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.

The photo won’t get you there

Maybe two photos will help you on your way

On your way to where?

Worlds within worlds in the plant world,

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Start here.

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And try to get here.

But you can’t. You can only get there if you discover the path in real life. 🙂

The promise is yet to come

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Corylus avellana, 600 meters above sea level, 12June2010, North facing slope, Bernese Highlands, Swiss Alps.

Hazelnut or filbert. At the risk of sounding too much like an oldtimer…

Once upon a time, before European mass produced chocolate became common in the United States, if you wanted chocolate with nuts, you had primarily chocolate with peanuts. Then if you took the big voyage to Europe and tried to find chocolate and peanuts…impossible.  Chocolate and nuts in Europe meant chocolate and hazelnuts. Need I say mouth watering?  

Had to Catch a Bus

Had to catch a bus today. Once a week I have therapy and I get there by bus. Well, on the way…it is mid-March in the Berner Oberlands and March came in like a lion with Russian wind and cold from Siberia. The first two weeks felt the harsh results.

But this morning, on my way to catch the bus, I saw the promise of spring realized. I had to stop and photograph.

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Is today the day? For sure.

And even I was still 10 minutes early for a bus that is always on time. Temperature had risen above 50 degree fahrenheit. Mild for mid-March. I sat down and took one more photo before the bus.

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Deep breath of fresh water lake air. No chill. Yes, spring.

Coniferous Infrastructure

Coniferous Infrastructure

The snowfall on the branches tells me the story of coniferous infrastructure.

Water, flowing up and down the trunk road interstate, branches off to the regional limited-access freeway, then via highways to cities and on to local neighborhoods until arriving at each needle, each home…pausing at the stomata, before finally exiting to begin its mystical cycle again.

Water supply infrastructure for these conifers.

Big time flows.

Big time pipes.

Ground water.

Rain.

Snow.

Energy.

I love the feel.

Beautiful.