Roughly a year ago I wrote a blog entry ten days after arriving in Lisbon that contained two valuable insights about my new life in Portugal. At the time, I was living in a hostel in Graça that was filled with interesting personalities and unusual characters. One of them pointed out feeling tired and being in pain are confirmations that are you are very much alive. After working in the garden these past days, I have slipped, stumbled, fallen, been scratched, and a host of other things. So all my joints, shoulders and back tell me I am very much alive, thank you very much! But also in that blog, was my introduction to the magical scent of orange blossoms that I kept running into around Lisbon. The orange trees were either in full bloom or laden with fruit and I fell irrevocably under their spell, promising myself that as soon as I snagged a proper place to live, one of the first things I would get was an orange tree. One cannot live in the Iberian Peninsula without an orange or lemon tree!
Daylight saving is a blessing a curse. On the one hand, it is not easy to wake up in darkness again, just when I was getting accustomed to getting out of bed at day break. On the other hand, it means that I can take a longer break after work and have a meal before I head into the garden. The setting sun is not as scorching, and the evening breeze is very refreshing, as it is cleansing. This evening I had two cats to keep me company, Xico and one whom I have decided to name Inky, because she looks as though the printer ran out of ink when colouring her face – an almost perfect symmetry of half orange and half black (the rest of her body is black with a few orange polk dots). They first sat and watched me pull out more plants, and then they started to play with one another, running all around and testing the new paths I created. It was delightful to hear the little galloping sounds, followed by leaps and bounds. Unknowingly, this has now become the new cat playground!
When I stopped to take a break under the orange tree, I inhaled deeply and the heady aroma of the orange blossoms filled my nostrils. I couldn’t help but smile. There it was again, that orange magic.
There is no perfectly engineered plan to these Zen paths I am creating around the garden. I follow my heart and eyes, and zero in on the calla lily patches, and whatever else I find along the way. Just the other day I wished for roses, thinking what a wonderful addition the scent and visual appeal would bring to the whole scenery. Well, as I’ve written before, be careful what you wish for… I found at least four rose plants, which were buried under the sea of nasturtiums, and were suitably offended, thereby not hesitating to scratch me in revenge. Nevertheless, I made my peace with them, trimmed and isolated them for the time being, until the other rose cuttings have rooted properly and can be added.
So somewhere between the orange tree, cherry tree and periwinkles there will be a lagoon of roses, by the looks of it. The general idea is to be able to stroll around the garden and get lost in thought among the plants. I want my camera lens to be able to find a subject as well, no matter how small or simple, this set of elderberry blossoms.