Archive for August, 2012


August 31, 2012 Leave a comment

A pomegranate

This pomegranate already looks wholesome but it will be at least 2 months before it’s ripe.

Both our pomegranate bushes had plenty of beautiful scarlet flowers this year but these resulted in only 6 fruits on one bush and none at all on the other.

Of the 6 fruits, some are bound to split. Apparently it happens when there are extreme fluctuations between wet and dry conditions. I don’t water the bushes for that reason.

Pomegranates get very heavy. It’s amazing how the thorny little twigs manage to support them.

Hare damage

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

If ever there was doubt in my mind about the necessity of ugly little socks round the trunks of the fruit trees, it’s been dispelled.

Orchard row showing hare-proof ‘socks’

With all the acres of forest around, I don’t know why hares choose to nibble the bark of our trees, but they do.

Dead plum tree hung with little plums

This wild plum tree on the edge of the orchard survived more than a year after having its bark ringed by hares and even started to produce a good crop of plums, but the drought must have been too much for it .

I dread to think how many orchard trees might have gone this way.

Red balsam

August 28, 2012 2 comments

A splash of vivid colour

Balsam is one of the plants we grew from seed, not quite knowing whether it would thrive or not.

Various colours, especially red, came up splendidly the first year, and then diminishingly so in subsequent years.

I suspect this is one of the last ones, growing in a pot in front of a stone wall, among four o’clock flowers, and being watered nearly every day throughout the summer.

Although I do hope it might seed again into its pot and give us pleasure next year.

Popper beads

August 27, 2012 2 comments

Italians despise cheap plastic jewellery, apparently, preferring a discreet touch of gold at neck or wrist.

That’s not my style, however.

3 popper bead necklaces

The three colours of oval-shaped popper beads that come from my childhood, plus the compatible round white ones which I acquired later, make the most versatile and good-tempered necklaces I possess.

There’s no catch to struggle with. There’s no join to keep in position, for symmetry’s sake, at the nape of the neck.

They split open and refasten at any point. It’s a moment’s pleasant work to change the length, colours or pattern.

The combinations in the photo are the ones I use most frequently and they’ve cheered up many an outfit.


August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Hibiscus bloom studded with raindrops

The weather forecast was right – we had storms today. The first drops fell just as I got into the pool.

It felt very dramatic: high wind, the first rumbles of thunder, and then arrows of rain as I was getting out again.

There wasn’t a huge amount of rain, but the contrast between the still, sun-soaked landscape before, and the torn, ragged monotones during the storm was so complete that it seemed like a different country.

I prowled around afterwards, revelling in not having to water the garden for a change, and saw this hibiscus bloom staring out at me.

Biggest scorpion yet

August 25, 2012 2 comments

Clive was sitting at his desk minding his own business when he felt something on his arm. He looked down and it was a scorpion!

He hastily brushed it onto the floor and called me.

Bumper-sized scorpion

I was able to photograph it alongside a ruler before it started to move on – those are centimetres at the top.

I intercepted it with a dustpan, and from there it returned to the big outdoors.

It was far and away the biggest scorpion we’ve seen so far.

Bigger peaches

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The tree whose peaches ripen later is finally flashing golden fruit through its leaves.

Some of the bigger peaches

Our Tunisian gardener thinned the fruit on this tree. It’s a task I find difficult – wasteful and disrespectful, somehow – so we agreed on a ‘one where there were two’ technique and I turned my back and let him do it.

The result is bigger peaches.

Some of them really are prize specimens. Their skin is so velvety soft that it will be difficult to tell when they’re ripe. The only way is to give each one a slight twist to see if it detaches.