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## 2002

parks and gardens

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new Huisman Rhodos

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native azaleas USA

## 2003\4

Articles

Rhododendrons colours:

index

white

orange

yellow

Rhododendron George's Delight - a nice flower with a mix of colours - yellow, pink and orange.

Rhododendron 'Double Winner' a strigilosum hybrid with hairy leaves and stems - has bright red flowers

Rhododendrons colours:

pink

red

blue

species

other topics        rhododendron photo review

Photography

My (ex)-gardens 'Park der Gärten' Germany ASA Convention 2003 Flowershow ARS Dutch Rhodo. Society
Kalmia latifolia "Indian Summer" in Maine wildflowers Costa Blanca Bernhard Knorr rhodo's Hans Hachmann Rhodo's Joe Klimavic azaleas
view on Benidorm from the 'Sierra Helada'

Rhodoland

Wild Flora of the Costa Blanca

not far from Benidorm this orchid, an 'Ophrys'

           May be you think, that this page about Wildflowers of the Costa Blanca does not fit into a website about rhododendrons and azaleas. Well, it's quite simple, otherwise I had to make a new website, and now , as a 'Plant-nut'  I can also show my love for other plants. Nevertheless I hope, that you will appreciate this page and can take some inspiration out of it, as it is ment to do. 
Perhaps, in the (near) future I will indeed make a new website which could be xxx.plantnut.uk or so. You never know!!

Asteriscus maritimus growa a lot here

Dianthus serrulatus

             Every year many thousands of tourists visit Benidorm, also called "the Manhattan" on the Costa Blanca.  Germans, Norwegians, British, Dutch etc. tourists try to escape from the cold and wet climate in their own country to enjoy the mild climate on the Costa Blanca. Quite rightly, because the World Health Assiociation has declared this Costa to be the healthiest part of the world.  And what are all these people doing? Well, lazing about the streets and shopping, talking and lying on the beach as soon as the weather allows. And that's just my point!! I have the strong impression, that most of them are not aware of the beauty of wildflowers around Benidorm and in the beautiful mountainous inland. It is such a shame to miss all this!! My wife and I are quite soon tired of walking and shopping, we rent a car for a week or so and drive through the inland to see the real Spain!! And February and March is the ideal time to do so. The weather will be warmer with time, about 70 to 80 F, nature comes to life, the orange- and  lemon- trees colour the landscape with their fruits, like the almond-trees with their white and pink blossoms. And there is an abundance of wildflowers, even orchids not far from the last hotels. 
          This is, what I want to show you. Adding an extra dimension  to your vacation. I would call it the "FLORA-Dimension". See it as a beautiful lady and follow her footsteps!! And don't forget your camera to enjoy the images of this beauty at home! 

'Ricinus communis'

Pistacia lentiscus,  mastic-tree


    Well, as a start some pictures. to get into the right Spanish atmosphere. Olé!!

Almond-trees lake of Guadalest, used to have much more water

            North of  Benidorm there is the 'Sierra Helada', and those who ordered some ice-cream in Spain, know that it means 'Ice-mountain'. Indeed, in winter it can be quite cold on this mountain, but when the moon-shine falls on the chalky mountain, it seems to be frozen. That's the reason for the name. A walking guide is useful for a good walk. At some distance it seems as if there are not many flowers here, but a closer look shows many plants. And hardly further than the last hotels, in a small valley, you can find nice flowers, even small orchids, like some Ophrys orchids. See pictures below.

small orchid, Ophrys sphedoges Cynoglossum cherifolium Ophrys

            Still on the 'Sierra Helada', where we can enjoy so many fine flowers, you can take a deep breath and smell the fragrance of some spicy herbs, like rosemary and thyme. Better than the air in Benidorm, that's for sure! Walking to the cross on the top, you have a magnificent view on the neighbourhood. See pictures on top. May be you recognize the 
Ricinus communis, the Castor Bean Plant, which seeds are poisonous. So take care and only pictures.....

Euphorbia Trifolium..... some clover

            And then into the inland. Just to mention some routes - to Polop (and count 17 roundabouts) and then to the left on the new road to Guadalest. There to the right and after a minute to the left down to the barrage. You can walk around and see many flowers. And have a nice view onto the castle of Guadalest. Then back to the right, to Benassau and some miles further to the right to Gorga, Quatretondeta, Fagesa and Castell de Castells. Turn off the road now and then, take a nap or nose about some  flowers or nice photographs. 

many yellow flowers here, like Urospermum dalechampii, Helichrysum stoechas Helianthemum salicifolium
Asphodelus fistulosis Helianthemum apennium Arisarum vulgare

            Of course plants fit into the environment where they live. More southwards to Alcoy the region and mountains become more desesrt-like. Dry and arid. Here you can find other plants, brooms and as long as possible the almond-trees on the terraces.

typical Spanish landscape with brooms and almond-trees and many farm ruines

            Plants you have never seen before, like 'Thymelaea hirsuta'. Hirsuta means hairy. And some species of Erica, like Erica arborea, or Erica lusitanica. Also different grasses, like this 'Goldgrass'. Pictures below.

Erica manipuliflorum, a heather Thymelaea  hirsuta Lamarckia aurea, Goldgrass
Penyal d'Ifach, near Calpe, 1.100 feet high Ophrys speculum Lavatera maritima

            More to the north, also along the coast, you can find many fine plants and nature. On the coast near Calpe there is the famous 'Penon d'Ifach'. A steep rocky mountain of more than 1.000 feet high.. Declared a nature reserve. Otherwise it would have been completely built  with hotels. Many special flowers can be admired and photographed - there is also a museum where you can see them. Here I took some seeds of  Cistus salvifolius, picture below with the white flower, and now I have a shrub of 3 feet in my garden on a protected spot. 

Allium neapolitanum Convolvulus althaeoides Cistus salvifolius

            Euphorbia species can be found on many places - they are all beautiful plants, small about 5 inches or tall about 4 feet. Just see Euphorbia characias below with green-yellow flowers as umbrellas for the black parts. And on the mountain slopes some small ones, waiting for you to be taken - I mean pictures taken.

Euphorbia characias Euphorbia myrsinitis (?) Euphorbia wulfenii

            "Who does not see the small things in life, can't really be happy". That's true, also for photographers! Discover the beauty of some ferns, grasses, mosses and lichens.   Opuntias (cactus) grow here with yellow flowers in April\May. They are doing fine here, but with the right measures also in zones 7 or 8 with quite some frost. A good drainage and no water in winter are the conditions..

Ceterach officinarum a moss Opuntia ficus-barbarica

            I could go on like this showing many more plants. Mostly we were here in February and March, but more plants grow and flower later in the season. Small and tall lilies, poppys, orchids, grasses etc. A vacation in Benidorm can be great, even more if you like nature, flowers and plants. 

Echium vulgare Oxalis pes-caprae grows even in Benidorm ....zoals hier bij rotsen en strand even onder Villajoyosa (mooi plaatsje trouwens)

         What I said, in 2003 we have been here again. Rented a car for a week and found new interesting routes and plants. Along the coast to Calpe, to Moraira and further through Benitachell to Javea. Then over the nice route along the slopes of the 'Montgo' to Denia. Halfway there is a parking place and from here you can walk on the slopes.  
What we had seen before, plants below, look like sticks of asparagus, but it is broom-rape or chokeweed. These plants, Orobanche crenata,  take their nutrients out of the roots of other plants.  They play a criminal role. Thiefs......

a broom-rape broom-rape Orobanche crenata Orobanche crenata in flower

        Here on the 'Montgo' we also found  yellow narcisses and these double flowered yellow Oxalis, Bermuda Buttercup.Very special!

Oxalis pres-caprae,with double flowers, found on the 'Montgo' Anagallis monelli
Borago officinalis Helichrysum stoechas

            Another quite easy route and very nice, is to  Finestrat and Sella across the Puerto Tudons pass (3.400 feet) to Alcolecha. Just before and beyond  Finestrat you can get out of the car if possible and climbing a bit along the slopes you can find all kind of plants. By chance I found a  Helichrysum with  'fasciation'!  See albums.  And not far away a strange plant with brown-yellow flowers, picture below. Belongs to the 'Scillas'. 

Mattiola fruticulosa Dipcadi serotinum, a sort of Scilla Atractylis humilis
Ajuga  genevensis, bugle Allium roseum Phlomis lychnitis

           And between Finestrat and Selle again some early flowering big orchids, like the 'Barlia robertiana' , see below. 
Some more interesting routes are to Guadalest, Benassau, just before Benilloba to Gorga, to Fargeca and Castell de Castells and to the right to Tarbena.  A beautiful mountainous route! Also from Benidorm to Polop and Callosa and take the .road nr. 715 to  Parcent and to Pego. A route with many curves and far views. Last route I will mention here is, from Xato on route cv 760 take route cv 749 to the south and then to the north to Benissa. A very quiet route with fine walking possibillities. Well, if you are a 'disco type' of a person, just stay in Benidorm....and being back at home telling people that you have been in Benidorm. How fascinating!

Barlia robertiana,  Giant Orchid almond-trees with blossoms

                      Used books:                                                                                                          Album of the Wild Flowers of the Costa Blanca 1

 very recommandable:  Marjorie Blamey en Christopher Grey-Wilson:" Wilde Flora rond de Middellandse Zee" ISBN 90 6097 437 9
                                                                    
English Original title "Mediterranean Wild Flowers", Dominoo Books, Ltd. 1993                                                                

 in German: Ingrid und Peter Schönfelder :" Kosmos-Atlas Mittelmeer- und Kanarenflora"  ISBN 3-440-06223-6

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