Gardening Magazine

An Amble in Andalusia – with Added Dog

By Danielcarruthers

Casa Olea, SpainOn our recent trip to Spain we stayed in a wonderful place deep in the countryside, but little more than an hour from Granada and Cordoba. Casa Olea is owned by a young English couple who have restored a ruined farmhouse to a very high standard using local tradespeople throughout to create a getaway of great comfort and very high green credentials.We loved our stay there, ate delicious food, swam and availed ourselves of the instructions for self-guided walks in the surrounding countryside. There were many delights on these walks – the scenery, the peace, the flora, the glorious weather and our companion – Ruby the dog. If ever a dog landed squarely on all four paws, it’s Ruby. She turned up at Casa Olea two months before they opened (they think she was a failed hunting dog pup that had been abandoned). Six years later she clearly views herself as part of the management at Casa Olea and is available as guide and companion for guests who take walks from the hotel. She romped around us for two and a half hours and on our return set off with another couple embarking on a walk – apparently in spring and autumn when it’s not too hot she will do three walks a day if the opportunity on a hilltop overlooking valleyOctober is not the best time of year for seeing wildflowers, so I’m determined to return to Casa Olea in their peak flower season in the spring, but nevertheless I did see the mandrake Mandragora autumnalis, the squirting cucumber Ecballium elaterium and berry-covered wild asparagus as well as seedpods and seedheads of a myriad of interesting flowers and bulbs. I can’t wait to return.Mandragora autumnalis in flowerthe squirting cucumberwild asparagus with berries

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