Tag Archives: plants

Green and gold

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. canes1 5-10-14canes2 5-10-14canes3 5-10-14Now, 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. canes4 5-10-14canes5 5-10-14canes6 5-10-145 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

Sprinkled with blue Vinca

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

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

Spring silver

The dried-up bones of plants are everywhere now, and as the winter sun strengthens these dead stalks and twigs take on a silvery sheen. They are quite beautiful.


5 to remember
reseco/a – dried-up
los huesos – the bones
los tallos – the stalks
completamente – quite [completely/absolutely, as opposed to fairly]
el lustre – the sheen

What’s that?

#4 the seeds are shed 1-7-145 to remember
¿Qué es eso? – What’s that?
las semillas – the seeds
esta planta –this plant
no sé – I don’t know
¿lo sabes? – do you [know it?]
Answer: The seeds are shed. July 1, 2014
PS. I don’t know the name of this plant… do you?