Spring is Sprung

Here’s a little ditty for Spring:

Spring is sprung

The grass is riz.

I wonder where the birdies iz!

I wandered around our garden and parking area today and got the following photos, showing that Spring is popping its lovely head up as it’s now quite mild here in North Cyprus, thank goodness.

Hawthorn buds
Oxalis buds – yes, I know oxalis is a week but it’s still very pretty and indomitable.
First leaves of wildflowers – very pretty and delicate when they do flower but I have no idea what they are.
Wild fennel
Winter flowering jasmine
First pink-red roses of the season
Lavender Bush
Lavender Bush
First bud of 2017 for our Apothecary's Rose
First bud of 2017 for our Apothecary’s Rose

Spring is Sprung – our 2016 garden

In North Cyprus we have had a very mild, dry winter and now spring is definitely springing in our neck of the woods – the fruit trees have been in blossom for some time now and leaves are replacing flowers. The mimosa/wattle is out in bloom and the hawthorn now has leaves again.  Out on the fields the wild fennel flowers are starting to appear. And our garden is becoming a riot of colour again.

So here are some pics of our flowers, although I must be honest and say that it’s my husband who has the green fingers.  I did startle him the other day by commenting that I thought I’d seen some leptospermum (tea-tree) which, I might add, startled myself. When I first met my husband I had no interest in gardening whatsoever, but I’ve gradually picked up bits and pieces of knowledge over our nearly 39 years together. I do know, for example, that if a lawn looks as if it has weeds, check with the head gardener (hubby) before you pull out the weeds, as when he finds you’re ripped up the freesia plants just coming into leaf, he promptly has a hissy fit!

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present our 2016 spring garden – the grevillea and bottlebrush are our nostalgic reminders of life in Australia!

2016 Spring  - orange freesias
Orange freesias
2016 Spring - pink veldt daisies
Pink veldt daisies
2016 Spring - Yellow flowering winter jasmine
Yellow flowering winter jasmine
Spring 2016 - Arum lily
Arum lily
Spring 2016 - Bottlebrush coming into flower
Bottlebrush coming into flower
Spring 2016 - Bougainvillea new leaves
New leaves on bougainvilleas
Spring 2016 - deep pink veldt daisies
Mauve-pink veldt daisies
Spring 2016 - Felicia
Spring 2016 - Grevillia
Spring 2016 - Lavender
Spring 2016 - Orange freesias
Orange freesias
Spring 2016 - Orange gazania
Orange gazania
Spring 2016 - pink cyclamen
Pink cyclamen
Spring 2016 - Purple centred veldt daisies outside
Purple-centred veldt daisies
Spring 2016 - Purple iris
Purple iris
Spring 2016 - Red geranium
Red geranium and white veldt daisies
Spring 2016 - Solanum
Spring 2016 - White veldt daisies
White veldt daisies
Spring 2016 - Yellow flowering winter jasmine
Yellow flowering winter jasmine
Spring 2016 - Yellow veldt daisies
Yellow veldt daisies



Summer garden, 2015 (plus Praying Mantis!)

Here are some photos of our summer garden, now in full bloom as summer has well and truly arrived – 37-39C (97-102F) every day, absolutely sweltering! Sadly the blooms on our Apothecary’s Rose have been badly burned by the intense heat which is a real shame as the plant had heaps of blossoms on this year. The two circular garden beds surrounded by gravel are communal beds my husband decided to replant and improve, on the basis that he’d fixed up our garden and needed to expand!

My husband found the praying mantis climbing up our patio this morning, so popped it into a container and released it close to the paddock next door, away from dogs and cats who would be happy to make a meal of this magnificent insect!

Next year, according to the Head Gardening Supremo (ie, my husband, Bryan) we are going to introduce more white and yellow flowering plants to provide a cooling effect in our garden.

Praying Mantis, N Cyprus

Praying Mantis, N Cyprus 1  Summer garden, 2015 2 Summer garden, 2015 3 Summer garden, 2015 4  Summer garden, 2015 6Summer garden, 2015 5 Summer garden, 2015 7 Summer garden, 2015 8 Summer garden, 2015 9 Summer garden, 2015 10 Summer garden, 2015 Summer garden,, 2015 11

Playing with Passion

Okay, relax because this is not an x-rated post!  I have been playing with a photo of our first passion-flower on the vine we bought three weeks ago. We have a bare concrete path running to our small shed that runs along the fence between our apartment and the paddock next door. So we decided to cheer the area up with two bright red bougainvilleas and a passion-flower vine. We had one of these in our garden in Fremantle, Western Australia, years ago. Well, actually, we first planted a moon flower – these are gorgeous, fast-growing vines which, as dusk approaches, suddenly unwind their tight blossoms into huge, white, saucer-like flowers within seconds. Unfortunately this vine was rampant in WA’s climate so eventually we removed it and replaced it with a passion-flower which also has the most beautiful flowers. Sadly this too was rampant, and eventually we had to take it out and replaced with a wisteria, far slower-growing and easier to manage. So we know the passion-flower will cover our empty fence quickly and it’s already started shooting out in all directions.

My husband got one good shot of the first flower and today I’ve been playing with the image. I created a pale blue canvas in PicMonkey, then added some overlays in Pixlr. Then I blurred the edge of the passion-flower photo and added it as an overlay to the amended canvas. I got one image with the passion-flower clear in the centre. But when I was playing with the various levels of overlay, I got one that looked really dark and mysterious, so I added a second image. I added an overlay from the PicMonkey “Space” gizmo, and then decided to call the image “UFO” because it reminded me of being underneath a UFO coming into to land with all its lights on!

Here they are, four images of our gorgeous passion-flower:

Passion Flower
Playing with Passion
Passion Flower Blurred
Passion Flower – Blurred
Passion Flower
Passion Flower – Original Photo

Spring Garden

Another view of vase of spring flowers
Another view of vase of spring flowers
Vase of Spring flowers
Vase of Spring flowers

Our garden is looking great this year, so I’ve taken some photos to share. All of our flower beds are fenced in, by the way, to stop our four rescue puppies either a) digging holes or b) eating the flowers and shrubs!

Here in North Cyprus it’s a very dry climate so gardens tend to have flower beds often with rock surrounds in order to maximise watering and be waterwise. Most gardens have patios or pebbled areas to reduce water usage.

So as you can see, we have smallish flower beds with paving in the middle.  My husband’s also extended our garden to the perimeter with potted plants down the entrance path, and flower beds at the back of our garden.  You can also see the large communal garden area for our apartments – we manage the block ourselves – two couples living here permanently oversee maintenance and finance – as management agents were expensive and inefficient. We have a gardener who comes in twice a week and who works miracles keeping the communal area tidy and looking good, often bringing cuttings to plant out, plus the pool maintenance is carried out regularly so the pool stays clean and healthy, no bugs for us!  We’ve just had night lights installed around the perimeter of the pool and underwater lights so people can swim at night during the summer.

Garden 2 2014
Flower bed on other side of our fenceline.
Garden 2014 6
View of our garden & communal garden from our upper patio.
Garden, 2014 - Communal
View of communal garden – apartments are on the right, out of sight

Being Australian and used to hot weather, we are highly amused when people arrive from colder parts – Russia, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Norway or the UK – and jump in the pool and sunbake at temperatures we still consider pretty nippy. Temperatures are going up to 26-28C 78-82F) this week which we think is warmish but certainly not hot.  Hot is 36C (97F) which is the regular daily temperature and higher in July and August but you simply slow right down and just wait out the heat until it starts getting cooler in September.

Garden 2014 5
Gazanias & Apothecary’s Rose
Garden, spring 2014 - dianthus
Dianthus – the centre trunk is a bangalow palm, very elegant and self-rooting.
Garden 2014 4



Orange Joy

More on the gazania front – I used as a base a canvas I created a while back when I liked one of the images that came up when I was editing another photo. I superimposed the photo I took today of the orange gazania in our garden so here’s some more orange for joy, optimism and to lift your heart and spirits.

Orange Joy
Orange Joy