Thursday, May 18, 2017

Can't stop singing

And I’m not the only one. It took quite a while to begin but now I am sure everyone is smiling even in their sleep. I certainly am.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Turning green

The spring that will be remembered as the endless one is now turning towards something that might develop into summer one day should we be lucky.

On Sunday, I finally had something to shoot at the cottage. The coltsfeet have been flowering an amazing period of a months or so under the reeds from last year. Those and the wood anemones were no longer the only delightful living things there. When you looked closely, there were bits of fresh green all around the place.

The wonder of spring bringing nature into life makes my heart sing every time. The honeysuckle, the shrubs and trees, even some flowering plants are finally sprouting leaves and buds. The oak trees are the only ones that still haven't got properly going.

The cold sea keeps the shore temperature at least a couple of degrees lower than it is a few kilometres inland, not to mention the wind-chill effect. Therefore everything has progressed a bit further downtown, especially in the microclimate of courtyards bordered by buildings on all sides. The most striking example of that is the horse chestnut below. I wonder how many more days it will take for the specimen at the cottage to reach the current blossoming phase of the courtyard tree I zoomed through our bedroom window yesterday.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Subtropical bloom

While waiting for … you know what … I must post more of the blossoming Tenerife. This isn’t any comprehensive introduction, only a listing of certain plants I photographed in the neighbourhood where we stayed.

Some of them are familiar from areas with warm climate, such as the magnificent bougainvillea above. They were blooming in various colours including white although I didn’t happen to shoot that one. Note that the colourful parts are, in fact, bracts acting as attractors of pollinators as the actual flowers are so tiny.

In our part of the world the hibiscus or China rose is a common houseplant but there they were growing as shrubs flowering in many colours.

The nerium or oleander (Nerium oleander) is another plant familiar to me from the Mediterranean.

I’m not entirely sure but I believe the above climber is a trumpet vine.

This dwarf umbrella tree (Scheffrela arboricola) of the Araliaceae family formed a hedge bordering a garden. It was intriguing to see the fruit the common houseplant produces when grown in a subtropical garden.

Naturally, there were an abundance of cacti and other succulent plants some of which are native to the Canary Islands. Here are only a few examples as my attention was most of the time drawn to the more conspicuous bright-coloured flowering, I’m afraid. From the top: crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii), prickly pear (Opuntia), and Canary Island spurge (Euphorbia canariensis).

Now a couple of fascinating trees. I had to do quite a bit of searching to find the name of the blossoming ornamental tree I spotted arching above the bougainvillea at our hotel. As far as I could tell, it is Tipuana tipu also known as pride of Bolivia.

The second one is a Royal poinciana or flamboyant (Delonix regia) sometimes called flame tree. In early April, it was only just beginning a new growing season. Its ripe dried pods hold loose seeds inside and can be used as toy rattles. Unfortunately, we only came across pods hanging far too high to be picked as souvenirs. Not that we’d have any babies in the family yet but our travelling companions do.

It requires quite extensive networks of automated watering systems to keep the garden and landscaping plants flourishing in these conditions. On contrast, here are a few typical local wild plants with rather unassuming flowering. From the top: broom (Genista), tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca), fountain grass (Pennisetum), and Aloe vera. The last one can also be seen below as a garden plant. With some heavy cropping I’ve taken the photo to the tropics. My hunger for … you know what … is starting to call for desperate measures.