Monday, 23 June 2008

Mediterranean summer


What is it that symbolises the Mediterranean for me? The olive tree, of course. It grows all around the Mediterranean, as well as in other parts of the world, and this kind of climate is the only one it thrives in. People in the Midi, as in other Mediterranean countries, have a special attachment to it. It's such an important tree that it deserves a post all to itself - and I'll do this one day soon. For now I'll just say that I think it is the most beautiful of all trees and I can't imagine now living anywhere where it doesn't grow.

Then there's the smell of thyme as I crush its leaves when I walk through scrubby garrigue, the flowers at the side of the road in springtime, the taste of it in cooking, leaves sprinkled on tomatoes, on goats' cheese. We grew it in Wales, too, but without the heat of the Mediterranean sun it was never the same.

Summer begins properly for me when we hear the cicadas - they've just started here in the last week. Their chattering begins when the temperature reaches 26 degrees C, and as the sun rises in the mornings and reaches higher up a hillside you can hear each tree being 'switched on' as the cicadas sense its heat.

And oleanders. Their flowers in different shades of white, pink, red, are all coming out now, lining the road at the entrance to villages, in gardens and parks. They're all beautiful (although poisonous), but for me it's the pink ones which are the real oleanders - the ones we had in the garden when I was a child in Libya.

oleander

And the Mediterranean sea itself:


6 comments:

chey said...

The Mediterranean Sea looks very beautiful, as does the pink oleander.

CityGarden said...

hm... If you change the word "thyme" with word "origanum", I can copy-paste your post for Mediterranean.
:)
You 're so right!

(My mother has 4 oleanders in her balcony in containers)

Kate said...

It could be South Australia too, with the aroma of the native mints instead of the thyme, as you walk through the bushland, like I did when camping recently.

easygardener said...

I agree that pink oleanders look like the real ones and I love the almond fragrance.
I've got a young olive tree in my garden (now 10 feet/3m tall).This would have been impossible a few years ago in my part of the UK when the winters were colder. It's covered with flower buds at the moment.

MaryAthenes said...

Je suis amoureuse de la Mediterrannee moi aussi pour les memes raisons que celles que tu decris...
That's why i'm living here in greece...

Gaël R. alias "orneylie" said...

Magnifique. Je vis dans le sud-ouest, sur la côte atlantique et les oliviers nous boudent! Thank you for your "haikus" posted in the rubrique comment of my blog. They deserve better... and I think that on Sunday which will become "haiku day" on my blog, I'll post them with some others.