Newbies need help! Garden rehabilitation

UndomieAugust 20, 2014

Hello! We are Claudia and Ferran, we have just moved to a house with garden at Barcelona's outsides (Mediterranean climate). Now it is all full of weeds and awkward mosquitos. We want to rehabilitate it step by step. We have a low budget but we are highly motivated.
We have started with a zone of the garden, at the back of the house, which has about 5 hours of direct sunlight (on summer).

For now, we have planted a combination of white chrysanthemum, white margarites and cineraria. In another zone we have planted lavandula.

We are so newbies in gardening world and we'd really appreciate your opinion and advices.

The zone where the magnolia is planted (about 10 m2) is giving us some trouble. We have thought about cleaning it and to create an ivy blanket. Do you think this is a good idea? Can the ivy damage the magnolia? How can we clean all the weeds without damaging the magnolia? Can we use boiling water or vinager to kill the weeds?
We would also like to know how to revive the magnolia. As you can see in the photo it is a bit weak.

Then there is the wall. It is low, and we would like to have some privacy and security. We have thought about installing a lattice or a fence and again go for climbing ivys to create a green wall. What do you think about it? How would you do it?

Thank you so much in advance. Any idea or comment is welcome!

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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I have been to Barcelona and really like the climate.

Some random observations: don't use the boiling water thing unless you want everything dead. I use it on weeds in the cracks of the driveway pavement and along the wood-chipped path where the grass encroaches. And that is all! I don't want to risk killing something that is in the yard that I want to keep.

Some people advocate using fire to eliminate bothersome plants. However, that takes care of the above soil portion only. Your best bet is to be on your hands and knees and dig.

Ivy that loves where it is can often destroy whatever is in its path. That includes trees, walls, houses. It looks nice and you don't have to do much to take care of it. But it can be (not always) aggressive.

I don't know much about the way things are in Spain; but, if you have a quality university in the area that has something to do with agriculture, then ask them for advice. In the USA, most state operated universities have a service that provides information and referrals. Also, ask your neighbors about what they have done or are considering doing.

Best of luck,


    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:28PM
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I hand weed and then put down a layer of corrugated cardboard and then a couple of inches deep of bark mulch around shrubs and small trees. Keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk, not right against it. Ivy would not be a good idea.

Ask on the trees and/or shrubs forum about care for your magnolia. It might need more consistent water or fertilizer, and they can help. Jim's idea of asking locally is a good one - is there a local botanical garden you could ask at?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:42PM
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amanda_m(z7 MD)

I would get under the tree and weed like crazy, then put down thick layers of wet newspaper and cardboard, and cover that with thick layers of mulch or chopped leaves.
I hate ivy, it is a pestilential weed where I live.
Talk to your neighbors about what grows well. Maybe they would even share plants with you in the spring.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2015 at 9:46PM
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