Saturday, June 25, 2011

Looking both ways!

I am feeling quite impressed with both Chris and myself this week. With Chris because, having recently changed from England to Spain to pay taxes, he needed to fill out a tax return for last year and managed to do it all online. Ploughing through Spanish paperwork can be a minefield, but he did it and had a suitably impressive set of papers to take to the tax office in Huercal Overa for checking. I then impressed myself by conversing in Spanish with the assistant there, so we came away with everything Chris had prepared, stamped and approved, and with the relevant official paper to then pay it at the bank.

So yesterday we went down to the playa at Mojacar, where our bank is, and paid the bill, so that's it for another year. Then we decided to have a walk along the sea front. It was very warm and sunny though a bit breezy, and Chris was bemoaning the fact that he was in long trousers and shoes (as befits a business visit to the bank), instead of his usual shorts and sandals. So we didn't go down on the sand, but we drove around the bay a bit to a place where there is a nice promenade to walk on, and the sea was beautiful. It was all shades of turquoise with lots of white breakers where the breeze was catching the cross currents. We stopped for a drink after our walk and as we left the cafe I looked along an almost deserted beach and took this picture. Then I turned round to the hills behind me and took this one! 'It was definitely raining on them there mountains!' I couldn't believe how black the sky was and we had been completly unaware of it. Fortunately the wind must have blown the clouds inland, because it remained a beautiful day for us, and we spent the afternoon doing a gentle bit of gardening and then swimming in the pool.

I have been getting up early some days to water all our plant pots before the full heat of the sun is on them (ideally it should be done in the evening but I get attacked by all the bugs then so I prefer to do it in the morning), and it has paid off because it is all looking very nice now. This week the stephanotis is in full flower and it smells gorgeous as you walk past it. It is overhung by a very pretty double pink orleander and they look so good together.

In the front garden the lantana has almost won its race to take over the whole patch, but it is so beautiful with its flowers that change from deep red, to bright orange and then a strong sunshine yellow, that I don't really mind it being poisonous and rather invasive. It will have to be cut back hard sometime, but now it is full of flowers again, it will probably stay until the autumn. Just on the edge of that patch we have a little self-seeded fig tree. Chris wants it left where it is, but I think we will have to move it when it gets a bit bigger, but I am happy to have it all the same.

Also out the front, but in pots, we have our hibiscus. We bought the lovely yellow one last year and it flowered really well, but by the end of the season the flowers were a pale orange/red instead of yellow. But I am pleased to say it is back on form this year. Then we have the more traditional red one, which is a rather old and spindley plant, but I think it is still my favourite. I wonder which one you like the best?

You may remember that on our wedding anniversary last year we bought an orange tree, and a huge stone pot to plant it in. We were a bit sad when all the flowers and baby fruit dropped off it, but it obviously didn't like being moved, and this year it flowered well and has about a dozen fruit on. It had hundreds which mostly fell a month or so ago, a bit like the 'June drop' of apples in UK, but the ones that have stayed are growing well and we are hopeful that we will have a few of our own fruit to pick for the first time this year.

In the back yard we had a cactus/succulent plant that was here when we arrived and it had developed from one into three crowns and was very pot-bound. The dogs managed to knock it over and break it's pot so for ages I have been meaning to sort it out. So yesterday I got Chris to take a hammer to it so the pot was completely broken and I could get the plant out. I cut it into its three separate crowns, and planted one in a new pot. The other two I put in opposing corners of our tiny square garden to discourage the dogs from digging in the only patch of soil we have. I planted a tiny cutting of honeysuckle there to train up the pump house eventually, but it wasn't growing because it was constantly being dug up! Now it has a cactus standing guard over it so maybe it will start to put out shoots.

In another pot we have a small palm tree that almost died. It went brown and we thought we had lost it. I felt it had also outgrown its pot so we bought a bigger one and I transplanted it, but it still looked very sad. But just lately it has picked up and produced several new green fronds. And this week it has flowered. I wasn't expecting that! So hopefully it has settled into its new home and will thrive again. It is not easy to tend as it has vicious thorns on it as has the cactus, but they are actually quite valuable plants. I was amazed when I saw the price of some of them in the garden centre, so it is worth a few scratches to give them a bit of TLC.

Today I am wishing I was a fly on the wall at the vicarage in Wolverhampton. All my boys are there to celebrate Jim's 40th birthday (tomorrow). Still, they are bemoaning the fact that rain is trying to spoil their barbeque, and I am in a sundress, just thinking about another dip in the pool, so maybe I am in the better place after all! Happy Birthday son. I can't believe it's been forty years!!


  1. Your plants are all looking good. I have to say I think I like the yellow hibiscus just a bit more than the red one. Jean x

  2. Hi Kate,

    I like the yellow one best.

    We had a great day yesterday with all the Perry brothers, despite the weather. You were missed and were here in spirit, i'm sure. x x


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