Autumn arrived very suddenly this year on Mallorca. On the day the season officially changed, it was as though someone had flicked a switch and disconnected summer. It was off with the shorts and on with the jeans. We’re not really complaining because autumn has so far brought a decent amount of rainfall – something desperately needed on the island.
Within a few days of rain falling (at times, hammering down), our garden was re-invigorated: plants that had seemed on the verge of death perked up and sprouted new growth, autumn crocus popped up around the base of the birdbath, and flowers have bloomed again. What had recently been a parched rock-solid patch of garden is now lush with the dreaded heart-shaped weeds that return every year. After more than a decade of painstakingly digging them out individually, with a view to killing them off forever, I raise my hands in defeat, flying a white hanky on the handle of the garden trowel: “Enough!” The weeds are green. It’s the colour of a garden.
Not Quite Winter, Not Quite Spring
This time of year is called ‘winter-spring’ by the locals and there are clear similarities to the official springtime. New growth, plenty of lambs frolicking around in the fields, and chirpy birdsong surround us. The big difference is that winter, rather than the warmer summer months, is to follow. The Boss is already making preparations to ensure we’ll be warm and draught free indoors.
The damp weather also brings mushrooms and toadstools. We find plenty on our land but, being nervous about identification of these various fungi, wouldn’t dream of eating any. But don’t they make great subjects for photos.
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 . . .