The green campaign: elfas

Plan ‘green campaign’ started as soon as we moved into the house. pink elfa - close-up 27-8-13Although the valley was green, we realised pretty quickly that a lot of this was down to self-seeding weeds and the problem was getting worse. So, we decided to clear and re-plant. The plan was most definitely not to create a garden, rather to re-plant with native shrubs which needed little upkeep and would survive the summer drought and winter cold.

Ambitious? Yes, of course, but now we are a few years down the line and the bare slopes and hours of back-breaking weeding is over, our reward is mature shrubs, evergreen throughout the winter. After planting a few mistakes, we settled on a core collection of shrubs which through trial and error we learned would survive. By far and away the most prominent of these was the oleander. The Spanish call it adelpha, Pablo in ‘campo speak’ calls it elfa.

We planted them everywhere: red, pink, and white. At a rough guess, we planted in excess of 150 plants.white elfa on top level 27-8-13pink elfa - v close-up 27-8-13All over the slope in front of the terrace [below]. Some of these were transplanted when the builders constructed the terracing, and moved back in afterwards. oldest elfas on top terrace 27-8-13On the right-hand side of the orchard steps [below]. the original elfas at right of tennis steps - planted when 27-8-13

looking back up the tennis steps - when steps made 27-8-13In 2010, on a steep slope below the rockery path [below]. slope with young elfas below the rockery path 28-5-10In 2012 [below], we planted a new line along the left-hand side of the orchard steps… elfas at left of tennis steps - planted when 2012 27-8-13… and more on the bottom level, after we’d cleared the builder rubble after completion of the terracing. elfas planted on the bottom level by path in 2012 27-8-135 to remember
una campaña – a campaign
las escaleras – the steps
una línea – a line
la finalización – the completion
los escombros – rubble

11 thoughts on “The green campaign: elfas

  1. Wendy Kate

    I like the oleanders and have one growing in a big pot in our yard, a pink one. I found it as a small plant growing outside our backyard and rescued it before the council’s annual clear up – didn’t know the local name for them, now I do! 🙂 Although I have heard that they are pretty poisonous plants, the seeds and leaves? Not sure if this is true.


  2. vera ersilia

    I love oleanders! it is great to have planted a whole hillside of them. Yes, they are poisonous but we do not eat them in any salad, and I have never seen pets chew on them. Just keep small children from trying to chew on the leaves or twigs …


  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    Oleanders are beautiful and fragrant, are easy to grow, and make hardy hedges. But they are also deadly.
    Years ago, at a small neighborhood family farm, some local kids fed oleander leaves to the goats and sheep in the pen. Don’t know if the kids were trying to be friendly or knew the danger, but all the animals died.
    I’ve even heard that honey made from bees who feasted on oleander can kill you!
    Read the book White Oleander by Janet Fitch. It’s a novel, but you’ll learn lots about the deadly effects of this plant.
    And then be careful with your plants. Wear gloves when pruning and wash yourself thoroughly.



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