The last days of spring


Summer comes to Greece quickly, and everything dries up. Wild flowers and weeds get overblown, and dried grasses have to be cleared because of fire risk. We live in fear of forest fires, which is a big downside of our lovely summers. Pine trees are especially at risk, because of the resin in their sap. They can spontaneously combust just from the heat of a forest fire, and the cones can fly as far as 500 meters, thus accelerating the spread of the fire.

 

 

We have had a little welcome rain lately, which has kept things green, and so we can still enjoy wild flowers and the blossom on trees. Of course in the mountains spring will last a while longer, but around Athens summer has a habit of establishing itself quite early. People are already heading to the beach – in fact, we had our first swim in the sea on April 14. The water was freezing, but invigorating! Then it turned cold again for a few days.

 

 

I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they were so pretty growing amongst the rocks, that I felt inspired to make a sketch in my journal.

 

 

Tortoises are coming out of hibernation, to the great interest of some! This one came to visit. It’s amazing how much faster they move than what you’d expect. I went into the kitchen to get it some lettuce, and by the time I came out again, it was gone. In the countryside, sometimes they decide to cross the road, stopping all traffic.

 

 

Nature at its best!

 

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “The last days of spring

  1. Nice images of an emerging summer, Marina. And your watercolour (?) is just lovely.
    Given that we still have dark skies and overnight frosts, I am somewhat envious. But not of the forest fires!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Did not realize Greece too had such a summer problem with forest or wild or what we call bushfires: the bane of our summer months. With you it is the resin in the pine trees – with us the ever-present eucalypts or gums full of oil cause similar problems. Love the convolvulus both in the photo and your delicate sketch.

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  3. To my amazement – I am not the gardener in our house – I also spotted that it was convolvulus. I must tell my husband as he will be very impressed that I must have actually listened to him from time to time 😉 The sketch is so pretty.
    Funnily enough, I was thinking about tortoises this morning before I read your post – I don’t know why – and thought about the hideous way they used to be transported to other countries for the pet trade. I know, certainly in Britain and France, it is very difficult to get hold of one now and you have to buy from a registered breeder which is a very good thing. We had one when I was a girl – my Dad found it on the railway lines – and it used to get cross if you sunbathed in his garden and would push at your feet and nibble your toes.

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    1. In Greece there are still a lot of wild ones, despite the first fires. When my kids were small we had one who turned up every summer, and disappeared to hibernate in the winter. She was huge, so I assume ancient, and would shower under the lawn sprinklers. One year she never left, and we eventually found her dead under a tree. RIP, Big Hilda

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  4. Fancy having a turtle coming to visit, but I guess with an increase of traffic and a built up environment they are much less common. I loved your photos as they have a very textural quality to them.

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  5. The Greek spring sounds a bit like Minnesota’s–beautiful but brief and before you know what’s hit you it’s summer and hot. One of the surprises of moving to Cornwall is that spring seems to go on forever.

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  6. We’ve had the same kind of wildflower profusion here in Southern California and now, unfortunately, we are also experiencing the first of what threatens to be a long and dangerous fire season. So sad that such beauty portends so much destruction. Your photos are lovely, my favorite being the first one of the long grasses waving violet in front of the green trees. Your painting of flowers is so pretty.

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    1. The fires really scare me. Our garden was burnt down twice, and the second time the house was only saved because a heroic pilot dumped some water straight onto it. I don’t know how they do it, flying through the smoke with high winds.

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