We have had big heat, whirlwinds, heavy clouds and rain! Not bothered this Spanish Oyster plant or Giant Fennel coming into seed.
This pink delight is a very new flower to me and I love it! The detail of the leaf below is the Castor oil plant and is growing in all sorts of places here at Ceratonia. Some key points linked to this plant are, Strength, Cleansing, Resilience, Grounded and Nourishing.
This top photo gives a before of the South gardens, an area that will be worked on later this Summer and does need plenty tender care as this is in front of the Centre and has had many machines and the like working there.
As Summer Solstice shows her Fire and close connection with Water, we really connect with this transformational time. Some early planted trees and plants are coming into flower and luxuriant leaf, like this Hibiscus and Magnolia.
I have put some of the Orchard and the very newly planted trees. It is difficult to see, but in time these views will be different. It is exciting and so inspiring to see the amazing brilliance of MULCH. Everything that we have planted we have added much organic matter including good layers of mulch. Mainly coming in the form of leaf mulch and estrume\manure. What is especially fabulous about it is that it helps to conserve water and so we are not needing to water the trees and plants as often. In fact once a week in most cases is enough and in some even longer (Vegetables and smaller herbs this is a different story). With good water and nutrient holding capacity at the base of the plant, we are saving a huge amount of water. When a plant does not have mulch it will need water most days, I have experimented and it is clear as day! Most that we have planted received an extra Solstice treat this week of large nourishing amounts of Comfrey and Seaweed maceration. Gets smelly!
What a precious plant and we are so lucky to have this dear flower growing here at Ceratonia. It is especially up in the Orchard where we have been working for the past few weeks. As with so many herbs I could write a book on each describing the many virtues. Wonderful Plant Medicine! Chicory gives a restorative boost, a helping hand and eases the aches and pains that life can bring on.
The main aim for this year in the Ceratonia gardens is to plant trees. We are on target, many many have been planted and yes still a few to go. As the heat has risen we simply can not work in the day time. So all of this week we have been up at 5am and have worked for some hours (by 9am it is HOT) and then again from 7pm for a few more hours. Last night the fabulous fullness of the Moon gave a wonderful cool light! This rhythm has worked well, other than we need to learn to actually have a bit more rest in the daytime! The area where we have been mainly working has been near the entrance of the project and where a wee dirt track is. Most of the time you may see the goats and other animals pass and an occasional tractor. But with our new timings and spending long lengths of time up there, many folk have past! All wanting to have a few words and find out what we are planting. They all say the same thing we need agua! Yes we know and luckily we have some! But I do feel confident that in some years to come less and less water will be needed. Last night seeing folk having an evening stroll, we both had a heartfelt warmth that in years to come the neighbours will promenade through Ceratonia of an evening and enjoy, they seem to want to already! The very positive attention from everyone has truly been lovely, we are making gardens for people as well as all the birds and insects! We have about twenty more trees to plant and once they are done we wont plant any more until the Autumn. So far we have planted over a 150 trees: Figs, Mulberries, Cypress, Pomegranates, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Cherries, Almonds, Walnuts, Apricots, Persimmon, Jacaranda, Pecans, Hazels, Chestnuts, Plums, Mangoes, Avocados, Tilia, Oaks, the list goes on and on. We shall see who wants to stay. Although some really have had a shock and lost all of their leaves, fresh buds are even forming on the most frazzled new comer!
Today when I went to check on the vegetables, I was able to harvest a tasty lunch of french beans and Borage flowers which we had with some lovely tomatoes from the market. On the way I came across this interesting looking flower. We just caught it before the Sun's rays transform it to a dry crisp! Do not know who this plant is, will be looking into it, but if you know? Do tell..
This little succulant was given to us sometime last year. I planted it in our Cactus garden and last week this is what it did. I do need to identify and will very soon, I just couldn't resist sharing!
As the Sun starts to heat everything up, the land starts to have a much more arid look. But here and there wild flowers still bloom.
Helichrysum stoechas Erva-do-Caril This gorgeous plant will continue to bloom for months and has a wonderful aroma. Also some great medicinal properties, such as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory especially in stomach and urinary complaints. This herb is also used in cooking around these parts, added to all sorts of foods! Very happy that it is growing at Ceratonia.
Our little river is also nearly dry, but as you can see a lushness of sorts still lingers. Acanthus mollis looking good and is an ancient medicine. Such as a poultice of the leaves was used for dislocated joints.
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) Cenoura selvagem is all over Ceratonia and has been for some time. The Apiaceae family is vast and many species can look very similar. But there is no doubting this one and when dug up the smell of carrot is overwhelming!
This gorgeous soothing anti-inflammatory is a very useful herb, easing chesty coughs and sore stomach. The Mallow (Malva sylvestris) Malvas is another plant that is used in Portuguese cuisine.
The aroma is what got me first and then realising that we have our own wild Clematis (Clematis flammula) climbing around has been a fabulous find! On first reading this plant is pretty toxic. However there is more than meets the eye to this plant and many others like it. Much more on this subject will be discussed in the future.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) Poisonous I hear you cry! Yes it is! This is our wild one growing and actually we have planted a few more.. Why?? Well it needs no water and it has a gorgeous bloom which cheers the heart. The strong colours are a powerful tonic and the creamy white species that we also have, has an amazing sweet aroma.
The healing gardens at Ceratonia are not just about consuming the plants. The healing also come with spending time with the plants and understanding the spirit essence of each one. In the case of the Oleander, the essence helps to unearth deeply buried emotional turmoil. Working with this essence helps one to see the light and find a pathway out of depression.
Daisy Mae and Corey Smith at Ceratonia