As another summer bites the dust and we all return to work, lorry-loads of plants are arriving daily at the garden centre, re-stocking us after our end of July sale. It´s an exciting time with lots of new additions to our regular stock items.
I've come back stuffed with memories of the lovely Cadiz coastline and the laughs we had! Merv always despairs of my navigational skills and they are somewhat wobbly, I happily admit. I'm a member of the “you only have to turn me around once and I'm lost” school. And few understand my attempts at directions; that the Glorieta de la Paz for me is dragon tree roundabout; Avenida Andalucia becomes silk tree street or meet you on the corner of Calle Peru and Calle Bolivia is flamboyant (by name and nature) tree corner. But this summer the joint prize for sensationalism has gone to two plantings I've seen and drooled over.
The avenue glowing with the glorious golden rain tree was spectacular.
Whilst available to us, it's a tree that we rarely see in our neck of the woods and here was an entire avenue of them – looking magnificent! Golden rain tree, Chinese lantern tree or Pride of India is botanically known as koelreuteria paniculata. Take care not to confuse it with the other golden rain tree, laburnum, which is rarely seen here. The koelreuteria is a smallish tree, to around 7m high maximum and is likely used as a street tree in Cadiz province because of its tolerance to pollution, salt breezes and challenging soils and climate! The pretty ferny foliage provides great shade too. It originates from China where early dynasties designated it as one of the five official memorial trees to be planted on graves. Pine trees were for kings; arborvitae for princes, sophora for high officials; koelreuteria for scholars and poplars for commoners. It is a seriously beautiful tree with its showers of showy yellow flowers, spotted red in the centre and papery lantern-shaped fruits which start bright green and slowly mature to a soft rose-brown. These dangle on the trees in large clusters for many months. The black seeds have been popularly used as a soap substitute; they contain saponins in high quantities. Deciduous, the leaves fall, often leaving the lanterns hanging, and the new spring growth emerges shrimp pink. We hope to have young trees in stock soon.
My other choice for a holiday plant shot never to be forgotten was the small grove of erythrina crista galli or cockspur coral tree that I saw in a local park. It always makes a striking planting but it's usually seen as a specimen tree; this small grouping was enchanting. This South American stunner is the national tree of Uruguay and Argentina and is a great city tree because of its long and spectacular flowering period. The beautiful waxen coral pea-like flowers are often seen from April through to October, opening in cycles. Again it makes a small tree, sometimes reaching 5m tall in its native habitat but often to only half that size in our gardens, and it has attractive glaucous, semi-evergreen leaves. Belonging to the legume flower, its roots are nitrogen-fixing and the flowers are much appreciated by the local insect life. It needs a full sun position and becomes used to hot and arid conditions but is a little tender so look for a protected position. The hardiest of the coral trees, it's usually shown as hardy down to around -5C but cold conditions can burn the tips of the spiny branches and, around Cómpeta and equivalent, it will generally need some light pruning back in very early springtime to tidy it up after bad winters. The roots are hardy down to -10C so even if badly cut back by cold weather, it will generally regenerate. The lovely flowers are borne on new growth so an annual pruning is desirable to give plenty of bloom. If you have access to a tree, the seeds germinate quite readily in warm conditions. We have young trees being delivered, so let us know if you want one.
It's great to be back but we do have one more hiccup to our opening hours.
Viveros Florena will be closed from 23rd September to 3rd October.
Very many apologies for any inconvenience this may cause but it is for a personal family matter.
And do remember that, as of 3rd October, we revert to winter hours,
10am until 4pm, closed Sundays and Mondays, as always.
Viveros Florena – Probably the best little garden centre in Andalucía!
Keep checking our web page for latest news and exciting new stock arriving at the garden centre. Join our mailing list to keep in constant touch. Shop on-line with us for unusual plants, scented roses, bulbs, coloured iris, organic products and my books.
October to May: 10 – 4,
Closed Sundays & Mondays.
June, July & September: 9 – 2, Closed Sundays & Mondays and the month of August.
Viveros Florena, Ctra.Algarrobo/Cómpeta km 2, Cómpeta 29754,Málaga
And see us on Facebook – Lorraine Cavanagh's Garden Centre