chase you" but as I am out of the country for the first week of April, I need to organise things now!!!!!
Please advise by return email, if you are planning to join us and if so, your preferred method of transportation.
a)  A bus from Competa at a charge of e12 per person, round trip
b) Need 5 drivers to volunteer to drive and take three passengers with them. 
The passengers will each, then pay the driver €5.

Please Respond to          cindyjones19@hotmail.com

Open Garden Event in Aid of Epilepsy Charity

On Sunday 30th March
from 4 - 6pm,
Greg and Carol Starr are opening their beautiful garden to visitors.
Free admission with cava and cakes!
This is to celebrate "Purple Day" which is a worldwide organisation for EpilepsyAwareness.

Any donations received will go to this very underfunded charity.
Wear something Purple and enjoy a tour around the garden!
There will also be an opportunity to purchase cuttings and plants.
For more information and directions please email Greg at
gregstarr4@hotmail.com  or ring mobile 676 536 604.
The area is Fogarate in Canillas de Albaida.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Weeding - An Alternative view......

The advantages of not spreading weed killer or poison on the land are many and varied and well documented so I will not go on about it here. 
However, I would like to share with you something that I have discovered in my old age...
The joys of weeding! 
Yes indeed,  the joys of weeding and I joke not.    
On my hands and knees, with knee pads, of course, and stout working gloves. 
Different weeds grow in  different ways and I have discovered by experience the most efficient way of extracting each one  from the ground. 
For some it’s a quick tug, for others a slow vertical haul, for more, a twist and a tug,  etc, etc. 
Then I have the satisfaction of hearing the roots come out of the ground and the smell of the soil. 
It is beautiful, and again I joke not.
 In the process I also  experience many other sights and sounds and smells too numerous to mention  including seeing the many little creatures in the undergrowth;  a whole world of wonder that I never used to notice that much.
Then I gather up my harvest of weeds, my pile of green lushness and bring it to my compost pile.  Composting is something else that I have only discovered of recent years and it goes hand in glove with the weeding.  
I may sound like a daft old woman but I am deadly serious when I say that I would highly recommend either activity. 

Weed Killer Opinions

Anna has written a warning about too many salts in a garden and the link she gives has good advice. However, Epsom salts are not magnesium chloride but magnesium sulphate and can be used where there is magnesium and/or sulphur deficiency
Like everything, a balanced and careful use seems to be the best idea.
The link Anna gives has an excellent point usually overlooked: some plants we see as weeds may well provide benefits, especially in La Axarquia stabilising the soil.
I was removing the rampant, bushy weeds growing in my garden on a very steep slope at the side of an old terrace when I realised that these plants were the only things providing stability to the slope in wet winters.
Yes, remove them if you're replanting, but not just to clear 'unsightly weeds'  -- you may regret it the following winter, when you're looking at several tonnes of soil that slipped down your garden (and yes, it did happen to me and fortunately 'only' ruined my herb garden)!

Springtime at Viveros Florena

And to welcome it, we´ve a huge array of flowers in every colour to brighten up your pots and patios.
  Love your lawns with a selective weed-killer, special fertiliser and seed for the bare patches!
And we´ve ant powder, ant traps, wasp traps, fly traps, mosquito bracelets, citronella gel, and sticky bands.
Be prepared!
Don´t forget, if your garden needs some refurbishment or you´re simply stuck for ideas, we can help you!
Garden consultations, landscaping and planting.
We deliver too!

Lorraine Cavanagh, Viveros Florena, Competa, Malaga.
Opening Hours:10-4, closed Sundays & Mondays.
Tel:          689928201
Email:     florenaspain@hotmail.com
Web:       www.viverosflorena.com
Facebk:   Lorraine Cavanagh´s Garden Centre

Monday, 17 March 2014

Lecture on Kew Garden - Nerja Wednesday March 19th!

Gail Bromley is giving an illustrated lecture at  
El Capistrano Social Salon on Wednesday 19th March 2014 at 10.30.
She has worked at Kew for 38 years and has been awarded an MBE for her work there.
Recently retired, she has lectured all over the world and I´m sure her talk on
 ´The History and Work of Kew´
will be fascinating.
 Further to my recent mailing, I have been advised that there is a small cover charge of €3 per person at the door - but this does include a cup of coffee and piece of cake!

April Visit - Please respond

Our next garden club visit on Tuesday, 08 April is to La Concepcion Garden, Malaga.  
We last visited as a group four years ago and I know some of you have also been again to view the magnificent trees and plants.  
This year we are hoping to see their amazing Wisteria although neither Carol or I can guarantee the flowers!!!!!
The purpose of this early notification on our blog is to gain an understanding of your preference of transportation,  we have two choices based on twenty persons;
a) A private bus from Competa via Archez corner at a cost of 12 euros per person, round trip
b) 5 drivers volunteer to drive, each plus three passengers in their vehicles.  The three passengers then pay the driver 5euros each. 

The choice is over to you, please let me know via email by Thursday, 20th March;    cindyjones19@hotmail.com
The club will pay for a guided tour of the gardens.
Thank you

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Report on Visit to Lyndsay Blyth's garden, Alhaurin de la Grande

Some 7 members made a visit to a well established garden at Alhaurin de la Grande, owned by Lyndsay Blyth.

Tuesday 11 March

Visit to Lyndsay Blyth's garden, Alhaurin de la Grande

The second group comprising 7 Garden Club members visited Lyndsay Blyth's garden.  Some of us had visited before in the summer and were interested to see the garden in a different season. 

We were warmly greeted by our hostess and began with coffee and biscuits on the pool terrace which is themed blue to echo the blue of pool.  There were large blue glazed pots containing flowers,  and tables, chairs and a metal arbor all painted to match.   The colour theme of the planting was predominantly blue intermingled with grey-leaved flowering shrubs.  We were impressed by the beautiful, architectural form of a weeping mulbery, as yet its branches still bare.  Among others bright Osteospermums and a magnificent Melianthus major also adorned this area.   Every space in the garden is either covered with hardlandscaping or plants – no bare soil visible.

Lyndsay's is a mature garden housing many unusual and hard-to-obtain plants.   We passed by a hammock slung between two trees down a path lined with spring flowering plants and down wide shallow steps to the lower part of the garden containing various Euphorbia species in full glory among the different varieties of flowering Hellebores.  These spring flowers were backed up by Anemone blanda and A.de Caen as well as rich clumps of varieties of narcissi.

Growing up into one of the trees was a magnificent Clematis armandii in full flower.   Different varieties of buddlia were flowering and Coronilla glauca scented one of the paths.  Erigeron karvinskianus flowered profusely everywhere.

We were impressed too by the quantities of very pretty white flowered self-seeded wild garlic.  Lyndsay is always generous with her plants allowing us to take cuttings and dig up plants we liked as we went along.  She took us through a sunlit glade carpeted by a limegreen variegated ivy.  In here grow large Monstera and other, usually, houseplants. Varieties of lilies – one complete with lily beetle which Lyndsay promptly squashed. 

We saw a red flowering Erythrina and a pink flowering Lauropetalum (a member of the witch hazel family).  Lindsay's garden is full of roses, as yet, not in bloom.

The overall impression of Lindsay's garden is one of controlled exuberance.  This is not a manicured garden but one where the natural habits of the plants are allowed full reign.

Report written by Carol Starr

Report of : March 11th - Visit to Organic Smallholding


Another 12 members visited an organic small holding near the village of Torrox owned by David and Gill Armstead. Dave and Gill, apart from running a walking, painting and photography holiday business, also run this organic vegetable smallholding.  They keep chickens and grow a range of fruit and nut trees. The owners are members of the World Organisation of Organic Farmers or “WOOF” for short. This enables them to benefit from helpers from around the world. These volunteer helpers are called Woofers and currently there are 4 Woofers working on the smallholding.

The farm is tucked away on the side of a hill to the west of Torrox, with views of the sea and neatly placed in a valley surrounded by other well kept and manicured farms. A haven of activity and productivity.

On the club's arrival, the members were offered coffee and homemade – yummy - can I have some more? - lemon drizzle cake, while Dave gave a brief history of  the farm and information on the principles of organic farming using the permaculture theory.

Then came the guided tour of the 2 acre farm leading from the house to the chicken shed and compost bins, to the first of 12 huertas all containing different types of vegetables all looking very healthy indeed. The principle of permaculture gardening was described as “working with nature rather than against it”.  For example, they use weeds (avoiding those with tap roots)  and chopped up chumba to make a thick layer of mulch.  This mulch helps to conserve water and provides nutrients to the soil.   We've always known deep mulching helps to retain moisture but never thought to use weeds and other dead plants.

During the tour, buckets of dark, smelly liquids were seen neatly placed on one of the terraces.  These buckets contained different types of liquid compost in the making: horse manure soaked in water gives a rich liquid which will aid root growth; weeds soaked in water along with fire and bonfire ash will promote fruit and flower growth.  An old bucket of tools were soaking in water to produce a mineral liquid feed.  All of these liquids can be mixed together in small quantities and diluted to feed all of the vegetables and fruit trees. Why buy liquid feed ever again??

The hen house was open, and amongst the the fruit trees and olives, was the proud cockerel strutting about, keeping an eye on his harem of hens. The clear blue skies and sun on our backs created an idyllic atmosphere, prompting the thought, “ I wonder if I could do this.”

Our hosts led us down to the bottom of their land sharing all of their gardening secrets and answering all of the groups' questions. The plot of ground is under full productivity allowing our hosts to be almost self sufficient for most of the year. A fine example of working with nature and an inspiration to us all.

We walked up the well trodden paths back to the house to taste their home grown and wonderfully tasting marinated olives and a brief explanation of their fully automatic timed watering system.  Having bought into the local river water scheme helps to keep the cost of watering to a minimum.

The meeting closed with the members grabbing more of the delicious olives and Cindy running the raffle - the prize being a rose bush won by Bernie.

Without exception the group were so impressed with what they had seen and listened to that a heart-felt vote of thanks was made to our hosts, which completed a very interesting and stimulating visit.

Report written by Greg Starr

Membership Report Great News!

Cindy reports that we now have 43 Member
 (up to  mid March 2014)
The more the merrier.....

Orange Festival in Southern France

and you thought oranges came from Florida – and a couple of the gardens created by AGC Members-


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Signing up to Visits

Such an Eager Response from everyone!
Carol is co-ordinating it all and  says that there are only FOUR more places left for the visit to Lyndsay's Garden.
Please contact Carol if you wish to be included either Visit

caroljstarr  @  hotmail.com

Monday, 3 March 2014

AGC March Meeting - Choices! Choices! Choices!

The next Garden Club Meeting will be held on Tuesday 11th March.
 There are two offers this month!!  
Numbers are limited to 12 in each group so first come first served

The first is to visit a very successful and inspiring smallholding between Torrox Costa and Torrox Pueblo growing a wide range of organic fruit and vegetables using the permaculture method.  This is a sloping garden of some 2 acres and you will need to wear non-slip footwear.  A walking stick might be useful too though there are some steps and natural pathways.   There are chickens and a stream at the bottom of the plot so I'm sure the visit will be very interesting.   Dave and Gill have generously offered to supply teas and coffees.

The second is to revisit Lindsay Blyth's lovely flower garden near Alcaucin.  
Those of you who went there before will remember that it is a very impressive garden and that Lindsay was kind enough to allow us to bring trowels and secateurs to take cuttings etc. 
 Our last visit was in June and a lot of the plants, though stil lovely, had passed their flowering best and it should be exciting to see all the new spring growth.  
After the visit there last time we all enjoyed a pleasant lunch at a nearby restaurant. 
For those new to the Club, Lindsay Blyth spent her whole career in horticulture and is the current president of the Axarquia branch of the Mediterranean Garden Society.
Just to remind you too that our Club is an affiliate member of the MGS and information on this can be found on their internet.

Directions for both visits will be posted on the blog nearer the visit.  Please watch this space!

Please let me know which of these visits you'd like to join by 5.00 pm on Monday 10th March so that I can let our respective hosts know numbers.
Thanks, Carol

AGC Affiliated to The Mediterranean Garden Society

This is just a reminder that the Axarquia Garden Club is an affiliate member of the Axarquia branch of the Mediterranean Garden Society.
 As members we are entitled to receive 10 packs of free seeds.  
Look on the MGS web site for a list of the available seeds and let Carol know as soon as possible if you would like any of them. 
The MGS quarterly magazine, available from the Club library, lists available seeds for sowing in March and April. 
Just a reminder that the quarterly magazine, though a little stuffy, contains some interesting and relevant garden advice for our area. 
The MGS sponsors a garden in Greece called Sparoza which is open by appointment to MGS members only.  
Maybe a special trip to Greece to see this garden could be arranged in the future for those interested AGC members.  
Let Carol know if you would be interested in joining a group. 
There are other gardens and areas of interest in Greece too that could be incorporated in the trip.