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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May 2015

It's a very hot May in my part of the world.
view from the gate
Hi, there! Come in, come in!
As you come through the gate, you are greeted by scent and blooms today.
 A few steps further in... I like the colour combination which I have to confess I didn't plan. This is the bed I created after removing some grass. The geraniums (or are these pelargoniums?) are from cuttings I just plonked in empty spaces to take root. The red roses were a gift and I had nowhere else to put them. Now these plants all look great together, don't they? It's getting a bit overcrowded, though, so changes need to be made. However, I can't bear to go in right now for fear of spoiling the effect.

Scented lilies
Nearer the house, the lilies are in bloom, all at once! They won't last long in the heat, which is a pity. 

And then we have the roses...

Although I am gradually trying to reduce the amount of water required to keep my garden happy by introducing plants that do well in the long, dry summer, I cannot see myself giving up my roses.

May has to be one of my favourite months of the year in the garden. It's when suddenly everything seems to come together and there is an explosion of colour everywhere.

Now why don't you join me as I travel to May Dream's Gardens, where garden bloggers meet and share their gardens.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day -March/April 2015

Last month was the first time I didn't post about my garden since I began participating in this meme. And I just couldn't leave it at that. Since I did actually take photos on the 15th of March, I have decided to show them off now, together with today's photos.

Both months have been good for orchids, although the one with yellow flowers suffered a lot of rain damage.

This is currently in a vase on my kitchen table.
At the beginning of March it felt like spring but since then we've had rain, cold, wind, almost-summer heat, more rain, cold, wind... the seasons seem confused. As a result, the rose bushes have only recently been pruned and my favourite red rose bush has died! Fortunately, a neighbour has a similar one, so my plan is to get some cuttings from him soon.
The rosemary and lavenders are still looking spectacular.
The jasmine was very late. It usually flowers around my birthday but this time we were well into March when its scent began competing with the orange blossom. Friends spent Easter here and that's when the scent was at its most powerful.

Having recently visited a very pretty, sustainable garden (which I hope to write about soon), I am planning to make some changes so that I don't have to use as much water as I do in the summer.
I'm thinking of removing more grass, putting in flowering ground covers, a quince bush (for fruit and a bit more shade), geraniums and other plants that don't require a lot of water.
 Meanwhile, I need to do some weeding.

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to link to May Dreams Gardens, where GGBD begins every 15th of the month.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Murphy's Law?

 Warning! This is a rant. I'll forgive you if you don't read the rest of this post. 
Bad dog
Stress out mama by biting the smallest? Me?
I think this phase began in early January.
The car lets me down in an underground car park at the shopping centre, spilling diesel.
It's an inconvenience, but it's quickly towed  and fixed.

Headaches during the long Carnival weekend put paid to any outings or gardening.

The car lets me down on the way to lunch with a friend.
It's towed and fixed, taking more than a month's salary! Yikes! My insurance gets me a replacement car.

The builder finally finishes the new roof on the back patio. Took him 2 months! He might have to wait another 2 until I have enough money to pay him...

I discover my blood pressure is high. I feel exhausted and headachy all the time.

The car lets me down, again. That doesn't help my blood pressure, plus I get a bad cough from standing in the sun waiting for the tow truck.
I miss 2 lessons and go home to take a sedative. 
An hour later they tell me the car is "fixed".
I drive out for the last lesson of the same day and guess what? When I try to drive home, it won't start! I call the mechanic, he comes out, fiddles around a bit, takes me home and then gets the car to the garage. Next day he tells me the car is fixed. I don't really believe him. I'm scared to drive it away. I tell him to test it for another day while I go on strike.

At the weekend, I don't take the dogs to dog school because I'm scared the car will break down in the sticks.

I can't get enough sleep because my coughing keeps me awake.

My big dog bites my small dog, again! I also get a tiny hole in my arm separating them. Both bites seem to be heeling.

It's time to do my Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post, I take some pictures of my neglected garden, but cannot write the post.

I have tons of work to do and the boss (Ministry of Education) decides I need 2 days of training plus a placement test (Yes, I have to do a placement test!) to give the students the PET test. I feel insulted! Along with all my colleagues who have to do this.

I will have to give up my free day (free to keep up with school paperwork, that is) plus a day of lessons in which I had important things to do with the students to go to this training session. Oh, and I need to take earphones for my listening test! But I'm allergic to earphones!

April and May will be great fun, running around to other schools when the kids have to do the oral part of the exam and then correcting their written tests. What fun! I'll get to meet so many different colleagues and students! I wonder if my car will get me around the Algarve. All this while teaching my own classes and keeping up with my paperwork. Oh, and we don't get paid for the extra hours we'll be putting in.

I sure hope this phase ends soon!

The car has worked OK for 3 days now. I don't know if this will continue.

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