A recent writing project has left me feeling a bit ‘written-out’. I’ve scribed around 12,000 words in the past few weeks on this one project – in addition to other articles, and posts on http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com. No wonder my computer screen has been gazing blankly back at me when I’ve sat down to write about our life in rural Mallorca. It was as tired as I was; my keyboard and I needed a little time apart.
So, as it’s spring, I grabbed my camera and headed into our garden and field, to take a few photos of the mix of cultivated and uncultivated delights that remind me why it pays to get off my writer’s bottom (well spread) and get out into Mallorca’s great outdoors.
I hope that, wherever you are, spring is making itself known to you too.
The view from the roof of our water tank … not somewhere I venture up to very often!
First-ever blossoms on our blackthorn bushes – brought over from the UK by good friends. Sloe gin? Maybe in a few years’ time …
Osteospermum thriving in the stony soil of our garden
I’ve just had my annual garden centre splurge, buying some plants for our finca in the Mallorcan countryside. Garden centre visits were rather more frequent when we lived in the UK, where these tempting places are also open on Sundays and offer much more than the average jardinería on Mallorca. Many of the UK versions sell decorative items for the home and garden, and have a café where you can indulge yourself in a mid-shop stop for refreshments.
In our early months of living on Mallorca, we were quite disappointed by the garden centres local to us – which were more like plant nurseries than those tempting places we knew in the UK. A favourite had been Burford Garden Company in the Cotswolds. Now that’s what I call a garden centre.
We did manage to find some decent plants and some helpful assistants in our local places, and were hopeful that we’d have a good show of colourful flowers later in the spring. Little did we know . . .
Within a week of planting our first purchases, there was nothing left to see. The rabbits – and there were many of them back then – had scoffed the lot! Since then we have become adopted by a family of feral cats (and a few feline hangers-on), and we have rarely seen any rabbits on our land. Can you blame them?
We also discovered that our land isn’t suitable for many plants, being mainly rocky and with only a shallow layer of poor-quality soil. Typical Mediterranean plants do well, but other plants struggle. Succulents, cacti, lavenders, rosemary, and osteospermum are among those plants that do well on our land.
The rabbit experience shaped our gardening habits. I started taking cuttings from existing plants, knowing that if the new plant died (or was eaten), it wouldn’t have cost us anything. Neighbours gave us ‘babies’ from their aloe veras and other succulents. I did invest in two climbing roses last year by mail order from David Austin; one quickly died, but the other is thriving.
A Recommended Garden Centre
My recommendation for a good garden centre on Mallorca? It would have to be Fronda (formerly known as Magatzem Verd) in Palma (it’s just off the Via Cintura and with a smaller branch near the Fan Shopping Centre at Coll d’en Rebassa). It’s probably because the place is most like the garden centres we knew and loved back in the UK. Unusually, on Mallorca, it’s open on Sundays – although we never shop on this day of the week. It doesn’t yet have a cafe, but maybe one day?
On Friday, I steered an enormous trolley around this garden centre, mentally spending a fortune on glorious colourful plants. In reality, it was just a few euros for the year’s new geraniums and herbs.
We must have saved a fortune on plant purchases since moving to Mallorca . . .
It was a long hot summer on Mallorca … and now it’s spring again. And if you’re thinking I’ve been indulging in a little too much of Mallorca’s many excellent wines, I should explain: we’re now in what the locals call ‘winter spring’. And it is literally like a second spring.
During the hottest months of the summer little happens in the garden. Plants appear to go into a comatose state, as they struggle to survive without water, and only perk up again after the first storms of the autumn have given everything a long cool drink and a jolly good wash. After the first autumn storms – mercifully nowhere near as severe as those in southern Spain – everything in the garden looks perky and a brighter green. There’s new growth . . . sadly, most of it in the weed category.
And, today, October 1st, we were greeted by the sight of what I think are autumn crocus – but please correct me if I’m wrong – which were definitely not there a day or two ago.
There’s nothing like that to put a spring in your step on a Monday morning!