Sun, Sea and Sand


We have spent the last week enjoying a well earned holiday, lapping up some late summer sun in the south of Spain. Beautiful as you can see! The cobbled streets here, take on a whole new dimension.

Despite all this warm sunshine and relaxation, the “little green cells” were still working. Having been here before and taken albums full of the obligatory holiday snaps, I was still snap happy, on the look out for a horticultural gem, or an unusual slant. Most of these photos have yet to be downloaded (or should it be uploaded? I never know!) Some have led me to have fun with some puzzles!



This was intended to be a “Wordless Wednesday”, while away, but a wonderful day spent far away from Wi-fi connections in the fascinating city of Córdoba, meant it was not to be be. This old city of narrow streets, keeps its horticulture a closely guarded secret, in beautiful courtyards, hidden from view. We did get a sneaky peak – citrus trees, fountains and walls covered in pots trailing with brightly coloured flowers. Apparently, once year in early summer, these courtyards are thrown open to the public. Make a date in your diary!

Have you spotted the ball? (Or is it a fallen orange?)


….what La Biznaga is?

Well, for one, it is the tapas bar we were frequenting while there.


As we perused the menu on so many occasions, it became obvious that the bar’s logo resembled a flower or seed head, so it led me to wonder what La Biznaga meant. Ah, the wonders of Google!



This is one. It is, in essence, a scented posy of Jasmine, which is a speciality of the Malaga region. The name comes from the Moorish, meaning “Gift from God”.
The starting point is what they term as a wild thistle, but was named as being Ammi visnaga, familiar to us as Bishops Weed, or Khella. They collect these early in summer, leave them to dry and then strip off the flowers, leaving only the skeleton. Later, jasmine flowers are picked early in the morning, before they open, and stuck on to each prong, giving a head of scented jasmine flowers. Each of these “posies” are stuck into the body of a cactus, which has been stripped of its prickles, to be carried through the streets by the sellers, or biznagueros.


Sounds like a painstaking process! But what a perfume they must emit!
They feature strongly in Malaga’s culture, depicted in art and poetry, and they comprise an integral part of the city’s annual festival in August.



Home now, and time to assess the vase I did just before we left.
I was determined that a week away, would not be an excuse to forego a vase of flowers. I put a lot of thought into what I could use that would either last the week or die gracefully. My thinking was that the evergreen Mahonia leaves as a background, with their splashes of red, should last well, as would the Skimmia buds and Sedum flowers. The rosehips should dry out, the Persicaria create seed heads and the grass flowers fade beautifully.

One week on and what’s the verdict? I think it’s worked exactly as I’d hoped!



…. the viola was the only casualty!

9 thoughts on “Sun, Sea and Sand

  1. Julie

    Glad you had a good holiday and no I can’t see a ball….or an orange! Your vase is very wonderfully autumnal and the rose hips beautiful, thats a good idea to see what they look like after a week, your first one certainly worked very well.

  2. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you, Julie, we had a great time. Almost one week after our return, the vase still looks good. Hmm! Shall I let the cat out of the bag? The ball/Orange is on the right at the bottom of the steps!

  3. Cathy

    Ah – the Ammi visnaga! isn’t it wonderful how we can solve these mysteries in seconds with our friend Google! Glad you had a good time and I am pleased to see that you never switch off from seeking things of plant interest. I remember those Cordoba courtyards from a visit many many moons ago – there were still the odd glimpses of intriguing spaces, even in February…

    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      Hope I didn’t have you on tenterhooks too long! Have you come across these biznagas before? They were completely new to me – I just wish I had come across one in the “flesh” so to speak. The scent must be amazing, especially en masse. I am afraid/pleased to admit my gardening bug is hard to switch off! Andalusia is so beautiful and those courtyards must be wonderful to see. I feel I have so much more to discover!

  4. angiesgardendiaries

    Your first shot warmed me up no end! Glad to read you had a great time. It’s great to get a bit of sunshine at this time of the year isn’t it?
    Of course I couldn’t for the life of me spot the ball – thanks for pointing it out, it saved me quite possibly hours. Google is often a great friend 🙂

  5. thelonggardenpath Post author

    It definitely warmed me up too – the sun was so welcome! I just love that photo, even though there is hardly a plant in sight. There are the most fantastic cobbled streets there, the photo only touches on them. Such an inspiration for garden designing!

  6. Pingback: The Cuttings Calender – October | The Long Garden Path

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