Garden of Delights

When My Love (ML) and I first arrived at the hotel one of the first things I did on the day ML started back to work was to explore the grounds of the hotel. I walked all the twisty turny paths through the gardens finding the shady spots and where the benches were – not that this helped as the benches have a habit of regularly shifting. I’m not sure of whether this is one of the tasks of the gardeners or whether rather like the stone tortoises in Vietnam they have a life of their own after dark.

Anyway, back to the benches, I have visions of them scuttling around the garden like giant beetles in the dead of night looking for the perfect spot to spend the next day.

    Now those of you that are new to my ramblings will be wondering at this moment where this is going, the answer to that is not anywhere. I have what can only be described as an overactive imagination and just because an object is inanimate it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Also, I am inclined to wander off the plot occasionally and take a side trip – bear with me I will get back to the point eventually when my butterfly mind returns from whence it started.

     The gardens were at this point mainly just green leaves in a multitude of shades and variegation – listen to me coming over all Monty Donnish with my gardening terms. I know nothing about gardening but I love to look and enjoy beautiful gardens.

There are a team of gardeners here that are constantly weeding, pruning, cutting and replanting and it looks beautiful. They are constantly doing something even it is only raking up the fallen flowers from the Jacaranda or Flame trees. As the weeks have gone on different plants, shrubs and trees have come into flower and I have tried to get photographs that show the beauty of them.

Sometimes very fortuitously, the other day I spent a couple of hours wandering and taking photographs, there are so many big beautiful splashes of colour and I also saw a butterfly, a ladybird and a bee or wasp of some sort with stripy eyes.

     The hotel and the surrounding area is twice a day at dawn and dusk sprayed against mosquitoes. A golf buggy with sprayers drives around the complex spraying a white mist, it is very fine because it soon floats up around us on the third floor. I’m not sure whether the chemical just kills off mosquitoes or all insects. Considering the number of beautiful flowers, I would expect there to be masses of butterflies but I’ve only seen the one.

    Two days after I had my morning of photographing I went for a wander and all of the shrubs had been clipped to a uniform height, no stray flower spikes had escaped. The greenery is nice but I miss the flowers. Give it a couple of weeks and they will be back – I hope.

 There was lots of excitement at the end of last week, I was working on the computer and there seemed to be more noise filtering in through the open patio doors. In the end curiosity got the better of me and thank goodness I did. The beautiful palm trees that are scattered throughout the gardens were having a trim.

  From my floor, I have clear uninterrupted views of the crowns of some of these trees. The men pruning the palms were not the normal gardeners as they were not in the usual green overalls but were in normal clothing but not wearing any shoes.

           I came in grabbed my camera, put on a long lens and sat back trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. I didn’t want to be a distraction to the men wielding very sharp axes while balancing on the trunks with only a rope and their feet to hold them in place.

       As I sat quietly through the next couple of hours I got to see a couple of masters of their craft working. I was able to get some amazing shots of them climbing the trunk of the palm with amazing agility, wield an axe, remove palm fronds and date seeds.

           I always wondered why the trunks of the palm trees in the house opposite my window had tags all the way down its trunk and the ones in the hotel don’t. It turns out if you don’t prune the dead leaves you don’t gets a nice smooth trunk. As the men chopped and neatened the palms the hotel gardeners were collecting all the fallen palm fronds and fruit stalks and taking them away. I think some of the palm fronds were laid out to dry down near the Shisha restaurant which is used on the roof so I am guessing that they will be used to replace what is already there.

  There were two men that climbed up the highest trees but that they had with them two much younger men/boys who worked on the small palms. I think they must be apprentices or maybe sons who are learning the trade. Not sure it is a job I could do although I wish I was brave enough but I think that although I don’t mind heights I sometimes get a bit wobbly when I look down. Wobbling and sharp axes don’t seem a great recipe for keeping all your fingers and toes intact and with the added danger of being up a tree and you can begin to understand my hesitation.

Suffice to say it was fascinating to watch.

I have tried to find the names of the plants, shrubs and trees and in some cases I have been successful and in others not so. I hope you will forgive me any mistakes and if you would let me know I will correct it asap.

The names are in the title of the photographs and the tags.


If you have enjoyed this blog you may want to read the blogs I kept when I lived in Vietnam and Costa Rica.


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