It’s been a busy time in the Mathieson ~ Jones household over the last few weeks. It’s been a bit here there and everywhere. But we managed to get a few weeks together over Christmas in Spain. Second Christmas and third New year. How time flies. In Spain not with Ian. Ask him he’s says about 8 years. That’s dog years by the way. Add another 20 and your nearer the time.
The weather can be changeable and when I arrived it was wet. Now spending half our time in Somerset for the last 25 years you’d think I’d be used to wet. But in Spain it’s a different kind of wet. Yes I know I’m a little bit bonkers but trust me it rains in the West Country. It’s often biblical like last night as I returned on the A303 and the M3. Rain so hard you couldn’t see Stonehenge. To be honest not that I want to. If I have time to see it it means I’m stuck in a traffic jam and after 25 years of passing it it hasn’t changed. Not a bit.
But the weather was proper pants when I arrived. I didn’t go out for two days as it rained so hard that the water was rushing down the hill. You would have been able to surf down La Rampa I’m sure. Not that I’d know. I didn’t venture out for two days. But the rain makes me happy in Spain. Wet ground means easier planting. Our water deposit is full.
Ian arrived a few days after me and it’s always amazing at what he manages to pack into his case. As well as some Xmas goodies which we would struggle to get and of course we can’t live without there were some major additions. A while back I had bought a fabulous cake stand and dome from my friend Mr Glass in London from London Times Vintage up in Islington. I wanted to bring it to Spain but was nervous. It’s heavy. On a stand and is glass. It arrived with Ian in his suitcase. All in one piece.
Those who follow me on Instagram are well used to seeing Ian’s back. This is one I made him stand still on the terrace looking down to the coast.
Trust me you don’t know how hard it is to get Ian stand for a photo. Let alone pose. Before I’ve even pressed the shutter he’s on the move thinking it’s done.
But the weather picked up. Chilly mornings. Glorious days. Chilly nights. That I can cope with. Oh. And have I ever mentioned sunsets. Maybe one or two. Hundred. At this time of year they are stunning and the views vary from the campo to the town to the areas above the town. Luckily there are others as obsessed as me who take sunset pics
On a clear day we can see the coast of Malaga, to the left Gibraltar. And further to the left usually on a different day Morocco.
As we had rain it was an opportunity to plant the final bulbs. Many I had planted with a pick axe earlier had started to poke through so this time planting was easier with the ground being a little damp. The garden in Somerset is like a paddy field after all the rain we have had. In Spain we do actually have a pick axe. Not that I use it that often but it may be useful if I ever want fancy dress as one of the seven dwarfs. Ian says I’d be a mix of grumpy, dopey and sleepy. Point is. He’s probably right.
Last years freesia are already in flower and a gorgeous yellow one was in bloom. Was is the correct term. I knocked the head off as I clumsily passed by! They grow amazingly well in the garden and I finally planted the last batch. We have pots dotted all around and the scent is fantastic a big winner from Peter Nyssen again.
There is already colour in the garden. The osteospermum are spreading like crazy and as each day gets a bit warmer more open. That and the one Gazania that seems to be way ahead of the others.
The almond trees are bursting into flower. Sadly not ours this time as ours are the latest to flower. Probably in the whole of Andalucia. Which in many ways is good. Maybe a bit less windy to have the beautiful flowers blown like confetti across the garden.
There are two different flowering types in our garden and our neighbours. Both our neighbours are out already. I love the pinky red throat of the second almond flower.
Patience is a virtue. One that I’m not great at. Particularly where plants and flowers are concerned. To be honest best I just say patience isn’t a virtue.
I witter on about the roundabout that’s not a roundabout. Not a lot. But it’s so coming into life. The acid yellow of the oxalis pew caprae is beginning to carpet the ground. This year they seem to be taller and more abundant than last year. I blame the weather!
We are over 600m above sea level. A bit exposed in parts so when the wind blows the wind blows. The enormous leaves of the strelitzia Nicolai get shredded. I’m gutted that there are no signs of flowers ~ we last had them in 2018. Fingers crossed for this year. They are magnificent in their blue/black beauty.
We have a number of strelitzia Reginae with flower spikes which will be bursting into the fabulous bird of paradise flower in the next few weeks.
When we moved into La Casa I was surprised to find that we had a Swiss cheese plant. As a child growing up we had one along with the obligatory rubber plant sitting in the sitting room. This one is in the garden. Really slow growing and to be honest it’s taken me over two years to like it. But I do. I’m hoping it doesn’t grow as large as the ones in the Botanical Gardens Malaga. Then I won’t like it. But I suspect there is no chance of that. The seed pods of Sesbania Punicea are still hanging and are a great shape. You can hear the seeds rattle inside as the pods are so dry.
The dodonia s a pretty dull plant most of the time but when autumn and winter come the green leaves turn to a gorgeous red. I’ve tried replanting some of the seedlings but they just don’t take. The final leaves of the grape are falling ~ hurrah as they are a pain to keep sweeping up. I know I should store them for leaf mould, but I fear the tree rats or some slithering snake may take up residence.
I love the foxtail agave. A lot. This is one at the bank at the back of the house. Them there’s the plecanthrus which is in the main bed. Has a bit of a funny smell. I can’t explain it. Looks a bit like an alien as it grows. Succulents on the back bed. Mr Prickly ~ the one of three healthy prickly pears. Which fruited this year.
We also did a bit of walking ~ down at the coast in Nerja. And a walk from Canillas de Albaida to Competa. A walk in an area between Canillas de Albeida and Canillas de Aceituno.
It wasn’t all gardening. Quite of bit of this trip was leisure as well. Picking lemons from next doors garden. With permission! Making the final batch of quince jelly. Picking olives to dry salt them. Making limoncello. I must remember to take that one out of the cupboard when I’m next home
So for now it’s a waiting game. For some more rain. For the alliums to start poking through. The orange blossom to make an appearance. Time to prune the grape and the olives. There’s never a dull moment, and nearly three years later I’m still excited when I drive up the wiggly road.
And surisingly. It all starts again soon.