Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 22 March 2010

All is not black and white

OK, I'm back again . . . and thank you for all those lovely comments on the previous post. I'll put your names in the hat and the under-gardeners will assist me in selecting three lucky prize winners.

But first I'll fess up to being economical with the truth, I did have an offer I couldn't refuse that took me far away from blogland, but it wasn't a work project . . . it was a holiday in the sunshine with Cliff :-)

We flew off to . . .


Who said "Lanza Grotty"? I heard you at the back there! And I have to say it's not a place that was on my 'places to see before I die' list, but with the weather grey and chilly at home and craving some guaranteed sunshine that was not too far away, it seemed a good option.

And I'm going to prove that all is not black and white on Lanzarote . . .

. . . well a lot of it is actually black (volcanic lava) and white (flat roofed buildings)

But, away from the main resorts (and this took a little research and exploring by car) we found some dramatic crashing Atlantic waves on near deserted beaches. You see that haze in the distance? It's wind blown sand!

We walked up valleys carpeted with flowers . . .

. . . to majestic cliff tops high above the blue ocean

Of course we went to Timanfaya National Park and did the bus-tour thing, which was very dramatic. But we also found a volcano all to ourselves, Montana de las Lapas del Coerso, it's a perfect volcanic dome with a collapsed roof, that you can walk right inside. See that tiny white dot just to the right of the centre of the picture? that's Cliff sitting on a rock looking at the awesome view

I took that photo from the far end of the crater, where I was exploring and searching for the beautiful wild geraniums that grow in the black volcanic ash in the shelter of the rocks.

On the outskirts of villages I could indulge in my favourite pass-time – looking over garden walls to see what vegetables are being grown. At first the landscape looks barren, sun scorched and wind swept; but the locals know a thing or two about growing crops in inhospitable conditions. The black volcanic ash is used as a thick mulch and the lava boulders are used to build dry stone wall wind-breaks. Neat geometric terraces and plots spill out across the valleys, full of onions, sweetcorn, chickpeas, beans, peas, potatoes, sweet-potatoes, figs, vines and almond trees.

There's a bit of culture too . . . a visit to Cesar Manrique's house was a must-see for me. It's now a museum, but parts are still furnished as it was when Manrique lived there – it's a 'grand design', rooms made in black volcanic lava 'bubbles' connected by tunnels and a sea of swirling lava flowing through the windows into his studio space (now a gallery). Outside the kinetic sculptures whirl in the wind that sweeps over the island on most days.

Oh . . . and we had some scrummy meals in some very nice out of the way little restaurants

. . . and to top it all a little bit of shopping too – I couldn't resist buying myself a fab pair of summer shoes :-) and some other little bits and bobs I may just blog about later.

Phew! that was a busy week . . . we got back very very late last night (in fact it was early this morning!) and I've been replying to all sorts of emails . . . some about interesting little illustration projects which I must start work on right way.

I'll be back soon to tell you who has won the PPP-prizes.


  1. Well heck - NO WONDER you couldn't refuse it! I hope it's refreshed you too.

  2. Now that sounds like the best sort of offer not to refuse... and it looks as though you had a brilliant time.

  3. You'd have been mad to say no - it looks idyllic!

  4. never been but it looks great.

  5. Ooohh you lucky thing, to be whisked away! Looks like you had exactly the sort of holiday Hugo and I enjoy. And the flowers! Gorgeous. The colours against the black lava must have been eye-popping. Lovely. Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  6. Ooooh-a sneaky, lovely holiday. Welcome back and glad you enjoyed a well earned break. It looks really interesting..and warm.

  7. what a lovely time! the color of the geraniums is brilliant. is the rainfall capabe of keeping the home gardens fresh?

  8. That was a sneaky little diversion Celia and certainly not to be refused. Went to Lanzarote many years ago and I remember it being very very windy but I think it was later in the year...

    Gorgeous photo of the wild geranium against the black ash.

    Jeanne x

  9. Which just goes to prove - you CAN go to Lanzarote and do something else except haunt gift shops and all the other 'touristy' things they put on. Love the pictures, especially 'the carpet of flowers'
    glad you had a good holiday.

  10. It looks gorgeous! oh to be there again. I went to Lanzarote as a child with my parents and saw similar sights to you - the walking, the coast, the vineyards in the recesses of the black volcanic soil... I only learned years later it was called Lanzagrotty!
    glad you had fun

  11. I've never been - but it looks lovely. Who looked after the under-gardeners whilst you were away? And have the cats forgiven you yet?

  12. that dark volcanic soil must be amazing to grow vegetables! Very fertile! Glad you had a great time!

  13. How wonderful to eat al fresco, you have sold Lanzarote to me. Flowers and sunshine, a perfect mix.

  14. We have on numerous occasions visited the Canary Islands for winter sun, including Lanza Grotty, three times! Once away from the 'touristy' areas and off the beaten track, there is wonderful culture, wildlife and scenery to explore. So glad you had a lovely time, and great photos to look through. I really like your shoes, and thanks for the link, I may be tempted to make a black pair purchase! x

  15. Hi Veg Heaven - an excellent break (we needed it).

    Hi Gina - we did Gina, lovely to sit in the sunshine.

    Hi Dottycookie - it was gorgeous!

    Hi Damo - it's a surprising place!

    Hi Vanessa - finding the geraniums in the volcano was one of the highlights for me :-)

    Hi Threadspider - very very very warm - too warm for strenuous walks.

    Hi Petoskystone - there is very little rainfall, but the black ash cleverly captures overnight dew.

    Hi Jeanne - yes! very windy!!!!

    Hi Mollygolver - as you said, you can indeed find flower meadows and deserted beaches in Lanzarote!

    Hi Maria - it doesn't deserve to be called Lanzagrotty, it's well worth exploring.

    Hi Mavis - luckily we have a lovely neighbour who also has hens, we can help each other out. Mmmm the cats, they know how to make me feel guilty!

    Hi Matron - the growing methods are fascination - we can learn a lot.

    Hi Acornmoon - eating al fresco wearing a sarong is not something I do very often!

    Hi Louise - as you said, a great place to get rid of the winter blues. yes, I like my shoes too and I want the sun to shine so I can wear them!

    Hi Sarah & Jon - they say a change is as good as a rest, and this was very far form Suffolk in spring!!!



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