Tag Archives: Portugal

Portugal: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – January 2013

On the 15th of each month bloggers from all over the world take part in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day organised by May Dream Gardens. What is blooming in your garden?

In the UK gardening in January like the weather, was depressing.. However, here in the Algarve I’m amazed there are so many plants, shrubs and succulents in bloom.

One of my favourite flowers is the Arum Lily. The leaves die down in summer when the sun is intense but in the winter we are rewarded with the most wonderful flowers!

Arum Lily
Arum Lily

I’m not sure what this succulent is called but at the moment it has a profusion of yellow flowers which the bees enjoy.

No name?
No name?

The no name orange succulents are now in full bloom.

Orange Succulents in January
Orange Succulents in January

I love this succulent the leaves are so unusual who need flowers!

Succulent
Succulent

Gazanias continue to flower in January! They are such a rewarding plant and grow in a variety of different colours.

Gazanias still in flowering in January
Gazanias still in flowering in January

Both my pink and mauve bougainvillea are in flower. Not sure they should flower in January as it’s the winter here. Still we’ve not had any frosts yet and daytime temperatures on the south-facing protected wall where they grow have reached 25C plus some days.

Unfortunately the birds have decided to roost in them every night and poop all over our patio. Any ideas please how we can discourage them?

bougainvillea still in flowering in January
Bourganvelia still in flowering in January

My Hibiscus growing in pots are still flowering profusely – I forgot to take any photos and it’s now dark!

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Is This Blight?

My tomatoes had blight last month so I’m now wondering if my cabbage and brocoli could also be affected?

I’ve been away for a few days and left Mr. Piglet in charge of my veggies. I was quite surprised when I returned to see brown and white patches on the cabbage and brocoli leaves. He had sprayed the leaves with diluted washing up liquid to kill the caterpillars…perhaps that’s the cause…

Anyone heard of Cabbage blight? Looked on net and can’t really see much info. All suggestions gratefully received.

In the meantime think I will pick all the affected leaves off and see what happens.

My brocoli leaves look like they may have blight
My brocolli leaves look like they may have blight
Any idea what this is?
Any idea what this is?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – October

I’ve just joined a gardening blog hop where on the 15th of each month garden bloggers all over the world take part in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to show you what is blooming in their garden.

My Plumbago bush is about 6′ tall!

Plumbago in Portugal
Plumbago in Portugal

The Hydrangea has flowered since early May and rewarded us with an abundance of beautiful pink flowers. Although the flowers are now dying off I still enjoy the papery flowers before they wither completely.

Hydrangea in Portugal
Hydrangea in Portugal

I love this oleander but unfortunately it is very slow-growing!
Did you know the leaves of the Oleander are poisonous and if you burn oleander it gives off toxic fumes?

Yellow Oleander in Portugal
Yellow Oleander in Portugal

I originally tried to grow this Bougainvillea in a pot, without success. In desperation I planted it in the ground, ignored it and now it’s roof height!

Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea

I’m unsure of the name of this plant; any suggestions please? Traditionally it’s a climber, but I’m growing as a trailing plant in this enormous pot! It does not require much water and seems to have a long flowering period. Grows best, as I’ve discovered, in full sun.

What is this?
What is this?

Yucca plants have the most amazing flowers!

Yucca Plant
Yucca Plant

I forgot to photograph my Hibiscus and Gazanias and it’s now dark, so no go. There’s always next month

How to Propagate Hibiscus in 10 Easy Steps

Hibiscus are my favourite plants (shrubs) because they are SO easy to grow and reward me with an abundance of beautiful flowers throughout the year.

Red Hibiscus
Red Hibiscus

I began experimenting as to the best method of propagating hibiscus from cuttings a couple of years ago when the cost of buying plants in Portugal rose significantly. I’m talking about a 100% rise, so a great incentive to master the technique!

There are several different methods used to propagate shrubby plants, but this one consistently works for me.

How to to propagate Hibiscus

1. Take green cuttings (new growth) of about six inches long from the parent plant and remove all but a couple of the smaller leaves.

2. Immerse cutting into the hormone powder or gel so once planted the “treated” area is higher than the planting depth. There should be at least one growth node under the soil.

Hibiscus cuttings
Hibiscus cuttings

3. Fill suitable plastic plant pot with damp sandy soil and press down firmly.

4. Make small hole for each cutting – about a couple of inches deep (I use a small stick). Insert the cutting so at least one of the nodes are under the soil. Firm the soil around the cutting.

Cover Hibiscus cuttings with platic cover
Cover Hibiscus cuttings with plastic cover

5. Create a humid environment for the cuttings by adding a plastic cover. Some people use a plastic bag – I use half a plastic bottle.

6. Stand the pot in a tray of water so the soil remains damp, but be careful not too wet. If the soil should become waterlogged I remove from pot from water tray to restore the balance. I usually only follow this process for about a six weeks. If the cuttings are “happy” in the environment you have created the leaves on the hibiscus cutting should still look green and healthy. If the rooting process is not working and the leaves are brown and shrivelled, discard and start the process again.

7. Move pot to a sheltered location out of direct sunlight. I find dappled shade is best.

8. Once the cuttings are established and new leaves begin to grow I remove the plastic cover so the young plants adapt.

9. After about a six months, sometimes more, depending on how quickly the cuttings grow, repot cuttings to individual pots using good quality compost and you will have several young plants ready to pot on.

Hibiscus cuttings one year later
Hibiscus cuttings one year later

10. Hey presto! This healthy plant is just one of three I grew using the above method.

I grow my mature hibiscus plants in containers close to the house to shelter them from the destructive salt winds. This was originally a temporary measure to protect them while hardier plants and shrubs matured. However, I have been so pleased with the results the hibiscus have remained in the original containers where they were planted six years ago. Hibiscus are normally planted in the ground here, and the shrubs easily grow to over six feet tall.

Their versatility has surprised me as they grow well in either sun or shade. And, providing you keep them well watered, fed and pruned they are very easy to grow – certainly far easier than vegetables!

Piglet’s Plot

Gardening is my passion and every day I discover something new.

Gazania in Portugal
Gazania in Portugal

As a novice gardener with a tenacious spirit and a heap of enthusiasm I follow my passion with an element of frustration and humour. I laugh, rant or cry at my failures and celebrate my many successes with a whoop as I jump for joy! (I’m easily pleased) Of course, gardening in a foreign country when you do not speak the language adds a whole new dimension to the gardening challenge.

My urban garden is compact and manageable – just as well I don’t have acres of land to manage as it can be very hot here! However, if I did have acres of land I could keep pigs and chickens which I adore, so life is about compromise.

I grow (attempt to grow): fruit and vegetables, herbs, cacti and succulents, flowering shrubs and perhaps the biggest challenge – container gardening.

Despite my ongoing battle to dissuade the bugs that my humble plot is not a Michelin star restaurant I now endeavour not to use pesticides. So if you have any natural remedies you can recommend please share!

Visitors to “PiP’s” gourmet garden restaurant

Turn up the sound and listen to the poem I dedicated to some of the bugs that taunt me!


The Ugly Bug Spring Jive
by PiP

With the Herald of Spring the bugs start to arrive
in my Garden of Eden for the “Ugly Bug Jive”.

The weird and the ugly they give me the jitters
who may I ask invented these critters?

There are black bugs and green bugs and stripey ones too
perhaps they’ve escaped from the Ugly Bug zoo?.

Grass hoppers and spiders arrive at my door
the Jive’s in full swing so they take to the floor.

The Ugly Bug Jive is now the “In” thing
and a great way to cheer, the arrival of Spring.

The birds, snakes and lizards come looking for lunch
The “Ugly Bug” guests look an appetising bunch…

hmmmmm

Gobble gobble!

What's on the menu today?
What's on the menu today?

Battling against the language barrier, uncertainty of what to plant when, humongous insects and a variety of diseases, cruel salt winds and high humidity my little plot in paradise at times presents quite a challenge.

Piglet’s Plot is a diary of my gardening “ups” and “downs”, tips and ideas based on personal experience.