Yesterday the whole of the left side of the house shook with a large noise. Needless to say it was an earthquake. In all the 24 years I have been coming here I have never heard that. The other excitement was that a huge grass snake, about five foot long, was discovered in the gutter of the swimming pool, and then killed. Thank goodness it did not rear its head up when I was swimming or I would have had the most awful shock. I still own a plot of buildable land which is next door to Thomas and Dominic’s house, and I would really like to sell it now. It’s disadvantage is a large telegraph pole, or electricity pylon next to where you would build the house. Now I have discovered that James has the key to the entrance gate we must go and have a look as to where the pole could be moved to. He has been squirrelling it away for years. ??
“Apple-trees, pomegranates and pears, wonderful orchard,
sweet figs and fresh green olives.
Unspoilt stays your fruit, always growing,
in winter as well as in summer.
All year round, and a low
West wind makes the one blooming
and ripening the other:
Pear after pear, and apple follows the apple
and so it is with grape and fig.”
(Odyssey, Book VII, lines 115-121)
Here in Corfu they have had a month of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and high humidity. Even the locals have been complaining and said they took to their beds in the middle of the day with the air conditioning on. I did not know what to expect, as my friend Samantha, said that the olive trees were suffering, but fortunately the temperature has dropped by ten degrees. It really does not look too bad at all, although the Bourganvillea in the courtyard died in the snow in the Winter, and have been dug out. They really appeared rather messy, and it looks better all round. We are going to put in Campsis radicans in the Autumn which I have been after for years. It never grows very successfully in England but here it is rampant. My soft yellow Banksian rose is happy, as well as Podranea Ricasoliana, which I was convinced was dead in its pot. Two of our olive trees near the house are now a very good shape, and I am going to be after Dino and James to do the same with the two directly behind them. Finally the two terraces are looking promising. It has taken me a very long time to see what thrives here, and only to plant in the Autumn. I have got my younger son Thomas staying, with his 3 year old son Nicholas, who seems to have no fear of the water at all, and is striking out in the sea with his little water wings. One forgets how much children love water.
We have connected up with the mains water lower down the road, and for the first time in 12 years have really good pressure. This is something that Jiannis has been after for some time. My blue Agaves do not look at all happy, but I dont think they have ever been watered, so I am trying to put that right now. In the spring James cut the blue Plumbago hard to the ground, trying to get rid of them. They have shot up and have never looked so healthy, quite funny! The walls we have had rebuilt look quite beautiful, and the Cypresses never let us down..
We see that Gardener’s World is also available on YouTube and you can see the edition featuring Pettifers here
See us on last evening’s edition of Gardeners’ World on the BBC. Now available on the iPlayer for the next four weeks.