Saturday, October 18, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2014

Welcome again to my Algarve garden!

This year the autumn rain came early and temperatures dropped but not enough to stop the grass growing. As a result, my garden looks a bit out of control. 
edge of rose garden
The roses are straggly but in this end of the bed the colour combination pleases me. It wasn't something that I planned but I like it.

lavenders and red roses
At least one lavender needs cutting back.

My bougainvillea is looking quite sad.

autumn rose
You can still find a rose bloom here...
white rose
... and here.

flowers along the wall
There are also some iceberg roses by the side wall over there.

I took the photos on the 16th because work and rain got in the way on Bloom Day. Today I cut the grass so now the garden looks a bit tidier. Next, I need to plant bulbs!

For more October blooms, visit May Dreams Gardens. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are you blowing your whistle at me?!

There I was, calmly driving to school on Friday morning. 

I was in good time so when I saw police cars at the roundabout I wasn't particularly worried. I've had to stop dozens of times to show my documents and have the car inspected. I usually have everything in order.

There were two police cars on the left and two on the right. One poor driver had been pulled over on the right and was out of his car (never a good sign), probably paying a fine for something. The policeman with him was busy, so I thought I was safe. I turned my attention to getting the new way of navigating a roundabout done properly and was half way through that when I heard police whistles blowing furiously and the policemen on the left pointing menacingly ... at me? I couldn't believe my eyes!

I managed to pull over already out of the roundabout, my nerves shattered. When a policeman reached me, I kept repeating "What did I do wrong?" He said I didn't stop promptly enough. Heck! I wasn't expecting the ones on the left to even think of pulling me over. They were on the other side. To be safe, they should have been only stopping cars going in the opposite direction, for heaven's sake!

So I showed my documents, saying I was going to miss my first class of the day. The policeman smiled. He thought I was pretending to be a teacher!  Then he inspected the car and looked over at his whistle-mad colleagues. I wondered what exactly they were going to fine me for. I had pulled over safely albeit too slowly for them, they weren't complaining about my navigation of a roundabout (even though I don't think I've quite got the hang of it), so what was it going to be?

Oops! My windshield had a crack - a very small crack - a crack that is almost as old as the car - a crack that has never been a problem before! 

I was let off with a warning: they were going to be at that roundabout for several days and if I was stopped again, a fine it would be. I drove off in a daze, still unsure if a fine wouldn't find its way into my mailbox. 

My car has now got a new windscreen but I can't get that treated-almost-like-a-criminal scene out of my head. Is it any surprise that people don't like the traffic police here?

Mind you, I have seen worse - an adult student of mine once overtook me and the road-hogging police car in front of me only to be treated to a siren-screaming car chase into a sleepy Algarve town!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2014

As I was leaving school this afternoon, someone joked about not needing to travel to the Tropics to experience tropical weather and she was spot on. It was hot and sultry. The tarmac had that smell that comes after a summer downpour. It took me back to Africa instantly.

The weather today made it a bit difficult for me to get the photos the way I wanted them. It was too grey before I left for school and not light enough when I remembered I hadn't got the shots I wanted yet.

Anyway, welcome to my Algarve garden again. I've dead-headed the roses, so no flowers from them at this time. The lavenders are still doing well. They get the attention of neighbours and passers-by.
View from the drive

This is how the far end of the garden looked when I got back from holiday a few weeks ago. It was getting a bit too carried away so I had to do some pruning before the mock rose bush turned into a tree.
Far end of the garden
The pink oleander flowered profusely this summer but is tired now, so it's up to the red one, which blooms later.
red oleander blooms
 These flowers are new to my garden.
New additions

The yellow and red hibiscus are in flower but insects have damaged the blooms so  I only have one good flower to show you today.

Then there are the Mirabilis jalapa or four o'clocks. I wanted some with yellow blooms, stole some plants from a hedge somewhere but ended up with purple and white blooms instead. My neighbour has some that present different coloured blooms on the same plant (apparently that's not uncommon). I'm not complaining. Next year I want to have more by the front wall, too, where they can release their scent to the garden and the street.

To scent the garden in the evening I also have this!
Dama da noite

The Belladonna lilies are no longer looking so fresh. This photo is also from when I returned from holiday.
Belladonna lilies

And that's it, folks. Don't forget to visit May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Bloom Day and where you'll find links to beautiful gardens all over the world.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2014

Today I cannot give you an update on my Algarve garden because I'm spending a few days in the north of Portugal, where I used to live. Hopefully my very helpful neighbour has been keeping my garden watered and I will have blooms to photograph when I get back.

In the meantime, here are some of the blooms in my old garden.
I have tried to take some of these south but they got lost somehow. I'll try again.

In the north we managed to multiply this hydrangea many times without any problems but my two attempts at moving fully-rooted plants south have failed. I'm not giving up yet!

Given enough space, this bougainvillea could be a tree like the one we had in Salisbury, many years ago.

Bottle brush
The unusually wet weather this spring and summer has been good to my bottle brush, which is in a very dry and windy part of the garden.

These blooms are not fully open, because they are getting too much shade. The plants I took south were looking much prettier last week but, oops, I was too busy to take photos. 

I have to downsize so this house and garden will become just a memory soon.

I hope you will visit again in a couple of weeks when I post again from the Algarve.

Meanwhile, why not pop over to May Dreams Gardens, where Bloom Day is hosted every month.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Botox with a sting

... About 5 hours later I looked in the mirror. There was no pain and the dark circle under my left eye had disappeared. Hmmm... interesting. This looked like I had had a botox jab and someone had forgotten to do both sides of my face. I decided against putting in my contacts and tried my glasses. Great! The lack of symmetry was hardly noticeable.

Five hours before, I had been training my dogs to stay close to my heels and had walked through the garden and under the orange tree. Suddenly, something was crawling over my face! I tried to brush it away, losing my hat in the process. The little beast got behind my glasses and I yelped in pain. Then it was all over and I realised I had been stung on my left eye-lid! I don't think it was a bee because there was no stinger left behind. I got an ice-cube on it and surveyed my face in the mirror. The pain was bad but fortunately I'm not allergic! There was some swelling and then a little numbness but no real harm done. On the plus side, I got to see what botox might do around my eyes.

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