Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Festival and first fruit

I haven`t had time to write anything for a few days as we have been very busy. Mark has had rehearsals for the music festival and the first concert was last night. The choir followed by a fourteen year old who plays bouzouki with a man on guitar, he was excellent and I am sure will make a career out of it. The choir were very good too and you really would have thought they had been together for much longer.
For those of you that are interested in Mimi and Daisy`s progress here are the latest pictures.

snoozing with mum



 Yesterday I made a big plate pasty using one of the swedes I was told you can`t grow here and we had a salad using my first cucumber and a gold courgette. They are lovely sliced very thinly in a salad.

gold courgette

big Greek tomatoes

The other veg are doing very well and I have both green and gold courgettes and very good cabbages growing in a shady corner.

It has been a very hot May and although I have irrigation on the vegetable garden there is a lot of watering to do.

The flower garden which was looking lovely is beginning to shrivel up and I will have to rethink the planting for next year.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hot and hectic May

I haven`t written anything for a few days because our lives have been a bit busier than usual. Merkel took her kittens away to a pile of wood in Filios`s yard and I have been trying to keep an eye on them but Merkel wouldn`t let them come out to eat.
She has now moved them back into the store which should make things simpler.
Mark has rigged up plastic netting on the kitchen window and door to stop them coming in as Bonnie can`t stand them.
Yesterday was a family name day in the little church so there were a lot of people here for a service and then some ladies in the kitchen making coffee etc. Lots of lovely cakes and turkish delight and people told me they liked the flower garden which was nice.
Mick, the guy who brought our stuff out to Greece last year was supposed to be arriving today to take a Dutch lady, who has lived here for a long time, back to Holland. We got a call to say his back axle had broken near Larissa on the mainland and I really don`t know how long it will take to fix.
The vegetable garden is growing like crazy and I thought I would put up two pictures, one taken three days ago and one taken five minutes ago so you can see the difference.

Three days ago

I think I will be picking our first cucumbers in about a week and I have green and gold courgettes which will ready by Saturday. Our first french ( squeaky beans) are also ready.
The tomatoes on the pillars on the terrace are doing really well and you can see tiny tomatoes on the tigerella, the big stripy tomato. The tumbler cherry tomatoes are starting to come over the edges of the pots and look good too.

Tomato pots

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Visit to Robert and Stephen

Beautiful bougainvillea and lavender below the terrace
The garden group had their last visit for this season to Mourtero to see the gardens of Robert and Stephen. They have two gardens although they flow together by winding pathways and steps. It is a lot of garden to look after and has very distinct areas.
There is a lovely secret garden by one of the kalivis and they have some of the biggest lavenders I have ever seen.
There is a flatter area with fruit trees and  vegetable beds and a huge cherry tree which is a lovely shape and gives welcome shade.

Lemon trees and one of the terraces
They have fabulous lemon trees with the biggest lemons I have ever seen and a grape vine which is doing very well. There is some lovely planting around the terrace and it is a very peaceful place to be.
We had some refreshments and swapped some plants and I came home with a jalepeno pepper, a black cherry tomato and a lemon cucumber.
It was a great end to our first season and hopefully we can do it all again in the Autumn and get more cuttings and plants etc.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Getting back to some kind of normal

We have had an exhausting few days. Merkel went to be spayed which meant catching her as she finished her last meal of the day and shoving her into a cat box.
Then we had to grab the kittens and put them in another box which then sat in the bath all night. It was away from Bonnie and dark and quiet.
The vet asked us to get Merkel to her just after 9.00 so Mark took her down and we were expecting to collect her an hour or so later. The vet didn`t do the op until 1.30 and she came home about 3.00.
I was getting a little concerned about the kittens as they hadn`t had a feed since the previous evening but they were fine and did take a little food and water from my finger through the day.
Merkel was yowling like crazy in the box but I took the kittens back at about 6.00 and she was very pleased to see them although still very wobbly.
She had eaten and fed them by about 10.00 and they all went to sleep in their box.
Today Mimi ( mini Merkel ) and Daisy have had their own plates of food and Mimi is a pig like her Mum.
Daisy is slower and more dainty so you have to stay and fend off Mimi and Merkel.
They have been down on the terrace and to Bonnie`s horror, up to the kitchen door!

Daisy in front, Mimi behind
Any way, they are the most dreadful time wasters and there is huge amount of strimming to be done. I did some this afternoon and must make myself do some more after garden group tomorrow.
The vegetable garden seems to change every day and there are already small french beans and gold courgettes and it won`t be long until we have our first cucumber of the season.
The tomatoes in pots on the terrace have doubled in size and have loads of flowers on them.
Good job we like tomatoes.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Kittens are worse than kids

kittens in the bread oven

Merkel moved the kittens back to the bread oven a couple of days ago as we had a thunder storm and it was a bit wet in the bramble patch.
Yesterday much to her noisy consternation, one of the kittens got down to floor level and couldn`t get back. I put it back and they seemed to settle down.
Last night we heard the most dreadful cat fight going on and Merkel saw off a tom cat.
I looked out just before I went to bed and he was back so I decided to sleep on the sofa with the window open so I could hear anything happening. Apart from more thunder, all was quiet.
This morning Mark met a kitten on the terrace and Merkel was a bit frantic as she couldn`t stop them wandering. We put the box she had them in on the floor and they settled down for a while.
The kittens can climb out of the box and were very exposed so we moved the box in to Filios`s store and shut the door enough to stop a tom cat getting in.
It won`t stop the kittens or Merkel getting out so I think the next few days could be pretty exciting. I don`t know about Merkel but I am exhausted.

sleepy family

exploring the store

at the door

Frustrations of the flower garden

I was very happy with the way the flower garden was beginning to fill out and despite some colour clashes it was looking pretty good. The night before last I planted out four areas of nicotiana and they were good healthy plants. Mark and I popped in to town last night to have a beer, we were only gone an hour or so, this morning I saw that the bl........y chickens have eaten half the nicotiana and uprooted three nastutiums.
I had put canes around the stachys and I will have to do the same with what is left of the nicotiana.
Here are a couple of photos of the garden yesterday and I will take another in about a months time to see whether the sun has dried it all up. I think the verbena bonariensis is looking great although it is much taller than it grew in the UK. The sweet rocket is finally flowering although I grew the plants last year.

small bed at the top of the steps

Sunday, 12 May 2013

To Mpostani ( vegetable garden)

The vegetable garden is coming on very well since we put in the irrigation and it is so much easier.
I got some very good manure from Pandelis , our log man, and everything is growing like crazy.
I put in four greek tomatoes, the ones with huge tomatoes and three cucumbers. I will add three more in June to extend the season. The next row is gardener`s delight a cherry tomato and gold courgettes and green courgettes. Then the french beans  and then a row of tigerella tomato which is orange and red stripes.
This morning I planted a row of aubergines and in a few days it will be peppers.
The lettuce and carrots in the carrot box are doing really well and the swede are doing much better in semi shade. I have sown spinach and rocket in semi shade too and the pumpkins and butter nut squash in the corner of the garden are getting bigger every day.
The cabbages are getting quite big, we ate one the other night and it was much tastier than the greek ones I grew.
The sweet potato vines are taking a bit of time getting going and I am really looking forward to seeing their flowers, they are related to morning glories.
I put five pots on the terrace pillars, three with tigerella and two with tumbler cherry tomatoes and they are doing fantastically well and have flowers already.
I really must have a look and start thinking about my seed order for autumn as it seems to take quite a while to get them sent.
The flower seeds are coming on well, I have planted stachys and nicotiana into the garden already and I have lots of orange and creeping thyme plants.
The penstemmon are looking really healthy but I will over summer them in semi shade and plant them in the autumn to catch autumn rains.

tomatoes in tubs

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Latest garden visits in Glossa

A view from Jo and Roger`s garden
On Saturday we combined two garden visits. First we went to Jo and Roger`s garden which surrounds their various holiday cottages and their home at Glossa. They have the most amazing views as they are right on the edge of the steep slopes running down to the sea. They have built a garden over eight years and have made several terraces , one of which they use to grow sweet potatoes under black plastic. They gave me some slips and I am looking forward to the flowers and then lots of sweet potatoes for the autumn.
They have lots of nasturtiums everywhere which look fantastic and a superb philadelphus beside the door to one of the kalivis.

At the bottom of the garden they have planted a vineyard which should increase yield over the next few years. They also have a jacaranda tree and I would love to see it when it flowers.
We had very nice refreshments and Roger let us try his homemade gherkins which were delicious and very kindly let us have some seeds so I am trying them.
We then strolled up to Karen and Tony`s new garden which is looking really good and I was so impressed by how much they have managed to plant. In a years time it will all have filled out and the large, stone beds around the pool will look fabulous.
I, stupidly, took a picture from the pool looking up the largest bed towards the house but forgot to take one looking down on the pool and the incredible view beyond.

The new planting in the bed above the pool
Their pool is on the edge of the cliff  and they have a wonderful view of the sea and Skiathos.
The slightly smaller beds look great too and I can`t wait to see them when they have filled out.
We had more great refreshments and we had two lovely garden visits.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A sad few days

I noticed this morning that Merkel was no longer in the olive tree in my flower garden so after she had eaten I followed her.
While she had her lunch I looked and she only has two kittens left, no sign of the apricot and white or the one that looked like Merkel.

The kitten looking at the camera hissed like mad and I think they will be quite ferocious when they do come out.

On sunday night when Mark took Bonnie out for her late stroll they found a starved dog down by the church which was cowering so badly she looked injured.
I suppose we shouldn`t have given her food and water but we had to.
The next morning she was still with us and had found Eileenos and savaged him. Mark had to finish him off which was awful for him and it is so strange without him.
When I was gardening there was a constant chatter from Eileenos around the fence or green house or he would be tapping at the kitchen door. He crowed a lot too and it just seems far too quiet.

The landlord took the dog away and we kept the chickens in as we were worried she might come back.
Sure enough she was back the next morning, I posted something on Skopelos news about her but no one knew anything . She was actually a lovely dog, obviously a hunting dog but very friendly and well trained. We really felt she couldn`t be trusted around the kittens and chickens and the landlord took her away again. Sad.

It has turned very hot and I have to wait for the evening to work on the garden. I planted some more tomatoes,cucumbers and courgettes and this evening I want to get the canes in and put another irrigation line in for the aubergines and peppers.
I have planted up five tubs, three of tigerella bush tomatoes and two of tumbler tomatoes and put them on top of the pillars on the terrace.
The flower garden is filling out and looks very cheerful at the moment, it is not tasteful, lots of clashing colours .
The nasturtiums are spreading about and I think it looks good.