Monday, 15 May 2006

Rivers of flowers

It took some time, but finally the summer has set in. I swam for the first time this year (I am not that big a hero that I swim the whole year round) and the open fire place can be cleaned to make space for the television, which is a poor replacement for the orange flames I like to stare at.

The fine warm weather means also that the flowers growing at this time of the year on the island will soon disappear. Not long ago I wrote about the Keukenhof (A famous flower park attraction in Holland). The travelling Keukenhof this spring was abundant on Lesvos, but it was not always easy to reach it.

I already published a picture of the tulips that Jan found on the island. I myself was not able to see them, because Jan saw them during tough mountain walks for which I stay at home. Just going up and down Lepetimnos (968 m) and a day later up and down Olympos (967 m). I do like walking, but I am afraid that my legs will not hold on such tough walks. And so I was punished by not seeing the tulips live. Next winter I will take on long hours of training so that next spring I will walk as lightly as a bird up and down the mountains. I have to make some efforts to see the tulips.

Other near mythical flowers which were not easy to reach are the rare yellow rhododendrons. These are flowering at the end of April, beginning of May in the mountains between Anemotia and Pterounda. And these masses of flowers are only to be visited by a tough walk or by jeep. Yes, you read correctly: masses of flowers. Although that description does not quite do the job. In that dark pine forest where the only sound you hear comes from the birds and where the sun paints a nearly black and white landscape, rivers of bright yellow rhododendrons crawl downwards through the folds of the mountains. They are waterfalls of lightning flowers which take care to perfume the whole area with a wonderful sweet smell.

I assure you that seeing this piece of art from nature will keep you quiet for a moment. I saw this wonder myself. The walk going through this area I already made twice, finishing on four legs because I was so tired. But the flowering rhododendrons I visited this time by jeep. Which was as tiring as walking because the road there was no piece of cake at all.

Yeah, nature does not come that easily. So now we have seen the whole range of Dutch spring bulbs on this island: daffodils, snow drops, crocus, fritillaria and tulips. Those headstrong tulips which in Amsterdam used to nearly grow out of my vases are my favourites. Here they are protected, so I have to fill my vases with other flowers like broom, lupins, cornflowers and the many other flowers that are colouring the fields here.

Other flowers that you are not allowed to touch are as cheery as tulips: the orchids. When I first saw them, I did not love them too much, but now I am also taken with an orchid fever. What graceful flowers they are and what crazy forms they can take! They like to hide themselves pretty well, but once you find them they will not let you down when having a closer look. They will make you happy.

Peonies are not as sensational, but nevertheless form merry colours in a woody landscape. Their proud flowers just head out of the greenery. Or the small wild gladiolus which comes in an intense purple and colours many roadside or field. And then you have fields which copy the Dutch tulip fields with their thousands of poppies who like an intense red tapestry.

So you see, I cannot get enough of describing the flowers to you. But I soon have to stop writing about them. When the summer heat starts, all those magic flowers will disappear for the year. No hard feelings. The island will have more of these nice surprises.

Copyright © Smitaki 2006

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