Growing Bananas on La Palma

When I first came to La Palma in 1990, around 40% of the population depended on the banana trade: growing bananas, packing them, or driving them. But even with the EU subsidy, it’s hard to make a living from bananas. If you’re unlucky with the weather, you can work hard all year and still make a loss. So the economy is diversifying, and a good thing too. But bananas are…

July 31, 2011
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Parrot’s Beak flowers

La Palma has lots of rare plants which grow nowhere else, and many of them are threatened by grazing or habitat loss. This is one of two species called Parrot’s Beak or Fire Beak (Lotus pyranthus), both of them very rare in the wild and officially classified as “in danger of extinction”. But here it is growing beside the road to the Roque. Mind you, it’s not exactly wild –…

April 27, 2011
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Heather Trees on La Palma

All the heather trees are in bloom along the road to the Roque de los Muchachos. Yes, heather trees. Canarian heather (Erica arborea) is close relatives of English and Scottish heather, but it’s a tree, growing anything up to 5 m tall. The tiny leaves are very like English heather, and the flowers are much the same shape, but always white. The wood’s very dense and hard, so it’s good…

February 26, 2011
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Heather Trees on La Palma

All the heather trees are in bloom along the road to the Roque de los Muchachos. Yes, heather trees. Canarian heather (Erica arborea) is close relatives of English and Scottish heather, but it’s a tree, growing anything up to 5 m tall. The tiny leaves are very like English heather, and the flowers are much the same shape, but always white. The wood’s very dense and hard, so it’s good…

February 26, 2011
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Organic veg on La Palma

Vegetables on La Palma tend to be good, as long as they’re grown on the island, because anything local is fresh. And because the island is so full of micro-climates, the variety of fruit and vegetables grown here is astonishing. I haven’t found gooseberries here yet, and rhubarb is scarce, but I’ve found just about everything else. But the organic veg is the best of all. I wanted to hold…

April 25, 2010
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