Sunday, May 9, 2010

Greening up the Place

With respect to growing things, I’ve always said that if I can’t eat something, I’m not interested in planting it, but now that I have the vegetable side of things proceeding well, I am finding an increased interest in beautifying the surroundings with plants… in other words creating ornamental gardens.

The first place to get my attention was the back verandah. While I love the space (great for skateboarding, cricket, and running races), its clinical starkness, broken only by a stringy basil plant, has always depressed me. So Best Beloved and I focussed on it a couple of weeks ago with the idea of turning it into a sight more soothing to the eye rather than a cross between a runway and an operating theatre.

‘This end,’ he said rather pensively, referring to the far end off the sitting room. ‘I’ve been thinking of enclosing all together. We could turn it into a winter sun-room, and shade the windows in the summer with big blinds…’ So we left that end for now and concentrated on the kitchen end.

We’ve been considering a big barbeque to replace the foukou (Cypriot grill) for some time, but deciding the location took some haggling before we decided to site it around the side of the kitchen. There’s no point in having a view like ours if you go and block it with a barbeque, and the side is convenient to the kitchen and dining room, and downwind 95% of the time. We deferred the construction for a while, but moved the foukou to its new spot.

Next… ‘I’ve been thinking of some big pots with maybe a bay tree and a lemon near to the back door,’ I began tentatively.

‘A lemon tree in a pot?’ Best Beloved roared. ‘They’ll never stop laughing at us, Manamou!’ But he wants a lemon tree, too, so the idea took root.

‘Then tall pots, like the ones we saw at Green Forest last year,’ I continued. ‘One for each roof support…’ He warmed to the idea more and more and before I knew it we were at the nursery choosing pots and plants, and arranging to have them delivered that very afternoon.

Two days after the plants were installed a vicious wind tore all the leaves from the lime – he chose a lemon for near the other door and planted it, to save his reputation, in the ground – and withered the wisteria and the jasmine. But nurturing and plenty of water has put new life into them, and looking out of my kitchen window is now a double pleasure: I see both the wonderful view down the valley to the sea, and the gentle waving of healthy greenery.

Now to look out for the side garden.


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  2. Hi- I love the Mediterranean! I do hope you'll consider a bougainvillea because it would add beautiful color! I grew up in California and my mother had a beautiful deep red one climbing over the front of the that I live in dreary Oregon, I do miss the bougainvillea.