Category Archives: Daily Life

How to Propagate Hibiscus in 10 Easy Steps

Hibiscus are my favourite plants (shrubs) because they are SO easy to grow and reward me with an abundance of beautiful flowers throughout the year.

Red Hibiscus Flower

Red Hibiscus Flower


I began experimenting as to the best method of propagating hibiscus from cuttings a couple of years ago when the cost of buying plants in Portugal rose significantly. I’m talking about a 100% rise, so a great incentive to master the technique!

There are several different methods used to propagate shrubby plants, but this one consistently works for me.
There are several different methods used to propagate shrubby plants, but this one consistently works for me.

How to to propagate Hibiscus

1. Take green cuttings (new growth) of about six inches long from the parent plant and remove all but a couple of the smaller leaves.

2. Immerse cutting into the hormone powder or gel so once planted the “treated” area is higher than the planting depth. There should be at least one growth node under the soil.

Hibiscus cuttings

Hibiscus cuttings

3. Fill suitable plastic plant pot with damp sandy soil and press down firmly.

4. Make small hole for each cutting – about a couple of inches deep (I use a small stick). Insert the cutting so at least one of the nodes are under the soil. Firm the soil around the cutting.

Cover Hibiscus cuttings with plastic water bottle

Cover Hibiscus cuttings with plastic water bottle

5. Create a humid environment for the cuttings by adding a plastic cover. Some people use a plastic bag – I use half a plastic bottle.

6. Stand the pot in a tray of water so the soil remains damp, but be careful not too wet. If the soil should become waterlogged I remove from pot from water tray to restore the balance. I usually only follow this process for about a six weeks. If the cuttings are “happy” in the environment you have created the leaves on the hibiscus cutting should still look green and healthy. If the rooting process is not working and the leaves are brown and shrivelled, discard and start the process again.

7. Move pot to a sheltered location out of direct sunlight. I find dappled shade is best.

8. Once the cuttings are established and new leaves begin to grow I remove the plastic cover so the young plants adapt.

9. After about a six months, sometimes more, depending on how quickly the cuttings grow, repot cuttings to individual pots using good quality compost and you will have several young plants ready to pot on.

Hibiscus cuttings one year later

Hibiscus cuttings one year later

10. Hey presto! This healthy plant is just one of three I grew using the above method.

I grow my mature hibiscus plants in containers close to the house to shelter them from the destructive salt winds. This was originally a temporary measure to protect them while hardier plants and shrubs matured. However, I have been so pleased with the results the hibiscus have remained in the original containers where they were planted six years ago. Hibiscus are normally planted in the ground here, and the shrubs easily grow to over six feet tall.

Their versatility has surprised me as they grow well in either sun or shade. And, providing you keep them well watered, fed and pruned they are very easy to grow – certainly far easier than vegetables!

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Furrrrrry Friends

Do cats and dogs need us as much as we need them?

Furry Friend

Furry Friend

When I was a child I had two cats both of which were killed on the road.  When I lost my first cat I was heartbroken so my parents, in an attempt to soften the loss, bought me a kitten which I named Lucky. Unfortunately, he  was not so lucky as he found his way down to the main road where he also met his maker.

I still remember the bond I had with them so when I snapped this photograph of my baby grandson with their family cat  it rekindled childhood memories.

We never got another cat and my bond with ‘furry friends’ was broken.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Friend

Inconsiderate Drivers or Road Rats?

Today I was driving down a very ‘wibbly wobbly’, twisty narrow road to my mosaic class. Given my knowledge of the road I drive steady. Real steady. I call it the road of Hell or the pathway to Heaven.

I always anticipate the unexpected  as it is not unusual  to drive round a  bend to discover a burro and cart, chickens and stray dogs, or even  police cars parked in awkward places to pull in cars for vehicle checks. And that’s before you’ve taken into account drivers who overtake on the brow of a hill or/and or a blind bend. Anything can and does happen, so I concentrate.

This morning I caught sight of a car in my side mirror. For God’s sake, he was overtaking me on the brow of hill and and crossing a single white line. I had a ‘moment’ as I was not planning a trip to heaven just yet. He pulled back at the last minute as a large oil tanker hurtled round the bend at speed (thankfully I carry a spare pair of pants). I blinked then prayed before beeping my horn at him in disgust while shouting, Asshat!

He then hitched a ride right on my bumper for the next few wibbly wobbly terrifying miles impatiently weaving in and out to overtake then pulling back.

He makes his move. Again on the brow of the hill. No way could he see. He is almost level with my drivers door before he realizes he is running out of road as an oncoming car appears over the hill and flashes the headlights at him in warning.

I am now incensed. He is still tail-gating on my bumper. I slow down as his inconsiderate overtaking tactics are making me nervous. Extremely nervous.

“Hey, Asshat, I don’t want a bunch of flowers left at the side of the road to mark my passing to the next world. There is nowhere for me to pull over or for you to overtake. PATIENCE!”

Sheesh, this guy must have nine lives. I looked in my mirror, Asshhat is on his mobile phone gesticulating to an invisible audience.

Eventually, he overtook and squeezed by narrowly missing an oncoming car.

Needless to say he got the two-finger sign from me as he sped past. He was gone in seconds, and as beads of perspiration trickled down my back I let out a sigh of relief. Why are some drivers SO inconsiderate? He may have had a death wish aka late for the airplane, doctors appointment, work or whatever, but you are a long time dead.

I mused: would I stop to help if I discovered his car wrapped around a tree as I rounded the next hairpin bend? Ponderous.

 I is for ‘Inconsiderate Drivers‘. That’s my pet peeve for today.

Why not join me in the A-Z of Pet Peeves Challenge by sharing your  personal A-Z .  Simply post a peeve to your blog and don’t forget to share a links to your peeves to  Pet Peeves A-Z  page so we can all follow your progress!

 

Who’s up for the challenge?

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Do you care about the environment?

National Geographic will be streaming Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary ‘Before the Flood ‘ entirely free from October 30th till November 6th.

Before the Flood will also be available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes and Google Play, in over 170 countries and 45 languages.

National Geographic says it’s distributing the movie for free as part of its cause to spread the word about the dangers of climate change. This marks the first time the popular nature channel has made one of its productions entirely available for free.

 

If you care about the environment please share and spread the word.

Article ref: TNW

FitBit and Senior Moments

I accept I’m not the sharpest tool in the drawer when it comes to mastering technology and digital gizmos, but even I had to groan at this particular ‘senior blond’ moment.

Wanting to lose weight I invested in a FitBit Charge HR. So far so good.

Much to everyone’s surprised snickers I managed to ‘set it up’ and more importantly, and much to my surprise, I even synced it with my iPad which enabled me to monitor daily steps, distance walked, pulse, stairs and all sorts of other useful data. This is turn enabled me to take part in Challenges with family and friends. Hey, I was on a roll… or so I thought.

The FitBit became part of my daily routine and I became obsessed with steps walked and distance covered. Even to the point I would run round the house ten times to increase my daily steps if I was not on target. Yes, I actually did that on several occasions especially when my daughter and I were participating in a challenge.

Then disaster struck. It stopped syncing with my iPad and it could not collect the data.

I contacted FitBit customer service via Twitter and after twenty emails offering support and directions they cut their losses and sent me a new FitBit (It was probably costing them more in man-hours than the value of a replacement)

My new FitBit arrived, I charged it and then tried to set it up.

The FitBit arrived pulse set at 135

The FitBit arrived pulse set at 135

I kept pressing the button on the side of the Fitbit, but the data on the screen remained on 135. It was stuck. The back of the watch was flashing green but the screen data remained static.

FitBitCharge HR - I pressed the button and the screen lit up but numbers remained static

FitBitCharge HR – I pressed the button and the screen lit up but numbers remained static

I contacted customer services again and you could almost sense it was a case of ‘oh no, not that woman again’ Emails bounced back and forth offering various suggestion until I finally admitted defeat and passed it to Mr. Piglet.

He looked at the FitBit and then asked why I had left the Surface Protection film over the screen.

‘What…what film?’ I asked.

He peeled back the printed film to expose the screen and then laughed.

FitBit Charge HR - Beware it arrives with printed surface protection film

FitBit Charge HR – Beware it arrives with printed surface protection film

I was not amused.

Please, Mr. FitBit. Can you send an Idiot’s guide with your product or at least a note reminding people to remove the SPF.

PS

If anyone wants to link up for a Weekly or Daily Challenge please let me know!

Opposites: Remain or Leave?

The theme for this week’s WordPress challenge is ‘Opposites’. Contemplating the differences in opinion for Brexit: ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’, how could I express the extremes behind the vote and the wisdom of the ‘Leave’ result in terms of a photograph?

In the end it will boil down to money. Some think the UK will be better off leaving the EU while others disagree. Some people will benefit financially while others won’t. There are always winners and losers so let’s just hope the UK ‘leavers’ with their ‘island’ mentality eat their words and count the money (or not).

So for my ‘Opposites’ contribution I present a photograph of money: coins and notes. Both of value yet represented by different properties.

Counting the cost of Brexit

Counting the cost of Brexit

Why am I here… ?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Eye Spy.

Sad Eyes

Sad Eyes

I see you,
do you really see me
behind the bars
of captivity… ?

7 Restaurants With Good Food And Great Views In The Western Algarve

Are you stuck for somewhere to eat and looking for inspiration such as a nice restaurant with good food as well as great views? Here are my suggestions (listed in no particular order) for the wild West of Portugal. .

LAGOS

Lazy Jacks

Lagos Marina
Tel: (+351) 911568143
Wheelchair access: Yes
Parking: Yes
Accessible by train: Yes. Two minutes walk from the station.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lazyjackslagos
Open from 9am until late, 7 days a week.

What a find! Last week we were looking for a bar to have cocktails and was attracted by the music and ambiance at Lazy Jacks. Lazy Jacks is in a stunning location right on Lagos Marina. The restaurant (Bar and Grill) serves delicious food and we found the staff friendly and efficient. There is live music every Thursday and Sunday and from our experience well worth a visit (NB times seem to vary according to season so it is worth checking in advance if you are making a special journey). If you are looking for Christmas Lunch or a New Year’s Eve Party – check out their Facebook page for further details!

Lazy Jacks at Lagos Marina is the perfect location for a cocktail! December 2015December 2015

Lazy Jacks at Lagos Marina is the perfect location for a cocktail! December 2015

Lazy Jacks - Lagos Marina. View from inside the restaurant

Lazy Jacks – Lagos Marina. View from inside the restaurant

Golden Years Menu - Lazy Jacks - Lagos Marina.

Golden Years Menu – Lazy Jacks – Lagos Marina.

View from Lazy Jacks, Lagos Marina

View from Lazy Jacks, Lagos Marina

Portofino’s

Lagos Marina, First floor
Tel: 282799834
Website: www.portofinoslagos.com
Access to 1st floor  via steps or lift.
Happy Hour Pizza and Pastas 12.00-14.30 and 17.30-18.30

Italian restaurant with good food, beautiful decor  in a stunning location. ‘Happy Hour’ specials. A little pricey, but prices reflect location and quality of food. Service can be very slow in high season due to its popularity.

Portofino's, Lagos Marina

Portofino’s, Lagos Marina

View from our table at Portofino's

View from our table at Portofino’s

 

Campi Mar (restaurant bar)

Praia do Porto de Mós
Lagos
Tel: (+351) 282 762 957
facebook.com/campima

Campi Mar, Praia do Porto Mós, Lagos

Campi Mar, Praia do Porto Mós, Lagos

Praia Porto de Mós, Lagos

Praia Porto de Mós, Lagos

 

O Camilo

Praia do Camilo
Ponte da Piadade
Tel: (+351) 282763845
Nice seafood restaurant with great view. Parking can be a problem because of the popular O Camilho beach below. The restaurant has good sea views and even though it is situated just outside Lagos,  it is well worth trying especially if you incorporate your meal with a trip to the beautiful beach of Praia do Camilo.

O Camilo Restaurant, Lagos

O Camilo Restaurante, Lagos

View from restaurante o camilo

View from restaurante o camilo

Why not ‘walk off’ your meal and visit Praia do Camilo?

Praia do o camilo

Praia do o camilo

LUZ

Fortaleza da Luz

Praia da Luz.
(Opposite the church)
Tel: (+351) 282 789 926 or Mobile: (+351) 912 511 196
Website: www.fortalezadaluz.com
Entertainment: Sunday from March – November there is Jazz between 12.00 -15.00 and Thursday evening there is a dinner dance.
Fortaleza da Luz is in a stunning location. Not only does it have stunning sea views there is also an amazing garden. Food and service good.

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurante Fortaleza da Luz, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

PRAIA DA INGRINA

Restaurante do Sebastião

Praia da Ingrina
Raposeira
Tel:282639034

Restaurante do Sebastião is situated in an idyllic location right on the beach. Our favourite meal is the delicious lamb stew which I believe is only available on a Sunday by pre-order. This secluded cove is perfect for families with young children and the restaurant/cafe is the icing on the cake. Although the restaurant is on level ground, there are a few uneven steps down to the beach. Parking  is problematic in high/mid-season so don’t arrive and expect to pull straight into a parking space unless you arrive early. Please be patient because service can be slow. Chill and relax!

View from Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia da Ingrina

View from Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia da Ingrina

Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia do Ingrina

Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia do Ingrina

READERS’ CHOICE

For my seventh offering, please recommend a restaurant of you choice and I will visit and then include the details here.

Please be mindful that during peak season the quality of food and service of the above restaurants may vary.
Related Post: Praia da Ingrina

Is this a sign?

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challengeis Wall. Armed with my camera – or should I say new iPad – I’ve been on a mission all week to find a sign that I could relate to. Now, as a self-confessed foodie this sign grabbed my attention. Not because it was bright and garish and demanded to be read, but because it was quietly enticing and sent a clear message about their passion for food.

Food for Thought - Ristorante Paesano, Alvor

Food for Thought – Ristorante Paesano, Alvor

And, enticing enough for me to want to go back and try the restaurant. We will see…

Mr. Piglet does not wait until lunchtime before he starts asking about dinner the discussion usually starts around breakfast!

www.alvor-restaurants.com/paesano-restaurant.html

Gardening IS a Labour of Love!

Growing fruit and vegetables was my labour of love and a hobby which gave me a great sense of fulfillment. Although my efforts in the vegetable garden were never destined to make us self-sufficient, the pleasure of eating something I’d grown from seed or plug was rewarding.

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February 2012

Like a sentry I stood guard against the slugs and snails and other predators such as rabbits and birds; each eager to sample the tender green shoots. I watered and fed the young plants with the love of a mother tending a young family. I sheltered them from the harsh salt winds and shaded them from the midday sun until, like young adults, they were strong enough to fend for themselves.

White mold and other diseases often threatened the crop and I frantically searched the internet looking for an organic solution rather than using fungicides. Unfortunately, the limited options available and lack of success resulted in many organic pipe-dream failures. My main concern in using chemicals was the devastating effect on the bees and other wildlife.

I watched as bees pollinated the flowers of cucumbers, courgettes and tomatoes with the promise of a feast of home grown fruit and vegetables in the weeks to come.

Different varieties of lettuce grew in containers as were spring onions, radish, peppers, melons and chives; all basking in the sun just waiting to grace my next salad bowl.

The taste of fresh produce served straight from plot to plate within minutes and so different to that of irradiated foods which have been boxed, transported halfway round the world, and then dumped on the supermarket shelves.

My vegetable garden was like stepping through Alice’s mirror to my own wonderland where I felt at peace with myself and at one with nature.

So what happened?

My neglected raised vegetable area

My neglected raised vegetable area

‘Roots’.

Readers who have been following my blog for some time may remember my previous post about the root problem caused by the close proximity of the melaleuca hedge. A problem I thought I had resolved by lining the base of the raised bed with a membrane. All was fine for a year, and then I noticed the plants were no longer thriving. When I dug into the soil it was no more than a nest of roots, so you can imagine my language was a little more than sky blue!

Defeated by Mother Nature I abandoned my wonderland and retreated back through the mirror. I felt disillusioned, and even my tenacious spirit could not rally my enthusiasm as the fruit bushes and strawberries growing in containers were left untended and unloved…

As the winter turned to spring and the milder weather tempted me once more to revisit my vegetable area I was once again drawn to the family of plants under my care.

The cabbages and lettuce I had planted last October had barely grown in four months and the onions were even less enthusiastic about their living conditions.

Cabbage and lettuce planted last October have hardly grown

Cabbage and lettuce planted last October have hardly grown

The peach tree, which had been the source of such joy last summer when it yielded so many peaches followed by disappointment when I found they were infested with fruit flies, still seemed to be alive. Only time will tell if the lack of water during the winter drought will have an adverse effect.

The lemon tree which was bought as a lime tree four years ago, had one lemon and a multitude of tiny white flowers – well that was a result. The leaves yellow but still clinging to life and giving its all.

As I continued to examine the plants in the various containers I felt heartened that they had all survived. I surveyed the variety of large empty pots and crates and once again felt excited at the prospect of growing a salad crop. Now was the time for action and a visit to the market was required.

So what next?

Sigh… I don’t know.

– Do I dig out all the soil (again), concrete the base and then add another couple of tiers of bricks and replenish the soil?
– Cover with black plastic membrane to suppress the weeds and then move all my containers on to the raised bed? The latter would be the easier option but it would restrict the type of fruit and vegetables I would be able to grow?
– Knock the whole thing down and forget it existed and persuade Mr. Piglet to get some chickens?

Seriously, what would you do?

The cost of the first option could be prohibitive but on the other hand this is my hobby and it gives me great pleasure. It would involve employing some muscle to undertake the project and muscle costs money!

The second option would look and feel and like a bodge job.

The third option – well that’s a joke in case he reads this blog post.

I went to the market on Monday and bought lots of plant plugs and strawberry plants.

As for what happens next – watch this space!