As we head into our third winter in the Dordogne, since moving here from Toronto, we are still adjusting to the variations in weather and how they affect life around us. Some of the patterns are very similar to what we experienced in Canada for many years — the fall colours, then the leaves dropping off the trees, and so on. But other patterns are quite different.
A good example is how plants adapt to the coming winter. Since we’ve been having some hard freezes overnight, the “softer” plants have pretty much all died away — things like the potted geraniums we had on our steps, and our neighbour’s banana plants. Most of the leaves have dropped off our shrubs, and off the wisteria vines that are growing up the front of the house.
Now in Toronto, that would be that, until at least March, when buds would start to emerge. (If Toronto had a warm spell in February, buds might be tempted to emerge — but then usually would pay the price when a period of sharp cold hit us.)
But here in the Greater Daglan Area, some of the shrubs that have dropped their leaves completely are already starting to develop buds. Consider our forsythia — those shrubs that are loaded with yellow blooms every spring, providing one of the year’s first bursts of colour. The forsythia bushes in front of our house are all stripped of leaves, but are already showing buds.
And wonder of wonders, I was amazed one recent morning — in the middle of December — to see that one of the plants has actually developed a flower. And here it is:
I’m sure you’ll agree — that’s a pretty optimistic forsythia.