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The garden in autumn
The garden in spring
The garden in summer
Garden history

It's wintertime. The garden has changed a lot since the last photos shot in autumn. There is a lot of work to be done in this season to prepare the garden for the next spring. The arizonica hedge and the two circumference-shaped bushes have been trimmed to it's original rectangular and round shape. I have pruned two of the trees -want them to grow more wide and not so tall as last year as more shadow is needed in the garden-, the grass is recovering slowly from the hot summer temperatures. I have replanted some lawn areas which dried out and now they are growing perfectly as it is raining a lot this year, which is very important for Madrid because during the very hot summer the water reservoirs' level fell down to 49 percent.

The lawn has to be cut every three to four weeks now, strange thing as normally this is not necessary because when temperature drops, the grass stops growing. But this year the temperature has not reached winter levels yet and above all it is raining more than ever. (Finally in the end of december temperatures fell down to -5° C one day).

Soon the pyracantha hedges and trees will have to be pruned, as soon as they start loosing the red berries and part of their leaves. They can be pruned now or soon in spring.

As the garden incorporated a great bunch of deciduous trees, when they started to throw off their leaves the whole garden was covered with yellow-, orange- and brown- colored leaves which looked great but had to be removed, specially those piled up on the lawn -as the lawn turns yellow if it receives no light-. The compost is now filled up completely waiting to be emptied in spring when the new soil will be used for new plantings.

This garden has to suffer heavy temperature changes, so it is quite difficult to protect the different species from very high or freezing temperatures. As I have crassulas, cactus and also some very mediterranean species as bougainvillea, it is now the moment to cover them with a special cloth-like material which is trans lucid and transpirable, but at the same time protects the plants from direct freeze (as can be seen in the photograph above).

As you can appreciate in the photos the colors of the garden have changed completely. The deep and fresh greens have turned into grades of grey and brown. The light is not half as clear as ie. in the autumn section. Next spring I have to work hard to plant sections with winterhard and winter-blooming plants to create a colorful contrast to these greys and browns.

A good selection will be hamamelis x intermedia and also vast zones of cyclamen coum in pink, red and white colors.

As commented in the autumn section, a lot of distinct lawn species grew this summer as some species resist the high temperatures better than others. It was a lot of work to remove some of the species which turn yellow in winter and replant with new seed. In late autumn I applied a fertilizer which incorporates a component which eliminates unwanted seedlings. The result was a lot of brown stains which had to be eliminated in order to let the lawn breathe and grow to fill the left out zones.

I have now discovered that there are still a lot of zones in the lawn which should be replanted as the lawn has suffered a great lot last summer and the lawn zones that I have already re seeded have not been covered dense enough. Also one of the sprinklers must be modified as it doesn't cover completely the assigned area probably caused by low water pressure this summer.

An important thing to do in winter is to protect the water valves of the rain system against freeze, which could break the PVC pipes with ease. It is normally enough to wrap the valve and pipes with pieces of cloth. Also the hoses should be kept inside as the rubber turns porous when it freezes.

Still the fishes can be fed sometimes as water temperature is still mild; once the temperature falls feeding should be interrupted as the fishes prefer to stay in the deep and therefore warmer areas of the pond and shouldn't come to the surface, where temperatures can be even lethal for them.

I have to raise the water level every day a bit to keep the water in a more or less constant temperature. Water has to be cleaned of the rotten leaves.

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Winter 2004

These photos were taken in winter 2003 -in the end of december-; it has been raining a lot but the temperatures are milder than normal for this stage of the year.

The garden looks very different now, as some of the trees have lost their foliage. The garden now shows more browns and dark greens, in contrast with the different grades of green it had before.

The lagerstroemia has been pruned only lightly, fact which is favorable to blooming in summer, but at the same time and as these trees don't grow very fast, doesn't reduce it too much in size.

Gardens can also be enjoyed in the cold seasons, every ray of sun is then appreciated and welcome. Madrid has precious and clear winter days, perfect to work in the garden.