Operation: Oleander Watch, the last chapter

In my Radio Free Daglan posting of April 1, I happily announced that the wisteria vines in front of our house were coming to life, springing leaves all over the place. At the same time, I put another of our plants on the watch list, with the catchy code name of Operation: Oleander Watch.

Today, Operation: Oleander Watch came to an abrupt end.

To give you some idea of why this plant was so valued, here it is on the side of our house, in a photo taken earlier this year:


The oleander stands serenely under the satellite dish.

This plant had grown to at least two metres tall, despite the conventional wisdom that an oleander couldn’t stand the winters in the Greater Daglan Area; we had been advised to take it out of the ground each fall, and keep it in the garage. (As if.) But then this year, we had that unusually tough Siberian cold spell, and plant life in the GDA took a real beating. Our oleander started to dry out, turn brown and wither. The chances of springing back to life looked dim.

So today, I attacked. First I chopped off the branches, bit by bit, using our pruning shears. Then I dug out the stump of the shrub, using a spade and a saw and an axe — eventually aided by my wife Jan, after I started flagging. In the end, this was all that was left to be carted away to the déchetterie:


The stump of the shrub, a few rocks, and that ends that.

The result was a bit of a hole in the ground, that we’ve now filled up with soil. Here is the last chapter of Operation: Oleander Watch.


A hole in the ground was all that remained.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m hoping to find a nice variegated euonymus at the plant store we like in Sarlat. The euonymus plants we already have seem to have weathered the winter pretty well, proving once again that gardening has a lot to do with finding the right plants for your own climate.

This entry was posted in Flora and fauna, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Operation: Oleander Watch, the last chapter

  1. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Wow. I hope the plant stays warm and you guys can plant it back in the summer.

  2. loren24250 says:

    Sorry, but that’s not going to happen, Lisa. What remains of the oleander went off to the déchetterie yesterday — that’s the place where we take our garbage and recycling. I’m going to try a different plant — with better chances for winter survival — in the same spot.

  3. loren24250 says:

    Yesterday, no luck in Sarlat — the garden shop had just a few small euonymus plants. Same thing for the Point Vert store in Cénac this morning. But I won’t give up. There simply must be a large variegated euonymus plant somewhere in France, and I’m going to find it!

  4. loren24250 says:

    Today (Thursday), I found it — a nice, large variegated euonymus, purchased from the Gamm Vert store in Gourdon. It’s already planted, and is standing tall and proud.

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