YARDS Americans call a garden a yard and it always used to throw me. To me the word conjured up an image of an unloved space with a dustbin or two and marauding cats – not a lawn and flowerbeds and trees.
But here in Tenerife a lawn is a luxury – it takes too much maintenance and has to be watered constantly. Also the majority of us live in apartments without a patch of dirt to tend, so we build little walls or plant flowers in pots and call them gardens.
This is our ground floor terrace garden complete with baby lime tree – (did I mention our apartment is for sale? Click on the Apartment for Sale page so see more photos) -
- some back yards and alley gardens in our neighbourhood -
- this one could do with more water -
and if you only have a terrace you can still create YOUR YARD IN THE SKY. Our neighbour likes the sun but he is very tall!
Here's a piece of flash fiction I wrote last year - a finca is a small-holding rather like a large garden, and the story is set in Tenerife. Yayo is another name for grandfather - its English equivalent might be Gramps..
My cousin was getting married but I didn’t want my grandfather to go – the truth is I was afraid of what he might do. “Yayo – it is twenty years since you left the south and it will be a long day," I said, but he rolled a cigarillo with fingers stained by seventy years on the land and said, “I will go.”
Outside the church Yayo stood obediently for one photograph and then sat under a tree so peacefully that I relaxed, but on the way to the restaurant he said, “Now, take me to the finca.”
“But Yayo, it was sold years ago.”
“I am old, not stupid, Tomas – I know it will be different.”
As I feared, where his fields had been were only houses.
“There’s nothing left,” I said, but before I could stop him he’d unzipped and pissed against a figtree. “Yayo! People will see," I cried, mortified, but he was unrepentent.
“Let them – I planted this tree.” He plucked a fig, split it open with a horny fingernail and sucked the flesh. “The taste has not changed! In a good year this tree could yield a thousand kilos – Consuela made wonderful liquor from these figs.” He spat out the seeds and settled his hat jauntily. “Let’s go, Tomas – the party can’t start without me.”