Wednesday, January 28, 2009

18 ~ Today's Garden Jan 28 '09

iceberg rose (click photos to enlarge)

Nearing the end of January and we still have some roses in bloom, since I haven't yet pruned them all. One of my favourite floribundas is the lovely little bush 'Iceberg'. It blooms all year here and doesn't need much care, other than a little food and water now and then.

A sign that Easter is not too far away, is the Cala lily which has started to bloom and remind me that spring is also near.

cala lily I noticed the first nasturtium open in the garden this morning. It will be followed by many that will cover spare ground and tumble over low walls without need of encouraging fertilizer.

nasturtium Italian parsley renews itself after seeds in pots have fallen and come to life.

Italian parsley The Agave Attenuata has finally bent over enough to touch the ground. Only a few flowers remain unopened at the tip.

agave attenuata
Here is a closeup of the top of the inflorescence as it brushes the lawn.

agave touches Our neighbour's cat basks in the morning sun, behind the Aloe Vera.
 cat Our grapefruit has confused its normal fruiting season due to an April heat wave last year which killed off the early buds. It's now trying to come back at a time when the grapefruits should be golden and ripe. One has an odd almost double shape.

grapefruit A blackbird...mirlo in Spanish...sits in our Jerusalem thorn tree. The garden is full of them at the moment flying to and fro with little beakfuls of straw and dead leaves as they build their nests.

blackbird The osteospermum are already blooming around the garden. They become so rampant that we have to cut them back continually.

A monarch butterfly alights on a clerodendrum thomsoniae.

clerodendrum The first iris was out today.

iris Yesterday, our garden helper, Antonio, cut down the branches of green dates from our palm tree, Phoenix Canarensis, before the inedible little dates could ripen and fall to the ground, where they have an affinity for the bottoms of any shoes that may walk under the tree!

Antonio & dates
The last two photos of this post were taken with the Olympus SP-560UZ camera. All the rest were taken with a Canon EOS 30D DSLR using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens.

NEXT: Punta Brava beach, Tenerife North.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

17 ~ The Flea Market

flea market (click to enlarge photos)

Today I went down to the municipal market where the weekly Saturday flea market (rastro in Spanish) is held outdoors on the forecourt and on the roof terrace. I was not one of the early birds because I like to sleep in Saturday mornings without having to set the alarm clock. So after a late breakfast I arrived just before noon when throngs of tourists and locals were perusing the goods offered on open tables. The day was overcast but warm and I was glad I hadn't worn a jacket or woolen sweater.
Note: The branch of pink blossoms in the foreground is from a little tree called Bauhinia Variegata, originally from India and in English called 'pink camel's foot'.

flea market I was surprised at the number of people though and believe that some of them must have come on tour buses from other parts of the island.

flea market I was attracted to the silver spoons and indigo edged porcelain, but I know that I really don't need them any more than the person who gave them up for sale. More spoons and dishes require more cupboard space and I would rather eliminate some of my rarely used items than gather more. But they are lovely to look at and photograph.

flea market I saw many people bending over tables carefully scrutinizing the smaller items but I saw only one person make a purchase while I was there.

flea market I overheard one market seller comment to a friend that business was very slow, so it looked as though many people just came to browse. Here is a display of used furniture and other bric-a-brac. Obviously tourists would not be buying anything from there, since they come to the island by plane.

flea market
The stamp and coin collections are always popular, at least for those who like to look through them. I saw some old five peseta paper bills which I remember from my earliest years in Spain. They were later replaced with coins and still later eliminated all together when Spain joined the European community and adopted the new money. It was rather nostalgic to say goodbye to the old peseta currency. I even like the word peseta better than euro. Peseta has such a Hispanic ring to it.

coin collections I approached the main market entrance, and went inside to look around. This area as well was thronged with people sitting at the small cafe, resting or milling around, glancing at expositions of tablecloths, clothing or handicraft items. Everyone welcome unless you were a dog!

market entrance
I went to have a look at the stamp display of a man who said he was a collector and not a vendor. He seemed to be quite busy though with people who were interested in what he had on show. I'm sure he came to barter and trade with other like-minded people who shared his hobby. He said he was there every Saturday at the same place, and like me, he didn't like to get up early on a Saturday, so if anyone wanted to contact him, it had to be after 10 am.

stamp man
Since I needed some vegetables for making our Sunday dinner I stepped on the escalator and went up to the second floor. It was also very busy there, but the displays of fruit and vegetables were a treat for the eyes. As is my custom, I walked first around the perimeter without buying to have a look at what was offered in each stall.

fruit & veg
Here were lemons, chayotas and potatoes. Chayotas are a soft-skinned green vegetable with a mild, subtle flavour used often here in soups and stews. They grow quickly on sprawling vines which I once had in my garden and had to remove before they engulfed my other plants.

In the fish stall, a Moray eel lies between sardines, red mullet and other locally caught fish.

fish & eel
A gourmet shop exhibits a varied selection of olive oils and herbs.

olive oilsInside are imported European ecological products.

ecological products
A line has formed outside a German deli offering wurst, sausages, pickles and potato salads as well as other typically German foods.

German deli
After I made my purchases of new potatoes, green spring onion, tomatoes, cucumber and sweet orange yams, I headed back downstairs to the outdoor forecourt. It was almost one pm and the flea market was quite deserted. The vendors were packing their goods into small vans and it was time for me to drive home.

flea market
I know that if I were to come here more often I would have to buy a second refrigerator! I cannot resist the bright colours and fresh scents of the fruits and vegetables on display and want to buy a little of each one. At least we are then obliged to have our five vegetables or salads every day, which can only be a good thing!

These photos were taken with the small point & shoot Olympus Stylus 800 camera.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

16 ~ The Municipal Market

produce plate
(click photos to enlarge)

The mercado municipal in Puerto de la Cruz is an interesting three storey building, comprising a supermarket, linen and souvenir bazaars as well as other shops on the main and top floors and the farmers' fruit and vegetable market up the escalator on the second floor. It opens at 8 am and although the produce stall owners pack up their goods after 1 pm, other shops are open until 8 pm. There is a parking garage in the basement which is free if you buy something at any of the shops and have your parking ticket stamped.

The building has a central patio with natural light.
market Escalators make it easier to go up to higher levels.
escalatorsThere are many stalls from which to choose.
market stallsThe fruit and vegetables make colourful displays.
fruit & veg Island-grown papaya...large and small varieties.
papaya African yams called ñames here (center).African yamsThe spice & herb shop sells saffron and paprika as well as many whole and ground herbs and local honey.
paprika Vieja (parrot fish) is a local specialty in the fish stall.
parrot fish, vieja A prepared food stall also sells paella to order.
paella ladyThe finished paella looks just right!

There is a flea market usually every Saturday morning held both on the roof and the front patio of the market building. One can find clothing, books, cameras, silver, china and other items seen at flea markets.

NEXT: The Flea Market

Saturday, January 17, 2009

15 ~ My Bees and Flowers

bee in citrus flower (click to enlarge photos)

Not really my bees as I'm not a beekeeper but I consider as part of my family the little ones who come to visit the blooms on our grapefruit and lime trees at this time of the year and later, to the flowers of the Opuntia cactus.

bee on citrus 2
There are signs that February is approaching as the aloe is putting out its cone-shaped flowers and both citrus trees are blooming again.

bee on citrus 3
The lime tree has a few fruits and the grapefruit tree has many. It is not unusual to see both flowers and fruit on the trees at the same time.

green grapefruit
The blackbirds are building a nest somewhere near our drago tree and are visible every day flying back and forth across the garden or sitting in the schefflera tree.

It’s time to prune the roses and although they are still blooming, they must have last year’s branches cut and tidied so they will come back next month with new shoots.
queen elizabeth rose
The flowers will be even more appreciated when placed in bowls inside the house. Here is a favourite Iceberg floribunda rose:

iceberg bee Roses here bloom all year round, and this Gold Medal hybrid tea has been in our garden for over 20 years.

gold medal Bougainvillae also blooms here year round and fills many blank walls with wonderful colour.

Here is a series of photos I took last year of bees collecting pollen on Opuntia cactus blooms. All bee photos were taken with a Canon EOS 30D DSLR camera with a Canon 100 mm f2.8 macro lens. Here is the cactus flower:

opuntia cactus The approach:
bee approach He already has quite a lot of pollen on his legs: bee pollen Attracted by the scent he has nearly reached his goal:
bee opuntia At last he has found the right place:
bee in flower

The Municipal Market in Puerto de la Cruz.


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