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:
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 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.
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.