At this time of year we look for every sign that winter is ending and spring is on its way. The nights are still cold, though we are not high enough for snow it does dust the high peaks of the Sierra de las Nieves. But look closely and we find new leaves and flower buds waiting for a spot of hot sunshine. 5 to remember
un brote –a shoot [on a plant]
el final – the ending
no suficientemente alto – not high enough
la cima – the peak
un capullo – a flower bud [on a plant]
At this time of year, life and death seems to sit side-by-side. The reeds beside the river demonstrate this. During the winter, these reeds die off completely but stay in-situ, forming a golden line alongside all riverbanks and streams around here. A winter home for all kinds of small mammals and insects. Now, they are starting to die-off. But some plants still have healthy new growth: it only takes a couple of warm sunny days here and the shrubs get a fresh burst of growth. So now, the riverbanks are lined by this wonderful wall of green and gold, waving in the wind. 5 to remember
uno al lado del otro – side-by-side
demonstrar – to demonstrate
de todo tipo – all kinds of
ir muriendo – to die-off
la ribera – the riverbank
In the UK, you can buy Vinca Minor and Vinca Major at garden centres, but it doesn’t even get a listing in my Mediterranean Garden Plants book. I’m sure Pablo regards it as a weed and would be amazed that people actually pay for it.
The wild version is a sprawling monster which grows metres wide, not like the smaller horticultural periwinkles which, as their name suggests, are more delicate. The flowers here are blue or white and it often tumbles down steep banks, streaming over dead winter stalks and stems in that helpful way Nature has of tidying up after itself. This is a characteristic that the Spanish take to heart, relying on springtime weeds to cover rough ground.
The name Vinca comes from the Latin, ‘vincere’ which means ‘to bind or fetter’. How appropriate.
5 to remember
una pizca – a sprinkle
una malahierba – a weed
un vivero – a garden centre
mediterráneo/a – Mediterranean
un monstruo – a monster