Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Winter Sunshine

Sunshine and plants

Recently Mr. Stitches and I headed off in search of some warmth and sunshine to Tenerife. Neither of us had been before but we were in need of a rest and a bit of vitamin D and decided that it would be a good place to try.

We visited lots of gardens which really inspired me and has made me very keen to get out into my garden. I particularly enjoyed the Jardines Aquatico as it is tiered and pretty well hidden so you keep coming across different parts of it and it feels like a sort of secret garden. I also really enjoyed the Botanic Gardens, so many amazing plants! It felt a little odd to see a lot of the plants we grow as house plants in this country growing outside quite happily there.

Much of the landscape is quite harsh, it is a volcanic island and there is evidence of this everywhere. We went up Mount Teide, the tall volcano that dominates the island and controls much of its weather, which was really interesting as we saw a range of landscapes high above the clouds. Mostly it was pretty rocky but there were some interesting plants and we were also lucky enough to see the elusive mouflon, a mountain sheep native to Tenerife.

The other highly visible evidence of the volcano is the black sand beaches on the north of the island, where we were staying. I loved the contrast of the bright blue water and the black sand and the strange contrast of my feet burning walking across the hot black sand and then freezing as I stepped into the cold Atlantic surf. There were people swimming in it but a little paddle was enough for me! I was intrigued by all the rocks that has been arranged into cairns, hundreds of them right along the sea front.

I had hoped to see a blue chaffinch whilst we were over there but sadly we didn't manage to track one down. I was, however, highly amused by seeing canaries in the Canaries. Simple things. Many of the birds out there were familiar but with slight differences, the blue tits for instance are much more strongly coloured than ours. We also saw a great number of lesser kestrels, blackbirds and of course a good few gulls. We also went exploring on the water and saw Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and caught a glimpse of Short Finned Pilot Whales, which are actually also a type of dolphin.

We had a peaceful and relaxing week, walking in the morning and sleeping in the afternoons. I've returned feeling a lot more rested and ready to get back in the studio and to start some new projects.

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