The semi-arid landscape of Almeria, where water is a precious commodity, challenges gardeners. However, cacti and succulents, which require little watering, thrive here in the sunshine and it’s possible to create a really lovely garden with these and other drought tolerant plants.
Because cacti have very shallow roots, you can be creative when it comes to planting them out. Natural stones with holes in them – no shortage of these in the volcanic landscape of the Cabo de Gata- are ideal and set them off perfectly. Cacti need to be grouped together to make a feature, otherwise they look a bit lost. A rock garden shows them off to their best advantage.
Our local garden centre has a good selection of succulents and cacti and I buy the baby ones, which are not at all expensive. Larger specimens are available, but because cacti are slow-growing, they’re much dearer, naturally. I enjoy watching them grow and after about three years, when some varieties become quite large, I plant them out and replace the containers with new, baby ones.
Cacti can produce the most spectacular flowers, such as these glorious, scented, pale pink ones (in the terracotta container) sprouting from disproportionately small cacti. Sadly, these last for only a few hours so I have to enjoy them while I can. Other flowers last for several days, closing up at night and opening again when the sun shines on them. I find that, if I feed my cacti regularly, they reward me with profuse flowering.
If you click on the photos they will enlarge