And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
White vinca, growing wild & flowering #Gardening #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2c2
Vincent van Gogh famously painted sunflowers during his time at Arles in France. But he also painted oleanders. He reportedly found them ‘joyous’ and ‘life-affirming’ because of their inexhaustible blooms and vigour. I know what he meansOur oleanders continue to flower from spring through autumn, in a mixture of red, pink and white. Now taller than me, oleanders can grow up to 6m tall. On our terraces, they mix with climbing roses, ivy and tall grasses. No sooner have the petals started to shrivel on one plant, than buds form on another. Even the dead flower bracts have appeal.
Oleander is a famously toxic garden plant, though huge quantities have to be consumed. Birds are thought to be immune; a fact that our sparrows and blackbirds can confirm as they regularly seek the shade of the oleanders on summer days.
5 to remember
jubiloso – joyous
marchitarse – to shrivel
una bráctea de flores– a flower bract
tóxico – toxic
un hecho que– a fact that
If you’d like to read more about Vincent van Gogh in Arles, the sunflowers and the oleanders, read ‘The Yellow House’ by Martin Gayford [UK: Penguin]
Our house stands on a hillside. Beneath us is a terrace of three levels, filled with multi-coloured oleanders, roses, ivy, honeysuckle, tall grasses, iris, pyracantha, rosemary and lavender. Mid-way down the hill, a path of stepping stones leads along a ridge to the top of a flight of steps. These rustic steps lead down to the river, with wild hillside on the left and the fruit orchard on the right. Shade is provided by tall oleander bushes and wild pomegranate trees. At the bottom is a picnic bench where we sit to chill out with an early morning mug of tea or an evening glass of wine, listen to the waterfall, admire the valley, and check on the progress of the wild figs. Are they ready to pick? Will we eat them fresh with some soft local goats cheese, or poached in syrup with a vanilla pod?
5 to remember
una ladera– a hillside
de tres niveles– of three levels
multicolor – multi-coloured
los escalones– the stepping stones
salvaje – wild
I use ‘Mediterranean Garden Plants’ by Lorraine Cavanagh [UK: Santana]
This tree grows along the Thyme Track, in April it is laden with creamy-orange flowers. I’m not sure what it is: a type of Buckthorn, the Rhamnaceae family? Perhaps the Paliurus spina-christi, Miller Christ’s Thorn.
‘Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Hamlyn]
5 to remember
espino cerval – the buckthorn
cargado de – laden with
no estoy seguro – I’m not sure
quizás – perhaps
si puedes – if you can