My new garden.
Our pool nestled in the garden.
I'll be honest about the pool... I really don't know what to think of it. It is pretty. My wife and kids will love it during warm days. It is nice. However, it seems rather... extravagant. Pools are a waste of resources. Water, money, time. Chemicals are poured into the water which aren't too healthy for humans or wildlife. Basically, it is a sterile pond. Very unnatural. Makes me have really mixed feelings. Bottom line, it is not mine. We are renting the house, a pool came with it, and I am not getting rid of it. So I will enjoy it while I am here!
Adjacent to the pool and back garden is a very large undeveloped area.
This is one of my favorite parts of our property. I have written many times about having an undeveloped or completly wild area. In Permaculture, this is called Zone 5 (read about Zones 1-5 in this article). We often need to allow one corner of our garden to "go wild" again. But I have a number of acres of completely undeveloped land abutting the back corner of the garden. I've climbed over the fence just once so far, and it is great. The land is about 4-5 feet lower on the other side of the fence, so there is a low canopy that I can walk (a bit hunched as I am 6'3" (190 cm) tall). There are lillies all over the place and birds darting everywhere under there!
Here is what I am calling my "lower garden". It is the part that is closest to the house and really is a few feet lower than the rest of the garden. The dog doesn't seem to be too interested in it. I plan on building some raised beds for annual vegetables in it. It is bordered by bougainvillea in front, a mix of hibiscus and bird-of-paradise on one side and a bunch of small shrubs on the back side.
Here is the "back garden". We just cleared out a whole lot of overgrowth and put in a fence along the road side (left side in the photo). With our dog, this was necessary. There's a large patch of aloe vera growing here along with a long strip of bird-of-paradise. There are roses and hibiscus and lillies in the back. Along the right side is a hydrangea and a number of yet-to-be-identified shrubs. A single cycad and a poorly tended fig are there as well. This will likely be left mostly lawn for the dog and kids.
This is the fountain area. There is a large variety of flowering bulbs along all edges of this section as well as around the fountain. The fountain itself is in a mild state of disrepair. It is overgrown with water plants. There are quite a few frogs that love this "pond". We are planning on cleaning things up a bit. We'll clear out a good section of the water plants, but not all. I want to keep this somewhat "wild", especially since the fountain pump is broken and is not going to be fixed. I'll likely interplant as many food producing plants in this section as I can get away with without it looking to unkempt.
This is what I am calling the "back garden". The southeast corner of the pool area is overshadowed by a large, sprawling fig tree that is covered with hundreds of immature fruits. I think it is awesome that I planted and tended my fig tree back in Turkey for two years, with no harvest, knowing that someone else would literally eat the fruits of my labor, and now I will do the same with whomever planted this fig tree years ago. Not that I buy into it, but it is very karma-ish. The "back garden" abuts the neighbooring, undeveloped land. There is a large stand of brambles on the fence line that I am pretty sure is the Azorean Blackberry (Rubus hochstetterorum), but I'll have to do a little further investigation on this. I think this would be a great location for a beehive... more on that soon!
This is the view from my back fence. Very natural Azorean coastline. There is small road between the treeline and the rocky beach. The small bay above has a tiny dock where old fishing boats leave most mornings. The land jutting out on the other side of the bay contains pastures and, at the far left, a bird sanctuary. I am planning on heading over there in the next week if I can.
Just on the other side of my house is this view. Looking back inland over the few blocks of the village/town where we live, you can just barely make out the rising hill/ridge that is lost in the low clouds. This is a commonly seen phenomenon. Most of the upper hills or volcanic mountain tops are covered many days or parts of most days in low cloud cover. The clouds in this photo are blocking about half of the pastured hills from view.
Looking directly down from the view in the previous photo, we can see our neighbors backyard. This is what is much more commonly seen in the land surrounding homes here in the Azores. Most people have vegetable gardens. Here is corn, squash, potatoes, and some form of cauliflower or broccoli that is forming seedheads. There is fertile soil here, and I can't wait to start planting in it!