I keep a few orchids, they're all Phalaenopsis, except for one Cymbidium and one Miltonia (and a couple of offshoots from these that I've planted in another pot). The Phalaenopsis are very easy to care for and mostly they send out flower shoots once or even twice a year. Many of them are in bloom right now:

I haven't been able to make the Cymbidium bloom ever since I bought it, a few years ago:

It is a pity because they're quite spectacular. I am probably failing at keeping it happy.

The Miltonia, however, does bloom every couple of years or so, just two flowers. Although it really doesn't look very happy at all. It is in bloom right now:


Signs of spring




Red currants






Bumblebee on pussy willow

Neighbour cat

Boston ivy

I adore Boston ivy ever since I saw it for the first time, when I moved to Belgium in fact! it can be seen in a number of buildings here. I have since also seen it in France, but I am not aware of ever seeing it in Spain, which doesn't mean there is none, or even that I have never seen it, perhaps I just didn't pay attention. And that I have not mentioned any other places only means that I haven't traveled much, I guess.

Just to prove me wrong, a masía in Girona,
not far from where I was born.
Via Elle Spain.
I love this vine all throughout the year... well, it is bald in winter, not that this looks particularly beautiful, but at this latitude it is nice that the little sun there might be reaches the walls of the house. It is beautiful when green and absolutely stunning in autumn.
The leaf shape is gorgeous, and I also like that the way it attaches to buildings is non-damaging.

Can you see the suckers on the brick?

Having this vine growing all over our façade seems like a dream, and I am so glad we do have the chance to grow one, since in our city the council encourages the planting of what they call a geveltuin, a façade garden, and even subsidise it.

We made the request in 2013, and I still haven't received the small subsidy amount (not that it would make a difference, I would actually pay for the privilege), but received the approval last autumn. We thought it too late in the year to plant (it turned out to be a very warm winter, but what did we know), so we planted last week.

In anticipation for the approval, I already bought a plant last spring. Since it was getting delayed, I planted it against the back wall in the garden. It already began to climb up the wall on its first year! It is a very sunny position.

Last summer
Today. Can you see the vines?

Just a week ago today, we removed some floor tiles in the street next to our façade and replaced some of the compacted sand with nice soil and a little dried manure. I also added some supports and recycled chicken coop wire that I found in the garden, to protect this still very fragile young plant. I watered a lot as well. I had no chance to check on the plant this week, but yesterday the soil was still moist. There were many little red buds.

I am a little worried about the location of both of these, one gets a lot of sun, the other almost none. I hope the plant is adaptable enough. According to the RHS, it can grow in sun, shade or half shade, any soil, and exposed or sheltered. The façade gets quite exposed and windy, while the back is protected. It will be interesting to see how differently these two fare, since their conditions are so opposite. According to the RHS,"for the best autumn colour, site in partial shade or full shade" the plant at the back did get quite red last year, regardless.


(Poor) Notes for 2013

This is all from memory. If I remember I'll go though the seed packets at the house and check labels.

Last year we planted a few vegetables, but didn't have time to do nothing much in the garden (which will probably be the case this year as well).

With little to no attention, all of the tomatoes -cherry, some fat ones from a Spanish packet of seeds, a hybrid and a beef tomato from the garden centre, and a rogue tomato that popped out on it's own- did really great, so great that we found out we had planted them all way too close to each other. We planted them against a sunny wall, covered by some perforated plastic.

The pattypan squash did great as well (although we didn't find it of culinary interest).


The artichoke was the absolute favourite of the slugs, who would have thought?

The courgettes were also devoured, but to a lesser extent, we could eat two or three.

The leek and the spring onions were devoured from below by some unidentified grubs, the celery refused to grow (perhaps lack of water, too much sun?), and the collard greens were obfuscated by the pumpkin: planted too close.

The radishes did great; so did the peas, but they were low plants, this year I'll go for pole seeds. The beans were all devoured or duds, only one popped up, and that one did really great. That was a pole bean.

Lettuce in container did... psé, we neglected it too much.

The mint was in the less sunny spot of the trench we dug, but it was still too sunny, I think. Too dry as well. It was a bit better for the chives. All together a raging success compared with any herb I ever planted in a pot indoors...

We got a bunch of strawberry plants from Pim's parents, because theirs had reproduced too much. They were in a bit of a shock after transplanting (due to no planning whatsoever they spent a whole night and half a day drying out in the driveway, but nearly all survived. We got to eat a few strawberries. The snails also ate a few. Or perhaps birds.

We planted a raspberry and two kinds of red currants (I LOVE redcurrants). Only to realise the jungle at the back is mostly redcurrants and raspberries (and some stubborn blackberries), but it is too much of a shady mess to give much to eat, or even get to it.

I thought the three bushes we planted had died, and the raspberry most definitely did, but I've seen signs of life on the redcurrants this spring!

I also planted a Jonagold apple tree, that I want to train against some sort of wall that isn't there yet (we'll see), and a white peony. Both look allright (I should have protected the peony for the winter? but the winter turned out to not deserve the name: two nights of light frost...). And some annual flowers which were not too good, and two foxgloves that I hope will get nice and big on their second year! they did get some great nice leaves last year. I planted delphiniums and my father thought they were weeds too close to the tomatoes... off they went.

Except when noted, and the radishes and peas, we only planted one plant of each.

Introductory post

I have decided to start a digital gardening diary. As attractive as a the idea of a real diary is, which would even give me the possibility of making the book itself and write and draw on it, tagged, dated, browsable and searchable text is too convenient, so let's be practical.

I may still make a book, why not have both? (because time, but nevermind).

So, a little bit of context: we bought a house with a garden last year. We are refurbishing the house in depth, have been for a year, and that will still take a long time, a long time until we move and a long time until we are "finished", probably years. I am keeping a blog of that as well. And I have an "art" blog, too. That's taking a back seat at the moment.

My intention is for this to be very practical (for me) with information about the garden itself, but I do not rule out the odd tutorial or whatnot. Probably of little use to anyone else, but just in case, there goes this intro.

Our house is a narrow town rowhouse, and the garden is very, very long and narrow. 5 x 30 metres or thereabouts. It is right now a wilderness (mostly grasses and dandelions), with a rather nice hawthorn tree at the back and a few wild berry bushes. The hawtorn is mature and was already there, which is nothing short of fantastic since I wanted to plant precisely a hawtorn in my garden, a tree that has special significance to me, and lo, there was already one (I hadn't realized the fact until months after we bought the house, it is a bit of a jungle back there).

I also have always kept a lot of house plants. I mainly have ferns, some orchids and a few succulents. I love ferns and mosses. I grow ferns from spores. I am sure I will be posting about my house plants as well.

Why Can Cargol?

I am Catalan and this means house of the snail or something to that effect. "Can" is rather like "Chez" in French. There are lot, LOTS of snails in our garden. Also lots of slugs. But mostly snails. They eat certain vegetables, but I do love them too much to wage war on them. We'll have to learn to live together.

Some random garden pictures from 2013: