In the early days of setting up a garden in the field of our finca home in rural Mallorca, we had no idea quite how large everything would grow. It seems that the lack of soil depth on our rocky land has been no deterrent to growth: aloes, agaves, ‘swords’ (I have no idea of their official name), and yuccas, have all grown to sizes beyond our expectations.
I used to wonder when our garden would be considered ‘mature’. Well, I think it’s now: one of our ‘sword’ plants has sprouted something akin to the beanstalk of the famous fairytale, and resembling a giant stalk of asparagus. If only. Think of the culinary treats . . .
We know that the stalk will eventually throw out a flower and, once that has died, it’s goodbye plant. Although it’s quite exciting to see this thing grow (and it’s making fairly rapid progress out there), this mighty plant, having flowered, will wither and keel over. We’ve checked its future trajectory and our roof seems to be in no danger, but The Boss will have quite a job to dig the dead plant – and what are probably quite impressive roots – out of the ground. A decade ago it was a small and rather sickly thing when a kind neighbor gave it to us to help fill some of the yawning space that was crying out to be a Mediterranean garden.
No wonder it’s called the sword plant . . .
Although the evil spikes on the end of each sword-like leaf have punctured various bits of our bodies during gardening sessions (ouch!), we’ll still be sorry to lose such an impressive architectural plant.
Ooh, I do love September in rural Mallorca. After the intense heat of July and August, temperatures are pleasant enough to do some gardening and other outdoor jobs, without us turning lobster-like under the blazing sun. And as summer morphs into autumn towards the end of the month, something magical happens on Mallorca: it’s what the locals call ‘winter-spring’. Not being a fan of the ‘w’ word, I prefer to call it second spring. And that’s just what it’s like.
Flora bursts back into life
After the late summer storms, which bring much-needed rain to the land, everything in the garden that looked as though it had given up the struggle for survival perks up again. The leaves of the aloe vera plants – we have 17 around the place – have plumped up again, all ready for any first aid duties they may have to fulfil. Shrubs such as the Lantana burst back into flower, dotting our largely green garden with splashes of orange, yellow, and pink, and the lavender plants are poised to produce more flowers. And, as I mentioned in my last post, the weeds are back to remind me that last year’s back-breaking efforts to remove them finally were a waste of my time.
And fauna too
As I write this – with the doors open to the garden terrace – I can hear recently born lambs crying for their mums in the field across the road. It sounds, as well as looks, like spring out there.
And the butterflies are back in abundance. Which prompted me to spend rather more time than I should have trying to take some photos of them; butterflies, by the way, do not make co-operative photographic models.
Success at last
For all the above reasons, and a few more, I enjoy second spring nearly as much as the first one. Except that it doesn’t hold the promise of summer just around the corner . . .