Saturday, July 29, 2006


Today felt like the first 'normal' Saturday in a month. Since we've moved to our own home, that is. We decided it was about time to buy some plants for the front porch area downstairs, and although we had a few in pots brought from our old house, they looked rather lonely. Our Australian friend from Lebanon knows something about plants (such as which ones do well in full sun during part of the day) and came with us to advise.

I didn't want to try anything too ambitious or expensive, since it's probably not the best time of year to transport anything. We also agreed that we didn't want anything that was likely to grow huge and cut out light from the house. And on principle I vetoed plants that look angular and spiky. We already have a sort of palm thing that someone gave us ages ago:

... and an odd plant with individual tall pointy leaves which seems to do well in a pot:

... so I was more interested in potential fragrances, flowers and fruit.

It was after 10am by the time we got to our favourite plant shop, by the time I'd swept, mopped, showered, put on laundry, put bread ingredients in the breadmaker, and so on. Richard never likes to get up much before 9am anyway, though Sophia got me up around 6am as usual. Even by 10am, it was feeling hot and a bit sticky. It was probably only about 30C in the shade [that's around 85F], but a lot of the plants were outside, in the sun. After much discussion, we chose:

Two citrus plants. Here's one of them:

One is a lemon, the other an orange (we think). The second one was labelled 'Naval' in Greek letters, which looked a bit odd, so we assume it's an orange! Eventually we plan to dig a border at the side of one of the paved areas, and will transplant the citrus trees in there. But they'll be fine in pots for a while. We hope.

Two lavender bushes and two hibiscus plants:

I know hibiscus do well here; we had some at our old house, and they never seemed to grow very big. What's more, they apparently thrive on neglect. Just my kind of plant. I was a little surprised to see so much lavender, but we did see it growing at one of the other houses we looked at months ago, and I love the smell. We'll probably plant the lavender in this planter, where they're currently sitting. But although we bought some potting compost, we need to fetch some stones from our old garden.

Two pots with flowering succulents of some kind, which we thought would look good on these pillars at the front of the porch area.

By the time I took the photo, the flowers had disappeared for the night, but they do look good there.

One 'bird of paradise' plant, something I had not heard of, but our friend assured us the flowers are gorgeous even though they only come for brief periods.

Richard would have liked to buy loads more, but I thought it better to wait until slightly cooler weather, perhaps in about October.

By the time we'd finished I felt a bit overheated so when we'd put the plants on the front porch area, we collapsed for a while, and I read my current book. Then Richard went out to buy some small but necessary part for his dinghy, and went to mend it, while I switched on my computer and read email.

After lunch we tend to siesta, or at least slow down... I read some blogs, replied to some email, read the news site. Richard watched Euronews headlines, then read for a while. Tim played some computer games. Around 4pm Richard had to pop to his office to set off some process needed in the completion of the video he made for our friends' wedding a couple of weeks ago. When he got home, we all went swimming at one of the local beaches. Not our favourite (McKenzy) since the car parking fee there has gone up to £1, for any period up to 24 hours. Fine if you're there all day, but rather a lot to pay for less than an hour! Instead we did like many Cypriots: parked our car near the road, just at the rocky edge of some beach, and swam from there. The water was lovely, the sun not too hot, and it's good to get some exercise and fresh air at the sea. We try to go two or three times a week during July and August, although this is only the second time so far this year.

Then we returned home and had quick showers; we had already decided not to cook, so Richard and Tim went to our favourite local takeaway place, Souvlaki Express. For takeaway food, it's very healthy: Greek pitta bread enfolding grilled meat or halloumi, with masses of salad, held together with either tzatsiki or tahini. But then they also bought some chips (ie 'french fries') which rather reduced the health value of the meal!

Now I'm blogging, Richard popped back to the office, Tim's at his computer again. If Richard gets back in time we'll probably watch a film on DVD, since we have several that we haven't yet seen.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Bird of Paradise is a very common plant here in Los Angeles. They re extremely beautiful when they flower...I think I have a picture or to of a neighbors plant...If you've never sen the flower ou should Google it in Google Images. I think you will be thrilled to see what will come from your plant!

Anonymous said...

The Strelitza is very young so you won't get flowers for sometime yet. They are beautiful when they do, though and well worth trying. We have one in our conservatory (UK).

mreddie said...

That sounded like a very ambitious Saturday to me. I envy you the climate to plant citrus, it gets too cold for it here in winter. I do have many plants that I enjoy watching grow - most produce something edible. I do like hibiscus - beautiful flowers - they are kin to the okra plants that I grow in the garden every year. Good luck with the growing. ec