Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gawd it's 'ot!

Mid-to-high 30s.

Too hot for the hammock
(from fab indulgence shop TIGER, - Think IKEA round the corner, and without the furniture. Lots of practical, pleasurable, inexpensive Scandiwegian bits and bobs, like stripey hammocks (oh yes...!) and small, narrow-spouted, light-weight lime green plastic elephant-shaped watering cans........Yup. Got one of those, too.)
And the basil's not keen. Then again, the basil's always sulking about something: toomuchlight-no-notenoughlight-no-notenoughwater-NO!-TOOMUCHWATER!! If a herb could have a headache, basil would be prone to migraines.
Even the flat-leaved French Parsley, usually cheerfully stoic in the heat, is not enjoying this.

It's English cousin, tucked behind it, and shaded by the wall and the lemon tree, perseveres valiantly, putting up fuzzy green heads that soon go brown and crispy, then putting up some more. Shame, really. We bought it by mistake. Actually...

...Oh! I decided to go and bring the poor little thing inside, rather than leave it to struggle in hostile conditions, but it's looking quite perky - A ratio of 80:20 green:brown is a serious improvement! - so I've left it out there. I guess it's had its suntan experience. The English abroad... we settle down eventually.

I called an earlier blog Pots, Privacy & Peas: Paradise, but got so carried away with the outdoor pots, peas and paradise, that I forgot about Privacy. Up here, we are across the road from the neighbours' eyrie, and indoors, beyond the glazed-in balcony, we're at right angles to another neighbour, and across from a nightbird's bedroom. Which is all fine, except that it's high summer up here on the mesa, and clothes are just... too much, you know?

Now, we don't want to traumatise anyone, but neither do I want blinds and curtains, so the dappled shade I'm working towards outside translates into a dappled privacy screen indoors; a leafy, growing, mashrabiya or jali, which will let in light and air, and be beautiful to my eyes, while protecting those of that young chap opposite.

Geranium and scindapsus aureus and a climber - don't know what it is, but I've got two!

Here's the other one. I know they're popular. No sign of any flowers, but healthy, handsome and not too vigorous to block light and air. I wish I knew what they are... Anybody?

The ivy in the first pic and the pretty green vine are both artificial, but the real plants are growing through them, and the plastic tendril spirals make useful supports and guides for new plant tips heading for the ceiling. Love it.

And this is another reason for the artificial climbers: this is the bathroom window, permanently open to let light in and steam out. Those plant pots are strategically placed between the bathroom window and the neighbour's windows and balcony, but don't give quite enough cover yet. Anyway, I love that artificial vine: very pretty, very convincing, and fairly unlikely to go brown and crispy. It gets spray-misted with the real plants too (with my bright blue TIGER pulverizador!), so it doesn't get dusty either.

Living room, looking through to glazed-in balcony and beyond: Not great, but it's a start.
And the neighbours' view.

That will do for now.

Now this
- is a suede shoulder bag that I lusted after and pined for for months, as its assorted brown, red, blue, green and purple cousins - and probably its identical icosuplets (Ha!) got sold, and the price dropped from 63€ (Husband or handbag, husband or handbag, husband or handbag?) to 40-something (h-o-h...) to 20-something - Ooh! Ooh!! (Except I've already got seven handbags, and we haven't-got-space-for-any-more-STUFF!!! H-o-h...) to 15€. Ahh... All those months of unwavering devotion. I've been so good... And - and - ok!

So I used my beautiful tawny gold suede shoulder bag every day for three weeks, and was dismayed (a word I've never used before, but it's the only word for that childlike disbelief and disappointment that comes when something really special turns out to be - not. So. I was -) dismayed to see the colour dim and the suede darken as the filth of city air and public surfaces attached itself to the seams, the corners, and the sides. Oh dear... (Disconsolate's a good word too.) So, when it didn't respond to cleaner, and I couldn't find the right colour, I put it away. I'd maybe salvage the cleaner, brighter bits for a doll's coat...

Then we moved here, and I needed a shelf for a spider plant, but we hadn't got any shelves; or a hanging basket, but the plant was so big; or a wall-planter, but I couldn't find one; or - oh yeah! So I put the shoulder bag in the sink, and scrubbed it with soap and water. I really like that bag!

And so does the - Wait a minute, wait a minute. - Chlorophytum comosum! There! There was more of it this morning, but the baby ones are here. If they sprout roots like this geranium cutting (geranium masked by scindapsus cutting which does nothing but lurk), I shall be very happy. Green screen.

Not everything's flourishing

But we water, and encourage, and wait. Mind you, I'm not impressed with this compost. Wait til we get our composter.

P.S. New in happy-ever-after library: Alice Bowe's High-Impact, Low-Carbon Gardening, 1001 Ways to Garden Sustainably. I may not be able to pull off the natural swimming pond, but I'm quietly thrilled to have got my little mitts on a domestic how-to guide to practices I've seen applied to public buildings in Europe in recent years. (Of course, in Australia, Earth Garden's been pointing the way for years.)

Quote from the Preface,

We'll look carefully at the management of water and compost, the sustainable gardener's two most precious natural resources.
She gets my vote. And my money!

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