Last of the summer flowers

Well, the kids are back at school and the days are getting shorter. It really is the end of summer. So to cheer you all up, here are a few photos of some lovely flowers. Our garden is relatively small with a boarder on each side. Perfect for me, it gives me a bit to do but nothing too overwhelming.

When we moved in at the beginning of May, the place was overrun with self seeded rocket plants. Most of them went to seed quickly, but I left them in as they have beautiful delicate yellow flowers that attract bees and butterflies. We've also had enough rocket to go in the odd salad or 2 which is fantastic.

I've always dreamed of having a lemon tree and now I do. (Well at least I think I do, it might be an orange tree.) It was looking rather sad when we arrived. One of my friends told me to open it out in the middle to let the light in. In June it had beautiful delicate flower, sadly most of them fell off (and even sadder, I didn't take a photo.) Still, it had a couple of young fruits. So I gave it a bit of a haircut. The smell was amazing, I never knew citrus leaves smell so strong and lemony. I wonder if you can cook with them? I gave it another trim towards the end of summer and disaster, I accidentally cut off 2 of the fruits. Boo hoo, only one left now.

A green, young lemon fruit

My other favourite plant is a bougainvillaea (photo at the top). It always conjures up romantic images of exotic and far away lands. Now we have a beautiful deep pink one that climbs up the back wall and trails along the balcony railings.

Other than the rocket, 2 rose bushes and the bougainvillea there wasn't much flowering being done in the garden. So I went to a local garden centre that is run by the town hall, it employs people with disabilities. And there I bought a car load of plants for not very much money. I was really really excited. And for a while we had pretty colourful boarders.

However, things dry out here quite quickly (even though I watered every evening during the summer.) A few plants died, but most are still alive and will hopefully re flower next year.

Now it's September and the garden is looking healthy and green (apart from the yellow rocket which is still flowering). My chilli plant is still alive and a few basil plants. (They'll die over the winter and I'll plant new ones next year.)

We have a couple of old bottles hiding under some bushes. They might at first glance appear to be rubbish left out by negligent children. But in fact, they are 'insect hotels' that have been carefully and lovingly made by said children (basically an empty bottle with a few holes and some dry leaves inside.) We will see who comes to stay.

A bottle filled with dry leaves

And pride of pride, most excitingly we have a cactus in flower. I'm not hugely keen on cactuses in the garden as they're dangerous for small children and more importantly their footballs (we lost about 5 to the big cactus in the last week, it's getting expensive). This cactus is on the balcony and I thought it was looking rather dead. But then I noticed that it was in flower. They open for an hour or so every morning. There are only 2 left now. (One fell foul of Dante who knocked it off by mistake, he said it wasn't attached properly.) But how beautiful and what a lovely end to our first summer in our new garden.

A cactus flowerA white flower