Last week we enjoyed the most exhilarating of walks in the Teno Mountains where we travelled through micro-climates that threw most of the seasons at us. One minute we were down to T-shirts and still sweating, the next we were ‘hooded up’ and leaning into winds that threatened to fling us off mountain tops – wonderful.
What was also a soul pleaser were the swathes of wild flowers, a sure sign that spring is peeking round the corner. Initially this blog was going to be about them but a red hot Sunday had me in the garden mowing the lawn. It suddenly hit me that in our humble garden there was a display of flowers to rival what we’d seen in the Teno Mountains. Admittedly the wild element is because we let it do what it wants but the variety made me realise that you don’t have to head into the hills to see exotic plant life in the north of Tenerife, it’s all around.
Here are some of the specimens that are looking fine and dandy at this time of year.
The Orchid Tree
The orchid tree is a magnet for butterflies and birds, especially the Canary birds who like to sit on the highest branches and dry out after having a bath in what used to be the cat’s bowl.
We’ve always liked these delicate little African flowers. These ones took the place of a banana palm that was blown down during Tropical Storm Delta; they smell like lemon opal fruits.
I’ve only just discovered that this was called Cape honeysuckle. The birds and the bees love it and it makes for a good hedge. It’s also a hermaphrodite plant and the flowers can be either orange or yellow or both.
The hibiscus is the embodiment of exotic flowers in my book and inheriting a hibiscus hedge was a real treat. The papery flowers are just huge and swallow bees. We haven’t actually gotten round to making flower garlands out of it yet but have decorated our San Juan sand holes with them on Playa Jardín.
This climber is a real invader and spreads with the speed of a weed but we like it, especially when it blends in with the jasmine.
The flower for the creatures of the night and the base for most perfumes, tumbling jasmine stars give off a heady scent that welcomes us as we arrive home after a night out at this time of year.
Bird of Paradise
Can you get more tropical than these? These ones aren’t at their best and come across as punky birds of paradise. It’s one of the most impressive looking plants, they do look like cranes, and birds of paradise are the official flower for the city of angels, Los Angeles.
Who needs barbed wire when you’ve got a bougainvillea hedge? If I come within five feet of ours it’ll have me. Stunning but vicious.
A flower as delicate as almond blossom and our source of home-made jams and chutney in a few months when the fruit ripens.
Apart from the lavender, the herb gang aren’t as pretty as the exotic flowers but as we both like to cook, the mint, chives, oregano, lemon-grass, basil, thyme and parsley get far more attention than the rest of the plants in our garden.
As well as the above there’s avocado, geraniums, copper leaf hedges, peace lily, agave, ferns and a few others. It’s not a huge garden, plants simply grow like mad in this wonderful climate.
The next two to three months is a great time of year to visit Tenerife for people who like the places they visit to be floral wonderlands.
The blog about wild flowers will wait a month or so until the poppies and other wild blooms wake up a bit more.
Delightful photos of these wonderful plants. Thank you. Why did you put hibiscus flowers in the sandholes of Playa Jardin?? Did you mean the plants or a festival activity?
Good question Monica and a reminder that I meant to put a link there to help explain it 🙂
During the Fiesta of San Juan on Midsummer’s Eve it’s traditional to dig holes in the sand and decorate them with candles and flowers as a symbol of love. It’s a lovely little tradition.
Where can we buy copper leafed hedges .we just purchased in list gigantes
It’s an interesting question, we never once have had to buy a plant (except for restocking herbs) as the garden was fill of them, including copper leaf hedges. Everything grew profusely without much care or attention, in fact the hedge tended to grow like mad and needed regular ‘surgery’ to calm it down. So visits to garden centres were usually only for accessories. But I’d head to your nearest jardineria (garden centre) or vivero (nurseries) and ask them. I know fab ones in the north but are unfamiliar with what might be good ones in the south. But there are a couple not so far from Los Gigantes.
Hi Jack! I’m about to start planting a huerto in the North near Tegueste. It’s mid November- is now a good time to be sowing and planting veggies? I’ve done it in England, in Cornwall, but this climate is new to me. Are there websites you recommend for Tenerife gardening? Thanks!
You’re in a fabulous area for plants and gardens. You probably already know it’s called the greenhouse of Tenerife. I’m afraid we’re no experts on the best time to grow specific plants on Tenerife, but fruit, veg, flowers all grew very easily in our garden without us paying much attention to them thanks to the fab climate. You’ll struggle to find any gardening sites in English. I’d recommend asking for advice at one of the viveros near you.
Walking in the hills above Masca today I came across a beautifully fragrant shrub/bush/small tree. It had abundant small white flowers. The fragrance was so strong we could smell it long before we saw it. Any idea what this could be.
It’s difficult to say without seeing a photo. It could be something like palo blanco (Picconia), or tree heath. Jasmine is in bloom in parts of Tenerife at this time of year, but not usually found in the wild. Then there’s frangipani, or even the last of the almond trees still in bloom. Some of their flowers are so pale pink they are more white. But without an image, it’s complete guesswork.
Hi All … Can you grow Alliums in Southern Tenerife (Torviscas Alto area) please? Buy them on The Island or bring them from the UK instead perhaps?
I don’t see why not as Tenerife has an endemic species, allium canariense. I know those are more likely to fare better in greener areas, but with care why not; although we’re not flower experts so I couldn’t say for sure. I’d try looking in garden centres or nurseries (viveros). There are plenty around the island.