An explanation of the title of this blog...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Too big for its boots

Since this orchid was moved out to the snug, it has gone from strength to strength. Its aerial roots have infiltrated the space between the inner and outer pots, they have grown down the outside of the outer pot and circled around the drip tray, and a few stray roots are making their way up under the window ledge. As you can see, this year there are three flower spikes. I haven't bothered to count the individual flowers, and a dozen or so have already dropped off, but last year there were 29 flowers on the single spike, and they lasted from June through to August.

Edit: Yesterday I uploaded a crop of this picture using Picasa. For some reason, it has flown off into cyberspace, so here is the original un-cropped picture uploaded the conventional way. Thanks for letting me know, Eve. I have now counted the flowers. There are 49, not counting uncoloured buds, or the dozen or so that have already fallen off.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More blue and a little lemon

My tulips have failed this year. A few impoverished leaves, and no sign of a flower stem. I'm blaming Ivan the Bulgarian and his need to tidy away straggling leaves before they have finished their work of replenishing the bulbs. He won't be satisfied until the garden is a bare earth and gravel waste that he can control with herbicide and a pair of secateurs. The yellow Jasmine has no flowers, and the Bottle Brush has no brushes, thanks to his trimming at the wrong time. Enough of the griping; What do we have? We have this:

I can't remember what it's called, it lost its label years ago. The flowers open a saturated purple, then fade through blue to purest white. it sits in a pot on the other side of the blue door from the Clematis.

Some of the largest plants in the garden are the sage bushes. On average they are two metres in diameter, and at the moment are densely covered in the pinky-purple spikes that the bees love. I like to deadhead these bushes with the secateurs, cutting each stem back to a leaf joint, and taking out old wood. The lavender on the other hand, responds well to a haircut with electric hedge clippers, just after the flowers have gone over, and soon sends up a new flush of flower spikes from its neatly trimmed dome.

Here's the lemon from the title; the first of the lilies has opened. I have tried growing these in the open garden, but they don't like it. They are happy in their spot at the back of the house, where they catch the early morning sun, but spend most of the day in the shade. They grow in an odd assortment of pots. Most of them are ugly black plastic garden centre tubs rescued from skips, but there is the odd terracotta or ceramic container, and their drip trays are mostly round aluminium pie dishes from the Euro shop.
Just in case you were expecting to see lemons, I shan't disappoint you. Here on the right are a couple of this year's fruit, and on the bottom left, one of the larger maturing ones from last year's flowers. Did you know that a lemon takes two years to reach maturity, and is quite happy to be left on the tree for longer?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Border Incident

The house next door has been having major renovations after being sold a while ago. The English agent who sold it has been acting as project manager for the absentee landlady, and has employed a gang of Moroccan builders to turn the ground floor into a self contained apartment. This has now been rented out to a Dutch couple and their family, and work has started upstairs with the replacement of the windows and doors. There is a large rubber tree obscuring our view of the entrance, but Bossman remarked that he was sure that the body he had glimpsed through the foliage, carrying windows down to the skip, was female. With the remark that he was just going to feed Chancy, he went off to investigate, and came back an hour later to report that she was indeed a female, and of the pretty Rumanian variety that are quite at home wielding hammerdrills...

This morning we heard loud male voices having an altercation in Spanish in next door's driveway. Mehdi the Moroccan was throwing ineffectual punches at the über-übergroß English agent and telling him just what his opinion was of said agent's perfidy in employing someone else to do a job that he, Mehdi, had quoted for. We are not too sure if he objected to having lost the job because his quote was considered too high, or if his pride was hurt because he wasn't considered pretty enough.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Introducing Malcolm

He's a gentle soul. I found him in the Dog shop and bailed him out for 50¢.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More purple than blue

The clematis has changed from dead twigs to glory in the last few days. As you can see, it grows in a pot, and is on the north side of the house in the shelter of an overhanging balcony, otherwise it would not survive a Spanish Summer. For years, the surface of the pot used to be covered in blue pansies, and the door paint was a perfect colour match, but for some reason, the blackbirds have decided that the pot is a good source of food, and dig around ferociously, flinging lumps of compost in all directions, so the pansies are no more. I hope they are eating the slugs that have been nibbling away at the clematis flowers...