How Our Garden Grows

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The front garden, looking lush a year later.

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Lots of new cactus growth in the front garden

Thunder is rumbling and the sky is clouding over for more rain. More rain. By some accounts, this has been the coolest, wettest spring for 25 years in the Eastern Province. I don't know if those accounts are to be trusted. The Arab News (known to expats as "The Green Truth" because it is printed on pale green newsprint) reports that the Saudi government urges people to ignore foreign weather reporting. “Individuals shouldn't take any notice of such reports no matter how credible the sources are,” government officials say.

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Night-blooming jasmine, which blooms day and night. But it's nighttime when the scent comes out.

I don't pay much attention to any weather reports, foreign or domestic. Sticking my nose out the front door works fine. Could be there are major weather pattern alterations. Or maybe, as my host country suggests, this is an insidious case of fraudulent international meteorological reporting. Either way, it's out of my hands. All I know is, my garden is loving it!

When we moved in last spring, I took full advantage of the generosity and expertise of our company's gardening staff and had major landscaping work done. Even one year later, the difference is amazing! If you flip back to last year's garden pictures, you'll see what I mean.


New lemon tree


Bug's eye view of the new fig tree.

This year I'm adding to the lushness of our little plot. In the past couple of weeks I have added lemon, lime, fig, and mango trees to the yard.




Dried hibiscus from the farmer's market.

The hibiscus bloomed its first red bloom a few days ago. Speaking of hibiscus: Yesterday I went to our community's farmer's market (local organic farmers are popping up in the Eastern Province!) A vendor was selling dried hibiscus flowers. I had no idea what to do with them, but I bought 'em. Checking on the internet, I now see that it's commonly used for tea. If you've had Celestial Seasonings' Red Zinger, then you've tried hibiscus tea. A sweet/tart simple syrup in a rosy pink color is another typical use for dried hibiscus. I found some other, weirder recipes too. Hibiscus enchiladas, anyone? Some poor sap's going to give those a try at my table soon.



The bougainvilleas are blooming hysterically in my yard and all over the compound. Truly, this is a gorgeous Saudi spring.

And that is a credible piece of news, straight from a local source.