Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Going green

Colour is emerging from the sea of greenery that the rain produced.
Spuds and other crops are shaping up well in the vegetable garden.
You can see the lengths that I have to go to to keep the pigeons from devouring the brassica!
Earlier in the month we cut back a large and prickly bush on the east side of the house in preparation for going green.
In its place we now have an air source heat pump.
It takes in air from outside, warms the house and expels cold air. (And that's as technical as you'll ever get from me!) Workmen were busy all over the house throughout week and the fittings in the kitchen look like the engine room of a submarine. But come the winter the whole house should have a constant level of green warmth which I hope will make the whole enterprise worthwhile.
Of course it didn't stop there because electricity is needed for the pump. So now we have a block of solar panels on the roof. We've gone green - and the sun is shining!
Guess who's a happy bunny!

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Janet at The Gardener's Cottage has asked me what size my garden is, so I thought that I would put together some photos to show the general plan. The first image was taken from a balloon in August 2008 and shows the garage block before it's rebuild and the house in the process of getting an attached greenhouse. 
The overall site is half an acre.
The carving studio is to the right of the driveway. It's original purpose was as the Game House.
The beams are full of pegs and old nails where all the game were hung to mature.
The house was formerly the head game keeper's cottage and at that time the outbuildings included a lean-to store (now my garden store room), two pig sties, the game house and six kennels with runs. Three of the kennels are now used for general storage (junk!)
The garage, before it's rebuild, was an ugly, disgraceful sight. It had been cobbled together around the remaining dog kennels.
I like to think that the rebuild is a thing of beauty!
We bought this wooden shed at the other side of the yard for Himself to use as a painting room as the carving studio is too dark for colour work. (Yes, I agree, the man is spoilt rotten.)
In 2008 a small greenhouse was added to the south side of the house.
We love it.
Looking east from an upstairs window over the vegetable garden.
A fruit cage is in the south east corner of the garden
and the front door is on the west side of the house
but it isn't much used
because everyone saunters in through the kitchen door!
(See 86 and 91 from My Life in One Hundred Objects about this and our previous home.)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Cutting back.

After the landscape of Lanzarote we returned to such an astonishing display of growth and greenery.
And the bluebells are out!
I have blue in my garden
but my bluebells are pink!
Things are romping away in the herbaceous borders, especially that horribly invasive weed, ground elder. 

We are busy cutting back growth from the house walls. It's important to do this in order to keep those pesky squirrels from setting up home in the roof space. The other day I pulled up an upstairs blind and found a squirrel clinging on to the centre bar of the window - nearly there but, luckily not quite.
Job done
and the branches added to the bonfire heap.

May in the vegetable garden and hardly anything is planted.
(It's raining.)
The strawberry bed is out of control, but the plants don't seem to mind.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A walk around Yaiza.

The town of Yaiza is just a short drive inland from the coastal resort of Playa Blanca where we were staying. It is a pleasant place to walk around. The houses, like all others in Lanzarote, are a simple  design of white with green paintwork.

Although the main road through the town was busy with traffic the surrounding streets were silent. 

We caught a glimpse of this local lady with her freshly picked greens.
Courtyard gardens were hidden behind doors
although this glorious display of lilies bordered the street for all to enjoy.
The simple geometry of the houses and plants is very satisfying.
Plants in the vegetable gardens are very carefully nurtured, individual walls built for protection and watering systems laid out that make optimum use of this precious commodity.
A vineyard showing the black volcanic earth, the watering system and the protective walling.

We stopped for a coffee
(and the senoras did a spot of retail therapy!)
Then we had another mooch around the town.
On our drive back to the coast we passed farmhouses like the one below, a self-contained oasis in a landscape of volcanic black.