Sunday 8 February 2015

Preparing for spring...

On Monday we went to Sevilla and ordered the wood to build our new pergola which will go over the jacuzzi/hot tub in our garden.  Some of you might remember that back on the 28th February 2013, which is a holiday here as it is el Dia de Andalucia, we had a heavy snow fall which brought down our existing pergola.  I say 'brought down', but the 'unusual for here' weight of the snow on top, actually broke it completely in half!!  We weren't here at the time as Brian and I had gone to the coast for a couple of weeks, but Brendan awoke to see the damage and sent us these photos...

You can see below that the metal cross beam at the far end is completely broken in the middle, and the one this end is just being supported by an 'acro' that Brendan put in place temporarily!! 

This was one of the 'upright' corner posts, which as well as being bolted into the ground, was also attached to the wall of the house with metal brackets!!!  

So for two years we've been looking for 'just the right' pergola to replace it, as without shade we can only use the jacuzzi at night when the sun can't shine on it and damage the fibreglass.  Because wood isn't used so much here, we've been quoted some very high prices for a simple wooden structure so we finally decided to order the wood and make our own.  It will be a standard pergola with 6 crossbeams.   The wood was delivered on Thursday, our hallway has been piled up with wood like an adventure playground for the last few days!!  The bag contains all the metal fittings!

And we decided to make a start on it today.  Brian has drawn up all the plans, he can't do the lifting but is the 'brains' behind the building, Brendan and I are the 'brawn' apparently!!!!  Not so sure, having lost more than 50 pounds in weight in the last year, that I really want to be known as the 'brawn' but it could be worse I guess :)

Brendan's face below, shows how not 'overly impressed' he was when I said that I wanted the corner posts shortened by approx half a metre....

Brian directs the procedings!!! Note those horrible matching woolly hats!

As the morning warmed up, Brendan starts to shed the layers!!

The metal 'shoes' go onto the corner posts...this is Brian's 'work room' with the open door...

Ah, here comes the Building Inspector....or Yoda as she's otherwise known :) ...

It's not often you see Brendan without his woolly hat in winter, but it was turning into a nice warm morning...

Drilling through the tiles into the ground...

In the meantime I got bored standing around waiting for my 'services' to be needed so I decided to do a bit of weeding and tidying up of the garden.  I filled three large sacks of weeds and leaves....just shows you how 'needed' I was!!!

I thought I'd share some photos I took of the plants.  Most have done well over the winter, some have done VERY well!!

The rockery plants are doing very nicely indeed, lovely and green.  Once I'd removed a lot of the weeds, you could see them properly!!  The yucca in the pot in front is usually standing behind the jacuzzi but we had to move it out of the way for the 'workers'.....we've had this some years now and got it as a tiny little 'stump' thingy!!!! It has sooo much new growth down at the bottom, but it does need repotting as it's got very top heavy and easily falls over.

Loads of lemons on the tree, even though I use at least one a day, thankfully they don't diminish very quickly!  They really are probably the nicest lemons I've ever tasted....and definitely the freshest! ;)  Am I prejudiced?  Maybe!!

This plant has done incredibly well during the winter, we bought it last spring and it's grown nicely in the pot...

This is our Hibiscus, again bought last year.  They can be very temperamental, but this one has done well in the cold as it's protected in this corner...

These two troughs of cactii and succulents are spreading nicely and filling in the spaces...

I don't know what this plant is called but it looks lovely in this old pot...the bottom of the pot is planted in the soil and has been since before we moved in back in April 2004, there is another photo of it further down...

The mandarin looks good and healthy now that we've taken it from it's pot and planted it in the soil...the stones around the base are to prevent the dogs from digging, which they like to do!

Another 'oldie', our cheese plant, normally a 'houseplant' in the UK, has been outside since we received it as a gift in 2006!

This palm will take over the garden if we let it, it was thoroughly cut back last year and needs to be done again very soon...

The mystery orange/lemon tree is producing lots of lovely fruit again.....even after almost 11 years living here, it's still such a novelty for me to have citrus fruit growing in our own garden!

Here you can see both the oranges and the lemons growing side by side in the same tree...

I love this succulent in it's pot on top of our garden 'plinthe', it always looks so pretty and healthy with it's green with red tipped leaves...

Here's the old plant pot buried in the ground that I mentioned earlier....we daren't try moving it as we're sure it'd just fall apart!! 

Some members of the family got very 'exhausted' watching the rest of us work!!!!  Suki, enjoying a bit of a sunbathe in her 'mummy made' furry coat!!!

 Whilst Chocco investigates (and eats) anything he can find!

 Yoda just looks at the 'whipper snappers' with contempt!

The other Yucca, also needing has grown enormously!!

A few years back this large bowl was planted up with some small you can't see hardly an inch between them!

There's that old yucca again....oh and my lovely Lucy!

I got very excited when, having removed the weeds surrounding it, I found this plant in flower.....I thought my 'money tree' had begun to flower ;) only to realise that no, the money tree is next to it and as yet, no flowers!!  

This spiky cousin of the Aloe Vera has several flower stalks waiting to come up....won't be long now!

Why is it that grasses and weeds choose the sharpest plants to grow around....this spiky cactus is surrounded by 'stuff' that needs pulling up...

And finally a few photos of the doggies......Yoda

Choco in his usual 'upside down' pose!!!

And especially for Auntie Ronny, here is Kara, our tiniest little Chihuahua...

As for progress on the pergola, well the four corner posts are up and bolted to the ground, and two of the 6 rafters (one each end) are screwed in place....and this afternoon we had as the saying goes, tomorrow is another day!

I hope you've enjoyed sharing my Sunday and wish you all a lovely week ahead. :)


  1. Oh Wow! Thanks for Cooper and I for posting your gorgeous Chi's...and especially his love interest Kara <3
    I always enjoy the pictures of your garden...not because I am a gardener but it always looks so bright and cheerful where you are...and as for the lemon trees...they are superb!

    1. You're very welcome Ronny, I'm glad you liked seeing the doglets.
      And the garden too :) It is very green at the moment, a bit of rain, a lot of sun = a mountain of weeds!!! Thankfully though, the refuse collectors come every night and take not only the household rubbish but will take sacks of garden rubbish too :)

  2. I love your beautiful garden-especially the red-tipped succulent! The dogs are cute too. Makes me yearn for spring, but we are still buried under a foot of snow, with more to come tonight. :) Enjoy the sun!

    1. Thank you Farrah Lily, I'm glad you enjoyed my photos of the garden.
      Ooooo snow....toooo cold for me, but does look pretty I have to say!

  3. Looks like you will have a lovely new shade pergola for your Jacuzzi/hot tub when the 'boys' have finished. Your garden looks so lovely and bright and full of green. Love your Orange/ lemon tree what a great thing to have and be able to help yourself to the fruit whenever you fancy!
    Love seeing your dog's in their coats getting in on the action :)
    and nice to see some close ups of them, Hamish sleeps just like Choco upside down, what's that all about!! Thanks for letting us join in your Sunday, looking forward to seeing then end product!!
    hugs Dee xx

    1. Thank you Dee, and yes, hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get the bamboo for the top!
      I have to say that the lemon and orange trees are brilliant to have in the garden and the lemons in particular get used an awful lot!
      Brian says that they sleep upside to get their 'bits' cooler! It must be a man thing with him! ;)

  4. Hello from Spain: Nice pictures of your garden. I love sun and hot. Lovely spring.. Keep in touch

    1. Hi Marta, thanks for stopping by and yes, me too, I love sun and hot, can't wait for prima vera!!!

  5. love seeing the pics of the garden and your dogs , our house was full of cacti and succulents while I was growing up and its odd seeing them outdoor and looking so big and healthy love to have a garden like yours, im feeling quite green ;) xxxx

    1. Thanks so much Sarah, and you made me realise that I've been putting an extra 'i' on the end of the word cacti, don't know why.....must have been having a senior moment!!!!!

  6. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Happy little dogs and a friendly garden. I love the citrustrees!
    I never have the chance making marmalde from my own fruits - you are lucky...
    xxx Anne

    1. You're very welcome Anne, glad you enjoyed them!
      I did try making lemon marmalade once but it wouldn't I gave up. I drink the juice and pulp of a lemon every morning and I do make lemon tarts sometimes, but I just love to look at them in all their lemony niceness in the tree!!!

  7. You have a really delightful and interesting and garden full of little surprises with the succulent plantings and little dogs scampering around.........unlike my rather boring English fenced garden with just a square lawn surrounded by a flat shrub boarder.

    I used to have a Yukka and a Cheese plant in my last home's lounge but had to give them away when I moved here as the combined living/dining room is so much smaller.

    PS.Any chance of sending over a couple of those lemons as it's our Pancake Day next Tuesday?

    1. Thank you Kendal, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I do like grass but it just wouldn't work here, they have that rough hardy grass but it's not so nice and soft on your bare feet as English grass our summers being so long and dry it would be dead in no time!!!! Yes these plants do take up a lot of room.
      I would love to send you lemons but I think Shrove Tuesday will have come and gone before you get them! LOL

  8. What wonderful photos of your garden! I have seen some photos of your garden before but these photos that show the individual plants are so lovely. I admire the sunny setting and the pretty pots and variety of plants. Your pups are just adorable and look happy in their sweaters! A truly great post Sharon, thank you! :) xxx

    1. Thanks so much Ginger, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.
      Big hugs xxx

  9. Wow!, I love all the pictures!, you have such a beautiful garden!! *________*. I really enjoyed seeing all the details about the plants and adorable dogs!, I love dogs!! <3<3<3, they just look so cute in the winter clothing *O*
    I really miss the wonderful blue sky of Spain, I never saw such a sky in other place in the world. This sky gives you peace a good humor, and help to think positive too!. I am so glad to see that you are happy with your wonderful family!!
    All my love to you! <3<3<3


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