Sunday, July 27, 2014


blue love bird
Some fly by, some stay for a few minutes and some don't want to leave. This beautiful creature stayed long enough for me to get my camera and take a photo, before flying back next door.

baby swallows in nest

These babies were born here. Some years ago their nest was built over the door to the first floor flat and I thought it was cute. Since then it has been used each spring but this year swallows came back in July and are in no hurry to leave - not so cute because I have to clean the mess daily. You see, I also have human visitors who use the door below the nest all the time...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2014

Hello there and welcome! Mid-July feels even hotter than mid-June and blooms don't last very long in my Algarve garden, but here are some of my best.
red hibiscus
The red hibiscus has suddenly burst into colour. The blooms are a darker red than they appear in the photos and they are larger than last year. The yellow shrub is only starting to bloom now but should go on well into autumn.
yellow hibiscus bloom

My favourite lavender is enormous! A friend fell in love with it during a recent visit and will be getting one of its babies soon.
my favourite lavender

Below is the view from the other side. On the right you can see a little bit of that lavender, The two rose bushes that I had to move because they were getting overcrowded by the lavenders seem to have tolerated the move very well. There is still a bit of soil that I am watching closely. Will the gardener be right? Will the grass grow back? Did my smothering method of killing grass turn out to be successful? Time will tell...
where there was grass...

As you open the gate, it brushes against the overgrown lavender and you are greeted with its scent - lovely! If you look right, this is the view you get: lavenders, rosemary, the oleander, and against the wall the hibiscus, mock orange foliage, some white roses and the neighbour's creeper.
garden long view

I didn't think my lilies would open in time for this post, but they did.

Some of my roses are blooming again, others will be some time soon and this one is the best-looking one right now.
In this heat, my hardest job is giving the plants the amount of water they need to stay happy. 

Now I'm off to link to May Dreams Gardens, where Bloom Day began. How is your garden doing?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Not the Tour de France

Police sirens wailing, making our cars pull over, is a VIP going to the beach on a cloudy day?
No, it's a local cycling event! Our very own "tour".
Just time to pull out the camera and take a hurried photo of some of the cyclists.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Not quite in holiday mode

School has finally broken up for the summer holidays and I'm not working on a tight schedule any more - just writing reports, helping students who have exams and invigilating exams when necessary. Some days I can stay home all day but I'm finding it hard to catch up on the many tasks on my to-do list. Inertia has set in and I can lie on the sofa for hours napping. Whenever I feel guilty about not being productive, I remind myself that I need time to recover from the end of school year stress...

I welcome just about any excuse to put off the jobs that don't appeal to me. On Friday a friend who I hadn't seen in almost a year turned up at my gate, so we had a long chat, a few laughs and went for some retail therapy. Nothing got done, but I had a fun afternoon!

Border collie cross?
"Take Pandora to obedience classes" is one of the more pleasant tasks on my to-do list.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2014

Boy was it hot today (or should I say yesterday)!
It's past midnight and there is a heady scent in my cooler moonlit garden.

It's quite pleasant now but during the day there was a lot of wilting going on.
rose bed
This is the most colourful part of the garden at the moment, but the red roses on the left can't take this heat, even though I put up an umbrella over them. And my feathery lavender has died (it's a good thing I took some cuttings before its demise!).

potting up petunias
I love petunias, so I potted up 6 yesterday. Here you can see 2 of them. The problem is I have to keep moving them into the shade or this heat will destroy all my hard work!

I think the only flowers that are quite happy are the agapanthus. This is the first time I have some blue blooms from plants that I brought down from my parents' garden. The oleanders are starting to bloom, too, but some blooms look small and withered already.


One of these lavenders doesn't look too happy.

The other one was having a bee and butterfly love-in this morning.
Attracting wildlife

And behind this lavender is the new bed, almost ready for planting. I smothered the grass in autumn and waited, and waited, and grew impatient, and frustrated when the gardener said it wouldn't work. Finally, I removed the black plastic and some remaining cardboard this week. It didn't look too bad. Now I'm just waiting to see if grass will start growing again - I hope not. Only when I'm sure it's OK will I start planting here.

They say temperatures will drop 10 degrees Celsius in the coming week. I can't wait!

Soon I'll visit May Dreams Gardens, where Carole hosts Bloom Day and look around mainly cooler gardens in other regions. Why don't you join me?

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