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DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 1

Deep Doo Doo

Last night's weather forecast promised a beautiful day and predictably it was. My wife and I decided to spend some time in the garden - the recent rains have suddenly brought everything to life and some serious jobs need attending to before things get out of hand.

I'm not a gardener, nor have I ever had any great desire to be, so quite why we chose a plot that's 2000m2 (almost half an acre) I do not know. The vast majority is fully established now and I'm particularly fond of our small orchard which is home to olive, lemon, orange, pomegranate, grapefruit and fig trees. To the front of the house is a typical Mediterranean garden filled with date palms, prickly pear, various agaves, Cypress firs, bougainvillea and all manner of spiky things of unidentified origin. To the rear we have bamboo, carob, and oleander alongside hibiscus hedging. Large expanses are covered by gravel - much as I'd like to plant it all, I don't think I'd ever have enough days in the year if we didn't have some low maintenance areas.

Maintenance is the heart of the problem. Even 800m2 of gravel needs treatment with weed killer 2-3 times a year. You'd be forgiven for thinking that very little would grow considering Cyprus' dry and arid climate, but believe me it does, with a vengeance. Most of my time is spent simply chopping back, hacking down, killing off or generally destroying in order to keep on top of the rampage. If it doesn't get hit this time of the year, come spring we'll be forcibly evicted from the house by the advancing onslaught of growing matter. While I'm regularly seen creating havoc with chainsaws, loppers, scythes and rotorvators, my dear wife will plant yet more colourful pots or create small 'feature additions' in unoccupied soil. They always look pretty but given two years they become ravaging, unstoppable monsters. My current battle against a particularly substantial geranium profusion is being lost - another little centrepiece that was planted just three winters ago.

I've only got a very small window in which to carry out the work. Hacking back is one thing, disposal is another. The only cost effective method is fire, usually a big one, but these are only permitted between 1st December and 31st January. Before I can even strike a match, I'll need to have written permission from the Mukhtar and to have briefed (and received a 'burning certificate' from) the fire department, so I'll need to get my skates on.

While surveying the areas of primary importance, my eye caught the Agave Americana, which if I'm not mistaken is about to do something rather spectacular. I'd estimate that the plant is around 10-12 years old and it currently stands at 2m in height. I was already impressed by this wonder of nature when I discovered from a neighbour that if I had the right equipment and a modicum of know-how I could use it to produce an alcohol known as Pulque. Now, it appears as if it is about to flower.

If it does, then over the next 4-5 months a stem will emerge from the heart of the flower growing to 50cms wide and supporting huge heads of flowers while rising to a colossal 8 metres in height! That's enough to dwarf the bungalow and be visible from a considerable distance.

Regrettably, when it does, all the energy the plant has accumulated over its life will be used in the flowering process. When all is done, the plant will die.

I'm thoroughly excited about this potential growth extravaganza. It will, undoubtedly, be an experience to savour, remember and relate in later life, though I feel sorry for the poor plant and its eventual demise.

Actually, no I don't. Guess who'll be left to hack down the rotting corpse and pay for the skip? For sure, there'll be no burning certificate available when you really could do with one.


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 2

Z

smiley - wow

For someone who isn't a gardener that sounds like a great deal of work to get all that going, including an orchard.


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 3

Researcher 14993127


smiley - cat


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 4

Deep Doo Doo

Actually, we were lucky - most of the garden was inherited. I've met the woman who originally planted it all and even she was amazed at the current growth rate. In hindsight, as she admitted, she'd have left far greater disances between plantings if she'd had known just how big things would have become.

One of the date palms is now around 1 metre in girth and about 5 metres tall. When we got here it was a tiddler and could easily have been dug up. Now it's established, the council have it noted on their books and the department of agriculture come around every year to spray for killer beetles (which have desimated vast areas of them) and also to inspect that we've not damaged it in any way. I suppose it's like a tree protection order that you'd have for old oaks and suchlike in the UK.

I don't mind the visits. The two female officers are thoroughly gorgeous and I try to seek their advice in all things plant related when they call round. smiley - tongueout


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 5

Metal Chicken

I'm impressed. That flower stalk is going to be a monster! smiley - monster All that growth in one season, no wonder it curls up and dies afterwards. Anything that tried that round here would just get all that soft growth battered to the ground by wind and rain.

MC


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 6

Sol

I envy your orchard, I really do.

But how smiley - cool the flowering will be. I'd love some pix of that when the time comes.


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 7

Z

Would you be able to draw together some of these wonderful journal entries into an entry on 'Life in Cyrpus' or some aspect of it?

smiley - geek


DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

Post 8

Deep Doo Doo

I think Bel might have that in hand, Z. I'm not presuming, but she did make mention of a small backwater of h2g2 called something like <./>thepost</.> or smiley - thepost

She, or Dmitri (who I think is now running stuff) gets first dibs.

After that, there is the book royalties to consider and, of course, oblivion.

If I survive any of these, then I'll happily write it up.

Now, go get a room. smiley - smiley


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DDD's NaJoPoMo - Only In Cyprus #27

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