miércoles, 15 de mayo de 2013

The British are coming! (Bloom Day, 5-13)

I grew up in the Boston area, the birthplace of the American Revolution, and every time my English roses start to bloom, I get this Paul-Revere-ish urge to run through the hillsides shouting "The British are coming!".  Funny what a good-looking rose can do to you (or me at least).

First up is Golden Celebration, my favorite yellow rose.

Golden Celebration

Winchester Cathedral was my first English rose to bloom this year.  It's a funny one, though.  Not only does it tend to put out splashes of bright pink and bi-colored roses, but this year it even gave me some bi-colored leaves. 

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral 

Pat Austin has a hard time keeping her head up.

The colossal roses of Abraham Darby 

Abraham Darby with sage and thyme
My other English roses are somewhat slower, but I have some antiques and moderns that keep things interesting. 

 Majalis plena, a gift from a fellow Infogarden member (danke, Andy!), dates from before 1583.

Lady Banks

Mme. Alfred Carrière

Mme. Alfred Carrière, a good 6 feet tall in its second year, is fast becoming one of my favorite roses.

Pierre de Ronsard is slowly waking up.


La Sevillana

Well, that's more than enough for today.  If you leave me a message, next time I might tell you my secrets for having such healthy roses...

Si me dejáis algún mensajito, a lo mejor os revelo mis secretos para tener las rosas tan sanas...

viernes, 10 de mayo de 2013

I did it my way...

Yes, start spreading the news!  And no, I'm not going to New York.  I have been doing things my way, but apparently my way is the wrong way.  Oh, Frank Sinatra, where art thou?

Have you ever had one of those days when everybody and his/her brother seems to be criticizing you?  Today is one of those days, and it's still only 10:30am, so things are bound to only get worse.  Yes, supposedly the amended soil I've been using is no good for vegetables (what?), I have to plant that hazelnut bush TODAY or it will die (it's only been there in a pot for 6 years...), and I most definitely should NOT be planting a fir tree there because it will get too big, messy, etc.  Yes, family members, neighbors and even passing municipal maintenance workers are all getting in on the fun and telling me how ridiculously wrong I am doing just about everything, because evidently, folks, this crazy American don't know sh**!

Good thing my husband is keeping his mouth shut.

miércoles, 8 de mayo de 2013

Spanish lavender and wildflowers

May is the time for Spanish lavender to bloom (lavandula stoechas), but you have to know where to look for it.  It loves growing near rocks, on rocky slopes, or even in the cracks of rock formations themselves.  It can survive in the poorest soil imaginable, and thrive!

  Here is lavandula stoechas in its natural habitat on a craggy incline behind our property.  The tall grasses are esparto, which are used in basket-weaving and to make the soles of espadrilles. 

Here is a plant next to a dirt road that seems to have been pruned into a topiary shape
by passing off-road vehicles.

Don't these little guys remind you of the Easter Bunny?
The first (and smallest) of the Spanish thistles are in bloom.
And just when you think that all of LaMancha's wildflowers are purple...
... you look up to find yourself in a sea of yellow.


lunes, 6 de mayo de 2013

Mi casa

We did it!  After two years, we've finally done it: we've hung up our house number!  Yes, amazon.com-package-wielding delivery men from all across La Mancha are rejoicing because that crazy American lady with that loco name has finally put a number on her house (although I do have to laugh - they now know me so well that I probably don't even need a house number anymore!).

Isn't it pretty?  We haven't hung up the wrought-iron lantern above it yet (the wall still hasn't been wired), but you get the idea.  During the winter, I planted wild mountain thyme and lavender (sounds like a Rosamunde Pilcher novel) in front, which will slowly fill in.  Best part is that they don't need watering because they're native.  And when I say native, I mean dug up from my backyard!

As you can see, things are slowly getting done... poquito a poco.

Now it's time to give credit where credit is due: if you are looking for a handmade tile house number, this one is from Cerámica Verónica (house number tiles), located in Cádiz.

And now that the wall is done, it looks like at least someone likes it!
Podarcis hispanica

viernes, 3 de mayo de 2013

Oh, go fly a kite!

It was one of those beautiful but blustery spring days, and I was out pulling weeds.  Youngest Son came to say that he was bored, so I asked him if he wanted to help me pull weeds.  Obviously, that was not part of his Wii-besotten mind's agenda, so he just kept complaining.  Then it dawned on me: "It's such a windy day, why don't you go fly a kite?"  Surprisingly enough, he did!  The next thing I new, the three men in my tribe were out with kites, and even the dog was getting in on the act.

And they weren't the only ones who thought it was a great day for flying...