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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 40

Tales from Crete | 40

Then I'm back home after a lovely trip with my wife to London, where the weather was full on par with the heat on Crete. In fact, they were a little higher and at 32 degrees it is quite warm in a big city like London.

But the weather here in Denmark doesn't exactly look like the summer weather you could expect here at the beginning of July, so I was a little excited to get home and see how my "little" Greek calabash plant fared.

I have such a special feeling for that plant. Not because it's anything special, but still. In 2011, while I was living in Crete for a longer period, a small plant suddenly grew up right outside my terrace. Several of us looked at it and were a bit confused as to which plant it was, because it had just appeared out of nowhere in a crack between a few tiles. It looked a bit like a cucumber plant, but as it grew up with rocket speed, it was very clear that it was something else entirely. It was a calabash plant which quickly grew large and hung over the entire terrace and even spread up onto the first floor, so that the guests on the balconies above could also enjoy it.

Before the summer was over, the most beautiful calabash fruits hung on it, which I dried and took home to Denmark as decoration in our business. It is a plant that originally originates from Africa, but also grows in several southern European countries. In Greece, the fruit called "Flaski" has been used as a bottle for millennia. First, the fruit is dried so that the shell becomes completely hard, then a bit of the top is sawed off and the dried pulp and seeds are removed by repeatedly inserting small sharp pieces of granite, shaking endlessly, sanding the inside with sand in the same way and finally finding a suitable cork stopper . Then you have a bottle that is suitable for keeping the wine or whatever you have in it, cool for a longer time.

You know the bottle-shaped pumpkin as it basically is, painted and decorated as an ornament or, more recently, also as a lampshade.

 This winter I wanted to make a Flaski out of one of the several-year-old calabashes that we had standing and it was an easy task, because after 7-8 years it was completely dried out inside, so the seeds could just be poured out. I took some seeds and saved them until February this year, and then I put a few in a pot with soil and watered a little. But nothing happened at all. It was probably a bit too optimistic of me to believe. But then suddenly one day, when I had forgotten all about my little experiment, a little sprout appeared from the soil in the pot, and in a few days several cotyledons were on their way. So now the little plant got full attention and everyone who came by was introduced to the little plant that grew with the speed of lightning.

After a month on the windowsill, I took a chance and moved it outside in mid-June and planted it in a corner of the terrace, just like where it came from - a south-facing wall with some shelter. And imagine - when we got back home from London, it welcomed us with the finest little flowers that only bloom for a single day and several buds, and after only a good week, it had now grown up and reached the gutter.  

Greek Calabash plant

Will there be fruit on it? - I doubt it, but on the other hand there is so much in nature that surprises and this little plant is no exception.

Happy month to you all

Kalo Mina

Tales from Crete | Elena's - The taste of Greece

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