Sweet Chestnut

Sweet Chestnuts
Credit: Photo by Steve Andrews

The colours of Autumn

The season for ripened fruit and nuts

It was my first visit to Agua Garcia and turned out to be some firsts for other reasons too, which I'll explain later. My journey began when I bought a book all about the wonderful world of nature to be discovered in its forests.

It was early in the season when I visisted this charming rural village and the autumnal colours were showing in all their wonder.

Mediterranean Tree-frog

Hyla meriodonalis

The Stripeless Tree-frog
Credit: Photo by Robbi

A book about Agua Garcia

You can read all about it

El Bosque De Agua Garcia by Maria del Carmen Brito and Vicente-Lope Lucia tells all about the plants and animals to be found in the area, with colour photos and maps of the woodlands. Those of you who are my regular readers will know I really like frogs and apparently the Mediterranean tree-frog species I haven't yet seen breeds in pools in barrancos there.

Also, there is a system of caves, and to my mind anywhere on an island that can have an entire 165 pages devoted to it in a book has got to be worth checking out. I took the bus from Icod and got off at Tacoronte where there is a road signposted going up to Agua Garcia.

On my maps it only looked a short distance, and indeed it is, but what you cannot see on paper is how steep the road is. It was an uphill climb getting to the village but very rewarding. The countryside at the sides of the road were a perfect picture, carpeted in purple morning glory flowers on vines that ramble up over fences and into trees.

I could tell that this was not going to be a wasted journey and I was right. Agua Garcia is a most picturesque hamlet with beautiful countryside and farmland around it, and yet with modern conveniences such as a bank, video shops, supermarkets and a range of bars and restaurants.

Bus stops too, and I think next time I will take a bus to avoid that steep uphill climb. There will be many a next time because I have fallen in love with the place and could happily live in Agua Garcia.

A Tenerife apple

Ripened fruit

Apples grow well on Tenerife in some places
Credit: Photo by Steve Andrews

Oranges and Lemons

Citrus fruit

Walking around I was delighted to see fruit and nut trees. I saw peaches and pears, oranges and lemons, apples, chestnuts and walnuts.

Some of the leaves were going yellow and rusty brown and you could see that autumn had arrived bringing with it a wonderful harvest. The branches were so heavily laden in some places that fruit had fallen off and was lying on the ground. Bees were tucking into the sugary juices of some pears that I saw on a pathway.

I discovered a cornfield that had been harvested and the stubble was lying golden in the sun. It reminded me of Britain and looked like the type of field you get mysterious crop circles in.

Blackberries were ripening on huge patches of brambles. Morning glories could be seen scrambling over green and golden-brown bracken fronds and I was thinking how like the UK it looked and yet so unlike it at the same time.

White butterflies were everywhere, looking for cabbages in fields or feeding on nectar from the many flowers in bloom. I spotted a whole host on a bush of the lilac-pink variety of the Jamaican mountain sage.

I also was delighted to see my first Meadow Brown butterfly. I had read in books that they can be found on Tenerife but, common as they are back in the UK, I hadn't seen any before.

Purple Morning Glory flower

And Bracken ferns

Morning Glory growing among Bracken fronds
Credit: Photo by Steve Andrews

Eucalyptus trees

Pampas grass too

I could smell the incredible aroma of eucalyptus trees and I picked up some of the hard seedpods, crushed them slightly to release the scent and breathed it in deeply. I put the pods in my waistcoat pocket and now it has that wonderful smell too.

I found I had been just wandering down the roads without even getting into any of the woodlands and had gone as far as El Ortigal. Deciding that I ought to see if I could find some paths into the proper countryside I took an uphill side turning that looked promising.

Along the roadside were clumps of pampas grass growing wild and in abundance and I could also make them out on the surrounding hillsides. I was struck by the white fluffy flower heads, which seemed like a mirror reflection of the very similar cirrus clouds overhead.

Small White on Lantana

White butterfly sips nectar on a Lantana bush
Credit: Photo by Steve Andrews

An Oak Tree and Acorns

Sacred to the Druids

Then I saw my first Tenerife oak with acorns on it too, so I brought one home to see if it will grow. It was a magical moment and thrill finding this tree, which is sacred to the druids.

I looked at my watch and saw that I had already spent several hours just wandering around the village, and although I hadn't investigated the forests, I could always do that again. It was then that a ladybird landed on my hand and it was the first ladybird I had ever seen on Tenerife.

This was another magical moment so I got my camera out but I was not quick enough, for the little red beetle with black spots had done what the one in the rhyme does and flown away home. It was a sign for me to leave too, and the perfect ending to my first visit to Agua Garcia.

Footnote: First published in the Tenerife Sun.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

A single Acorn

Not something you expect on Tenerife

A Tenerife Acorn
Credit: Photo by Steve Andrews