Winter wonderlands

When it comes to nature, spring gets all the publicity in Ibiza, with its fragrant wildflowers and plethora of green that spread across the island like prom queens swaying in the warm breeze. Flashy yellows, reds and purples fill up gardens, butterflies linger, bees get busy and songbirds fill the skies. Spring is lovely, there is no doubt, but there is beauty to behold during the chillier months too. Winter, especially in Ibiza, is just as beautiful as spring, if you know how and where to look.

Sunrise is no longer a gift enjoyed by early risers (or those late to bed). With the clocks changing, the sun arrives at a very respectable hour allowing for a moment of pure peace across the gardens of Ibiza. Perfect for taking your coffee to the window to gaze out to the changing colours. Greens are dusted with dew and in the depths of winter with frost. Birds flit between bushes looking for early morning treats. The sky rises in blues and pinks across the fields. All is well with the world.

Due to Ibiza’s mild winters, gardens can still be fully enjoyed on those special days where the air is chilly but the sun is still strong. Setting a chair amongst the trees with a hot drink and a face turned towards the warming rays is good medicine. And an afternoon spent with hardy scissors, zip ties and a good handful of solar-powered fairy lights will mean that as night falls your garden continues to contribute to your mood.

Whether you tend to your own garden or hire a professional, there is some prep required to ensure your garden not only survives the winter but continues to thrive and bring you joy. A good clean up helps to prevent clumps of damp leaves from attracting disease, laying down fresh mulch will keep your soil healthy and protect dormant perennials from fluctuating temperatures. While things are stripped bare, it’s a great time of year to take an objective look at your garden. With everything pared back, you can check out the structural bones of the space and see if there is room for improvement. How are the retaining walls? The flower beds? The paving stones? Is there anything that can be repaired or replaced through winter to ensure a fruitful and aesthetically pleasing spring? A garden in winter is a place full of possibilities.

Unlike northern Europe, where winter gardens are dowsed with monochromatic snow, Ibiza winter gardens still retain a lot of colour. One of the most dramatic changes in foliage comes from the pomegranate tree. Not only does this beauty produce the most exquisite fruit when the weather turns cold – its leaves turn into a bright brassy yellow before shedding. Every so often one will appear popping out amongst a sea of pine like a bright smile. Wild grasses provide movement and texture as well as flashes of silver and gold. Christmas rose is similar in shape to the native rock rose and flowers right through until February. Pansies can manage the chill and add some regal purple to the colour scheme. Winter aconites bring a cheerful vivid yellow to drab winter gardens. Snowdrops, cyclamen, winter heather and clematis all manage to bring a good dose of colour until late February when Ibiza’s almond trees take centre stage.

The almond blossoms drift like snowflakes across the island and in certain areas, hundreds of mature trees stand in proud rows dripping in sweet, delicate white flowers. It’s a magical vision that arrives just as our patience for winter is waning. A small reminder of how beautiful life can be, and that winter is a time of wonder. There’s something about gardens in the winter that provoke a childlike outlook. It seems totally plausible that gnomes and fairies and hedgehogs in tweed suits are taking tea in the hollows and that soon enough a magical Queen will glide through in a carriage made of ice crystals. Imagination, after all, has no age…