GARDENING & WILDLIFE
I love nature and gardening and just being outdoors makes me happy. I have no clue what I am doing but I just really enjoy being outdoors in the garden listening to the sounds of nature. I enjoy the solitude although I’m not always alone as we have a vast range of wildlife here and so many bees and butterflies. I have never really had a large garden as most of the houses I have rented have only had paved back yards or small gardens. Our last flat in the UK was on the first floor so no garden at all for 8 years. We had an allotment for a while – we were on the waiting list for 6 years! I did enjoy our allotment at Redland Green but unfortunately it was a plot on a steep hill which is very challenging. We grew some fantastic crops but there is nothing like having your own garden and stepping foot outside your door to tend to your plants. I don’t know much about gardening and I am learning every day.
I am also sporting a fantastic tan in March. Most impressively are my feet – from gardening in leggings, vest top and sketchers I have the most ridiculous tan marks on the top of my white feet. It’s a good job we are not going out anywhere that requires a nice strappy shoe as I would look like a complete idiot.
Our house has a lovely garden which is huge to us and separated into different sections. We have a front large long boarder outside of the sun room which was was full of weeds and was once a pebbled patio area. We have just finished this area and it now has a couple of raised beds to grow some edible crops. There is more about this detailed in the DIY section of this blog. We have another upper front area (garden) which has some lovely established trees and bushes. Then we have a terraced area with cover (my favourite spot for viewing the scenery) and a patio area. We also have an upper patio area with washing line and workshop and a top upper garden with a tiny ruin. Everything is overgrown as our home was a holiday home and then let to tenants so a bit neglected. We are slowly making our way around trying to complete one section at a time starting with the lower boarder.
It’s been fun trying to work out the names of all our plants and trees. We found a great App called ‘Picture this’ which confirms the species. We have Oleander, Japanese camellia, Indian shot lily, orange tree, fig tree, cherry tree, pomegranate tree, prickly pear, rosemary, sage and lavender herbs, heather and a few more delights. We purchased a lemon tree which unfortunately is not doing to well but hopefully will perk up.
We have planted some seeds: Chillies, melons, strawberries, tomatoes and sunflowers. My husband is a little chilli mad, he is mildly obsessed with everything chilli and loves growing them and eating them too.
I love listening to the birds chirping away and the sound of the nearby stream. Beware if you are not used to gardening you are going to come across some insects and wildlife. I am certainly getting very brave dealing with all these creatures. The first time I lifted up a stone to weed and found a snake I nearly soiled my pants! It was a small snake too. I nearly gave Usain Bolt a run for his money! I have encountered ants, caterpillars, spiders, snails, slugs, bees, wasps, dormice, wild fire bugs, lizard/gecko type creatures and we have a rat in the roof! not in the kitchen (I can hear a song coming on).
I recently uncovered a huge ant nest whilst weeding. These ants are absolutely huge! I had to use a Euro coin for scale as I didn’t have a banana (ha ha). I feel a little bad as whilst digging upper front garden I disturbed a mouse nest, well I trashed it by accident. This adorable mouse (looks like a dor mouse) and his friend looked so sad so I built them a new home and named them Pedro and Kevin. They are far away from the house so I hope they don’t try and venture indoors. A rat in the roof is plenty enough.
We have many cats stroll though our garden, I’m not really a cat lover (prefer dogs) but I don’t mind these cats as long as they don’t poop in my garden and so far so good. I’m not too sure about the cat in the photo below as he keeps giving me the stink eye! He also keeps chasing other cats off of our property which is weird as I have told him multiple times he doesn’t live here and never will. We have so many butterflies here. I didn’t think I would be able to snap a photo of one but this one below in the photo (a red admiral I think) seemed to be happy just chilling on our wall for a bit. I just love the Portuguese name for a butterfly: Borboleta. All the photos below are snaps I have took in our garden. I’ve met some weird and wonderful critters.
You are probably aware by now that we are very accident prone. I’ve gone through a whole packet of plasters that I brought with me from the UK. Luckily the local petrol station sells them. I somehow managed to avoid this whopper of a nail!