All hail the mighty Cypress

Now this is rather thrilling. A change of scene.

Bet you are as thrilled as I am not to be looking on my own garden for a bit.

We have come to this fine city in Spain.

The middle picture might be a give-away.

Girona. Catalan hotbed of ferment and protest. And shopping and swank and very, very attractive streets full of delight.

Actually I’m exaggerating about the ferment. It mostly involves posters and flags and half of the population wearing natty little yellow ribbons on their lapels to express solidarity with the independence movement.

So far no gilets-jaunes protestors blocking roads and causing chaos. It’s rather fun to be on holiday without having to plot ones routes around dramas.

And it is much more elegant than I imagined. Goodness this looks to be where the wealthy of Catalonia come to stroll and shop. Or is that just one of many towns and cities in this part of the world?

My ignorance is alarming.  But I was too busy at the tourist office on the first afternoon trying to find out where the best place was to ogle gardens. So I forgot to ask pertinent human geography questions such as population, average wages, quality of life, etc.

So laziness explained, on with the green bits.

And even though from the very centre of the old town you might think greenery is rather scarce, have a look at this from the walls. I was advised to get up early to walk the old town walls that rise up and up above the old town and follow it around.

Note lack of heaving groups of tourists. I did well!

And my reward was having the Jardins dels Alemanys to mostly myself (well there was another photographer lying prone on the path trying to get the light right for a shot. But not the crowds that would have made ogling tricky.

Not often I get to do an ‘action’ shot of a human when what I really want to show you is the tree placement.

It was glorious. And so simple. Cypresses, underplanted with acanthus, some pittosporum. Not much else.

Well here you can see a bit more in the form of ferns and pruned bay trees.

But the show stoppers are those gorgeous vertical cypresses.

Growing well?

Have a look at the scale of these things.


I almost didn’t get the tops of the trees in the shot. I had to crouch down (groaning knees from all those steps and towers to climb) and then understood why the man in my first shot was doing the full prone to get the angles.

I became hopelessly lost searching for the Jardins de la Francesa, but you are possibly looking at it. I’m shocking at reading maps.

And I was daydreaming. And trying to outpace a tour group that emerged from the walls.

It did make me ponder choices in gardening styles. A bit further around you can see gardens that are obviously ‘worked’. Additions of phlomis and lavenders and so too the addition of weeds and plants in need of pruning and sorting. I could see some vinca (periwinkle) leaping exuberantly through a scheme of rosemary and acanthus.

It just felt so much more pleasing to gaze upon this wall and see stone, roots and one climbing evergreen.


Keeping planting simple. It makes me cringe when I look on my shade garden scheme and see so many plants

Quick dive into the archives.

It makes me want to rip it out and start again.

But I won’t.

All I will do is take heed of these marvellous verticals and put some thought into adding yet more.

That rather untamed top terrace heading to the forest… it’s crying out for a bit of work. Well, apart from endless grass cutting and bramble taming.  I have to choose plants that are unpalatable to horses, deer and the roots to boar. So the cypress family might be a fun place to start.

I might take my drawing pencils to the cafe when I can get up off this bench (aching feet) and join another wifi zone and get creating. I love holidays for that. It gives you more zip and vim in your own patch of land.