Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Loadsa broccoli (no, not more soup), spring onions and celery. I use the leaves as well when making soup, or chop them finely as a garnish.

Two types of lettuce are coming along, plus radishes. Time now to sow seeds for other things. I read a great tip on someone else's blog about cutting a bit plastic pipe in half, sowing the seeds in that so that seedlings can be slid out gently into the plot, or a big pot. I'll have a go.

Nectarine blossom - a beautiful pink - on one tree at the moment.

BAMBOO POT. Sunny days are back and el jefe has started his big, big pot. He is also building a little arbour at the back of the house, where there is the beginning of a grapevine.He has visions of sunning himself round there and reaching up to pick a grape.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

SCENES AROUND CADIZ PROVINCE. Oooo, I just had to play with this new slide-show widget.

With thanks to Carol & Colin at mediterraneangardening.blogspot for giving me the idea of a slide show. Really good to master a new procedure.

It's a lovely, balmy sunny day today - Spring just round the corner here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


La Gringa has a lot to answer for!

Read her 5 things you don’t know about her and you’ll see why I’m deviating from the usual garden blogging……

I’ll try to keep this succinct as I rack my brains for a theme…… o.k. here goes

People I have been:

  • I was a Bohemian in the 1950s, hanging out in 100 Jazz Club in London,listening to Humphrey Lyttleton, Chris Barber, Cy Laurie.

  • a prissy twinset and pearls-type in the 1960s in the Far East

  • a hippy-dippy Uni. Student in the 1970s

  • a kaftan clad bejewelled fashion plate in the Middle East in the 1980s

  • a menopausal lady-in-black in the 1990s

  • and now, my coming of age – a happy, wellie-boot shod, mattock- wielding, peasant gardener.

And just to prove it, here’s a pic, standing by the horse manure doing some emergency panic-watering of the trees with grey water in 40C.

Here’s the thing about handing the baton on: if you ask permission first, you probably won’t get it! Just hope I don’t make any enemies. You could send me rude comments.

Colin and Carol in northern Spain
Garden Girl in Canada
Quinta das Abelhas in Portugal
Stuart in Australia Garden Blog Directory
Yolanda in the Netherlands

You lucky two other blogging buddies who are taking a much-needed break in the sun – you know who you are – have managed to escape this!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Yin and Yang love to come and help when we're out in the garden and get bored during the rainy times.

Lidl's had these play towers (rascadores) and although they take up a bit of space, Yang in particular loves it.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I'm on my hands and knees weeding, enjoying the sun and breeze, and Mathilde appears out of nowhere to tell me the potatoes must be planted today. I imagine she thought that tidying and prettifying the garden was low down on the list of priorities.
So Gonzalo wheeled his big rotavator round, tried to persuade me to have a bigger plot of potatoes than we wanted (I held fast!) and set to. It was done in no time. Out he came then with a large carrier bag of potatoes. Correct me if I'm wrong but in UK all but one eye of the potato would be rubbed out, cut in half if there were two eyes and planted deep. Not here, and not for the summer crop in particular. From one potato, about 5-6 pieces were cut to plant, totalling 130 pieces. At a yield of around 3 kgs. of potatoes per piece, that's a lot of tatties for two people!

The pieces then have to be left in the sun to dry before planting. Why, I don't know and I haven't the language skills to discover the answer. We managed to use only half the bits before collapsing for an afternoon siesta.

It was 24C here during the day.

Saturday, 17th. The rain is back again and my friend in nearby Medina tells me that the swallows that build a nest in his porch are back for the third year running - two months early.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


We've had a few dry days and the Spanish gardeners round here have been out with their rotivators, others have been preparing the ground for the seed potatoes. Gonzalo is bringing me some tomorrow. Daytime temperatures have been around 19-21C; almond and peach blossom is out, the frogs croak loudly at dusk and the snails are on the move. I don't mind the latter as there are four ducks next door - they rush to my fence when they hear my voice because I've usually got a container of juicy snails for them after my morning patrol.

El jefe disappeared into Gonzalo's shed around mid-day and emerged an hour or so later, a little the worse for wear. They were wine-tasting! Gonzalo grows several varieties of grapes and he prepares them at the end of the season in a large bath with special wine-treading wellie boots....honest! No bare feet for him. His shed is a goldmine, with jars of tomato frito, tons of potatoes, onion strings, apples, pears, membrillo and in the corner, his pride and joy - the vino.
It's heady stuff, particularly mid-day, so D needed a little siesta after his session.

Mathilde appeared during all this and found me under the pergola with coffee. The fountain was tinkling and it was muy tranquilo. She looked around (I'd just had a big clean-up) and said the aptenia and ivy would have to go as they would starve the solanum. I must put roses in, she said, white ones. Mathilde is a woman of very definite opinions! I'm sure she'll be checking regularly to see if her instructions are obeyed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

STRELITZIA (Bird of Paradise).

It's half open! And there are 3 more buds waiting in the wings. We are so excited.
I guess this means it will flower every year now....a St. Valentine's Day treat.

Friday, February 09, 2007


This is especially for Nature Girl in Canada and anyone else under heavy snow at the moment. The one on the left was a diddy-little self seeded bit last Spring and it's busy making its flowers for this year. The beautiful French lavender on the right I think has been grown in Holland and imported. I've left it in its pot so that I can move it around, according to the weather.

And while blogger isn't playing up this morning, here's another beautiful plant given me by a dear friend for my birthday recently. Its vibrant yellow brings a real dash of sunshine under the pergola.

Anyone know what it is? It's leaves are papery and used a lot in dried flower arrangements, I think. I'm not very good at plant names and even when I do discover the Latin names, I forget them.

There's that creeping, evergreen pink daisy plant in the background - aptenia cordifolia. I refer to it so often, this name has stuck.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Am still having trouble uploading a picture direct from Picasa to my blog - some coded message keeps appearing. Many people are experiencing the same - I hope they fix it soon.

This is the new pot, with a removable rim, which will have butterflies round it. I think bamboo sprays, like the ones on the stone benches, will look very tasteful.
Just as the ground was drying up enough to get out and work, the rain is back with a vengeance and with it, the weeds have been on the march again. The gravel garden around the house is full of them. The lavender and osteospurmum has self-seeded. It is truly amazing to me how seeds can germinate in what is chalky-dust under the gravel. And how abundant are the weeds we don't want. Daytime temperatures are going up so other plants are burgeoning as well. It's an exciting and demanding time.

The Michele tree mentioned earlier is definitely a myoporum laetum (also known as the ngaio tree) and it was in Heidi Gildermeister's book. Because it roots and spreads so quickly, some people see it as invasive but we are pleased to have about 10 cuttings on the go to plant out eventually as a cordon against the poniente wind.

Thanks to Colin in mediterraneangardening.blogspot for his tip to visit blog-directory.gardening tips. It's a young site, based in Australia and the webmaster is a keen veg grower. There is a delightful woman subscriber in India, sharing her gardening thoughts and pictures, who has just started blogging.

D. has a new pot which will have a simple bamboo design on it. It's intended for the pergola area and we're looking for a suitable sculpture to sit on top of it. He will also start a new pot for a friend. It's a bigger version of his cube pot with a mosaic of her cat on it. I think this will be tricky - how on earth do you do whiskers? Donna, a mosaicist blogger in the USA used a ring saw to do a mermaid's hair very effectively. They are not available here and would cost a fortune to import.

Monday, February 05, 2007


We are doing well for chameleons this year. Isn't this one beautiful? We disturbed him in the cypress tree. Nearby was a huge cricket, which flew off, so I've deprived this little chap of his lunch. The crickets are a nuisance - they eat great chunks out of tender new shoots.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

LISTEN.... I didn't go down to the veg patch for a while as with so much rain, it was like a quagmire. Recently went to get a broccoli for a friend, and would you look at this monster - 12" either way!