All that is Mother’s Garden

Wild flowers openingApril rollercoasts on. Downpours, pulsing heat, clouds spilling over the mountains like frothy milk from a boiling pan. Gales then breathless calm. Life rushes headlong, while I stand in the vineyard and wait to watch the wonder of a myriad of wild flowers opening to the sun.
wild flowers in the vineyardThe laughing wrynecks and the frenetic serins leave the pre-dawn chorus to the warblers and blackbirds, then fill the bright hours with their calls. The family of short-toed eagles come lower and lower scanning for snakes in the myriad colours and riches of spring. Swallows surge north. We await the bee eaters.
The pollinators are thick in the air, and the dew pearls the countless funnel webs of the grass spiders. What speedsters these eight-eyed funnel weavers are, darting from their lairs to dine on blue-winged grasshoppers or other insects that drop onto their fishing nets.
We have set another hive, in the almond grove this time, in penance. A swarm took up residence in our loft. I squeezed after them into the darkness, even chiselling away part of a wall to try and reach the queen bee in the slim hope of settling her and her entourage somewhere else. But they were down a narrow, dusty shaft clogged with water pipes. Arm wedged, only my fingertips could reach them. I failed.
No stings, though, until yesterday. Wandering back from the far side of the wildflower meadow with another fistful of wild asparagus, I cast too close an eye at the comings and goings of our older hives.  Two of the four hum with life and I must tend them, perhaps moving the vacant dwellings up to the almond grove. How mesmerizing the essence of life that is a tireless bee community. Too much so. I drifted closer and was nailed mid-forehead.
Sitting at the kitchen table, rubbing a clove of garlic on the sting, Maggie and I indulged in our constant reflection on the diverse joy and immeasurable wonder of the nature that swirls around us, somehow tolerating and thriving despite our footprints and human clumsiness.
We will leave the grasses and flowers for the insects and continue to channel our energies and water from the spring into the vegetable garden where peas, broad beans, lettuces, onions, courgettes are up and running. We still have half of our 30 kilos of seed potatoes to plant and, as ever, I’ve not quite come up with an irrigation system that fills Maggie (or me) with confidence.  So, on every evening dog walk, I surreptitiously dampen the patches of dry soil with the aid of a watering can.
Ground spiderEight more olive trees, lost for decades to wilderness, have been freed and pruned, and a bee orchid has popped up to celebrate.
There, in that fingernail-sized bloom, is everything that matters about Mother’s Garden.
I must press on. A shipment of fresh olive oil leaves for England today and I must alert our lovely customers. If you would like to join them just let me know. There is, by the way,  a new post on our business facebook page about the joys of fresh olive oil and fresh asparagus, now coming into season in Britain.
Keep well – and remember, our cottage is available should you want to visit. See here for availability. Late deals for May and early June. Just ask.

2 responses to All that is Mother’s Garden

  1. Sandy Tarrant

    Such a joy to read, and Martin’s descriptive writing made me feel I was actually in Mother’s Garden! Despite the sting, it is good you have the bees as in Australia lots of their blossom areas were destroyed by big bushfires earlier in the year, plus a wet winter. Much of the honey is made from gum blossom. So hives are having to be moved many distances to where there is blossom, and a honey shortage expected.

    Happy planting and fruitful crops!

    Sandy
    Hahndorf, South Australia

  2. Heather, Dom and Anabel

    Bliss to read your blog! Now we are back in Blighty, your blog is a very welcome connection to our past lives in Catalunya and a wonderful reminder of seasons, sights and scents marking the passage of time. We continue to have strong ties with our ‘poble i amics’ and still hope to visit Mother’s Garden one day. Que vagi bé entretant!
    Heather, Dom and Anabel (previously of Altafulla, now back in Norfolk) x

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