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Tag Archives: garden

It’s that time of year when we take back our garden and own the outside space of our home.   We maintain our small garden to give us pleasure all year from the window looking out, but during autumn and spring it offers us a more tangeable pay-back.

This post is a collection of images taken in the past few days.  It’s a small space with many users.

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The world is a funny place.  When I took these photos, I didn’t imagine that tomatoes would be the hot news topic in Kuwait!  During our stay in London, my wife’s best friend visited us and gave us a cherry-tomato plant.  My daughter, Noor, loves cherry tomatoes… Always has done.  We placed it in a shielded bright spot and tied the long branches to secure them.

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I know it’s summer when I look around and see an empty house.  It feels strange to have the place to myself.  The garden is not used – even on nice afternoons, there is nothing fresh in the fridge, books are untouched, toys are neatly stacked and the dining table has not seen plates for days.  My brothers have been staying with me occasionally, watching football and movies.

This photo, taken back in May, is what makes a house a home.  One’s loved-ones surrounding one with joy and laughter.  I am truly blessed and I thank God whenever I remember.

Three more shots from my few golden minutes in the garden yesterday.  These were taken outside, with natural light – no reflectors, no flash.  Apart from cropping and adjusting the shadows – I didn’t do any editing.

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I spent a few minutes in the garden this morning – smelling the roses.  Actually, we don’t have any roses but I wanted to get a couple of shots of the flowers on the Gardenia.  By the grace of God, this beautiful plant has survived four summers and has given it’s best bloom this spring.  I wasn’t taking the shots for the blog.  They’re for my garden log-book and are therefore less artistic and more practical.

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Ever since our two trees were removed from the front of our house, I’ve neglected our little garden.  It’s been long enough and it was time for some love and care.  The weather we’re blessed with these few days is a huge boost, both for the plants, and for me to get out there and do the work.

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Since the storm damage to our front two trees back in May , our house name looked like an after-thought. Well, the trees have finally started to fill with leaves, and I now pray for some long sturdy branches.  This should start to bring them back to their former glory.

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The last thing I want to do is to write about my hotel experiences on this blog.  This time however was a little different.  Whilst the place is not far away from home (Abu Dhabi) it was an experience worth sharing.  The property is imposing and the furnishings very luxurious.  It’s not to my personal taste but it is very impressive.  

During my five day stay, Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy spent a night here each.  I found it very strange that heads of state stay at a hotel – but this made sense of all the money that had been spent on this place and the many years (if ever) it will take to get some sort of payback.

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I needed some time before I was able to write this post.  Three years ago, I bought two trees which were two metres high for our entrance.  I looked after them almost weekly and finally decided what final shape to go for.  I decided to cut vertical lines matching the entrance on the nearer sides, and to let the rest of the trees develop naturally.  I feel this gives the best of both worlds: manicured and cared for, as well as maintaining natural shape and beauty.

The main branch on one of the trees was becoming top-heavy – and I ignored the problem for a few weeks.  You see, I was excited about the new heights the trees were reaching. They were recently visible from the roof which means an astounding height of just under eight metres in three years.  Not any more!  After the mini storm last week, I lost the top half of one of the trees and I had to face my fears!  I butchered both to a manageable size and removed all the small/weak branches.  I want to see them grow again – but this time properly.

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought what in my opinion is the queen of Nikon lenses. The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 is my first fixed lens  – which I always thought were for grown-ups – and I’m still getting used to it. I’ve been spoilt by the choice a zoom lens offers – with this lens I have to move a little more which is a great way to learn more about composition.  

Whilst I find myself bopping my head back and forth like a chicken, the results are best described as graceful.  For my non-photographer friends, a lens with these credentials, of a low f stop and Nikon quality, would cost thousands of dollars.  For some reason, this particular one – which not so different in quality especially for non-professionals – is probably the best value for money out there.  I love it and highly recommend it.

I took these shots this morning.  Click for the larger versions.

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Staying in the frame of gardening, this collection was captured on Friday afternoon. The weather was beautiful and my mother’s garden: gorgeous.  

It’s not a surprise that I love plants.  My late grandfather (father’s side) was perhaps my first influence.  I don’t remember him much as I was very young when he passed away, but I spent all of my early childhood playing in his gardens.  This was in Rawdha, which incidentally means ‘Garden’ in Arabic, and my memories are of trees… Many tall trees.  There was no lawn, not many flowers – but a wall of trees surrounding the house inside the main walls and out.  The sound of leaves on windy days still takes me there!

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This time last year, I saw an interesting medium-sized tree at Mishref co-op with strange flowers all over it.  I think we need more flowering trees in Kuwait. 

I didn’t know its name, and usually at this point I would have taken a small cutting. However, there were a few boys playing there and I didn’t want to encourage any plant attacks…  In May last year, I described it to a man at the garden centre  – olive leaves and saffron flowers was my description – and he gave me a small shrub.  I was convinced it was the wrong one – but I’m so glad I trusted him. 

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Ok… This is the last Spring related post for the week. With us spending more time outside, and Sandy getting used to her new home (and garden), she now speeds around us whenever she’s excited. I don’t know how many times I have exhausted everyone in my family by asking them to run and to try to get her to chase them. All this to get the perfect shot of her running.  

Well, after 387 shots, this is unfortunately the best one I can offer.  It’s not perfect, but it does reflect her passion when running.

This was my forth attempt in the last five or so weeks to get these shots.  Every time I managed to run down to get my camera, I scared this little bird away.  This is the balcony adjacent to our living room.  I filled the pots with tiny shoots of Habiscus and they have been growing steadily since last year.  

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I love this time of year.  It’s Spring time and we’re shaking off the cold weather. The garden starts to blossom like no other time in the year.  New shoots, new flower buds and the grass is standing upright ready to invade the bald patches.  We have two trees in front of our house, one of which insists on shedding almost all its leaves around mid February. It’s now filling up with new fresh green foliage, and the result is very pleasing indeed.  It baffles me how two identical trees getting the same amount of water and light, of the same species and age, behave very differently. When this happened the first two years, I thought the tree was ill.

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