Thursday, 4 April 2013

Retired - I don't think so .......

It makes me smile to think we have come to Turkey to retire. So far it has been quite hard work and at the moment this shows no signs of abating. OK so we bought our property as a new build knowing there was no garden - just rocks, heavy clay soil and not much else, but in our ignorance we were looking forward to the challenge.

No David - you're not retired just yet ..........

Almost a year on we really don't seem to be a lot further forward but I am going by the guise that often things get worse before they get better, but we have three main obstacles.

The first is the quantity of stone in and under the soil. We have dug out rocks of sizes that ancient tribes would have used as magaliths. These stones are in heaps all over the back garden at the moment which makes our garden look extremely untidy.

The second problem is the dogs! Apart from trampling over the soil we are trying to prepare, the puppy eats plants!  So anything that is smaller than a solid bush or isn't spiky is immediately pulled out and carted away to some quiet corner to be chewed to pieces. The German Shepherd we took in last year ate most of the irrigation system when she arrived, and the puppy has finished off most of the bits she missed!

..... the booty ready for transporting to Uzumlu

The third obstacle is finances. If we had the budget to have landscape gardeners in or even to be able to afford large and established plants life could be so much easier, providing us with an instant beautiful garden. Sadly this is not the case so we slowly soldier on trying to do the best we can. 

So it was a major result recently when we came across somebody who was needing to get rid of three small palm trees - free to anyone who would take them away. So off we went to dig up the trees with a pair of gloves and a spade. This was of course the royal 'we' as I am pretty useless when it comes to digging. I am however, an extremely good supervisor so I went along anyway to fulfil that role.

David did an admirable job of digging them up, a friend helped him and provided the transport to bring them back to Uzumlu from Calis, and they are now looking marvellous in our garden by the pool. If they will survive the transfer only time will tell, but fingers crossed.

........ and now planted in our garden - fingers crossed it survives

We have decided to give up the battle with the dogs on the plant beds around the pool and we have spent the last two days removing all the small plants, levelling the area and preparing it to lay a membrane with stones on top. We have been out to buy the membrane and the stones should be delivered later today. This should improve that part of the garden considerably with the added bonus of being low maintenance so we should then be able to leave it pretty well alone and spend our time on improving the rest of the garden.

The soil around the pool area is now ready for the membrane and stones to be laid

We had always intended growing vegetables and fruit, and did manage to grow some last year with a modicum of success. But this year we are attempting to copy a more Turkish way of growing them in gullies so that they are easily watered, because last year watering was extremely time consuming and quite hard work each day throughout the summer.

So far we have peas and broad beans plants which are now in flower, and we have sown spinach, beetroot, coriander and radish seeds in the garden, all of which are starting to show. We have tomato, pepper and cucumber plants waiting to go out and have sown more tomato and pepper seeds in trays, as well as basil, chives, parsley, beans and some flowers. Some of the fruit trees are now in flower as are some of the strawberry plants so high hopes for this year's produce. Famous last words - again time will tell.

The peas and broad beans are flowering now

It is certainly wonderful to see everything starting to come back to life after the winter, and the trees regaining their foliage and coming into flower.

On top of the huge project of our garden the wedding of course draws ever closer and preparations are heavily underway.Today we have been all the way to Antalya to visit the British Consulate to obtain our certificates of non-impediment which is essential paperwork to allow us to be married here in Turkey. We then need to return in three weeks to collect it and to have it stamped by the Turkish authorities. We will then be able to visit the Registrar to make the final arrangements for the day.

At the moment I think we must have both been crazy people to buy a property with no established garden and even crazier to think of getting married. But hey ho never a dull moment here.


  1. I too long for a fantastic garden but am a bit short of the funds needed to produce one. After many years of experimentation I now stick to plumbago and pelegoniums. They are very difficult to kill and provide glorious colour. You can also use cuttings from friends gardens for the geraniums and most people are happy to give away a root of plumbago or two.

  2. All sounds very exciting, as you say never a dull moment. Wish it was our time to be there, still another few years to go.

  3. It looks like you're making a very good job of the garden, but it's hard work isn't it? I'm afraid our new dogs are wrecking some of the plants. We had intended to avoid this by keeping them in the fenced in area behind the house where they can do no damage. However we like their company so they spend more time in the garden. The membrane and stones is a good idea. Where did you find the membrane? And do you know the Turkish word for it by any chance?