Spotting Tropical Flowers In Sunny Spain

Picturesque street of Mijas with flower pots in facades. Andalusian white village. Costa del Sol. Southern Spain
John Stoa may be on holiday but he still keeps an eye out for interesting planting.

The garden was looking pretty good. Plants were planted, seeds were sown, weeds were under control, so a wee holiday was arranged to Benidorm in Spain to catch some sunshine, relax and take a break from gardening and art. However, I am always the gardener on duty, looking at all these exotic plants that thrive in the constant sunshine and heat, and before long the camera was out.

Jasminum polyanthum spain

Hot & Dry

The hot, dry climate of Spain suits plants we can only view as tender houseplants. It never ceases to amaze me when I see them here.

Fifty years ago everyone had a rubber tree plant, Ficus elastica. You can’t fail to be impressed when you see them as huge trees creating welcome shade.

Bougainvilleas create a riot of hot colour in spring in these hot countries, but even now there is still a lot of colour on them.

Angel trumpets, the Datura, is one of my favourite scented exotics for tubs, but now I treat them as large shrubs pruned each year to stop them getting too big.

However, the prizewinner for scent has to be the white flowered Jasmine, Jasminum polyanthum, planted at our hotel entrance so you catch the fragrance every time you walk through the door.

Another hotel had a dazzling bed of Portulacas in full flower.

Going further into the building, where it was quite dark, I found a marvellous bright red Vriesia growing in a bed with other shade-loving tropical plants.

One shopping area had large beds of flowering shrubs in full flower, including the blue flowering Plumbago, bright yellow, orange and red Hibiscus, and salmon-pink Oleanders.

Young bananas Spain

Fruit And Nuts

Bananas are quite common here, so it was not unusual to see them planted as shade plants around our hotel pool, but when they all have large bunches of ripe bananas on them it does catch your attention. Dates, oranges, almonds and olives are planted amongst all the buildings and along the streets, but more than likely for shade and protection from the hot sun rather than for their fruit.

Evenings were very relaxing as we sat around the pool and bar where there is always some entertainment, and still the scented jasmine fills the air. Then, to keep you in a happy holiday mood as they poured you a couple of whiskies, the bar staff would say, “Just say when!”

I always got stuck for words at this point!

If only that custom would find its way to Scotland. You have to dream!

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Hannah McLaren