One of the first things we noticed when we first saw our finca in rural Mallorca – during a four-day property-hunting visit to the island – was an exuberant bougainvillea growing over an old iron and wooden cart. Breathtakingly pretty, it was one of several things we fell in love with about the property we’ve called home for nearly 10 years.
On closer inspection we discovered the cart was also home to climbing geraniums. The finca had been a holiday home for the previous owners, who used to buy pots of geraniums when they arrived and, at the end of their holiday, would plant the geraniums in the soil around the bottom of the cart, and leave the rest to Mother Nature. The geraniums are admittedly a bit straggly now, but they still flower each year.
For the past few years we’ve wondered whether the cart is supporting the bougainvillea or vice versa. This relic from a gentler agricultural past is showing its age and looking decidedly unsteady. It’s shored up with rocks – and has been since we bought the place – but I don’t do any weeding anywhere near it now; I even decided not to prune the bougainvillea when it was last due to be done.
One day it will collapse and with it will go the plants that have given us so much pleasure. As much as we’d like to find another old cart to replace it, such items are now eagerly sought by people like us who want some authentic rustic touches for our much-loved rural homes on Mallorca. That means mucho dinero.
There’s still a metal plate on the cart that once bore the maker’s name, but the lettering has worn away. We’ll never know how long ago it was made, or how long it was used for the purpose for which it was intended, but it’s done almost ten years as a delightful garden ornament. You can’t say that about your average garden gnome . . .