Villa Habibi is set in a plot of just under 3 acres. Originally, the plot was lying fallow and covered with stones from old walls, so the site had to be cleared for the extensive construction work that has been conducted over many years, most of which was completed by 2016. Since then, the gardens have been a work in progress and we are now seeing them starting to flourish. Saplings, young, and more mature, olive trees have been planted, an argan tree is thriving and producing an annual crop of nuts, fig trees, and “faux poivre” trees produce their spicy berries and provide shelter to the wide variety of birdlife that we enjoy in this peaceful location. We have sparrows, bulbuls, blackbirds, magpies, larks, swallows and swifts, and the occasional heron, seagull, and Eleonora’s Falcons visit us, as do our neighbour’s homing pigeons. The smaller birds enjoy having a bath in the fountain – we don’t mind as long as they leave the koi fish alone! We also have young lemon, orange and pomegranate trees, and rosemary bushes form hedges around the smaller houses. Bougainvillea of varied colours grows in pots and along walls and we have lots of oleander, hibiscus, succulents and cactuses.
There is an excellent herb bed outside the kitchen with a wide variety of plants, including a bush which produces a constant crop of green, red and black hot chilli peppers. Around the perimeter walls are cypresses and some canes and, at the front, mimosa trees. There are several rockeries which are also thriving with a great variety of native plants, flowers, climbers, cactuses, succulents, and ornamental grasses, etc. A succulent known as “griffe/doigts de sorcière” (Carpobrotus edulis) is very hardy and thrives in this coastal region, providing bright green ground cover and producing beautiful vivid pink flowers. The driveways are gravelled to provide easy access for cars and delivery trucks.
In the back gardens there are nine raised beds that produce excellent crops of organically grown vegetables: cabbages, lettuces, spinach, artichokes, potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, broad beans and runner beans, radishes, courgettes, beetroots, tomatoes, and much more. There is scope for the garden to be cultivated more intensively as a smallholding to maximise self-sufficiency. We have recently planted an avenue of evergreen myoporum shrubs to provide a wind break to protect the vegetable beds. We are using natural organic neem oil instead of pesticides to protect the trees and shrubs.
There is a water tower at the back of the property with a small storeroom beneath next to a working well. There are water storage tanks in the back gardens, to the side of the property and in the front gardens, and an underground sewage system. We are told that mains water will be supplied to the area soon and until then trucks can supply extra water as required. There is an adjacent building housing a very large and powerful generator that can run every electrical item on the property in the event of a power outage. Electricity is supplied by a mains line as well as by solar panels that provide hot water to the main house and run the pool filtration system. Bottled gas is stored outside each of the three houses for cooking, etc. There is a small store integral to the rear of the Main House and a larger outdoor store for tools and equipment in the rear gardens, and a small woodstore in the front garden. There are store and equipment rooms beneath the pool terrace and jacuzzi and a bank of solar panels over the water tanks that supply the pool and front gardens.
The layout of the property and the East-West alignment means that both the back and front gardens benefit from the sun for many hours throughout the day.
There are plenty of paths in the surrounding area and it’s possible to walk down to the sea and access the unspoiled golden sandy beaches from the headland. The local countryside provides shelter and fodder for camels, donkeys, cows, goats and sheep, as well as the indigenous wildlife and fauna, including tortoises, chameleons and North African squirrels, which forage in the forest.