We have just come back from a few days away in Portugal where we visited friends who live near Portalegre. They picked us up from Lisbon and drove us eastwards on the toll roads. I expected to see cork oaks and there were many everywhere but I was surprised to see so many eucalyptus. There were hundreds of acres of them, forests taking up much of the ground for miles on end. Apparently they are used to make paper products, one of the few industries there we were told. These trees looked almost as gloomy as forests of conifers. There was the inevitable hideous emptiness where logging had taken place. Interestingly there were self seeded cistus shrubs along the edge of the eucalyptus.

On one of our sight seeing trips we detoured to see some ancient standing stones. Not on the scale of Avebury and rather disappointing but once I’d started to look around I noticed many small wild flowers including narcissus, erodium, geranium, also some anthericum and asphodels. There was a yellow oxalis growing almost everywhere especially in the roadside verges. It also grew inbetween rows of grape vines and I suspect might be a weed.

We had a full day seeing the sights of Lisbon including going to a botanical garden. It was very pleasant, not too big but plenty to see. Some very old trees with intricate supports to hold their ancient branches up. Rosa banksiae was in full flower as were some almond and cherry trees. It was warm and sunny but hardly anyone else was there. Some of the palm trees are dying due to a nemotode so every now and then we saw completely dead examples of ones that had succumbed to the pest.

It was good for us to get away for a few days and we chose a good time because the weather here was not good.

One thought on “A change

  • February 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for this post. Very cheering. It certainly must have been nice to leave grey skies and flooded fields far behind. Seems to be most of what I see as I trot up and down the country by train these days.

    The yellow-flowered oxalis was most likely Oxalis pes-caprae- sometimes called the Bermuda buttercup. It’s a terrible weed throughout the Mediterranean world.

    There is a beetle that is killing a lot of palms that is travelling northwards, and some species are more susceptible than others – like Canary Island dates – Phoenix canarienses. I didn’t know there was a nematode too.

    Did you take some pictures too? It would be nice to see them. Garden bathed in sunshine.

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