Sep 202012
 

Kas, Turkey

OK, so this isn’t a garden at all. But it’s the outside of a house where some plants should be and it’s an excuse to show you these cat silhouettes. Street cats are everywhere in Turkey, and on the whole they seem well loved, well fed and supremely confident. They’re always up for a bit of attention and they got plenty of it from me.

The front of this white house was a homage┬áto Turkey’s feline population, and it made me smile.

Sep 182012
 

Patara, Turkey

I’ve just got back from Turkey, where I was mostly horizontal. I find it really hard to sit cross-legged on low cushions, so I had to recline even when I wasn’t on a lounger/beach towel/bed. I probably lost the use of some key sitting muscles as a result, and I may have to ask my boss if we can reconfigure the office to include a day bed or chaise longue from which I can work.

Some of my reclining took place on this Ottoman-style terrace at the Patara Viewpoint Hotel. Apparently such terraces are mostly used in winter and are often used to heat houses, but every night in summer, Muzaffer, the hotel’s owner, lights a cedarwood fire on his for guests to enjoy. Cedar wood has a lovely, spicy scent and, according to Muzaffer, it keeps mosquitoes away too. The terrace is the perfect spot for gazing at the stars.

The combination of fire and stars is a powerful and mesmerising one, and something most of us rarely experience.

Clearly an Ottoman terrace is not an option for the average British semi, but it struck me that most of us are free to enjoy a firepit, woodburning stove or chiminea, some old cushions and a blanket or two. It would be infinitely more fulfilling than a TV, sofa and permanently glowing iPhone.

 

PS: For more on Turkish lounging, see here

Jun 162011
 

Die Wassermuhle, Faralya, Turkey

Temperatures can hit 40 degrees in summer in southern Turkey but at Die Wassermuhle near Butterfly Valley, it’s always cool. That’s because the gardens of the hotel are almost entirely in shade, thanks to numerous trees and covered walkways. They’re widely planted with ivy, and a few choice artefacts and geraniums in terracotta pots are dotted about. Soothing sound effects come courtesy of trickling water from a natural spring – which also fills the swimming pool.

It’s heaven.

Jun 122011
 

Touran Hill Camp, Kabak, Turkey

Cirali, Turkey

Cirali

Kabak Natural Life, Kabak

‘Why stand up when you can sit down and why sit down when you can lie down?’ is one of my dad’s favourite sayings – not that I’ve ever seen him put it into practice. But it’s a concept that the Turks understand completely.

Much of the outdoor lounging in Turkey is done in ‘kosks’ – wooden platforms covered with rugs and cushions. They range from the pretty fancy to the very basic – some are little more than a palette with an old mattress on top. People share meals on them (on low tables) or simply lie back and daydream. Shoes aren’t allowed.

I’ve been roadtesting quite a few kosks recently and can confirm that it’s impossible not to relax on one. In fact I don’t want to sit on a deckchair ever again.