I arrived in Malaga and was taken by private car to the town of Benalmadena, a beachy stretch a little less than two hours from Granada. I stayed at Hotel Best Siroco, a darling resort that offered all-inclusive packages as well as standard lodging. The hotel was beautiful, and the weather was divine!
My hotel was a short walk away from the beach and some fantastic local eateries. There was also some fantastic art and gorgeous flowers everywhere I went.
One beer, a good tan, some sangria, and many tapas later, I can confirm that Malaga is a must-see for people who love good food and lots of sun.
This one little town in Spain is such a jewel, and I can’t wait to return!
I spent part of my week bemoaning the haggard look of my yard. With the warmer weather and more sunshine, my grass has been flourishing… And so have my “weeds”.
I’m inclined to quickly schedule someone to tend to the yard but, as a baby herbalist, I know that the new growth cropping up in my yard has a purpose. I also know that it’s to my benefit to be very familiar with local “weeds”, especially the ones in my own yard. So, before I get the first lawn mowing of the season, I decided to learn more about these early spring weeds.
I have a ton of purple dead nettle in my yard. These pretty little plants are among the first to shoot up when the seasons change. I harvested some and dried them, and I plan to try making a tea with them. These are purported to help with seasonal allergies and are also supposedly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, diuretic, purgative, etc.,. Luckily, these plants – and their lookalike, henbit – are edible. Unluckily, I dislike the flavor of fresh purple dead nettle. I’m hoping that the dried leaves can be combined with another herb to make a pleasant tea.
I found a narrow leaf plantain coming up near my driveway. I don’t plan on doing anything that requires me to use plantain, as this is commonly used to numb the sting from stinging nettle and from insect bites and stings. But, it’s good to have it nearby, just in case I get a bug bite that needs attention.
My yard also gets quite a few mock strawberries (snake berries) later in the season. These little devils are harmless and edible but they have no flavor. For now, I’m seeing their pretty flowers and sighing about how those little tasteless berries will be popping up soon. Though the resulting fruit tastes like water, the blooms are sunny spots in my yard.
Finally, my favorite weed has appeared! Violets are all over one particular patch of grass, and I love it! These delicate blooms add such pretty colors to my yard. I have “confederate violets) a cultivated subgroup of the larger blue violet family. These are edible but I’m not interested in consuming them: I just love to look at them.
I’m looking forward to seeing what will bloom at the end of this month, and in May. I planted a few seeds, so I’m hoping that those flowers will be blooming in a few weeks.
Did you do any planting or foraging yet? I’d love to hear all about it!
Hi friends! I know that I missed the Writers Wednesday post yesterday, but since it’s the first couple of days of NaNoWriMo, I don’t have much to say. I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to write, so an entire update post was sort of unnecessary. I figured this paragraph would be more than enough to explain what’s going on. Now, back to the topic at hand …
Recently, I went to Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) with a group of brand new friends. After enjoying tea in the museum’s garden, we checked out the Fine Art and Flowers exhibition. This was a 5-day long exhibition that featured fresh flower arrangements inspired by some of the museum’s current art installations.
I only wish I had more time to see all of the arrangements (it would take at least two visits to make sure that I saw all of the flowers). But what I saw, I enjoyed immensely. Here are some pictures from the exhibition:
I saw a few more arrangements but didn’t have the chance to photograph them. The flowers were such a bright, welcome addition to the museum. I didn’t bother getting the map of the locations of all of the arrangements: I preferred to discover them on my own. I loved how it was almost like a scavenger hunt to locate the arrangements! If this year is any indication, then I can comfortably say that the creativity of the floral artists will wow us for years to come. I can’t wait to see the floral arrangements next year!
I haven’t posted any new garden pictures this year, due to my hectic schedule (no time to plant as many flowers as I intended) and the intense heat that we had. Sadly, my peony blooms have all fallen off, and my roses are budding more slowly. But this is the natural evolution of things, no? Spring comes, the blooms arrive, the blooms fall, and then the summer blooms take over. It’s a lovely natural process that I can appreciate. Here are some of the pictures that I took right before we got the rain that gave us some relief (LOL!) and a few from the days right after the rain. Enjoy!
As if I’m not already busy enough . . . I have started working on my garden plan for this year. You see, last year, spring caught me quite by surprise (probably because I was starting to tutor more and COVID became an issue when I should have been doing my garden planning). So while I did grow a few things, I didn’t have nearly as many flowers and herbs as I would have wanted. I believe that a failure to plan properly is why my garden was so unimpressive.
Last year, I also completed a course in herbalism and became a certified herbalist. As part of my continuing study, I knew that I wanted to grow herbs, veggies, fruits and flowers that I can use in my practice. Also, part of herbalism involves studying plants throughout the four seasons, so that you can become intimately familiar with them. The best way to do that is to grow them from seeds/seedlings and observe them for a full year or two. I can best do that by growing them myself as opposed to trying to find certain plants “in the wild” and trying to keep up with them that way.
With all of this “free” time at home, I have been concentrating on slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasures around me. The main pleasure I’ve indulged in regularly is taking in the stunning beauty of the flowers and trees surrounding my home. Here are a few of my favorite photos. Enjoy!
My hot pink azaleas
A yellow rose bush that is beginning to bloom
Baby pink rhododendrons
My Japanese maple (the leaves are stunning!)
I find that spending a little time walking the perimeter of my home does wonders for my mood and my energy. Embracing natural beauty has such a calming effect on me. I also planted some irises, tigridias, and gladiolus bulbs that I’m patiently waiting to bloom. When those flowers bloom, I’ll take more pictures and share them with you all.