Whether it’s the tulips in perfect rows at Ole Miss or the mismatched houseplants in Morocco, flowers make any day a little bit brighter. Before I came here, flowers weren’t the first thing that came to mind when I thought about Morocco, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how many flowers and potted plants I see here. It seems like every street is dotted with them and every major city has a hadiqa, or garden, to explore.
Just outside the part of Morocco where I live, there are patches of fields as far as the eye can see. Mixed in with the intentional crops are little yellow flowers and vibrant poppies, and just looking at them makes long train rides bearable. I get so happy when I see a field of sunflowers come and go outside the window!
When some friends and I traveled to Chefchaouen, we hiked to a gorgeous waterfall. On the 2-hour hike we followed the stream up to the waterfall, and so did some bright pink flowers. I think that these trees might be related to azaleas (one of my faves), and they made me think of home.
The first weekend trip I made was to Fez. My friends an I were trying to find the palace when we stumbled upon a garden. This hadiqa was so big that it’s no wonder we happened to bump into it! At first it just looked like a nice collection of trees with the occasional rose, but as I walked deeper into it I saw some flowers I’ve never seen before.
The two big gardens I’ve seen here had a small area that looked landscaped, but the rest was mostly wild. It seemed like the people who picked the plants had a great eye for texture and color but just let the plants do their own thing after they were planted.
I would’ve never guessed that potted plants would be such a big deal here, but they are. They sit in windowsills, outside restaurants, in doorways. It’s hard to walk down a street and not see a potted plant growing happily in the Moroccan sun. It’s really a shame that I can’t bring plants back into the US, because there was a plant market in the middle of Marrakech that looked pretty tempting.
At the beginning of the summer, the terrace of the school had a nice selection of ten-or-so plants. A few weeks later, about ten more had joined them. Now the terrace hosts about 50 potted plants, all in coordinating pots. As a plant lover, I think the addition took the terrace from a 9/10 to a 10/10.