Sunday, April 28, 2013

What a difference a week makes!

Here we were thinking we had skipped spring! 

downtown Albufeira
Sunday lunchtime, downtown Albufeira
Last Sunday it was so hot that I was attracted to all the summer dresses on sale along these downtown Albufeira streets. I also had a long list of must-do tasks in the garden, which were so urgent I didn't go to the beach.

On Thursday it was a public holiday here and suddenly I had the urge to have an ice-cream and coffee by the sea. It was so hot I decided to stay inside the beach café where it was cooler than on the café's veranda. Lots of people were sunbathing or playing in the calm blue sea.
Armacao de Pera beach
Enjoying the view

When it was announced that temperatures would be dropping by ten degrees Celcius, I thought "nah, it'll never happen here in the Algarve"!

Well, I was wrong. Yesterday afternoon, there we were in Lagos, wearing windbreakers and scarves and shivering in a relentless, freezing wind.
Lagos, Algarve
Lagos, Algarve (Portimao in the distance)
The cold was just bearable in the square in front of the Santa Maria Church, where there were loads of stalls to visit and entertainers on a small stage.

Santa Maria Church, Lagos
Festival dos Descobrimentos - lots to see, eat, drink, buy...

Today it is just as cold. When we went to the Lagoa car boot sale (which I highly recommend, on the 4th Sunday of every month), I even put on my woolly hat! 

Gardening tasks have been put on hold. Even my dogs don't want to be outside. It feels like winter again. What a difference a week makes!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day

Tomorrow we commemorate Earth Day but do we do enough on all the other days of the year?

In a very tiny way, I try to do my bit by reducing waste wherever possible, re-using some things and recycling others. Recently I've been reducing the already small piece of lawn in my garden, planting drought-resistant plants and using water wisely.

We all need to realise that climate change is a reality. The Algarve is no exception - we've had a tornado, cliffs along our coast are disintegrating under strong winds, rain and tides, and spring is arriving later and later every year and turning too quickly into summer.

Alentejo fields under water

This is a picture of fields in the Alentejo, flooded like I had never seen them in 8 years of travelling between the Algarve and Aveiro.

Are you doing anything special for Earth Day?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2013

Spring got lost in the wind and the rain this year but finally arrived around Easter. I was away in the north of Portugal for a grey, cold and wet week. When I came back on Easter Monday, I was greeted by some signs of spring, like the white roses and the orchids.
The jasmine is going strong, entwined with the potato vine.

From the north I brought a neglected Clivia. When I decided to divide it I discovered there was hardly any earth left in the vase but there were a few baby Clivias amidst the roots. I gave this vase to the kind neighbour who waters my garden when I'm away. Next year I hope to have Clivia blooms in my own garden. 

On Friday I took some photos of the most recent blooms. There are some irises:

The pink geranium has started blooming.

There are some more roses.

At the back, the lemon bush is full of blossom but the mealie bug has invaded it. Help!

And my reliable bush never stops flowering, even through the cold, wet weather.

To conclude, let me tell you that I have started removing some of the lawn to make space for more roses. I also visited a garden center. They didn't have what I was looking for and I resisted the temptation to buy something else. Now, is that good or bad?

Soon I'll be off to May Dream Gardens to visit other April blooms. Come and join us.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cee's Fun Foto challenge: Textures

Aloe in flower
Prickly Aloe in flower
Hills around Silves
Flaky - from the hills around Silves

Algoz clay extraction area
Exposed layers - after clay extraction, Algoz
Galé Beach
Rocks at Galé Beach

Albufeira cliffs
Cliffs at Albufeira Beach

Dried fruit stall, Castro Marim medieval fair
Dried fruit stall at the Castro Marim Medieval fair

For other textures, pop over to Cee's photo blog.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

F is for Flame Lily

Flame Lily
Gloriosa superba
Photograph kindly provided by the author of Zimbabwe Absurdity

The beautiful and delicate Flame Lily is the national flower of Zimbabwe. I remember finding one growing in the wild and wanting to dig it up and plant it in our garden - I resisted the urge however because it was (and still is) a protected plant.

Isn't it superb?

Thursday, April 4, 2013


From the very elaborate...

Melgaço Spa building
Taking the waters at the Melgaço Spa - glass and wrought iron entrance

Arouca monastery gate
Arouca Monastery - elegant entrance to a courtyard

Alcobaça Monastery
Alcobaça Monastery - grand main entrance

 ... to the very simple...

Fort at Armação de Pera, Algarve
Entrance - archway to the fort at Armação de Pera, Algarve
Although I had made plans to take many photos at various locations during this year's Easter break, it rained and rained and then rained some more so my camera stayed in its case most of the time.

When I read Jake's suggestion of "Entrance" as the theme for the latest Sunday Post, I thought of all the entrances I would have loved to share with you but, alas, I don't have photos of most of them. Maybe next time..

Right now you can visit Jake's to find many other takes on the theme.

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