Short story about a strange…

…garden and its even stranger keepers…in Tangier.

The Story

Click the orange circle above to listen. This story is 30 minutes about Moroccan landscape, a strange garden, absinthe, chocolate and its plants.

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Date palms and mimosa in Morocco (Phoenix dactylifera and Acacia dealbata). Ever wonder about the magic of fragrance? Try mimosa, in its natural habitat, in the winter.

The Background

Anyone who has worked in a garden–suffered blisters and callouses in a garden for fruit, vegetables, flowers, medicine–knows there is something more in those gardens. This is for you.

Gardens? Chocolate? Yes, definitely…but I never thought to combine them until the email I received quite recently from an almost forgotten friend. Donkeys’ years ago when I was in Tangier, we worked together on the Baie de Tanger–it was a tourist destination development project.

Now, my friend’s still in Tangier, but as an antique dealer, using as an income cover, a store of second hand furniture. This story is a found antique.

In ‘Christopher and the Hibiscus House’, Christopher tells the story of a Tangier, Morocco garden. In order to visit the garden he was required by the garden’s keepers, a Brit and a Ruskie, to undergo a special ordeal of chocolate and absinthe before walking at sunset in the garden. Christopher first had to visit the land of the green fairies before he could enter their Oval Garden. This is that story.

Readers…by now you know that my blog, flahertylandscape, is all about plants and people–landscape journeys. Sounds fair and safe enough; but what I  share with you in the above story goes beyond ethnobotany, beyond strange.

 

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The Moroccan dream.

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…for millennia…Tangier has been a nexus of Mediterranean, African and European cultures…a classic melting pot that is still on the boil.

This is in part a freshly edited re-post of  a 2015 post I made, entitled Chocolate, Gardens and Magic, which, if I might say so, was a too long read; but it is fortunately well illustrated with Art Nouveau graphics.

Upper Balconies

Deep in the back row of the upper, upper balconies, which are all full today, you can do whatever you want because no one will see you. Can you hear the sonata?

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Clouds fill the upper balconies. 

Mountains Birthing Clouds

Swiss Alps, Bernese Highlands, Jungfrau Region. North side of range.

What more can I say?

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At 1400 meters above sea level, amongst the forests.

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At 3000 meters above sea level, above the tree line.

Tree

Every so often something makes me take a photo–something?

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Walnut tree–Juglans nigra

Is it my eyes, is it my heart, is it paranormal?

I don’t know. But Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote, in his poem ‘Trees’:

I think that I shall never see 

A poem as lovely as a tree.

My photos may not be technically the best but they do have my heart in them. And I love living in the Swiss Highlands because such simple things as the beauty of a tree have become embedded in their culture for all to appreciate.

A few years back, I posted a story here entitled ‘Landscapeyness’. The title was not so accurate related to its content about trees and culture in the Swiss Highlands. The following image shares the flavor.

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Forest, animals, people, nurture, rest, music, landscape…

The artwork is called Schnerenschnit.

Probably don’t…

 …want to hear about this stroke update. That’s ok because you don’t have to read it. I want to put words to what I felt today.

About 18 months ago I was in bed, a vegetable in a windowless and clockless emergency ward. Tubes everywhere. Nothing that worked before was working. 

Gradually things sank in, internal clouds started lifting and I started thinking. Still unable to get out of bed. If only I could speak again. If only I could clean myself again. I dreamed if only I could walk in the country…oh such a dream. Then the rehab began. Then the hard discipline became essential. Little step by little step.

Below is where I walked today. I almost melted with joy and happiness. Wish fulfilled.  So many to thank.

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Who wouldn’t want to take this walk?

Butterscotch or Toffee?

I am looking at a bosque of Plane trees planted next to the Interlaken Ost train station. In the recent afternoon sun, I could call them butterscotch or toffee and be happy.

Often, in the urban public realm, simpler is better.

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Platanus acerifolia?