Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sad times

Everything was going well in the garden and then a whole series of catastrophes:   more Levante than ever, sky rocketing temperatures and el jefe exhibiting worrying symptoms.   Finally we got him to the health centre.   There had been a mix-up with our usual national health doctor and our info had been wiped from the computer.    So we had to resort to the local semi-private Centro Medico.  They ordered an MRI and a week later, we were told he had had a mini stroke and a subsequent MRI while in hospital showed a further incident - a cranial bleed.    Poor love was very confused, weak, tired and spent 5 straight days asleep  in bed on drips.   BP was high, dehydration too.   He had his own room with a bed for me,  as Spanish culture is that the family provides what Brits regard as traditional nursing care:  help with feeding, medications and morale boosting.  Luckily step daughter was on holiday here and was of tremendous help.

What has this to do with the garden.....well, it went to pot for a while.   Then a friend, D., started trying to bring it back to its natural beauty, doing things that I had neither the energy nor the time to do.   

D is home now, has had another   mini stroke and cannot walk, dress or shower without assistance.  It is a chronic condition and there is no guarantee there won't be further "events".   Life has become contracted with a lot of thought going into new routines to keep him safe.  

I won't close the blog down, although I don't do much on here.   I love looking at how things have progressed since 2003, although it does bring a certain sadness about current inabilities.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wall Plants

Hattie in Hawaii, here, has wonderful blog full of interesting and informative stuff,  and has given me a kick up the proverbial to carry on blogging.   I know I've hardly done anything this year, mainly due to ill health but I do have something a bit out of the ordinary and a little bit naff to write about.

In the Spring this year, el jefe decided to paint some pots and mount them on the wall with geraniums and kalanchoe, and attractive they looked too.....

We had an horrendous summer - endless Levante and temperatures the highest for decades and the plants shrivelled before our eyes.    We had a lance to water most of them, but for others, and for feeding, we had to get the ladder out and neither of us is safe on one these days.   Those that survived were transplanted to big pots on the gravel outside the conservatory.

I hit on the idea of artificial plants and we found some very realistic ones on line.   And here they are...

Daisies and geraniums, no maintenance, everlasting, lovely to look at and no-one the wiser as to their authenticity.   I am pretty pleased with myself!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Grevillea Robusta

I didn't know the grevillea robusta flowered until I saw it on Titania's blog  here some years ago.   Since then I've waited patiently to see the flowers and they have finally appeared this year - about 12 years after we planted the sapling (6 ft high).   What a beauty.  It's also known as the silky oak and is native to Australia. 

 I am sorry folks.   I've edited this in the photo software but it still comes out sideways on.   Bloody nuisance. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Amazing Amaryllis

I've loved these whenever I've seen them:  we've just never grown tthem before.

   A couple of years ago, they were said to be overtaking Poinsettia  as the plant of choice for Christmas. 

El jefe planted giant bulbs in early December.  They had to be kept inside in a temperature of 20C or above, and this is the result. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Vegetables v. Flowers

There is a slightly comical, silent war that goes on next door:   G has contempt for any ground used for flowers, ornamentals and will commandeer all spare space.   M loves to beautify her front area so tries to sneak in her lilies and roses. 

Last year I was offered a bucket of bulbs by G.  He didn't remember what they were but they were mine if I wanted them.    I whacked them in a space by the citrus trees and lo and behold....Fleur de Lys after the big rains last week.

I see that all four lime trees are laden and, come January, we'll be swamped

Sunday, October 18, 2015


 We have been monitoring the progress of this cactus and jokingly said, as the pods grew bigger, that it will give birth to an alien (yes, too many 1950s SF movies).

It looks rather toxic to us and here is what Wikipaedia says:-

 Stapelia grandiflora is a flowering plant in the Stapelia genus. It is commonly referred to as the Carrion Plant, Starfish Flower, or Starfish Cactus, although it is not related to cacti at all. The name "Carrion Plant" (due to the odor emitted by the flowers as a technique of attracting flies in areas where other pollinating insects are scarce) can also refer to similar Stapelia species as well as members of related genera, including Stapelia gigantea and Orbea variegata. Stapelia grandiflora sometimes also goes by the name of Stapelia flavirostris.

So, not a cactus at all.   I take it that it smells of rotting meat but I didn't get close enough to sniff it (to be honest, if I had I wouldn't have been able to get up again).

This garden continues to delight and surprise us.

Friday, September 04, 2015


I know this isn't gardening, but would like this to be accessible, as an inspirational reminder of the infinite enjoyment I have had from his writing and broadcasts:

Oliver Sacks.

Today, Oliver Sacks died, the great neurologist, author and wise man. I was so moved to read what he wrote upon learning his life was coming to an end:

"Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. ...
I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.