Friday, August 19, 2011

My landscaping adventures part 1

 In March 2007 a dear friend and her husband wanted to do something to their backyard. They lived part of the year in Barbados and owned a town house with limited  garden space. The yard was nondescript, consisted of a large mahogany tree that was severely cut back and some golden palms and love lies bleeding (amaranth) or locally known as cat tails. The owners Helen and Chris hated this eyesore and were not sure if it could be removed because of our laws protecting local mahogany trees.
 My friend Helen wanted more space so that the patio could be extended. I was asked to get someone to come and do the job for them. Well I love an adventure so I volunteered to do the job (yes I was used to doing stuff around my garden so what the heck , this was just another garden).
 I had a few mishaps with the first carpenter who wanted to cut corners, so I got the rid of him and I called  in a  good carpenter who had worked for me before.  The grass was removed, the ground leveled  and the footings were dug, I used concrete (cinder) half blocks. Ground cover fabric was laid with a couple inches of gravel on top. The joists were laid on the concrete block footings, then the flooring was put down. Notice how George cleverly worked around the tree with the deck boards. I used pressure treated pine which can be used outdoors and  was treated  for termites, believe it or not pressure treated timber will outlast hardwoods.
I rented an orbital sander that nearly broke my back trying to get it out of the car. A friend at the rental place gave me some sound advice n how to sand a floor. I started on the diagonal and sanded the deck  with a coarse sand paper, then I sanded along the grain with a finer grit sand paper. It took almost a day sanding the deck boards.
After consulting with the clients on the deck colour I cleaned and stained the deck. I gave it several coats.

 I then had George my carpenter build this trellised arch and I stained it.

I then went to work on the garden with my garden helpers.
 We dug out the old plants and shrubs many of them unsuitable plantings for that garden and round paving stones leading to the deck were laid.
 I installed colourful foliage like the oxblood heliconia, purple leaf crinums, begonias, cuphea, Brazilian fire spike, crotons, desert roses and thunbergia errecta. The Air conditioning unit was to be hidden so I used the thunbergia errecta to do just that.
 I planted yellow mandevilla to run up this arch.
 The garden  five months later,  gardens in the tropics  grow very quickly and must be maintained on a regular basis.
Orchids were planted on the tree stump these were later removed when the tree stump was cut lower to make a table base.
My clients were very pleased with the results and so was I. Chris my client said that I was very brave to take on a project like this and Helen said that I should do this professionally. I laughed and told her that I would think about it.  Chris and Helen sold the property last year and have moved to Aruba. I wonder what it looks like now.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day August 2011

 This rose was given to me by my mother Miss Rose
 Ground orchid
 Bachelor buttons (gomphrema)
 Pink pride of Barbados ( caesalpinia pulcherrima) aka bird of paradise
 White mussaenda at the front entrance
 Pink mussaenda in the back garden.
 Carambola flower (star fruit)
Purple dendrobium

Hello and welcome to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day where gardeners around the world show what is blooming in their gardens. It has been hot hot hot and now it is raining torrents. The plants and trees are loving it. To see what is blooming in gardens around the globe please visit Carol at may dreams garden.
Avocados(zaboca) are in season along with golden apples (pommecythere) and limes. It is advisable not to harvest avocados after a heavy rainfall. Why? The avocado will rot when ripening because of the heavy water content.
 Last weekend I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with Nicole from a caribbean garden. She was in Barbados on business and invited me to lunch at the Crane Hotel where she was staying. She also instructed me to pack my swimsuit( I had to check  to see if any still fitted me and that they weren't suffering from dry rot). After lunch we ventured onto the beach and into the sea. It was a bit rough and the beach was covered with sea weed. I wasn't planning on going into the water but Nicole was game for it. So I decided to just walk along the water's edge until a humongous wave doused me and I joined Nicole. We both lost our sunglasses to the sea after another huge wave covered us and had to go buy new ones. I felt invigorated after and can you believe I live on the island and haven't been to the beach for over 2 years? It took Nicole from Anguilla  to get me into the sea. Well friends you must visit my lovely island and I promise you that I will accompany you to the beach. Ok?
Have a great week gardening!