In my last post I told you of the sad death of my little ball of fluff - Destino. I do miss having her running about the place. Chris bought her for me last year as a present on our thirtieth wedding anniversary, so it was doubly sad that the day she died was actually our thirty-first anniversary. We did not celebrate in any way as it was also the day that Chico had his operation, so our thoughts were elsewhere, so today, as we sat out enjoying the sun, we decided to mark the day by buying an orange tree. You may think that is an odd choice as oranges are two a penny out here nearly all year round, but like apples, you just can't beat picking one off your own tree. We have a very sad looking lemon tree, which actually has quite a few flowers on it this year, and a tiny, baby mandarin tree which may, or may not, produce some fruit, but we wanted to have a mature orange tree, ready to bear fruit. So we went to the garden centre and chose a tree with a good sturdy trunk, four ripe oranges on it, and lots of blossom. Of course, being disturbed at this stage in its life, the blossom may all drop, but it should definitely fruit next season. We have no garden as such to plant it in, so we bought a huge container which needs at least three eighty litre bags of compost to fill it, so we have to make sure we chose the right spot to site it, because we won't be moving it once it is planted up. We put it in the tub and took these photos and then we ate one of the oranges each and they were lovely! So it will be a constant memory of little Destino, who would have loved to have her own tree to climb in the garden!
There is a small corner in the back patio where there used to be a mimosa tree. The previous owners cut it down because the pollen and falling flowers spoiled the pool, but they left a stump about a foot above ground. This is covered by a small stool and on that there is a little water feature, which just about works. The ground around is covered in large stones and the dogs have dug these up over and over again. It traps all the rubbish from the garden and generally just looks a bit unloved. So Chris had the bright idea of making it into a little garden. It is what we can see when we sit on the porch. Gradually most of our flowering tubs have been moved into the front yard because as puppies, the dogs just ate them, (the flowers that is), and they were getting ruined, so the whole patio is rather bare. Now the dogs are older and have finished teething, they no longer chew all the plants though they do dig in any flat ground that isn't paved. Anyway, the idea of a tiny garden greatly appealed to me and I sat down and planned what we could do with it. The garden centre was full of lovely plants and we chose some to give height at the back, one to hang from the wall above it, and some smaller ones for the front. I tried to get a mixture of some familiar ones such as a hydraenga and a fuchia, and some more exotic ones like this type of cactus, and the pretty purple bossom tree. I chose a diplodena in the hope that it will climb over the water feature that we decided to leave in the centre. The whole thing only measures about a meter square but it looks so nice. Chris put an edge of split logs around it to discourage the dogs from digging, and they will be in big trouble if they touch it. Here are the 'before' and 'after' pictures. I am sure you will agree that it is a great improvement.
I also chose a bowl of deep pink petunias to hide the cushion storage box behind the garden, and then I spotted this bright yellow/orange daisy, and I just had to have that as well. It is a succulent and only flowers when it is in the full sun. In the shade, the flowers close up. It is similar to these bright pink ones, and the tiny orange ones in with them. They are both cuttings that I took from the beach at El Calón when we left the flat to move here. The pink daisy grows everywhere, and you often see it covering large areas such as banks and walls. I love it and am so glad ours is flowering this year. Finally I have two small red plants that were surplus to requirements in the little garden. Both are common house plants at home; the kalenchoe will flower for ages and so will the other one. I had a yellow one like it on the windowsill at home and it was one of my most successful house plants. I don't know its proper name, but out here it is known as 'crown of thorns'. When we have bought some more compost and planted the tree properly, they can go underneath it.
And finally an update on Chico. He is an amazing animal. The day after surgery he was up and walking around, and now he hops around after us as though born to it. He doesn't seem to need his painkillers though I do make sure he takes the antibiotics so he doesn't get an infection in the wound. Here he is lying out on the porch with us. We try to keep him in the shade as I think his shaved area would sun-burn quite easily. As you can see it is a big wound and he is a bit multicoloured. The orange is similar to iodine and the blue is to deter the flies, though he has licked some of that off. He has been very good at leaving it alone but we do put the big collar on him whenever he is alone. It has a thick wool ribbing around the neck which makes him very hot so we don't make him wear it whenever we are with him. The vet told us that the operation took four hours and the last hour was all the stitching up. He has thirty four external stitches and lots of internal ones. Anyway, he is managing brilliantly with only three legs, and sometimes when you see him, you would hardy notice. Of course he will look a lot better when the stitches are out, and his fur has grown over the scar, but we are proud of the way he is coping, and now we are sure it was the best option for him, under the circumstances.