Category Archives: Garden

Merendera

This is a new wildflower for me, I’ve never noticed it before: are the conditions this year most suitable for it? merendera1 23-3-16It is Merendera Montana, growing as a scattered carpet of white flowers. The leaves come later. Each flower is star-shaped with six petals. According to my flower book, the petals are pale lilac but ours here are white. Common throughout Iberia in rocky areas, sparse grass and mountain pastures: sounds just like our valley, then. I found these in a rocky spot beside our track where it winds through the olive grove.

5 to remember
las condiciones – the conditions
dispersado/a – scattered
una alfombra – a carpet
en forma de estrella – star-shaped
los pétalos – the petals

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Pretty white star-shaped #wildflower: Merendera in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Jd

Our olive grove in February

In terms of the lifespan of an olive tree, ours are not even toddlers. Some olive trees live to be 1500 years old, the average lifespan is 500 years [or less depending on the Spanish Government’s periodic grants to farmers for planting new varieties, which sees the old trees ripped up]. Humans have been eating olives since the Bronze Age. Many olive trees around the Mediterranean have been dated to 2000 years of age, an olive tree in Croatia is still fruiting at the age of 1600 years. Our olive grove was a field when we bought the property, it had been used as paddocks for livestock rearing. Previously wheat was grown there hence the ancient ‘threshing patch’. We removed the fencing and planted olive trees which have taken five years to grow to the size you see below. The threshing patch remains untouched.

Read these two Olive Oil Times articles: the first explains the life cycle of the olive tree, the second about a Spaniard rescuing millenary olive trees.

Here are two previous articles published on ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’ about our threshing patch: the first explains its origins, the second is a photographic tour throughout the year.

5 to remember
la vida útil – the lifespan
un niño – a toddler
periódico – periodic
una beca – a grant
rasgar – to rip up

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Our olive grove in February: #farming in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1TK

The veggie patch in December

It looks rather forlorn now, a tangle of dead and drying branches, leaves dessicated and turning to powder. But look closer and there is the glow of decaying colour, fading, squashed tomatoes the colour of blood, pale green peppers still hanging, yellow globes of aubergines, and towering skyscrapers of cabbages gone to seed.

5 to remember
abandonado/a – forlorn
una maraña de – a tangle of
aplastado/a – squashed
un globo – a globe
un rascacielos – a skyscraper

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Forgotten but not fruitless: the veggie patch in winter #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1BZ

October in the valley

October is a month of ripe fruit, fattening olives and a second-blooming of flowers. All the pot plants flower through into winter, lasting all year with a bit of tender care. Geraniums all-year round is a treat I didn’t expect when we first moved here. The mint has got a new burst of energy too. All around the valley, fruit is ripening, going over and falling… the birds love it, and we love it too as it gives us a chance to see birds we would not normally spot.

5 to remember
engordante – fattening
todo el año – all-year round
no esperaba – I didn’t expect
también – too/also
que no haría normalmente – we would not normally

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Ripe fruit & fat olives: October in the valley #Spain #nature via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1OC

Aubergines of many colours

Until we started to grow them, I had no idea aubergines varied in colour so much. Most of all I like their purple glossiness, hanging heavy amongst large green leaves. I could do without the prickles though! No matter the colour, the taste is the same.

5 to remember
hasta – until
me gusta – I like
entre – amongst
las espinas – the prickles
lo mismo – the same

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Aubergines don’t just come in purple #vegetables in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1O7

Pollen happy

The terrace is alive to the bee-buzz. We’re watching these bees happily foraging around flowers, searching for food and unknowingly carrying pollen around and germinating plants. They pass on the male gametes, the sperm cells, onto the waiting stamens and eso es, it is as simple as that. Fertilization. No dating, or courting, as my mother would have said. Just a bit of buzzing around, sometimes it happens on the same flower, which seems a bit incestuous.


5 to remember
el polen – the pollen
la polinización – the pollination
sin saberlo – unknowingly
eso es– that’s it
incestuoso/a – incestuous

Berry heavy

The berries are food for birds and insects… the flowers attract bees and butterflies. For blackbirds and thrushes, the berries of the Cotoneaster are favourite. I am used to the red and orange-berried Cotoneasters, I didn’t know that the berries also come as pink, maroon and even black. Depending on the hunger and eagerness of the local bird population, some berries can stay on the branch until the following year. We have plenty to go around.

5 to remember
las bayas – the berries
estoy acostumbrada a – I am used to
granate – maroon
aún even/yet/still
el afán de – the eagerness of