Monday, July 7, 2014

A little Spanish garden.....

I've been meaning to take photos of our garden here in Estepa, Sevilla, for ages, and today I finally got around to it!  Our garden isn't large but it suits us perfectly because we spend so much time back and forth to the coast....we don't really want to leave our son Brendan with too much extra work!  When we were house hunting back in 2003 it really was the garden that sold it for me.  So many houses here in rural Spanish towns don't have gardens, they have patios and terraces, but I wanted a 'proper' garden!  So here we have it!  We do also have a terrace upstairs, which I will photograph another day.

The first part of the garden is actually a big square covered patio that is walled on three sides and entered from either the kitchen or double doors from another room in our house.  There is a full bathroom off this patio, which is really handy, particularly in the summer when we don't want to traipse through the house when wet from the jacuzzi/hot tub.  In winter, for protection, we fill the covered patio with plants that normally are in the main part of the garden during the spring/summer/autumn months.  However, at this time of year, it is plant free as the temperatures can get so high that they just burn up, poor things!

The main part of the garden is entered through a white stone arch to which we added a wrought iron gate.  Here you can see the garden from the archway.  You can also see our walls which are badly in need of a coat of paint...another job for later in the year when it's cooler!


The jacuzzi/hot tub can be seen on the right.  We have two large Yucca plants in pots standing either side of the jacuzzi.  The door you see on the left is my hubbys 'workroom', housing all his tools and stuff.  Originally, and many years ago, that room was an outside kitchen and has a very large, now unused,  chiminea inside in one corner.





We have high walls on all sides, which is great, it makes for an incredible sun trap!  We get sunshine all day long and well into the evening, which is lovely.  The jacuzzi/hot tub is invaluable in the hot months.  We used to have a pergola over the top of the jacuzzi as the fibreglass can be damaged by the hot sun, but it was brought down in 2012 by the heavy (for here!) snow fall, so we are waiting to have a replacement made.  I was hoping Dee's clever hubby Paul might fancy a holiday in the sun!! ;)


As you can see, the whole patio is paved in non-slip terracota tiles.  We have a lot of plants such as Geraniums and Hibiscus growin in pots, as well as some herbs such as mint and basil.  But we have planted quite a lot of things in the raised part of the garden, we also added a rockery, which we filled with cacti and Aloe Vera.  We've found that these are the best types of plants to grow here as they don't need quite so much water and are very hardy.  We originally had a small water feature in the rockery, but it proved impractical as the water was forever evaporating, so we removed it.   You can just see our little stone mosaic topped table on the right hand side of the garden, where we often sit to enjoy our elevenses because it's shaded until later in the day.


Our house is attached to our outbuildings, which extend right the way down the garden to the end.  The door you see on the left in the above photo is our laundry room, next is a storage room, the door is situated around the corner to the laundry room door, and then the rest of the outbuilding is another large storage room, the door is at the end of the garden.  The old chair above is on it's last legs, and is just used for propping open the laundry room door when the tumble dryer is on!!


I really like the plant above, I can't recall it's name but it has several different colours of flowers all growing on the one plant!  It loves the sunshine and the little flowers close up in the late afternoon when they are in the shade.


The above photo shows the back of the rockery and the planters full of cacti and succulents.  Also we have irises and more aloe vera!  The door you see in the background is the middle storage room which I hate going into as there are spiders in there!!!  Eeek!


Brian has tried to train the lemon trees to form a sort of arch over the pathway to the end of the garden.  In the main it works....except sometimes we walk through and get a hefty wack on the head from a low hanging lemon or orange!!!  The tree above holds both lemons and oranges.  You can just see the large area at the end of our garden which you reach via two steps.  At the moment we have artificial grass down as previously it was just concrete and extremely dusty, this area is a real suntrap and we dry our washing there (even denim dries in 15 minutes in the summer!) and we also have a patio table and chairs there......but after about 9am it's too hot to sit up there....although the dogs love to sunbathe there at any time of the day!!


Looking to the side of the garden again, you can see a large 'date' palm that we bought as a tiny little pot plant several years ago.  It produces little fruit in the spring but we don't know if they're edible.  Behind that is a rambling rose which is still smothered in small red roses, but a lot of them are perfectly preserved 'dried' roses now!  Also above you can see our mandarin tree which is doing well since we took it out of it's pot and put into the ground, it's currently covered in small green fruit which should be ready to eat come the winter.  


Here you can see the nectarine tree, behind that an apple tree and in the corner a low palm which was given to us as a wedding present in December 2005, it was a small pot plant and has now completely taken over the corner of the garden there!    There's honeysuckle clambouring for space at the bottom of the nectarine tree.  So far this year we've had almost 40 nectarines, and they are absolutely delicious, I'm still eating them each morning for my breakfast.  You can also see just how dry and dusty the soil is, typical Andalucian dust!!



Above is a close up of the combined lemon and orange tree.  


 Above, our small hibiscus plant produced a gorgeous saucer sized flower!



Above is another planter of cacti and succulents.


Looking up at another beautiful blue sky!!


Finally I thought I'd add a photo of when our jacuzzi was delivered.  Because of it's size, we couldn't get it through the house so it had to be brought in by a massive crane that was parked outside in the street, whilst the crane operator worked from our garden with his remote control.  I had terrible visions of it falling out of the straps and crashing down onto our neighbours house.....thankfully that didn't happen!!! 

So there you have a little tour of our Spanish garden, I hope you've enjoyed seeing it!!!



20 comments:

  1. Jealous me? Never - green with envy!

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    1. LOL thanks for visiting Rosie, I hope, despite going all green on us, you enjoyed the visit!!! ;)

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  2. Seeing your jacuzzi delivered like that reminds me of when our neighbours had their's put in - a huge crane it was and all the street were watching the excitement!

    Lovely to see round your garden Sharon. Do you use your Aloe Vera? I find it really good for burns and rashes....very soothing. Lovely sun trap indeed, making the most of all the spaces.

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    1. Oh and also wanted to say what an amazingly beautiful hibiscus, I just LOVE the colour!

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    2. We were lucky in that it was delivered when it was quite quiet but there were still a few neighbours out there watching what on earth was going on......we're already a novelty, being non-natives, so this just added a bit of excitement to us being here! Everyone wanted to know what it was!!!! (yes our neighbours are incredibly 'quaint'!)
      Yes, we do use the aloe vera, it's a brilliant plant. It rips my arms apart when I try tidying it up, but then helps them to heal with the smelly stuff inside the long leaves/spikes!
      Thanks too on the hibiscus, it really is a gorgeous colour, isn't it!

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  3. How lovely to see a garden that has developed over the years whilst mainly being bathed in hot sunshine!
    Like Paul's and Denise's garden you have managed to cultivate little areas, or rooms, with a variety of different planting....which I love to see. (That is where my postage stamp of a so called garden fails miserably as it's just square and boring whatever you try to do. Just not long enough in it's overall length.

    I have been particularly interested in seeing those places which you use as a background for your superb Sasha photos.

    Many thanks for this delightful tour so that I can now picture you enjoying your breakfast and morning coffee etc and how scrumptious to be able to pick and then eat fresh fruit from your very own trees only 'an arm's length' away. How the other half live!

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    1. Thank you Kendal, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I really do love being out there, although it is incredibly hot at the moment....it was high 30s again today in the shade, goodness knows what it is in the sunshine!
      I have to say that even after 10 years here, I still find it a complete novelty to be able to just pick lemons and oranges from the trees in the garden. In fact I actually rarely pick them, I just pick up what falls on the floor and use those. I have a glass of warm water with the juice of half of one of our own lemons each and every morning and that sets me up for the day!
      Now all we need is that new pergola....... :)

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  4. Sharon what a gorgeous garden you have!! I love all the high white walls and non slip tiles with your green oasis breaking up the space and give some colour and form. How lovely to have an Orange and Lemon tree in the garden which is also helping to give your some much needed shade.

    Paul will be jealous of your aloe Vera, he bought one but someone told him it's an Agave! So now he's after an Aloe Vera! I think it was just a ploy to get another plant!

    I love all the outbuildings running the length of the garden!! So jealous would love to have those in our garden, then my Sasha Studio would be up and running and the no 2 daughters all sing all dancing exercise bike would not be sitting on my gazebo!!

    The Hibiscus is lovely and I love the little multi coloured plant of forgotten name!! So sweet and colourful .
    That jacuzzi must be a godsend in the hot weather !, I'll tell Paul about it needing a roof for shade but being only one step up from a lizard, who'd lie in the sun all day given the chance I don't know how much work you'd get out of him!! lol

    I vote the next Sasha gathering be at yours ! mind you later in the year when the temperatures dropped to a comfortable 72 / 75 degrees!!

    hugs Dee xxx

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    1. Thanks so much Dee, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing it. I thought it was about time I did take the photos, seeing as I'd mentioned doing so several times. I hoped that people would find it interesting seeing a different type of garden too!
      I wonder if it's possible to grow an Aloe Vera from a leaf? Because if so, I could always bring one over with me in October. When we came here 10 years ago, we brought one small plant at a local garden centre and planted it in a raised bed in one corner, it is now enormous!!!! You can just see it in the 8th photo from the top, in the bottom right hand corner.....it's a brilliant plant. When we water it, more often than not, a whole bunch of lizards will run up the wall behind it to get away from the water! LOL!
      Those outbuildings are great for storage and the end one is really big, but I don't like going into them because there are definitely spiders in there....and although they're not big spiders, I just can't stand them!!!
      I think that's a great idea to have the next Sasha bash at mine.....we can have gazpacho and salmoreco in the sunshine then take a refreshing dip in the jacuzzi and then play dolls!!!! Yes, sounds like a great idea to me!!!
      xxxx

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  5. It is absolutely beautiful Sharon, I am seriously GREEN here!! Do you have the hot tub cold in Summer? I have always wanted one here :)

    Kathryn (Kayjay) xx

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    1. Hi Kathryn, thanks so much for stopping by, I am glad you liked the photos of my garden!
      To be honest, no, I really couldn't sit in cold water.....it's alright having cold in a swimming pool where you're doing excercise by swimming, but I tried having the jacuzzi cold, but it's not comfortable like that because you're just sitting there relaxing.....I tend to have it warmish, but not hot. You can have it up to 40c and I tried that once....I thought I was going to pass out, never mind how red my skin went!!! LOL

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  6. Absolutely lovely - you've created something special Sharon - pretty, restful - and just a tiny bit decadent with the jacuzzi!

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    1. Thanks very much Tricia, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing our garden. And I know what you mean about the jacuzzi, in fact when we first came here and asked our Spanish plumber about getting one and installing it for us, he was a bit surprised, telling us that the only other jacuzzi/hot tub he knew of around here was in the local 'club'.....a 'club' here is another word for a brothel! LOL
      Oh well!!!! ;)

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    2. I said decadent, not debauched!!

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  7. What a lovely place to relax! I always admired the cacti and suculent beds in the courtyards and the balconies full of bright red flowers (geraniums? always too high up to identify) in Spain, but your garden has a great deal more going for it! As for the jacuzzi, well, what luxury! A little higher than blood temperature for the water, a glass of wine and plate of tapas on the side....I'd never want to get out.
    Congratulations on creating your own little piece of heaven.
    Jenni xx

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    1. Thanks very much for your nice comment Jenni....I'm glad you like the garden. Yes, they'd be geraniums, they're everywhere here!
      I usually sit in the jacuzzi and eat fruit such as nectarines or plums, that way I don't end up ruining yet another tee shirt when I drip the juice down myself!!!! ;)
      xxxx

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  8. Thank you sharing your very special garden photos Sharon. I am entranced by the beautiful flowers and plants and the unique areas you hace created. Wonderful!!!! :) xxxx

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    1. Thanks so much Ginger, I'm glad you popped into the garden for a while! :)
      I know it's not a big garden but I really am happy with it! xxx

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  9. Hi Sharon

    Lovely garden! Would the multi-colored plant whose name you can't recall be a potentilla? That was my first thought and images I found online seem to match. Yellow seems to be the most common flower color but I found white, rose, gold and orange varieties also.

    Teresa F.

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  10. Makes me want to live in Spain - it's wonderful......
    Joanie

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