Saturday, August 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2015

Today I have just one bloom for you as my hibiscus is just about the only plant that is taking the heat (35ºC) gracefully and producing flowers.

Join me again next month and, in the meantime, hop over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol hosts Bloom Day. There I'm sure you'll find gardens that you will love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2015

Two words for July: heat and snake! It's very hot and I actually saw a snake less than a metre from me. Yikes! 
For a few weeks now temperatures have been rising above 35ºC mid-afternoon. It's simply too hot to venture out of the air-conditioned house between ten in the morning and eight in the evening. Sadly, this means I have neglected my garden. And having a snake around hasn't helped matters.

Mr. Ladder Snake, I believe?
It may seem weird that someone who lived in Africa for seventeen years never encountered a snake there, but it is the truth. I remember my mother telling me about the snakes she had seen around the yard but nothing similar ever happened to me, thank goodness! You see - I am a wuss; I'm petrified of snakes. 

There are no really dangerous Portuguese snakes but I go to pieces just at the thought that there was a ladder snake on my compost bin. I got Miguel, the friendly gardener, to come in and demolish the potato vine and jasmine because it was getting too dense and large and I had this vision of an imaginary snake hiding in its expanse and dropping down on me as I walked by. You see how my irrational fear creates worst case scenarios? Well, Miguel laughed as he removed the innocent potato vine, poked at the compost bin and tried to convince me that the snake was long gone. Heck, a kind snake would have left the premises in front of my eyes to make me feel better.

Now, back to the blooms. The oleander is looking superb.

The neighbour's creeper is adding colour and height to my border.

There are some lilies.
And there is always some action around my lavender.

Some roses would be nice - maybe next month. I'm looking forward to a cooler, calmer August. 

Now, I'm off to link up to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Bloom Day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some dogs have all the luck!

 Some dogs get all the breaks...
Meet Clarinha, Pantera and Ruby
These adorable doggies live with a lovely family near Faro and they even have their own place - traditional Algarve style of course - complete with an Algarve chimney.

Clarinha, relaxing in style
Each room has been tastefully furnished and decorated with wall-to-wall shaggy carpet and comfortable cushions!

I've never seen anything quite like this before, have you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2015

It finally rained yesterday.
Mara's garden
Isn't green a beautiful colour? I have chosen what to photograph very carefully but I don't really want to deceive you into thinking everything in my garden is wonderful.  

Hibiscus, oleander and santolina
You see, it is suffering the consequences of some rash/uninformed choices that I have made. For example, in the photo above, to the left of the poorly-looking santolina and even behind the hibiscus lurk invasive mirabilis jalapa. After going to so much trouble to get some last year and enjoying the colours and perfume in the autumn, I now have the horrible task of trying to get rid of the few original plants plus all the little babies they have produced. If only my neighbour had told me how hard it was to get rid of last autumn!
Busy rosebed
Another problem is that the rose bed has too many plants, including an invasive mint but where are the roses? I haven't had time to do any dead-heading, so no blooms.
The lavenders have been a talking point for ages but all good things come to an end, too. Some of the middle branches have died, which means I will have to remove this damaged lavender soon.

bougainvillea close-up
Looking on the bright side, the bougainvillea looks pretty.
blue and white agapanthus blooms
The agapanthus are blooming.
yellow yarrow
And here is my favourite plant for this bloom day - I believe it's yarrow Tansy (Thank you, pmbGarden). Last year it looked a bit puny but now it seems right at home. I have planted some more by the front wall but you can't really see them. I love the scented foliage, but now I've read that it's invasive. Oh dear!

Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day. Visit her blog to find beautiful June blooms.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Isn't it ironic?

Only a few weeks ago I had my Year 11 students read a text that began with the comment: "She's/he's very talented, just not very good at dealing with co-workers". Later, they had to write a composition giving advice on how to deal with difficult classmates or co-workers. It resulted in the best batch of compositions I got all year.

Unfortunately, dealing with unhelpful or downright mean colleagues or being labelled "difficult" myself when I try not to take their crap lying down is something I have experienced more frequently than is acceptable during the past 20 years in the teaching profession.

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