'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

Holy Ground

old graveNot many days ago J and I were meeting some new friends and taking them up into the mountains in the hopes that we’d find that nature had been punctilious and there would be the astounding sight of three different species of tulip in bloom at the same time.

Being awfully English we were ready to roll much too early and so decided to stop off at various village cemeteries along the way to the rendezvous. Graveyards are fascinating places if you are not a spiritualist on their day off! They are seldom disturbed and flora and fauna flourish in the nutrient-rich environment – I love them and look forward to making my own ‘drop-in-the-bucket’ to Mother Nature in due course.

Here are some examples of the contributions people have made without even thinking about it – sort of bio-degradable legacy, if you will.

Viper's Bugloss

Viper’s Bugloss


Lupinus micranthus – Hairy Lupin

Chinese Mallow

Chinese Mallow


Salsify – Tragapogon hybridum

Orobanche alba

Orobanche alba

Serapias orientalis

Serapias orientalis – species of Tongue Orchid

Field Gladioli

Field Gladioli

Serapias politisii

Serapias politisii – species of Tongue Orchid

Serapias politisii - double tougued

and a most unusual double headed/tongued specimen

Iris pseudacorus

Iris pseudacorus – endemic

iris environment

and its environment

Tulipa armena ssp lycica

Tulipa armena ssp lycica – Armenian Tulip

Fritillaria sibthorpiana

Fritillaria sibthorpiana – endemic

Finally, a ‘holy grave’ connection:

Holy Orchid - Orchis sancta

Orchis sancta – Holy Orchid

Phlomis fruticosa – Jerusalem Sage

I was tempted to call this post ‘Holy Ground’ instead of ‘A Grave Matter’ or something similar. The idea being to plug in to the popularity of the drinking song of that name by the Dubliners and get a boost to the number of views from ‘Googlers’. I’m sure it would have been an effective but really cheap trick and I’m glad I didn’t do it in the end. So, to cheer me up for being so honest, I’ve included a clip of the lads giving it one to help the ‘Liffy Water’ go down!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

12 thoughts on “Holy Ground

  1. Hi Alan. Stunning pictures. Am hoping to be down in the valley early June but expect the flowers will mostly be gone by then. I am always worried about snakes in the Graveyard near you so I never go there. Being from Ireland it’s great to hear the Dubliners. Thanks again fir the pictures, I love your valley. Mary

    1. Hello and thank you Mary! Don’t be afraid of snakes, they don’t want to be anywhere near you. Our neighbours all say the same sort of thing but can’t name a single person who has been bitten by a snake.

  2. Unrelated, Alan, but somehow your post sent me back to reread the last paragraph of James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’ in his book, ‘Dubliners’ where the snow was falling “upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill” “faintly falling” “upon all the living and the dead.” But I digress. That song by these fine lads would get the dead up and dancing and your photos are inspiring.

  3. How sad: “This video contains content which has been blocked in your country on copyright grounds.” Thank goodness the cemetery doesn’t claim international intellectual property rights. :o)

    1. . . and there is nothing less political or harmless than the ‘Dubliners’ in full voice – unlucky!

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