A flâneur in a coastal landscape

Take two. I just wrote paragraphs of news… and I lost the lot when I forgot to charge my laptop. Grrrr.

So while I’m charging and madly hitting ‘save’, herewith some news.

I woke just after 0520am with an actual To Do List in my head. Was it a dream? Or an actual programme of works for the top potager?

I fear the latter. I am in a whirl of plans right now.

This bad.

And that’s just page one. (But the stuff on page two are just the normal life in a big garden chores.) I want all this to magically happen by Easter. And more. And I can’t delegate. Apart from maybe a dry stone wall in front of the house.

But before we get mired in the dirt (literally) of the top potager weeding and re-landscaping programme which I ticked off my list this week I realise I haven’t finished the holiday snaps.

And a bit of sunshine and sea might be just the tonic for a few of you right now.

As this was my first go at the Costa Brava I have realised that the 2km coastline we chose was definitely the most lovely.

To your right you have vistas like this…

But to your left, this….

Monstrous holiday apartments right by the sea. Well I think they are monstrous. I never felt comfortable just having a home where one gazes. I’m more an out the door and beetling along the coast kind of holiday person.

You have to crop your pictures judiciously.

Some were quaint. Like this little hamlet Sa Tuna right on the shore.

(Everything was shut here which gave it an air of Pandemic Closure and no one about.)


Well, yes.

But I can’t complain. Everyone wants to be beside the seaside.

And I am no different.

Luckily in this part of the coast every second headland seemed to be spared the developer’s dastardly deeds.

These headlands were a paradise for the botanical. Whole hillsides of rosemary, laurel (a dozen other shrubs I couldn’t identify) and pistacia lentiscus (I’ll add a link to show you the glorious little shrub in detail. )


Pistacia lentiscus
Nom commun : Pistachier lentisque.
Famille : Anacardiaceae
Feuillage : Feuilles persistantes coriaces, très aromatiques, vert sombre. Les jeunes pousses prennent de belles couleurs rouge bronze en hiver. La plante supporte bien la taille et peut être formée en larges coussins couvre-sol, évoquant son port naturel sur le littoral où elle est sculptée par les embruns. Utilisée dans la composition de grands massifs, le pistachier lentisque demande peu d’entretien de désherbage grâce à ses propriétés allélopathiques.
Floraison : Fleurs en petites grappes rouges d’avril à juin. Grappes de fruits rouges, sur les pieds femelles, en automne et hiver (les plants que nous cultivons sont issus de semis, les mâles et les femelles ne sont pas différenciés).
Hauteur : 1 à 2 m, parfois plus.
Largeur : 2 à 3 m, parfois plus.
Rusticité : -12 à -15 °C.
Code de sécheresse : 6.
Sol : indifférent. Supporte bien le calcaire.
Exposition : soleil ou ombre.
Origine : Bassin méditerranéen, Ouest de l’Asie.
Utilisation : isolé, bac, haie libre, talus, massif d’arbustes, jardin allélopathique, jardin aromatique, jardin en bord de mer.
Remarque : Supporte bien la concurrence racinaire en lisière de bois de pins ou de chênes. Résiste aux embruns.

And dare I admit there was a spot of harvesting? Pistacia seeds were bagged and filled every pockets. (What, don’t you go on holidays with a paper bag in your pocket?) I’ve never had any berries on my two very small pistacia shrubs in the garden.

I was also full of admiration for these incredible pine trees.

Imagine the strength of the root system to support a tree growing at this sort of angle.

I kept seeing this pale shrub and was wracking my memory bank trying to remember what they were called.

Pale leaves, fluffy and soft and also ripe seeds galore.

Around one headland I had the answer.

Of course. Cistus! Flowering in January. What a climate.

And not half an hour from the coast I walked to this lovely little town Begur.

Bereft of humans. that’s Covid and January in a holiday location for you, I suppose. It felt like I was on a film set.

But lovely.

They do a wacky line in stone wall building.

But the lure of the flat blue stuff was too great. So after a lunch (yes, I found an open restaurant!) I walked back to the coast. Good paths, well sign-posted.

And how could I resist this? And I don’t even like cars.

So there you have some diverting green and blue.

Now back to the brown.