Saturday, June 17, 2006


We have a bignonia (pink trumpet vine) which has now crept from the workshop, to the potting shed on the other side and will soon be over the new pergola. It's meeting up with an orange trumpet vine, which puts out suckers on the wall . We were warned it was very invasive, so will probably need to catch the big brown seed pods as well as get the machete out.

The pink trumpet comes out later and will be around until very late Autumn. There seem to be many varieties of bignonia. One with glossy fleshy leaves and creamy trumpets with pink centres is growing over the front trellis of the house, but it's very slow. However, the plumbago and honeysuckle have gone mad.

I am always mystified about what takes and what doesn't. I know we have high alkaline soil and I wished I'd known about putting sulphur with the soil when I planted a NZ bottle brush and watched it die. I'll try again with it in a large tub, as they are so beautiful. Watering acid loving plants with high calcium tap water in this area is the kiss of death, and I learned that the hard way by losing a gorgeous gardenia. Neither do I understand why our hibiscus always die - I'm determined to get more and keep trying.

Lavender loves it here and I've just put a new variety in.. (here we go again - the picture won't go against the text but always drops it at the top of the page).

What a fabulous storm we had yesterday. It was forecast but we didn't believe it, so hadn't prepared containers to catch the rainwater. Everything was fresh, green and glowing afterwards. Top right picture caught the scene. (The 3 houses in the distance went up at break-neck speed and were done in 2 months. One is now inhabited, complete with irritating 24/7 yapping dog!)

Production line day this week to do something with the fruits, mainly one of four plum trees. We lost many in the weekly Levante over the last 4 weeks, but still plenty for eating, bottling in brandy syrup, pureed, giving away (no, not again....please!) . I'd put Seville oranges whole in the freezer in February and made more marmalade with them this week, using the black treacle syrup as well as dark and light sugar, as well as the wow factor of a slug of brandy. It turned out as good as ever, so no worries in future about having to deal with loads of oranges in one go before they go off. Will have to think about a spare freezer for all this produce.

Speaking of which, it's hard to keep up with the runner beans, green peppers and, now, tomatoes. My "Cooking in Spain" has a great recipe for Tomato frito, so I may be in my kitchen for quite a while!

More when I can fight my way out of the fruit and veg!

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