Garden Discovery

Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14

GARDEN DISCOVERY An Paradise Our gardening writer, Remembering Whilst growing up in the 1950s, I remember hearing many exoticsounding place names and never really knowing where in the world they were. Timbuktoo (now spelt Timbuktu) and Samarkand could have been on the moon. The sonorous litany of the shipping forecast raised the question of where exactly IS German Bight? The wireless dial itself offered even more queries: Kalundborg? Hilversum? – where were they? The one that puzzled me for years was in the weather forecast: “something is brewing in the Azores” was often said and “fronts were coming up from the Azores”. What were the Azores? Where were they? To me they conjured up images of balmy islands in the South Seas. How wrong I was. When my geography lessons corrected my mistake I relegated them to the lower league of ‘must-see’ places. That is until recently, when a Fred. Olsen cruise took me to the Azores and proved again how little I had known. 60 www.fredolsencruises.com Some Facts The dry statistics are that the Azores Archipelago comprises nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 miles west of Lisbon and 2,000 miles south east of North America. The Azores are part of the Macronesian biogeographical region which includes Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Mount Pico on Pico Island is 7,713 feet high, making it the highest point in Portugal. The Azores are home to some of the tallest mountains on the planet if one measures from the ocean floor to their peaks. The islands are thought to have been discovered around 1345 and colonised by Portugal in the 15th century. They were settled the following century largely by voyagers from mainland Portugal. In 1976 the Azores became the Autonomous Region of The Azores and as such is a member of the EU with the Euro as its currency. Geographically it is part of the European Continent. Each of the nine islands is distinct from its neighbours in that some are rugged and mountainous, some full of craters, some long and slender, and others almost circular. The smallest is only seven square miles, the largest 293 square miles – and it was here, on São Miguel, that my preconceptions were finally exposed for the delusions they were. Barry Hooper-Greenhill, is surprised and delighted by the answer to an old question. There are about sixty plants unique to the Azores such as the Laurel Tree, Scotch Heather and Cedar Images by © Maiden Hall Images and shutterstock.com


Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14
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