Beautiful nature colors on my organic farm
In 1981 I bought a ruin in the south of Spain
That is where my life adventure started. It has not always been easy, but over the years I have transformed this place into a beautiful finca, which means farmhouse. When I moved to this place, it was already 150-years old.
The walls are very thick, 50 centimeters and the windows are small. That means in the hot Andalusian summer where it sometimes reaches 40C outside, inside the house, it stays nice and cool. In 1998 I built an addition keeping with the old style, creating a new entrance and bedroom.
There were quite a few stables that were on the verge of collapsing, so I had to dismantle and remove them. I kept the feeding troughs, and after filling them with soil, I put different plants. The nice thing is that most of the time you can cut off a small piece, stick it in the ground and it will grow. Over the years, many things were planted and have grown huge.
I sadly lost the 8 old palm trees to the palm weevil plaque. They needed to be sprayed every second month, but I could not keep up with the cost. The fact is that the chemicals used in this process are harmful.
I had 3 old and enormous palm trees standing together behind a fishpond which I build in 1982. I had the pond covered during the spraying and kept the cover on for a few days. Like that, I was sure the palm trees were not dripping anymore.
Three weeks later it rained a lot and suddenly all the goldfish died in the pond. I tried to save them by taking them out and putting them in clean water, but for most, it was too late.
In 1986 I planted 100 orange trees, 6 mandarins, 3 grapefruits, and 3 lemons. These trees yield a good harvest and besides eating citrus fruits 7 months of the year, I sell them to friends on the coast.
Being a nature person
I am a nature person and love to observe what is going on. Looking at fauna and flora, you can discover a lot of things. I would like to take you on a tour over the property and show you the lovely colors nature delights us with.
You will find this lovely bush in most countries. There are many different colors, but it has a lot of thorns. When you prune it, you have to be careful as the wounds do not heal so fast. The sap can cause skin rashes.
Philibert Commercon was probably the first European to describe this plant. He was a botanist who accompanied Navy admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville on a trip to circumnavigate the Earth. Its existence was first published in 1789 by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu.
On the property, I have planted many bougainvilleas of different colors. I also used it in my pergola on the patio. This bougainvillea is very old as I planted it in 1983, the same as the one standing in front of the kitchen. The cats use it to climb on top of the pergola and lay there, having a siesta.
It is easy to grow them, but you have to carefully think about the place where to plant them. They will need a strong support system as the stem and head can get huge and heavy.
The Catalpa tree also called the Mosquito tree – Catalpa Ligno
These trees like warm climates and subtropical regions. In addition to Spain, they can be found in North America, the Caribbean, and East Asia. Because of its big leaves, many birds like it as it provides good shelter when it rains or is windy.
I introduced 3 Catalpa trees in the garden. They developed each in their own way. The flowers are big and gorgeous. After many years one is huge, the second is a kind of medium size. Then there is the smallest one of the 3 standing on the patio.
Adelfa or Oleander – Nerium oleander
This plant is very poisonous, and they forbid the sale for medicinal purposes to the public. When animals eat the leaves, they can get very sick and even die. This could be horses, cows, sheep, or goats.
These bushes grow next to the driveway and along the entrance road and produce lovely white, light pink, and dark pink flowers. Every 4 to 5 years we cut them down to approx 50 centimeters above the ground, as after some years their branches bend over and form a tunnel and one can hardly pass anymore.
Jacaranda – Jacaranda mimosifolia
This is a sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America, but over time they have planted it in many other countries. The blossoms have a lovely pale indigo color and when they fall on the ground form a colored carpet.
The hard pods have an unusual shape and are often used as Christmas decorations and also in dried arrangements. The wood has a pretty pattern and no knots and is ideal for bowl carving.
When the dried powdered Jacaranda is mixed in water extracts, it has shown a high antimicrobial action in vitro against Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus.
The Nispero tree – Nispero Ligno
The Loquat is native to the cooler hill regions of China to south-central China. We find it in other countries such as Japan, Korea, and the hilly regions of India. Also in the foothill regions of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and in some Northern parts of the Philippines.
It also grows in many Mediterranean countries and warmer parts of the U.S. They often mentioned the loquat in Chinese literature, as in the poems of Li Bai. In Spain, the fruits are called Nisperos, and Spain is the largest producer worldwide.
This is a nice fruit tree with bright orange smallish fruits which have a slightly sour taste. Inside there are 1, 2, or 3 pips or sometimes more, and one should not swallow them. Michael got sick and was in bed for one day having cramps.
Later on, when he had recovered, we found out that this pip produces cyanide when attacked by the gastric juices. I have also swallowed these pips by mistake, but my stomach must be strong as I did not notice any adverse effects.
El Arbol del Amor or the tree of Love – Cercis siliquastrum or Judas- tree
They introduced it to Europe during the crusades (in 1200), with the first country to receive them being France. From there it rapidly spread to other countries. During the Byzantine Empire, this tree was the most prolific growing in Constantinople, along the bank of the Bosphorus. Even nowadays you will encounter this tree often in Istanbul.
I planted this tree in front of the house on the south side. When it blossoms with its beautiful dark pink flowers, you know spring is here. Over the years it has become a beautiful enormous tree. The bark finds use in medicine as it helps against headaches and colds.
Jasmine – Jasminum
This shrub belongs to the olive family, and it contains some 200 species. It likes warm climates and grows in regions of Eurasia, Australasia, and Oceania. Several jasmine species became naturalized in Mediterranean Europe. There is the so-called Spanish jasmine which originally came from West Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
In old times, the farmers would plant Jasmine around their houses. They say it to keep the mosquitoes away. To sit outside on a warm summer evening being surrounded by this lovely fragrance is a delight. There are 10 different types of Jasmine and the times of the year they bloom are different.
In the summer, in the evening when you walk in the old part of Malaga, you will often smell jasmine. People sell them on the street made up in an unusual way, a half-sphere is covered with the little flowers. The smells are absolutely gorgeous.
Water lilies – Aqua Lilium
The Nymphaeaceae is a well-known water plant. The family contains 5 genera with some 70 known species. The white water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh, and the blue waterlily is the national flower of Sri Lanka.
There are 3 fishponds on the property. The small one on the patio, I build (by myself) in 1981. There is a second, which I also build myself in 1982. You can see the second one from the entrance to the house and is on the west side.
A big pond is on the south side of the property and away from the house. Later in spring, the snakes come for the wedding. As a complete family, baby snakes included, they go hunting the frogs and fish.
Whenever it is possible, we catch the snakes and bring them to the neighboring farm where there are organic avocados. I do get the impression they all come back, eventually. There are different water plants and on 2 small islands in the deepest part, grow lovely pale yellow waterlilies.
A lovely book on wild plants
The writer. Tony Hall details over five hundred different species. You will find more than six hundred photographs and distribution maps. All those who are interested in wild plants will love this book.
These are only a few of the many bushes and trees that grow on my organic farm. I enjoy the lovely colors which appear each year. A lot of these blossoms have gorgeous smells. Nothing can beat nature, that is for sure. I hope you liked your tour of my property. I would appreciate your comments and thoughts.
Having lived so many years here in the south of Spain, I have noticed big changes in the seasons. Springtime and autumn are hardly noticeable, and most of the time the so-called in-between clothes stay in the wardrobe without being used.
Winters have become rather mild with a midday temperature of around 20C. The summer can have some heatwaves which can get terrible inland with up to 45C.
The other worrying factor is the lack of rain. When you put these 2 factors, rain and heat together, the picture gets clear. Global warming causes climate change and it will not take too many more years when sadly all the beauties growing here will not survive.
Before you leave, please have a look at Recommendations. It is a special page I have made for you. It holds a collection of things you might find useful.
Source: Wikipedia and My Life
Photo Source: Private
I have always had animals on my farm. Perhaps you would like to read the story about Cindy, my dear Rottweiler Lady.