This was mist, not rain.
These rather battered beauties in yellow, orange and red are ranunculus. I love the way their petals fluff up like tulle underskirts or the leg feathers on fancy chickens, and it was cheering to have full-on sun colours after the beautiful purple and apricot of the winter pansies. As you might expect, they're about as enthusiastic about wind and rain as a socialite at Ascot, so when I saw the weather forecast a few weeks ago, I brought them straight inside. It wasn't so much the forecast of wind, but that the weatherman said that the Tramontana would start at 1 o'clock the next day. A wind so distinctive that it has a name, and you can time its arrival? Duck for cover. Sure enough, the next day, it started: powerful, gusting and sooooo cold; blowing clouds across the sky so fast that rain came and went and came again throughout the days and nights that followed. The temperature dropped abruptly.
In fact, if we're getting the Tramontana, it's with a small t, because the original is cousin to the provençale Mistral, originates in the Pyrenees, and causes mayhem among the good people of Catalonia. But there's still something blowing in from our Sierra Guadarrama - tra our montanas! As for the ranunculus, even indoors, they don't like it, but after sulking for a while, they perked up and were great fun for weeks. Recently, though, they've been moulting like nobody's business. Usually, the first thing I do when I get new plants home is repot them, but these girls' petals are so fragile that I didn't dare, so I suspect they're potbound by now. Definitely not happy, anyway. So I put them out again in Thursday's misty morning air as a treat. Oops.
Also to come -
|cucumbers, green peppers & red peppers-in-waiting|
|peas! (and holly in flower)|
|proto-lemons, which start out as the purple heart of the blossom, and then turn green, and then, if we're lucky, stay on the tree long enough to get big and yellow and delicious|
|aubergines - there's one right there - so exciting!|
and also, most important, shade - work in progress
|don't know what it is, but it's looking fair to cover the frame of the parasol that got trashed by the wind last year|
|and we've got two of them|
|Jasmine, also heading up and - I hope - over. Scented shade!|
|Spring in Madrid|