EDITION: June - August '08


Vicente Cleries

It's good to touch up our surroundings with colour to bring cheer to our lives. Gray tones are sad, green tones are relaxing, but vivid tones (reds, oranges, yellows) bring cheer and break monotony; a colourful combination speaks of good taste and joy of living.

How can we incorporate these lively colours into our homes? Very easily: buying some pots of geraniums, petunias, chrysanthemums, daisies, begonias, dahlias, impatiens (also known coloquially in Spanish as 'home joy'). Marigolds, gladioli, white or blue lillies of the valley, fuchsias, carnations... there is a neverending repertoire of perennial plants that flower in Spring and Summer.

Some of these are planted as bulbs, like gladioli and dahlias. Others such as Persian buttercups or freesias, etc., are a similar size to a bulb and very easy to plant, by burying them just a few centimetres into soft soil.

If the earth is well prepared, and you mix into it some peat soil and a little fertilizer, the plant or bulb will surely live for three or more months, which is its lifespan in perfect conditions.

As in previous occasions, I have mentioned Spring and Summer which is when insects and fungi attack plants, but there are products to deal with them easily by mixing some product with water and spraying the plants now and again. It is always advisable to deal with attacks from the beginning.

If you do not know the symptoms of plagues, it is a good idea to cut a small branch that is affected and take it to your garden centre for advice on the right product to use.

We must also pay attention to the growth and colour of the leaves. If we notice that leaves lose their intense green colour, we can apply some fertilizer and after some days we will see the change in colour of the leaves to a more natural green.

Advice for fertilizing: using too much fertilizer is fatal, as it burns the plant.

I hope these tips help you put some touches of colour into your life... it's certainly worth it.