Sunday, November 16, 2008

My, How My Garden Does Grow!

I thought it was time to post an update on how my garden was doing. When I moved in, there was very little in either the front or back garden areas. That just wasn't going to work for me because I'm a real visual kind of person and I like looking at pretty things. So I would buy plants, mostly small, and have Jesus, my gardener, plant them for me. As much as I love working in the garden, the economy is such that employing gardeners and maids is such a help to the economy and...who am I to buck the system?? When he would go with me to the nursery, I would pick out some plants and he would say, "No quieres mas grande?" (don't you want it larger?) I would shake my head and tell him he would make sure they grew to be large in no time at all! Well, this whole process started in mid August and I'm here to tell you that living on the equator is wonderful for gardens!!

Here are some pictures of the back yard, before and after shots.

This is the before shot. There was really only a large Bougainvillea and a Bird of Paradise and an ugly shrub on the left. Note that there were no flower beds at all. I'm not sure why, but it seems that everyone has a drain in the middle of their yards (the square black thing in the lawn).

And now here is the after shot! This doesn't really show how really pretty it is. With photography, unless you're a real professional, it's hard to capture the real beauty of the subject, whether it's plants, a sunset or a child. But I'm trying! All the 'little' plants that I bought are growing like weeds and the garden is filling in beautifully. There are roses, Mexican sage, dusty miller, Bird of Paradise (4 cuz I love them), vincas in a gorgeous orange, hibiscus, ginger, tropical orange flowers, begonias, gerber daisies, candle flowers, rosemary and basil, and some beautiful red and pink flowers. There's more but that's all I can remember! And since I'm working on my photography skills, my garden is my best subject. I would love to drive around shooting local people and sights, but I'm afraid I wouldn't get back home with my camera.

This is a view from my dining room, looking out into the back garden in August. I was getting ready for my first dinner party and thought it was a pretty picture...Sally's Guatemalan place mats, the Ginger flowers I bought for about $2.00 and my 'lovely' back yard.

Here's the same shot, taken yesterday (11/15/08). As you can see, I really like flowers on my dining room table! What can I grandmother had a wonderful garden and I remember, as a child, getting lost in it, exploring for flowers and critters. Thanks Gram, for instilling in me to appreciate the natural beauty around us!

This is a view taken from the back of the yard toward the house. Again, it doesn't really capture how pretty it is.
I love close up shots, so here are a few of the flowers in my garden. This blue flower, I am told, is Mexican Sage. The flower, stems and leaves feel like velvet. It's beautiful!

I'm not sure just what this little flower is, but I love them! I have them in a bright orange and yellow, planted around the garden. The hummingbirds love them!

I love this shot taken from the table on the veranda. I've never been a big fan of orange but for some reason, it works here. These vincas are growing like crazy. I had to cut them back about 2 weeks ago because they were beginning to cover the red hibiscus behind them.

And the lovely gerber daisy. Not sure how I got white...maybe the plant looked so healthy that I didn't care what color it was!
So, that's the back yard. The front is not bad either, as you can see here. It too, began as pretty much the climbing plants in the right hand corner and 2 overgrown bougainvilleas that were moved. Roses, vincas, bird of paradise and other flowering plants are now on the way to making this a lovely spot to see when you enter my front gate!! Here are the before and after shots of the front.

Before....and after.
Better, huh?

I realize that if you have no interest in gardening, this post will probably rank pretty low on your list of favorites. But when you live in a third world country and your home is, literally, your castle, an important thing is to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Flowers make me happy and sitting at the table on my back patio in the morning, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the hummingbirds make their rounds...that's my little escape. Fortunately, plants grow very fast here. The time span of the before and after pictures is from mid-August to mid November...3 months. It will be hard to leave this garden in 16 months or so!

By the way, I post lots of my photographs on a site called JPGMAG. To see them, go to