Having lived our entire lives in the US Pacific Northwest – where gardens are folded up and put away between October and May – it sounded idyllic to be able to ‘garden’ in December and January in Greece.
|Our bedroom window|
We were realists, though. We’d seen that garden: it needed work in the spring, it needed more work in the summer and when we walked through it the week before purchasing The Stone House on the Hill
, it appeared it might take the rest of our lives to ‘garden’ this place back to its one-time beauty. Still, we thought, it had potential. . .
And that’s not to say there weren’t beautiful spots tucked away in this Mediterranean challenge, like the bougainvillea blooming outside our bedroom window.
|View frrom our parking area|
The garden makes up most of the grounds of our Stone House. It cascades down a slope from its parking area, loops to the side of the house and then leads into our small terracd olive grove
(if you missed that post, click the link).
Our home is one of four built on the edge of a century-old olive grove on a hillside above the small villages of Agios Dimitrios
and Agios Nikolaos
(St. Dimitri and St. Nicholas) in The Mani area of the Peloponnese.
Come Take Stroll through the Garden . . .
We had bouts of cold wind and rain, so our gardening efforts were somewhat limited during our 28-days, but as I did last week with the interior of the house
, I want to show you some before and after photos of this still-a-work-in-progress-potential-oasis:
Let’s start at the side of the house where it appeared the previous owners had a small
un-used, and definitely unloved patio that sat forlornly near the garden’s sole lemon tree. “This will be the Wine (tea or coffee) Patio,” I said so many times that it became a mantra.
|Before photos on left, patio revealed on the right|
After a morning spent cutting and yanking vines and old growth we discovered that ‘tiny’ patio was huge! It will be loved and used. Not only will we sip wine there, we just might dine there as well! And for you gardeners reading this, the lemon tree is one that produces year-round so no matter when we visit we should have – or at least their fragrant blossoms – lemons, like these growing in December.
|Our lemon tree in December|
As we removed layers of vines from the patio we began discovering our ‘secret garden’ hidden away under the growth. We opened up planting areas (for the Christmas poinsettias), and found a number of plants including a French Lavender and wonderful bits of stonework. . .all just waiting to be discovered.
|Discovering parts of our secret garden|
There is still work to be done on the side garden, as evidenced by the photos below. The previous owners were apparently content to use the ladder pictured to get from the upper garden to the lower one at the side of the house; the one that leads to the wine patio. We are having stairs built next month and we will focus on this area during our next stay:
Then there was the matter of the garden behind the house.
|The challenge area - we did plant iris along the wall to get something pretty there|
A sloping hillside, we thought, without much definition.
First step was to cut, pull, dig and clean out.
Ground cover is a good thing, but there is such as thing as too much of a good thing.
So we went to work and after several days, guess what we found?
|Work begins in the left photo - and revealed many surprises underneath the olive tree|
Hidden beneath the growth were some of the original terraced stone walls of the olive grove. We also unearthed granite stones, iris beds and a carpet of nasturtiums.
|Morning sun highlights the iris we discovered|
“The secret to being a bore is to tell everything.”
With those wise words in mind, I will end this week’s tour. But not before I show you some of the garden blooms and colors -- in December and January mind you!!
|Our garden blooms|
Hope to see you back again soon. Come experience the special celebration in the village on January 6th and in a later post I'll take you through the neighborhood and village. By the way, if you have ideas for the side garden, do let us know!
Thanks – as always -- for the time you’ve spent with us in Greece. It means a lot to have you with us.
Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening