Campo Cuttings with Lorraine Cavanah

  Lorraine Cavanagh is the author of 'Mediterranean Garden Plants' the best selling Mediterranean gardening book on the Spanish Costa's. Lorraine's garden centre 'Viveros Florena' is on the Algarrobo/Competa Road at km 15.  Lorraine writes a monthly column for The Grapevine providing advice and an insight into gardening in the Axarquia.

Lots of Christmas Cheer


Pacharán, or patxarán, is a very well known Spanish liqueur – one of my own favourites – and it is especially popular at Christmas time. There are also some very exotic sounding cocktails based on pacharán:

Pacharán/cava, called San Fermin.
Pacharán/orange, called butano from those wonderful orange gas bottles we all love!
Pacharán/milk, vaca rosa, orpink cow

So, I thought this month, on the run up to Christmas, I’d talk about the plant

The March of the Palm Beetle


In 1994 the palm beetle, rhynchophorus ferrugineos,or picudo rojo in Spanish, arrived in Spain. I last wrote about it in November 2007 so I think it’s time for an update.

Sadly, the news isn’t very good. Every day in the garden centre I give advice to, at least, one more gardener with an infected tree and I get many emails and phone calls from further afield. Close to home, if you’re living in the Archez/Canillas/Cómpeta/Sayalonga area, I’d say that the situation

Jumping Plant Lice

Jumping Plant Lice

I’ve had several enquiries in the garden centre recently about infections to eucalypti, and particularly e. viminalis, which is the type most commonly grown here. Sample leaves show rust-red spots and, often, hard sugar-like lumps. The villain is the lerp psyllid, more pronounceably known as the jumping plant lice. Psyllids belong to one of the oldest insect groupings known to us, including other favourites of ours such as aphids, white fly and scale insects. How we love them all!


Blowsy Beauties


Bougainvilleas are passion.  Passionately colourful, passionately vibrant -   reflecting their life in Spain. They remind me of flouncy flamenco dresses, frilled and ruffled, gorgeously swirling over walls and pergolas.

They’re such a common sight in Spain that many of you might be surprised to learn that they’re not a native of the Mediterranean but of coastal areas of Brazil. In 1768, French botanist, Dr. Philibert Commerson, first saw the stunning vine and named it

Its Springtime – Its Yellow Time


Yellow is Easter with baby chicks and fluffy ducklings and Easter is yellow and springtime. It's the colour of gaiety and cheerfulness, whether it's sunny and bright, acid lime-yellow or mellow yellow – at this time of the year, we can't avoid it. The campo is smothered in genistas, cytisus and retamas, so good and resilient that we need to emulate them in our gardens. The lovely two-toned yellow daisy, chrysanthemum coronarium, fills every bit of spare ground and even that

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