The iconic Prickly Pear cactus grows abundantly here in Spain, on the hillsides, in the scrubby areas on the sides of the road, cultivated and growing in rows in the campo, and of course in pots and borders of our Mediterranean styled gardens.
Its proper name is Opuntia Ficus-Indica, and it is one of the most popular cacti. It has flat spiny `paddle` leaves, and edible fruit , which you can buy here in several of the traditional fruit shops.
The Prickly Pear on our terrace is growing fast, with both blush reddy /purpley fruits, and sunshine yellow flowers unfurling at the moment.
What I hadn’t seen until we lived here, were walls of the paddles used as decoration. They are hung up with a knot of string, and I think they look great. Unfortunately if we cut the leaves off ours, it would look rather pathetic, as there are so few -so I obviously need to venture into the hills with some secateurs and gardening gloves!
When we were in Isleta del Moro recently, we had supper at Bartreze ,and they have a small boutique selling decorative interior goodies , such as white china bowls, esparto baskets, and most excitingly ceramic Prickly Pear leaves. I couldn’t resist, so I bought three green ones, which I have since hung on the back wall of our house by the dining table.
I also bought some white ones, which are going to go on the new upstairs terrace walls.
I`m always a sucker for a design trend! But I think here , these cactus leaves have been hung up for many years just to be able to see them for longer maybe,, and also because they look cool. I think we have always had a need to be creative and individualise our abodes, however simple they are.
Another idea I saw, was to paint the huge stalks that shoot out of the Agave plants.The ones pictured here are my favourite turquoise, which is an added bonus.
As I have said before, there is art everywhere you look, and I love it.