As we leave the cooler months behind, shrubs, flowers, hedges and trees are starting to grow and people are heading to the garden centres for new ideas, vegetables and of course more beautiful colourful plants which we can only dream of planting in our gardens at home in the UK or keep them in our conservatories to enjoy warmth and sunshine.
We love horticulture and we thought when we moved to Cyprus it would be easy to grow fruit and vegetables in abundance due to the hot weather and climate, however, we have discovered that it isn’t as easy as we first thought. Fruit trees require a lot of attention and feeding in order for the tree to blossom and produce fruit especially when they are young trees.
Cyprus may have beautiful weather most of the time but Cyprus gardening is not easy especially in the summer months. While we have generally mild conditions in the winter months, the intense heat of summer literally fries many plants, making a productive vegetable garden a real challenge. When we arrived at the end of August we decided to try our hand at growing tomatoes and chillies thinking that they would be so easy to grow as we had grown them previously in the UK, but alas not!! The plants constantly looked like they needed watering but when watered it made no difference they started to wilt and then looked dead, we did manage to get one tomato though. What an achievement – and I thought I had green fingers too!!
We were surprised, however, as we got into the cooler winter months that these discarded plants got a new lease of life and started to grow – the chilli plant produced lots of chillies and I was able to fill up the freezer with them and even better the tomato plant is flowering so who knows this year we may get more than one tomato.
Although we currently have a few fruit trees in the garden Phill decided that it wasn’t sufficient and that we should have more so off we went to the garden centre in Kissonerga. Kissonerga is a village in South West Cyprus, about 8 km north of Paphos, in a region notable for the cultivation of banana plantations.
What a surprise upon entering the garden centre we found rows and rows of roses beautifully arranged in rows. Were we really in a Cypriot garden centre or were we back in England?
Lettuce and herbs – including chives, oregano and flat leaf and curly parsley to name but a few were planted out and waiting for customers to take them home. We are keen to be able to grow our own salad ingredients and herbs as it is something we use frequently in cooking. I guess it is only trial and error in the beginning to know what can grow in the heat and humidity and what can’t. I was really keen to pur a blueberry bush as I love blueberries with my porridge but we were told that it is to hot and humid around Coral Bay that we can’t so we will have to think of something else.
We eventually left the garden centre with a lemon, a mandarin and a red grapefruit tree. The fragrance from these trees floats on the air and the smell is so amazing as you walk around the trees from dawn until dusk. I just love it!!
Red Grapefruit Blossom
Lemon Blossom and the start of a lemon
Our new trees have been planted and Phill is loving tending to them, feeding and watering them to see them develop and fingers crossed we have a great crop at the end of the year…watch this space and we will keep you posted.
All going well we will have lemons for the gin and tonic, mandarins for the fruit bowl and grapefruit for breakfast. What more could we ask for.