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Creating a tropical garden in Spain


TropicalGardenSpain

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Hi everyone, I’ve been here a while but never posted much just taking advice from posts and admiring other gardens and palm collections! I’ve been working on my garden now for 4 years, when we purchased the property it was full of dead almond trees and we had to get a tractor in to clear the plot and access the house. It’s still very young garden and being so big it takes some doing but I’m hoping it will start to fill in as it matures. I thought I would load some photos as it is now. If you would like to see the progress I have an Instagram account dedicated to gardening which is TropicalGardenSpain.  

Would love people to comment what palms I am missing here! Climate zone 10a we don’t have frosts but temperatures can drop briefly to 0c for an hour or 2 coldest nights in winter but days can be up to 15-20c and we have dry winters and summers. Watering the garden and keeping on top of it is the toughest jobs and one I will be tackling this year!

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That's a gorgeous setup!  As far as suggestions go, Allagoptera Arenaria makes a really neat small-ish palm/shrub cluster, and has really unique curly-que leaves.  A Beccariophoenix Alfredii would be a nice big focal point plant if you have any spots left, and would be totally cold-hardy in 10a.  Brahea Clara silver types are really cool kinda droopy-leaved palms.  And if you could source a Copernicia Baileyana or Fallaensis that would go well with the silver Bismarck.  Licuala Peltata v. Sumawongii are a really awesome solid round fan palm, they are probably water-hungry and may need some shade there, but you've got dripline already installed in a few spots.  Kerriodoxa Elegans is another really nice full solid round fan palm with silver undersides.

The only caution I'd advise is watch out for the roots on the Schefflera Actinophylla aka "Umbrella Tree."  I've read that they are super-aggressive roots and will destroy driveways and foundations.  I think I saw one about 10 photos down, but it could be a different plant entirely.

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1 hour ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

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These are the two Schefflera Actinophylla I think I spotted.  I've seen the planted next to houses and pools, but read that it is a really bad idea.

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28 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

That's a gorgeous setup!  As far as suggestions go, Allagoptera Arenaria makes a really neat small-ish palm/shrub cluster, and has really unique curly-que leaves.  A Beccariophoenix Alfredii would be a nice big focal point plant if you have any spots left, and would be totally cold-hardy in 10a.  Brahea Clara silver types are really cool kinda droopy-leaved palms.  And if you could source a Copernicia Baileyana or Fallaensis that would go well with the silver Bismarck.  Licuala Peltata v. Sumawongii are a really awesome solid round fan palm, they are probably water-hungry and may need some shade there, but you've got dripline already installed in a few spots.  Kerriodoxa Elegans is another really nice full solid round fan palm with silver undersides.

The only caution I'd advise is watch out for the roots on the Schefflera Actinophylla aka "Umbrella Tree."  I've read that they are super-aggressive roots and will destroy driveways and foundations.  I think I saw one about 10 photos down, but it could be a different plant entirely.

Thanks Meryln, it’s funny you should suggest those palms as I have them all growing from seed, it’s really hard to source good size palms here however I have a trip planned next week to try a wholesale nursery who specialize in more tropical palms. Fingers crossed I saw they had nice copernicana baileyana I’m just hoping it’s not an old photo on their website. Thanks for the heads up on the schefflera, I will keep an eye on them and keep them to a reasonable size. 
 

I would like to source a kerriodoxa soon as they are really beautiful! 

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1 hour ago, RedRabbit said:

Wow, nice garden! What part of Spain are you in?

Agree.  Would love to know where in Spain!

Andrei W. Konradi, Burlingame, California.  Vicarious appreciator of palms in other people's gardens and in habitat

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5 hours ago, KDubU said:

Beautiful property! It will be great to see it grow in.

Thank you! I’m looking forward to being able to look up at the palms for sure

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5 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Wow, nice garden! What part of Spain are you in?

Thanks Rabbit, we are just south of Alicante close to Elche.

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4 hours ago, awkonradi said:

Agree.  Would love to know where in Spain!

Just south of Alicante, close to Elche 

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7 hours ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Just south of Alicante, close to Elche 

Wow, you must have a wonderful climate!

Andrei W. Konradi, Burlingame, California.  Vicarious appreciator of palms in other people's gardens and in habitat

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Hi! What a garden you have there! Congrats!

Your climate is similar to ours here in the south of Portugal. From what I see in the photos, you have lots of the palm trees that thrive in this climate, but you certainly may had a few more.... Can you post a list of those you have planted? Some are not easy to identify by the images. I think I saw an H. indica, on the 12th photo, but I'm not sure. This would make it easier to evaluate other candidates. What's your water availability?

 

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Greetings, Luís

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6 hours ago, lzorrito said:

Hi! What a garden you have there! Congrats!

Your climate is similar to ours here in the south of Portugal. From what I see in the photos, you have lots of the palm trees that thrive in this climate, but you certainly may had a few more.... Can you post a list of those you have planted? Some are not easy to identify by the images. I think I saw an H. indica, on the 12th photo, but I'm not sure. This would make it easier to evaluate other candidates. What's your water availability?

 

Thanks Izorrito!

I have a H.indica but I also lost 2 so I’m hoping 3rd time lucky! I’m trying at the moment Pinanga Kulhi and dypsis lastiliana which may or may not make it all the other palms I have are pretty much what all collectors would grow here. I’m going through the lists of what people grow in Cali.  Have you had any success with anything unusual? I’m going through my palms with pictures at the moment on Instagram. TropicalGardenSpain. 
 

have you got a thread on here with your garden? I would love to see it.

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12 hours ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Thanks Izorrito!

I have a H.indica but I also lost 2 so I’m hoping 3rd time lucky! I’m trying at the moment Pinanga Kulhi and dypsis lastiliana which may or may not make it all the other palms I have are pretty much what all collectors would grow here. I’m going through the lists of what people grow in Cali.  Have you had any success with anything unusual? I’m going through my palms with pictures at the moment on Instagram. TropicalGardenSpain. 
 

have you got a thread on here with your garden? I would love to see it.

You're welcome!

All my palms are potted, I don't have a garden, only a sunny patio facing south. As for unusual, I'm growing: Latania lontaroides; Veitchia spiralis; Gaussia maya; Gaussia Gomez-Pompae; Carpentaria acuminata; Dypsis fibrosa; Dictyosperma album var. rubrum. Also growing some Chamaedorea Sps with success: elegans; ernesti-augusti; hooperiana; metallica; microspadix; pochutlensis; radicalis; radicalis arborescent; sartori; seifrizii.

H. indica goes great for me, it´s my fastest palm, H.  verschaffeltii also does very well. Ravenea rivularis also does fine. Arenga engleri does fine too, even in full sun. Had no luck with Dypsis lasteliana, our dry hot summer and high UV were too much for it, even in half shade under canopy. Also growing Dypsis lanceolata, but it's very marginal, somewhat sensitive for our climate.

 

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Greetings, Luís

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Absolutely beautiful garden! Very impressed! And very promicing future, please share it with us! 

2 Izorrito: what the fastest palm you have in your collection? Some King's?

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23 minutes ago, Antti said:

2 Izorrito: what the fastest palm you have in your collection? Some King's?

@Antti, my fastest palm are: Hyophorbe indica (by far, it grew form 40cm to 1.80m in 6 months), followed by A. alexandrae; Ravenea rivularis, and C. Seifrizii.

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Greetings, Luís

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absolutely gorgeous garden ! the backdrop of surrounding area is also spectacular, so the entire view is like a surreal painting !

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1 hour ago, donalt said:

absolutely gorgeous garden ! the backdrop of surrounding area is also spectacular, so the entire view is like a surreal painting !

Thanks Donalt! We love having the mountains behind us always changing colours :) 

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5 hours ago, lzorrito said:

You're welcome!

All my palms are potted, I don't have a garden, only a sunny patio facing south. As for unusual, I'm growing: Latania lontaroides; Veitchia spiralis; Gaussia maya; Gaussia Gomez-Pompae; Carpentaria acuminata; Dypsis fibrosa; Dictyosperma album var. rubrum. Also growing some Chamaedorea Sps with success: elegans; ernesti-augusti; hooperiana; metallica; microspadix; pochutlensis; radicalis; radicalis arborescent; sartori; seifrizii.

H. indica goes great for me, it´s my fastest palm, H.  verschaffeltii also does very well. Ravenea rivularis also does fine. Arenga engleri does fine too, even in full sun. Had no luck with Dypsis lasteliana, our dry hot summer and high UV were too much for it, even in half shade under canopy. Also growing Dypsis lanceolata, but it's very marginal, somewhat sensitive for our climate.

 

Thats a really cool list, I'm growing a few of those too and also have some small ones in pots. Do you think you will move one day and plant them in the ground or just enjoy them in pots? Its pretty good because you can bring them in if its windy! Most of the damage we get here is from strong winds this time of year. We actually has winds today and tomorrow and I am hoping thats it for a while. Its not so bad when its warmed as the palms are active and growing. My vietchias look tatty at the moment! 

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36 minutes ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Thats a really cool list, I'm growing a few of those too and also have some small ones in pots. Do you think you will move one day and plant them in the ground or just enjoy them in pots? Its pretty good because you can bring them in if its windy! Most of the damage we get here is from strong winds this time of year. We actually has winds today and tomorrow and I am hoping thats it for a while. Its not so bad when its warmed as the palms are active and growing. My vietchias look tatty at the moment! 

Yes in fact, I plan one day to move and plant all so I may enjoy them in their fullness. I'm also growing other species besides those I mentioned, some from seed. I have placed the pots strategically in sheltered spots around the patio, in order to give the plants has much protection as needed. I'm attaching some photos, just taken. I also try to keep the pots as tight as possible, placing the heaviest on the outside of the "bubble". Some, like the tallest C. seifrizii, are in clay pots, heavier and steadier, check the 1st photo. The patio is south facing, wall protected from N, E and W winds, but vulnarable to NW, SW and S strong winds. We are just now facing some NW strong winds now, and 19ºC. On early January I had to move some palms inside, not due to wind, but due to low temps that reached nearly 0ºC. Half of the palms, the most sensitive ones, are under the patio's pergola, that provides considerable protection. Veitchia are really sensitive in our climate, they need lots of protection durring the cool season. Mine (still a seedling) is under heavy canopy and sheltered by walls. Yours will for sure recorer has soon as temps rise.

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Greetings, Luís

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4 hours ago, lzorrito said:

Yes in fact, I plan one day to move and plant all so I may enjoy them in their fullness. I'm also growing other species besides those I mentioned, some from seed. I have placed the pots strategically in sheltered spots around the patio, in order to give the plants has much protection as needed. I'm attaching some photos, just taken. I also try to keep the pots as tight as possible, placing the heaviest on the outside of the "bubble". Some, like the tallest C. seifrizii, are in clay pots, heavier and steadier, check the 1st photo. The patio is south facing, wall protected from N, E and W winds, but vulnarable to NW, SW and S strong winds. We are just now facing some NW strong winds now, and 19ºC. On early January I had to move some palms inside, not due to wind, but due to low temps that reached nearly 0ºC. Half of the palms, the most sensitive ones, are under the patio's pergola, that provides considerable protection. Veitchia are really sensitive in our climate, they need lots of protection durring the cool season. Mine (still a seedling) is under heavy canopy and sheltered by walls. Yours will for sure recorer has soon as temps rise.

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Very nice collection! Also nice to be able to move them round depending on size to enjoy them all! Do you get your palms local or have any good online sites? 

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50 minutes ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Very nice collection! Also nice to be able to move them round depending on size to enjoy them all! Do you get your palms local or have any good online sites?

Thanks!  Yes, I do move them a lot, according to their sizes and needs, or even for aesthetic matters. I also take advantage of being able to create a fast canopy for the understory palms. About half of my palms are from a local grower, the other half, the more "unusual", are from reliable online sites. One of the grower/seller is located near you, near Murcia. It's not easy to get "unusual" palms around here.

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Greetings, Luís

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10 hours ago, lzorrito said:

Thanks!  Yes, I do move them a lot, according to their sizes and needs, or even for aesthetic matters. I also take advantage of being able to create a fast canopy for the understory palms. About half of my palms are from a local grower, the other half, the more "unusual", are from reliable online sites. One of the grower/seller is located near you, near Murcia. It's not easy to get "unusual" palms around here.

Miguel ay baby palms? I usually go and see what he was around this time of year but can’t at the moment. He also dropped me some palms off last year and had a look round the garden. He’s got a great selection and he’s expanding now so has big palms for sale. 

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On 1/28/2021 at 5:24 PM, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Hi everyone, I’ve been here a while but never posted much just taking advice from posts and admiring other gardens and palm collections! I’ve been working on my garden now for 4 years, when we purchased the property it was full of dead almond trees and we had to get a tractor in to clear the plot and access the house. It’s still very young garden and being so big it takes some doing but I’m hoping it will start to fill in as it matures. I thought I would load some photos as it is now. If you would like to see the progress I have an Instagram account dedicated to gardening which is TropicalGardenSpain.  

Would love people to comment what palms I am missing here! Climate zone 10a we don’t have frosts but temperatures can drop briefly to 0c for an hour or 2 coldest nights in winter but days can be up to 15-20c and we have dry winters and summers. Watering the garden and keeping on top of it is the toughest jobs and one I will be tackling this year!

Oh my! Your collection is astonishingly beautiful. After Málaga, the area around Alicante is most likely to be the best area to grow tropicals in Europe for its constant winter warmth and because it also warms up quickly in March (most Med climates do it in mid-late April) so keep up the good work. I guess your palms enjoyed the warm temps we've had this week! 

Your Chambeyronia looks fantastic, do you have any "bird of paradise" (Strelitzia Reginae) and Papayas in your garden? They also do it fantastically in this climate. :greenthumb:

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I live in Altea, Spain 38°34'N 0º03'O. USDA zone 11a. Coastal microclimate sheltered by mountains. 
The coconuts shown in my avatar are from the Canary Islands, Spain ! :)

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32 minutes ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Miguel ay baby palms? I usually go and see what he was around this time of year but can’t at the moment. He also dropped me some palms off last year and had a look round the garden. He’s got a great selection and he’s expanding now so has big palms for sale. 

Exactly, Miguel from Babypalms. I agree, he has a good selection. He now has some fine Beccariophoenix alfredii and Hyophorbe verschaffeltii 4-5 group grown, with a good size, and fine price (value for money). The problem, for me, are the shipping costs, almost doubles the price.

You have some other good growers/sellers nearby, don't you?

I also buy from other spanish grower, near Valencia, and from a German grower, but from these I mainly buy small seedlings.

I'm curious, have you tried Phoenix rupicola?

Greetings, Luís

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11 hours ago, Alicante said:

Oh my! Your collection is astonishingly beautiful. After Málaga, the area around Alicante is most likely to be the best area to grow tropicals in Europe for its constant winter warmth and because it also warms up quickly in March (most Med climates do it in mid-late April) so keep up the good work. I guess your palms enjoyed the warm temps we've had this week! 

Your Chambeyronia looks fantastic, do you have any "bird of paradise" (Strelitzia Reginae) and Papayas in your garden? They also do it fantastically in this climate. :greenthumb:

Thanks Alicante, it’s sure is a great climate just these winter winds we could do without but we can’t have it all can we lol. Yes I have plenty of bird of paradise around the garden and 2 papaya which give lots of fruit. Are you growing many palms at your place? 

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11 hours ago, lzorrito said:

Exactly, Miguel from Babypalms. I agree, he has a good selection. He now has some fine Beccariophoenix alfredii and Hyophorbe verschaffeltii 4-5 group grown, with a good size, and fine price (value for money). The problem, for me, are the shipping costs, almost doubles the price.

You have some other good growers/sellers nearby, don't you?

I also buy from other spanish grower, near Valencia, and from a German grower, but from these I mainly buy small seedlings.

I'm curious, have you tried Phoenix rupicola?

No, I’ve not managed to find a decent size one but I would like to own one. Yes a couple of other sellers but mainly for seeds and a guy in florida for seedlings although shipping is risky. 

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11 hours ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

No, I’ve not managed to find a decent size one but I would like to own one. Yes a couple of other sellers but mainly for seeds and a guy in florida for seedlings although shipping is risky. 

Good size P. rupicola are hard to find. They grow slowly when compared to other Phoenix Sps. I think that will be a good addition to your garden. Miguel had a few some months ago, not good size, but pretty viable for planting. They do fine in our climate when well watered and feed. Mine is getting along...very slowly.

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Greetings, Luís

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  • 1 month later...

Who else is ready for spring? I’m running out of sheltered space for my finds this year :D

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35 minutes ago, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Who else is ready for spring? I’m running out of sheltered space for my finds this year :D

Those are absolutely gorgeous!!!

You're going to plant them soon, no? It's getting warm there.

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Greetings, Luís

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On 3/5/2021 at 4:27 PM, lzorrito said:

Those are absolutely gorgeous!!!

You're going to plant them soon, no? It's getting warm there.

Yes in the next few weeks hopefully just aslong as there are no strong winds predicted :D

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  • 5 weeks later...

Finally getting some palms in the ground this spring, hoping these do well in there new spot which gets full sun all day. I have put in a Albizia tree which will give some shade as it starts to grow.

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  • 6 months later...

Very nice garden and area. I t looks like southern California and the climate as i googled seems similar.

You already have a great collection. would Rhopalostylis grow well in an area that receives afternoon shade.

 

Old Beach ,Hobart
Tasmania ,Australia. 42 " south
Cool Maritime climate

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  • 4 months later...

@Phoenikakias my friend, enjoy! This garden is in the province of Alicante. I even see a Flame and a Bottle palm there. 

@TropicalGardenSpain in which town/city are you located? You can tell me by dm if you prefer. Btw this is your YT channel, right? 

 


Do you have an extended list of all of the palms you actually grow inside of your garden? I would be really interested to compare it to the list from Málaga! ^_^

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I live in Altea, Spain 38°34'N 0º03'O. USDA zone 11a. Coastal microclimate sheltered by mountains. 
The coconuts shown in my avatar are from the Canary Islands, Spain ! :)

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  • 1 year later...

In your climate zone 10a, you have such an opportunity to grow a wide variety of palms. I'd recommend considering some cold-hardy options like the Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill Palm) and the Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm). They can handle occasional dips to 0°C and would complement your garden beautifully.

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Thank you for the tips Rachel! I do have a couple of those palms in the garden and they are the good safe options which means I find them boring 😂 of course I love all the palms that shouldn't be planted in my climate but slowly coming to terms with what I should and shouldn't plant! I see you are in Miami! I am actually coming in November and very excited to have trip round Fairchild gardens 😍. My garden has changed quite a lot in the last 2 years, I post a lot of photos on instagram (Jamie_richards_88) and I have a few newer threads on here too. Are you growing many palms?

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On 10/3/2023 at 3:09 PM, rachel933 said:

In your climate zone 10a, you have such an opportunity to grow a wide variety of palms. I'd recommend considering some cold-hardy options like the Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill Palm) and the Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm). They can handle occasional dips to 0°C and would complement your garden beautifully.

Also, have you thought about adding some ground cover plants like creeping thyme? They not only look fantastic but can also help with weed control and moisture retention. You can find some lovely varieties that would thrive in your Mediterranean climate.

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This is the list of stuff that would look great over there

dypsis leptocheilos

Ravanela madagascariensis (not a palm but is nice) you could put it somewhere where that there isn't a lot of wind because it looks bad on the wind all the leafs brake.

Dypsis pembana

Roystonea violacea

copernicia fallaensis

Archontophoenix Purpurea

Archontophoenix Maxima

Dypsis baronii maybe black stem.

Carpenteria acuminata

Edited by Brandon39.5
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Thank you for the suggestions, the garden has changed quite a bit in the last 2 years with lots of additions and trail and error! This group has been a great help and I will soon make a new end of Sumer post with some new photos of the garden 🙂

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On 1/29/2021 at 3:24 AM, TropicalGardenSpain said:

Hi everyone, I’ve been here a while but never posted much just taking advice from posts and admiring other gardens and palm collections! I’ve been working on my garden now for 4 years, when we purchased the property it was full of dead almond trees and we had to get a tractor in to clear the plot and access the house. It’s still very young garden and being so big it takes some doing but I’m hoping it will start to fill in as it matures. I thought I would load some photos as it is now. If you would like to see the progress I have an Instagram account dedicated to gardening which is TropicalGardenSpain.  

Would love people to comment what palms I am missing here! Climate zone 10a we don’t have frosts but temperatures can drop briefly to 0c for an hour or 2 coldest nights in winter but days can be up to 15-20c and we have dry winters and summers. Watering the garden and keeping on top of it is the toughest jobs and one I will be tackling this year!

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Wow amazing good job all I can say is just add water and one beautifull garden will appear 

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