ferula and friends

May 7, 2011

The ferula looks as though it will mature into a fine specimen this summer and I can’t wait! It isn’t a fennel although the common name is giant fennel. It is indigenous to Crete and Cyprus and so likes dry poor soil. I’m obsessed by the fronds and just want to stick my face right into the fine foliage. This morning the rain drops hung around on the fine ends just long enough to photograph – very grateful.

Californian poppies seed around and make great companions to the ferula. A slim, young, upright Stipa tenuisima is also a recent arrival. Presumably it’s seeded here from a parent plant. Not much grows here if planted purposefully as there’s hardly any soil here – just gravelly pebbles. It’s always a surprise to greet little plants that arrive to start the new season. Unknown but most welcoming guests that become friends. The solitary verbascum is just another example of a transient arrival in this sparse environment.  

The ferula may flower if we have a good, long, hot summer and then it will host beetles and bees, as in these pix, if I’m lucky! 

The stems are very fleshy and dark in tone and were used as torches years ago. Euphorbia polychroma makes the best contrasting and also companion plant – so fresh and tabulate in form. Some bronze fennel has also seeded near the ferula – very similar in texture although much finer – but with a different colour tone that adds to the pictorial composition. 

A rocky groyne is the strongest contrast to the ferula foliage. Why is it relevent? Well, it has something to do with this part of a Neruda piece – for me at least. 

Thinking, tangling shadows in the deep solitude.
You are far away too, oh farther than anyone.
Thinking, freeing birds, dissolving images,
burying lamps.
 
Belfry of fogs, how far away, up there!
Stifling laments, milling shadowy hopes,
taciturn miller,
night falls on you face downward, far from the city.
 
Your presence is foreign, as strange to me as a thing.
I think, I explore great tracts of my life before you.
My life before anyone, my harsh life.
The shout facing the sea, among the rocks,
running free, mad, in the sea-spray.
The sad rage, the shout, the solitude of the sea. 
Headlong, violent, stretched towards the sky. Pablo Neruda Thinking,tangling shadows.

One Response to “ferula and friends”


  1. […] I must get out and photograph it – but life and weather have delayed the great event! This post explains my […]


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