Happy New Year !!!!!

January's Meeting - 10th January 2017

January's meeting is our annual AGM.


December's Meeting - 13th December 2016

This December we held our Christmas gardening quiz, with an interactive part "Juice it up" followed by a meal at Las Anaforas in Alhaurin el Grande. Congratulations to Anne and her team on winning the quiz. Below are the juice it up recipes, which a number of you asked for.


Taking you from 60 to mellow in a few sips!

1/2 Pineapple, 2 Kiwifruit,  1/2 Lemon (unwaxed), 1/2 Yellow Pepper, 1 Manzana Apple, 1/2 Banana, Ice cubes (small handful)

Peel both kiwis, juice the pineapple with 1 of the kiwi's, the lemon with peel on, bell pepper and apple.

Peel the banana and put the peeled kiwi in the blender along with ice cubes and blend until smooth.  Mix all the ingredients together.

Best served whilst listening to Yelllow Submarine, no scrap that, just chilling and mellowing out.... zzzzzzz

Science bit....Eating 2-3 Kiwi's a day was as effective as taking aspirin to thin the blood and prevent clots. Also eating kiwi's improves the repair of damaged DNA caused by oxidination in the body.


Sooo cool, sooo zingy, so make some!

2cm chunk of Courgette, 1cm chunk of Ginger, 1/4 Cucumber, 1/4 Lemon unwaxed, 2 stalks of Celery, 2cm chunk of Fennel, 2 Manzana Apples, Ice cube (small handful)

Peel the lemon leaving as much white pith as possible. Take all the raw ingredients and juice the lot, then pour over the ice or crush the ice in the blender with the ingredients.

Science bit....Courgettes and cucumbers are a great source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamins A, C E and folate.


To be drunk 1-2 hours prior to long distance running.

2cm slice of pineapple, 1 Manzana Apple, 2 sticks of celery, 1 bulb of raw Beetroot, 1 peeled lime, 1/2 Cucumber, 1 small Advocado, 1 Banana, (1 teaspoon Hemp protein powder optional) Ice cubes (small handful)

Peel the lime, leaving as much white pilth as possible. Juice the pineapple, apples, celery, beetroot, lime and cucumber.

Put the advocado in the blender along with the banana, hemp protein powder and the ice and blend until smooth. Mix together and drink! if the miture is too thick just add more apple juice.

Science Bit!... Beetroot contains high levels of nitrate, which widens the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allows more blood to flow. It actually cuts the amount of oxygen needed by your muscles, even during low intensity exercise.


Everyone's a fruit and nut case!

3 unsalted raw Brazil nuts, 3 unsalted raw Almonds, 1/2 Banana, 3 Manzana Apples, 1 handful of fresh or frozen mixed berries, 1 Banana, 1 handful of Raisins, Ice cubes (small handful).

Juice the apples and pour into the blender. Add the nuts, raisins and banana and berries and blend until smooth, you don't want to bits of nuts amongst your smoothy.

Drink this when you want to reach for the chocolate version of fruit and nut! or alternatively if you need the chocolate fix then add a small amount of high cocoa chocolate to the blender...yum!

Science bit....Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in the trace mineral selenium, which is fantastic for the immune system and managing inflammation in the body.


All these recipes are in Jason Vale's book. "The funky fresh juice book". Inside the book are juice recipes for helping medical problems like blood pressure, eczema, diabetes and arthritis. Visit his website at juicemaster.com and get juicing!

November's Meeting

Paul Neaum was kind enough to give us a talk on his current garden design projects and problems and solutions that they have dealt with. His talk is called "Garden design trials and tribulations". He spends his time between Germany and Spain.

Dr Karen Moloney is a business psychologist, leadership coach and a futurist. She has written 5 books, the latest of which was published in 2014. "The Garden that mended a marriage" tells a story of how she and her husband, an architect, built a contemporary Moorish house on the top of a mountain and created a Persian gardenfollowing the recipe laid down by the Koran for a paradise on earth. 

Karen's garden blog www.gardenandalus.com


         Forget your white themed gardens, Chocolate is the hottest trend!

The sales of chocolate coloured plants have soared, there are new varieties arriving monthly, although in Spain you might have to order on line to obtain them. Here are just a few.....

Helianthus annus 'Chocolat

Dahlia 'Karma Choc'


Aquilegia viridiflora 'Chocoate Solider'

Herbs and their remedies

  Aloe Vera 

  • Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.
  • Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.
  • Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

Brugmansia or is it Datura?

Both were classified as Datura up until 1805, when they were separated into two different genera. Brugmansia is a genus of severn species and Datura of nine. Brugmansia or Angels Trumpets can reach a height of 11 metres and the flowers are pendulous, whereas the flowers on a Datura are upwards. Brugmansia are a softwood plant with the seed pod being smooth unlike the spiny pod of the Datura. Brugmansia can be propagated by 10-20cm cuttings during summer. Both plants are posionous and can paralyse and even be fatal!

Jobs to do in the garden

Autumn in southern Spain is very much like spring in Northern Europe. We still have the warm weather with some wonderful showers of rain occasionally thrown in, but unfortunately not in abundance once again this year. Talking to some of the local farmers they tell me that it is five years since we had a really wet winter and hence they are suffering especially after the very hot summer we have just had. The olive crops this year are not good.

You will be seeing lots of wonderful growth on many plants at the moment all brought on by the cooler weather and lots of plants are now flowering for the second time this year. The Brugmansia are in flower once again and the Lantanas are looking as colourful as ever. Geraniums, Iris, Roses and Salvia's are blooming. The Rosemary and Jasmines are in flower, orange blossom is appearing and some spring bulbs are now flowering.

A really great time to be out in the garden tackling all those weeds that are now appearing! A good time to cut back shrubs and trees that have finished flowering including the fig and olive trees. Once your Brugmansia and Daturas have finished flowering give them a really hard cut back and also the Bougainvillea.

Time to start planting trees, shrubs and hedges now that the weather is a little cooler. Don't forget to stake any new trees and check staking on other trees prone to ind damage. A really  good time to visit the local nurseries as they have great stocks at this time of year. Plant bulbs for spring flowering and don't forget the sweet peas!

Lift and break up any clumps of Iris that have become congested. Do this every 3 to 4 years by breaking off and replanting the healthier younger rhizomes leaving about 10 cm of leaf attached. Make a shallow oblong hole in the soil and spread the roots into the this leaving the rhizome itself on the surface. Iris's need good drainage otherwise the rhizomes will rot. Water after replanting , but then not too frquently. Remember that Iris's like wet feet but dry knees and plenty of sunshine, so do not plant in the shade.

This is also a wonderful time to take copious amounts of cuttings from your perennials, shrubs and succulents so that you have plenty of plants to bring along and swap with other members!

Plant of the month

Ruellia Brittoniana

This striking handsome plant is a must for any gardener who loves colour contrast in the garden. The stems are very dark in colour, almost black and contrast beautifully with the dark blue/green leaves and the lovely purple/blue petunia like flowers. Common names for this plant include "Mexican petunia" or "wild petunia" although it is not closely related to petunias. It is originally from Mexico and thrives in warm climates. It comes in two other colours pink and white.

It grows to a height of 3ft or 0.9 metres and has a strong, dark, semi woody vertical stalks which makes it ideally suited to plant at the back of a border where it makes a great backdrop for other bright colours. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and the more sunlight the more flowers it will produce. Once established it will tolerate little water and survive dry spells, but if well watered it can become invasive!

It is a fast growing perennial and flowers profusely from spring until early winter. After flowering if you cut back the stems about half way you will gt a new crop of flowers within a month. It is pest and disease free and will tolerate most types of soil. Propagation is by cuttings, division or seed. It tends to seed frequently so weed out where necessary


Book/Magazine Review

365 Days of colour in your garden        By Nick Bailey

Nick Bailey has worked as a professional horticulturalist for more than two decades, creating gardens and plantings in the UK, South Africa, Australia and Spain. He currently works as Head Gardener at London's renowned Chelsea Physic Garden. .

This is a beautifully photographed book for gardeners who wish to obtain the 'all year around coloured garden'. The book focuses on colour, design and how to achieve it through the 12 months. It has lists of plants to use throughout the seasons and is bursting with practical advice on establishment and maintenance. The book also advises on plants for pots, difficult spaces and small gardens.



Mediterranean and outdoor living is a new magazine only 18 months old. It brings together the enthusiastic beginner, experienced horticulturist and the seasoned professional to help you create your garden sanctuary in the Mediterranean. They are holding a gardening show at Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa on the 11th & 12th June 2016. There will be guest speakers from the gardening world, live demonstrations and garden displays. You can purchase a copy of the magazine from Iceland or selected garden centres or alternatively subscribe to the magazine direct. www.gardeningandoutdoorliving.com


Mediterranean Garden Plants by Lorraine Cavanagh

A comprehensive guide to over 350 plants which are best suited to a Mediterranean climate. Full cultural details, size and suitability, pruning, propagation and problems. Helps you to select your plant, accurately identify it in Latin, English or Spanish common names and keep it growing strongly and healthily in your garden.