Gardening is one of my favourite past times. To get down on your knees with your head close to the ground, and get your hands into the earth is to me one of life’s greatest pleasures. Living as I do now, in Mendoza Argentina, where spring actually starts in September, the growing season is very long. Winter is short, with usually only overnight below zero temperatures. And even those are rare. This part of the world receives about 320 days of sunshine…hence the slogan “The land of good wine and sunshine”.
When I first moved here, I of course was attracted to those flowers I was used to in Canada; annuals such as marigolds, petunias, pansies etc. These do not do too well here, although they are common. They are OK in early spring and late fall, but not in summer. It really does get too hot in the middle of summer, with daytime temperatures averaging about 35 degrees and humidity in the 20’s. So, the east side of my north/south yard is hotter than hades by mid afternoon. And the plants just wilt. Watering is required twice daily and rain is infrequent.
I have recently decided that I will try to use tropical/sub tropical plants, and try to stay away from the norm. I do have alyssum, and it grows year round. I also use portulaca in boxes and hanging pots and they do very well in the hot sun. Last year I planted four bird of paradise plants, and got my first bloom this spring. I was thrilled with that.
I do have 3 different types of palms and some cacti like plants such as aloe. The others I have no clue as to what they are called…they don’t label them in the plant store…unfortunately. I spend hours trying to find out their names on the internet. I have a large Philodendron that was here when we moved in. The base is covered with a spring flowering plant called locally Virgin’s Veil. Laurel trees are common, and I have a red and a white one. And what I call a bottle brush tree. It has red bottle brush-like flowers and blooms all summer. Well…from early spring to fall. I have a ground cover that grows like a weed. I was told that it originated in South Africa. You just have to push a cutting into the earth and it will grow. It has small red flowers and blooms pretty well year round. I have planted several bulb plants that are just blooming now.
Any suggestions as to what I should try are more than welcome. Trying to find them is another story.