Of course, the Algarve boasts colour year round, but April has the strongest punch of colour of any month. March was the first spring planting month, but if you did not get it all done, there is time to catch up in April. April can bring heavy rain interspersed with warm sunny days, speeding growth. Pests also benefit from the increased warmth, so one should pay attention to early control to avoid wreaking infestation later.
This month is a good time to plant most summer annuals and perennials, lawns from seeds, many vegetables, and most trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines. For tropical plants, however, it is better to wait until April or May as they will take off better when warmer.
After all the work required in January, it is nice to realise that February is more a time of waiting and patience. Some pruning can be done now, but wait for warmer weather before cutting back any frost-damaged branches.
The main tasks in the garden – pruning deciduous trees, pruning roses, bare-root planting – are projects which should be accomplished in January and not put off to February which will be too late.
December is a low-key month when it comes to work in the garden, particularly if you have already completed all the autumn tasks.
What an amazing day we had on Saturday, but, thank goodness we had sunshine - many of those attending remembered the deluges of 2012 at the same venue, so it was a great bonus to have good weather this year.
This was our first major event under the banner of our newly registered Portuguese association - The Mediterranean Gardening Association. The new group has fiscal and legal status and removes the concern of being challenged about our activities.
November is the time to finish off all the autumn projects, such as planting and clearing out. If the expected rains arrive, they will provide a bit of a natural clean-up but you should be prepared by having tidied up old beds.
Shrubs and young treesIf any are growing in the wrong places, from now through to January is the best time to relocate them.
A new practical guide to the Invasive Plants of Portugal has been published
There is still a lot of confusion, ignorance and just downright bad advice flying around about invasive plants but it is a subject well worth investigating, and it is fascinating to see how some plants have taken extravagant advantage of us humans and our urge to try new things from other countries in our gardens!