Wildflowers in the Valley

My blogging friend Marianne suggested we should walk down to the valley! A small feat after the other climbs we have done, so we planned it for afternoon, when the westering sun would illuminate the Puente Nuevo.

We ate mixed salad for two, which is a huge platter of lettuce, tomato, asparagus, beetroot, carrot, topped by fresh tuna and costing 4 euros at Bodega San Francisco, below the Old Gate. From there we could follow a track into the valley.

I was a slow walker, entranced by the profusion of wild flowers beside the path. It seems wonderful to me that no person has planted them, yet they are arranged in such glorious groups of colour and form.

Stuart is used to sitting for hours and sketching, so he did not mind waiting as I knelt amongst the vivid colours, trying to capture what my heart saw.

Imagine a gentle breeze whispering through a stand of Australian eucalypts (true!), the freshness of mountain air, clear vistas to surrounding hills, and the buzz and flutter of feeding insects amongst the waving grasses.

There was even one pink poppy amongst the red!

I wish I knew the names of these flowers, although some are familiar I have not seen them wild before now.

Just when I thought I had seen them all new ones would appear, or a bend in the track would reveal a whole field of colour!

We sought shelter from the sun in an olive grove where we sat on a pile or rocks, Stuart drawing the famous arches of the bridge while I rested and watched for birds. This little bunting (?) hopped by, rummaging in the fallen olive leaves. It is well disguised isn't it?

Beauty had me surrounded, wonder overwhelming me moment by moment, just look at these delicate jewels woven together on the rocky bank of the orchard.

A bee landed on these yellow flowers that spread delicately over the narrow path … can you see that dark insect?

These little explosions of light could be something from space, yet they lie modestly hidden in the undergrowth.

This one was reaching out to the extra light of the open track, and a bee landed on it as I was leaning close to take the photo. I was not so lucky with butterflies … each one moving before I could snap!

However a very pretty beetle stayed in place just long enough for a slow photographer.

The main incentive for the valley walk was to see the bridge from the west, so here it is, with a profusion of flowers in the foreground.

As the track took us higher again, back to the city, we looked over the olive groves and out to the mountains. The abundant yellow flower is fennel.

Today we leave our wonderful little hotel San Gabriel, exquisite and perfect, the building dating from 1736, yet equipped for discerning travellers of 2014. I cannot recommend it highly enough, if you dont mind the sound of a horse and carriage jingling and clopping along under your window now and then.


32 thoughts on “Wildflowers in the Valley

  1. Stunning, Christine – no other word for such a collection. I had thought the English wildflower meadow to be the only kind ! – and see how wrong I was. Happy to be proven so ! πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you for taking me on the walk through the valley, and such a variety of colour and species. Some things require the homage of slowing down and drawing in. I defy human beings to plant anything with the same careless order as nature manages so easily: Edna Walling, an extraordinary Australian gardener, tried for the randomness of nature by chucking potatoes and planting where they landed. Tried it once, and the urge to rearrange the spuds into more regular order was irresistible!

    • made me laugh Meg! We never manage much disorder except in the vegetable garden, and I once had some wonderful wild snapdragons there as well …

    • and thanks for Venice too Madhu … I really have trouble commenting with the ipad … it often refuses to allow it … but I am loving seeing your posts πŸ™‚

  3. The first photo and probably the fourth is/are of someone in the mallow family; the third is of Italian Bugloss (Anchusa italica); the twelfth shows a scabiosa. I love those little stubby-petaled daisies, whatever they are, in the pic below that of the pink poppy..
    Those roadsides put gardening books to shame! Looks like you’re visiting at the right time of year.

    • I really hoped to see wildflowers and I had no idea they would everywhere!! here in Vejer nature is further away, but we will,drive out and find some tomorrow … thanks for the names, I will try to connect them although my brain is going on strike over speaking Spanish and keeps offering French instead … 😦

  4. Oh it’s idyllic, such lovely wildflowers, the scabious is my favourite! The bridge is even more dramatic from this side, what a lovely – if steep walk πŸ™‚

    • hi Gilly, I still don’t really know what is what, but I might find a wildflower book in one of our little hotels … I guess you have the same ones in England, and of course there are some we grow in gardens! I will know more by the time we meet πŸ™‚

  5. I’m so glad you followed my suggestion and took a walk into the valley – I knew you would love it, Christine – and it was obviously a treat for Stuart to sketch, too πŸ™‚

    Yes, the wildflowers are a joy at this time of year. There’s always something new to delight, as well.

    I think we might be in for some rain tomorrow, Christine – be prepared!

    • Ok … we were thinking of exploring along the coast around Vejer …. but will watch the weather … great food here, lots of vegetables which were missing in Ronda πŸ™‚ Stuart’s number is 684 227 603

      • Got that!

        Vejer is a lovely town with some great places to eat and see. You might like to have a look at Cadiz, too – the oldest continuously populated city in Europe (over 3000 years)


  6. Oh my dear, you’re showing us so many little miracles – particularly with this spring time walk, which is triggering some lovely memories of the springtime visit I made with Ma and Papa before I went to ‘America’. As uncool as it was, every day felt enchanted and now, 40 years later, the tears came before the memories, and now the smiles, my eyes full of the beauty of the land – your pictures so welcome as this was a(nother) camera-less period of my travels! So glad you’re having such a lovely time πŸ™‚

    • how wonderful that you met these glorious beauties on your earlier travels … I feel enchanted too, and wonder if I am the only one … so thrilled you are enjoying it with me!

  7. What a beautiful valley, and yes, I could cope the sound of a horse and carriage jingling and clopping along under my window now and then πŸ™‚

    • maybe for your bucket list then …. and after Ronda you could slip down to Vejer for excellent Moorish vegetarian food … vegetables were a bit sparse in Ronda except for some sensational aubergine chips!

  8. not sure, but the white daisy-like flowers could be camomile. this post was sheer eye candy! thanks for taking this walk, sparing us the miles but allowing us to enjoy the beauty of your findings.

  9. So beautiful. I live in the city of San Gabriel, so I my ears perked up at the San Gabriel Hotel. Your photos are so lovely. I hope Stuart was able to capture some of them in his artwork. What a glorious time you must be having. πŸ™‚

    • we are Debra, sorry i have so little internet time, but we will be home again before you can blink … I love to think of you in San Gabriel … I will remember that now … I seem to be having an archangel trip this time!

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