When we bought our house in Spain, the description of the gardens was ‘established’, I think I now know the meaning of this estate agents property jargon. It means that the garden has been there for a long time, but what is does not mean, is that anyone has done anything with it for even longer.The fruit trees were in a good condition but were in desperate need of pruning and feeding. The vegetable areas were in need of a good spade, but only after many hours of back breaking weeding. The flower beds were a little more difficult. We knew they were there, but how to find them; 300mm thick ivy had to be prised off the soil, most of the time with lopper's and a crow bar. However, it only took time and a lot of sweat; after all it was late spring and the with a temperature around 30 degrees.
The palm trees needed pruning; at least three years of frond growth and the trunks needed reshaping. But most of all they needed spraying against the red beetle (picudo rojo in Spanish) or its proper name Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliver, which is devastating palm trees all over Spain.These nasty little creatures have slowly spread all over Europe from South East Asia in the past 30 years.This is a slide show from Generalitat Valencia (Regional Government of Valencia) on the subject but for those of you who’s Spanish is a little rusty there are plenty of pictures showing how to identify the problem and the solutions available.