Yes, yes, mid-April is long gone. That’s what swimming with icebergs will do … it freezes the brain and results in days passing without you realising. Beware of icy cold water!
Good grief, will this lot never stop growing? When we bought them we had no idea how much use the garden loppers would get. Considering they cost less than 20€ they have proved invaluable.
The citrus trees are, pretty much, pruned for this season. Far too late we know but at least they are done. The poor old orange tree ended up having a haircut of epic proportions. One of the branches was making a break for the sky and was easily as high as the second floor. Some of the tree was in poor condition, and the break-for-the-sky branch was alive with bugs. So we, reluctantly, took the decision to prune it drastically in the hope that it would solve a multitude of problems.
Top two-thirds of the orange tree gone
Should the tree make it through the year then it is a prime candidate for our own fruit cocktail tree experiment. Imagine being able to graft a branch of our tiny lime tree onto the mature orange and kick-start our lime production. At the moment we get about 3 a year so any increase on that would be appreciated; we can buy limes in the fruitaria but they are usually imported from South America.
The bougainvillea is also attempting to set world records for the fastest growth possible in an improbably short space of time. How, exactly, did we manage to forget that it did this? We’ve fallen into a weekly routine of lopping back the worst overhanging branches just so we have a chance to make it to the front door.
Note the re-appearance of the painting kit
This week the first colour started to appear. The plant’s flowers are tiny, white and unremarkable; the fantastic display of colour is provided by bracts, a type of modified leaf. Poinsettias, the plant so often seen in deepest winter is the same, the deep scarlet comes from a coloured leaf, not a flower.
Meanwhile the pomegranates are flowering. This is both good and bad news: the flowers are absolutely gorgeous but the local wildlife enjoy them too much.
Did you spot the euphemism there? Doesn’t local wildlife sound better than pack of rats who we can’t get rid of despite many attempts and significant amounts of angst? Regular readers will have seen the occasional reference to a rodent problem. Lets be clear; both the derelict house next door to us and the empty plots behind have rats. This is deeply, deeply troubling. Apparently these rats adore the seeds from unripe pomegranates and next door’s tree abuts our wall. Our tree, as named on our deeds, abuts our bedroom window. No prizes for guessing which window never, ever gets opened!
We’d discussed stripping both trees (yes, including the one on next door’s land – these are rats!) of their blossom in the assumption that no blossom would mean no fruit which would mean no rats. Sadly this plan came crashing to the ground as one of those creatures was seen romping up the tree which doesn’t even have any fruit on it yet. Plan B, possibly involving a gallon of petrol and a box of matches, is under discussion now. Really we can’t endure another year of sitting in the garden eating a pleasant meal with friends whilst watching those things run up and down the tree trunk.
Anyway, let’s concentrate on the positive. The flowers? They are really, really lovely. And when you consider how desolate the trees looked over winter it is amazing what a show they put on just a few months later.
Pomegranates, if they don't all get eaten
Some of the roses have decided that there’s no point in having one flower when you could have a dozen or more. They have an incredibly short lifespan though lasting just a day or two. Since there are another few dozen rosebuds to follow it’s hard to object though.
In other news we finally found time to plant up some large containers that we brought with us from the UK. Either side of the front door was now have a matched pair of guards comprising of some white geraniums and ivy.
Guarding the front door