by Dick Handscombe, holistic gardener and author living in Spain for 26 years enjoying gardening walking painting and writing.
This month we offer some ideas for gardeners on Camposol resulting from my talk to the Darwinian Gardening Group on 8th February and as a follow on from last month’s review of what constituted a great garden. Next month we will concentrate on country gardens.

It had been some years since we saw the Camposol ‘villages’ because we saw them on the left hand side of the old road where a line of flags and pine trees indicated that the intended mega Polaris golf resort was to be built. Since then the number of houses and street lights has now multiplied by a factor of four. Many more houses have now laid out a variety of gardens and the volunteer landscaping and maintenance groups. The latter are to be congratulated, but although I spied one or two in action, sadly no volunteer attended my talk.

So to some of my observations:

  • There are now a wide variety of gardens, some excellent and others still at earthquake status.
  • Obviously some houses are owned largely for holiday lets, but I doubt if many punters booking on Camposol are doing so as an alternative to a Virgin Airways rocket flight to Mars. Holiday makers used to package holidays to hotels expect to see some greenery and shade around the pool garden.
  • I congratulate those who have recognised the advantage of laying out their gardens as a series of differently styled mini-gardens. However, many more would benefit from this, making the divisions with walls covered with climbing plants or internal hedges. In this respect recognise that a line of the orange ‘bandera’ flowered lantana, purple bougainvillea and mandarin plants can be trained into hedges.
  • From what I could see from a walk around and the top terrace of my host’s house, few gardens had ponds or fountains which make interesting and restful features.
  • In general, succulent plantings could do with more plants for impact.
  • Congratulations to those who have planted flowering and evergreen trees for shade, privacy and colour and olives for home pickling and oil making at a local mill. The ‘villages’ would be transformed if more gardens had trees, especially as eventually the ‘volunteer-planted’ trees will encircle the ‘villages’ like oases.
  • Many gardens would benefit from the use of beds of perennial herbs such as various varieties of rosemary, sage, lavender, thyme, oregano and rue for their leaf colours, flowers, natural aromatherapy effects and use in cooking and healthy infusions. When I visited Lorca Castle on the day after my talk, they were all growing in the raised bed herb garden.
  • In a garden divided into mini gardens, one could be allocated to a vegetable/edible herb garden with the plants grown in raised beds, or a ten-tub veggie garden as illustrated on page 61 of our book ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables In Spain’. During the talk I explained that my salad the night before I travelled to Camposol and the night after, included the following, all harvested from our demonstration raised beds and large size builder’s buckets.
  • As everywhere in expatriate lands, more care needs to be taken in the choice of planting and pruning citrus trees. ‘Growing Healthy Fruit In Spain’ would be a wise buy if you intend to plant more citrus and other fruits. Seventy types are described in the book.
  • Suspect that more use of flowering bulbs could be made.
  • By the time I left, keen walking gardeners were engrossed in reading our latest book ‘Our 52 Day Retirement Walk Along The Spanish Pyrenees’.  (See this month’s author review on page 48)
  • This and all our gardening and lifestyle books can be obtained from Amazon Books. A search for ‘Dick Handscombe’ normally brings them all up at once.
A Typical Handscombe’s Healthy Salad

Leaves from celtus, chicory, dandelion, parsley, rocket, purslane, alfalpha, Swiss chard and green and red lettuce plants, a wild celery plant, pineapple sage flowers and leaves, a hibiscus flower and two flowers from nasturtium plants, together with a few leaves (a seed pod would have been added if available), two tiny carrots and their leaves, young garlic and onion plants and a couple of leaves cut off a garlic chive plant, a rue leaf, chopped rosemary, fennel perella flowers and leaves, together with oregano, lavender, mint and thyme leaves, a young lemon leaf and a few flowers; a viola flower, rose petals, chopped almonds and walnuts, single succulent leaves from kalanchoe and crassula plants, plus a few olives and olive oil from our own trees.

Such salads are tasty – freshly harvested and ecological as nothing had been sprayed with garden chemicals – crunchy, seasonal and above all healthy, with a complex mix of beneficial vitamins minerals and oils.


With the best of luck to all Camposol gardeners and walkers.

© Dick Handscombe