It’s not winter yet 

Well, we all knew it was coming but when it did, it was still a bit of a shock. The first rain of winter swept in this week like a dose of medicine, you don’t really want it – but you know it’s doing you good.

When it rains in North Cyprus, it does a proper job. The skies darken as black clouds roll over the Five Finger Mountains. The winds rise and the temperature drops. It’s particularly startling for newcomers, who expect endless sunshine, but the fact is, the storm soon blows over. 

Cyprus known as The Green Island

Historically, Cyprus used to be known as The Green Island, or Yeşil Ada in Turkish. Considering its position in the eastern Mediterranean, it is blessed with vast acres of green fields and tree-clad mountains that somehow survive every scorching summer. Now though, the land needs help and there’s nothing better than a good dose of rain to breathe new life into the soil.

It’s not winter yet.The next day we returned to our balcony to enjoy breakfast in shorts and t-shirts and below us, we could see the benefits of a day of downpour.  The olive and lemon trees seem to have sprung to attention, their foliage glinting in the returning sun.

The local shepherd and his flock of fat-tailed lambs

Lambs have found new growth poking through the empty wheat fields

The local shepherd and his flock of fat-tailed lambs have found new growth poking through the empty wheat fields. As an added bonus, the dry, hard, needle-like grass seeds that lie in wait for unwary sandal-wearers, have been washed away. 

Rain is extra welcome

The rain is extra welcome on our part this year, as we have recently cleared rocks and rubble from the side of the house to create a little garden. We sowed a special ”Australian” grass, a robust variety designed to survive in hot climates, but we were sceptical of its progress. The rain has given it a welcome boost. 

You don’t have to be an expert gardener to make your own outdoor sanctuary in North Cyprus, where sun and soil combine magically to spur growth. Trees, bushes, flowers and vegetables rise quickly and become larger than you might expect. Right now, the fruit stalls are groaning under the weight of juicy oranges, huge red pomegranates and pumped up pumpkins, or squash. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Conditions have also combined to stimulate our jacaranda tree. Last year, a neighbour gave us a match box. Inside were half a dozen tiny brown seeds. After planting in a pot, two emerged as delicate little ferns and one of those was placed in a key position, in the hope that it will obscure an electricity pole on the other side of our garden wall.  It is already over two metres tall and eventually, we hope to see its fragrant purple blooms waving in the breeze. 

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