Thursday, 13 September 2012


The Paralympics are now over, and the closing ceremony was superb. I don't only say that because Coldplay were the main act, but because we were once again reminded of just how strong the human spirit can be. The athletes weren't tucked off to one side, no, they were quite rightly given a centre stage seat. Some of their stories and injuries have been horrendous. Some disabilities they were born with. In each case, every one of the athletes have at some point in their lives made the decision to grasp life, and do something amazing with it.

The song by Coldplay was also used in the advertisements for David Attenborough's last series, in which he showed us just what sort of paradise we do indeed live in. From the lush flowers and growth in blogs such 'Garden in Paradise' and '25 Acres', to sightings of amazingly beautiful hummingbirds in 'Las Aventuras' and 'Garden on Sherlock Street'. Pretty much anywhere on earth, there is beauty to be found, whether ones town is in the tropics, or a desert environment, we just have to notice it, and best of all, feel it.

It's very easy to find oneself looking upon the day ahead, maybe because it's raining, or the workload is too heavy, and become resigned to simply ticking the minutes off until you reach that point in the day that you are looking forward to. I still haven't heard any news regarding the tender, but heck, if I don't win it back, at least in the meantime I shall have half a day free a week to do something else such as walk, read or kayak etc, as long as it doesn't cost anything eh?
We finally got into our own garden proper over the last few days. Inspired by the one small purchase of a Gentian 'Marsha', a small plant in a 3 litre pot, we began our onslaught into the overgrown jungle that the garden had become.
Gentian 'Marsha'
First off, the bird feeders were filled, and once again hung in the Acacia that we had pruned previously. Birds used to come en-masse, but I think they may have given up on our garden for a while, hopefully not for too long though.
Next on the list was the other Acacia at the end of the garden. It's on the right in this photo below, and I had already been working on it for a couple of hours. Amanda took the photo, as she wanted to have a picture of this part of the garden, and just how much it had been neglected and become overgrown.
Apart from things like the Hydrangia villosa and paniculata still flowering, this Fuschia 'Genii' is still going strong. I've had a love/hate relationship with Fuschias all of my working life, and still not sure on which side of the fence they fall, but something about them has me coming back for more. Maybe it's to do with where in their surroundings they are on show?  
This Callistemon linearis had become so overgrown, that some drastic action was required. Too close to the path to dig it up with enough of a rootball left to transplant it, we decided to give it a heavy pruning to reduce it in size. Not the best time of year to be doing this, but something had to be done, and experience has reassured us that it will be fine. It will be reduced even further next year, so that most new growth will once again come from the base area. Just out of interest, the word Callistemon means 'beautiful stamens' in Greek.
Buddleias are just about finished flowering now, and ours in particular, as we hadn't managed to dead-head them at all this year. Amanda tackled these while I was still up the Acacia, at times having to cut her way into the borders to gain acces to them. She reduced them to about four feet high for the time being.
The Spiraeas only needed trimming and tidying to remove any dead-heads. It's tempting to use shears for speed, but there was no hurry, and I prefer to use secateurs and actually feel the plants in my hands.
By the time the Acacia, and a Photinia 'Red Robin' hedge had been pruned, there was a rather large pile of rubbish at the end of the garden.
Hobie now has TWO climbing frames! Each year he dreams of, and tries to catch the birds that swarm in the two Acacias, but this old timer is simply not quick and agile enough, and his plans are thwarted every time.
By mid-afternoon the office has become visible, just, once again. There's loads more to do, but we have to give more time over to Four Seasons this week, as we fly off on holiday this Sunday, and need to make sure that things are up together before we go. One whole week in the Carmen del Corbertizo, at the foot of the Alhambra Palace, can't wait!
Thanks for visiting.


  1. Hello Gary:
    You are absolutely right that we can all enjoy a slice of paradise every day in our lives if we just open our eyes and really look. We take so much for granted in general and the Paralympics are a wonderful inspiration and reminder of how people are living with adversity every day and how they have overcome the many disadvantages and difficulties that this brings.

    We were given as a gift the book by Cathy Wood 'The True Story of Great Britain's Paralympic Heroes' and it does make for moving reading. If you have a chance we recommend that you have a look.

    How exciting that you are about to jet off to warmer climes. We have never seen the Alhambra but should dearly wish to do so. Bonnes Vacances!!!

    1. Hi Jane & Lance,
      All packed and ready to leave tomorrow. I shall certainly look for that book on our return. I find it hard to believe that in all of your wonderful travels, that you haven't see the Alhambra. I imagined that by now there may have been a personal invitation from the king of Spain!

  2. I imagine that the Paralympic event was incredible. It's amazing some of the stories that are told and makes us strive to be better people.

    You're so right. There is beauty everywhere. For many years, I took our desert for granted. Do you know that this is the first year that I have been broke and can't take a magic trip somewhere to some place exotic? So it has forced me to stay here and explore....and I'm happy that this all happened to me because I have learned so much in so little time. Why had I not gone exploring our cool deserts before? This year has been such a wonderful age of discovery...and I'm not done. People are sharing with me incredible places that I've never gone to....and they're all within an hours drive. Very exciting times for me. The point? There is beauty everywhere and you don't have to go very far to find it:)

    As for gardening, it's getting cooler here as well. Yesterday I gave the bamboo a little bit of a haircut as I did the Jacaranda. Everything is getting out of control:)

    This week is finally over. Love the job but I'm exhausted from all the stress. Tomorrow I am going to a new place that I've never been....I love my Saturdays:) Happy weekend!

    1. Hi Chris,
      The whole olympic thing here in the uk has been incredible, and truly inspiring. The opening and closing ceremonies of both olympics have been amazing, AND I got a musicfest of Coldplay....pretty darned good to me! I find your blog fascinating, and enjoy the tales of change within your own garden in particular. I am sorry you have had such a tough week, but all the more important to see And enjoy the good things around you eh? Take care.

  3. One of my favorite sayings is "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!!" Not enough people stop and look around to see what a miraculous world we live in!! Enjoy your vacation. .Letting you know. .we got your package sent yesterday. .Not sure how long it will take to get to you. .hope it makes there after you get back from vacation!

  4. Hi Melanie,
    'The grass is always greener', how true that can seem at times, indeed be all too often. I dare say that just as with our visits to some of the amaZing gardens we have been fortunate to visit, on our return from the Alhambra Palace we shall once again look on our postage stamp garden with dismay! Speaking of postage stamps.....a parcel.....really, really excited now, and what a treat to come...thank you!

  5. Love hearing about your travels and observations. So nice to share.
    More perches for your kitty. He looks good in this tree too. You really have a lot in your space. I need to plant some things closer together and get that cozy feel you have in your garden.

  6. Hi Sherlock,
    Having just returned from an amazing stay in Granada, there are more tales to tell! If you want to fill the garden, try using some good, cheap staples to start, preferably evergreen, and then replace some as time goes by to add interest. I suppose we are quite fortunate in having access to large commercial nurseries, where things are trade price, but we do spend a chunk occasionally on something special if we fancy. Take care.