I created this image from a photo of the garden at the Chalice Well, Glastonbury, UK. In a past life workshop years ago I had a vision of life as a monk tending the gardens in Glastonbury, England. The photo of the gardens brought back that memory for me.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.