It is once again time to highlight some 'Happy moments' from the past week, and what better way to start than with a 30+ year old photo, taken when little Ben was just a couple of days old. Fortunately his big brothers all look quite happy about his arrival!
And now here they are 'all grown up' along with hubby and I.
As one might expect, they have all followed different paths through life, but I am proud of the men they have become, and love them all to bits. And it was a joy to have video calls and messages from them for Mothering Sunday.
It has been a quiet but fairly productive week, and much of it was spent getting the garden ready for a new season. We set off on Monday for a big garden centre in Mojacar, and came home with the car boot filled with plants. I can't do too much at a time, so each day I tackled another bit and now we have a lovely pot of osteospermums to add immediate colour. They close up and go to sleep at night, but by day they look lovely, and they have quite a long flowering season.
When we moved in we inherited some lovely plants in tubs in the front garden, and among them was a standard gardenia. Sadly it was one of my failures and it died. This year we have also got rid of an old oleander that was past its best, so I have now replaced it with a new gardenia.
It is covered in buds, and the one flower that is open, smells heavenly.
Other plants in the front tubs are doing quite well without too much help from me. Look at all the flower buds on my little mandarin tree. It was new last year and only had two fruit on it, but I am hopeful for more this year, even if the winds do blow most of the blossom away! It is a rather weedy little tree, but I have cut the thinnest branches off, and I'm hoping it will get stronger with time.
You may remember I got excited last year when my Elephant foot palm had a flower for the first time. After watching it develop from a tight bud over several weeks, I was a bit disappointed by the rather nondescript flower. However, when the flower died, a new rosette of tiny leaves grew from the same leaf, and that is now a big head of leaves,and this week we have noticed it is again about to flower. A second head of leaves also grew from lower down, but that one isn't flowering. So now I am watching again to see how it grows. Unfortunately, our cats, especially Paco, have decided the trunk is a good place to sharpen their claws, so the bark has gone, but apart from its looks, it doesn't seem to have harmed the plant.
Those sweet little tiny daffodils I had in a pot, sadly only lasted a about a week, as we had some very warm days. So I cut off the dead heads and left the leaves to die off and 'feed' the bulbs, just in case they survive until next year. I have tried this before, but the summer is too hot for them and they dry out and just disintegrate. So I was really surprised to find this in one of my tubs. I didn't have any last year, so it is one from two years ago, that has managed to push through again this year, and give me a delightful surprise.
Next I turned my attention to the side yard, and more specifically to my tiny water garden in the corner of the fly-free area. This had been neglected all winter, and was looking rather sad. Now I have replaced the hydrangea with a new shrub. I don't know its name but it is smothered in buds, and has a small pink flower, and dark green leaves.
On and around the water feature there are some pretty pink and white verbena, a pink petunia, one more osteospermum, and two different ivy plants, and on top I have replaced the pot-bound fern with a tradescantia (spider plant). So it is looking a lot better now.
We have had a fair bit of rain again this week, gentle enough to do the plants some good, and settle them in without washing all the soil out of the pots. But it is still cold enough in the evenings to settle down in front of the TV, though there have been some nights when we haven't needed to light the fire. But that has given me time to crack on with my new crochet project, and by Wednesday I had completed part 2, and had to wait until today for part 3 to be published. I have just downloaded it now, so I am raring to go again. I am loving the pattern which is called Arizona Blanket and is based on a Navajo design. This is what it is like so far.
It started with the pattern for eight squares which were then joined together, and they run down the centre of the blanket. So now I am working in long rows on either side of the squares. I actually decided to use nine squares, so my rows are even longer, and it is too long to lay along the settee for a photo. It looks rather wavy so far, but I am confident a lot of that will sort itself out as I go along.
The pattern is in eight parts altogether, so maybe when I have finished part 4 I will show you again.