Tag Archives: gardening

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


Your Garden in Spain’ by Clodagh & Dick Handscombe [UK: Santana]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The berries are food for birds & insects… the flowers attract bees & butterflies #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1HH via @Spanish_Valley


Anyone who knows me is aware that pink is not my favourite colour, I go out of my way to avoid it. But there is one exception, and that is the wildflowers that grow here. The faintest blush pink, almost white, are my favourites. Some I know: ground ivy, herb rocket and tufted vetch, others are a mystery but a welcome sight in spring.

5 to remember
nadie – anyone
una excepción – one exception
rubor rosa – blush pink
ligero – faintest
un espectáculo de bienvenida – a welcome sight

From green to yellow

The lemons are beginning to look like lemons now, rather than large limes. The colour progression is a like watching a colour wheel in an art class, the gradual transition, shade by shade, deeper colours where the skin seems thicker. Can’t wait for the first lemon sorbet.

5 to remember
la progresión – the progression
una clase de arte – an art class
la transición gradual – the gradual transition
más adentro – deeper
no puedo esperar a que – I can’t wait for

Winter white

A white rose, in winter. white rose 9-2-15This is a rose out of time, flowering in February despite frosty nights, but very welcome.

5 to remember
una rosa – a rose [flower]
el rosal  – the rose plant
florecer – to flower
a pesar de – despite
una bienvenida – a welcome

A celebration of onions

Our small veggie patch produces enough onions to last us through the winter. Our first attempts at storing them were disastrous, we mistakenly assumed that they should be kept in the dark and they spoiled, sprouting beyond practical use. No… oddly they store better in the light though they will still sprout a small amount. But there is one rule you must follow… they must be dry, the skins papery, with all earth knocked off. This is about judging the right time to lift them from the ground: on a dry day, we lay them out on a table on the terrace and leave them in the autumn sunshine.

Now we store them in a basket in the pantry. Pablo stores his in an enormous heap in his root cellar beneath his house, next to the even larger heap of potatoes.

5 to remember
suficiente – enough
desastroso/a – disastrous
por error – mistakenly
como de papel – papery
satisfecho/a – satisfying

Cutting down the shady walnut tree

For four years we enjoyed the shade cast over the pool end of the terrace by a walnut tree. In the summer, we loved it. In the spring, we hated it.
a)      The leaves blew into the pool = constant pool cleaning.
b)      Ditto the blossom and catkins, straight into the pool = more cleaning.
c)       Autumn, the walnuts fell [more than we could eat] and stained the terrace = more cleaning.
d)      Every spring, the longer branches and new leaves blocked the signal from our satellite dish = intermittent TV, telephone and broadband signals.

In July 2008, this shady walnut tree [below] was one of the things we fell in love with.

[photo: Andrew Forbes]

[photo: Andrew Forbes]

But pragmatism won. So in January 2012, Pablo cut the tree down. We stood and watched as he pulled himself up into the tree, chainsaw in one hand, and casually lopped off limb after limb. It was a sad moment, a moment not without its doubts. And once the tree was gone the terrace felt bare, as if it had just experienced a severe number one haircut.

In January 2012 we planted a line of cipressas next to the wall, so that in a few years we will have some shade… new planting 14-1-12… in March 2012 we added a palm… regrowth 26-3-12… by May of the same year, the growth was encouraging… regrowth 14-5-12As a reminder of how messy the old tree was, the big walnut tree on the hillside continues its spring routine of flowers and catkins … walnut - spring catkins1 16-4-13Two years on, May 2014, and the growth is impressive… two years later1 8-5-14two years later2 8-5-14two years later3 8-5-14two years later4 8-5-14We know we took the right decision, but the tree was beautiful!

5 to remember
el nogal – the walnut tree
constante – constant
los flores – the blossom
las candelillas – the catkins
intermitente – intermittent