The optimistic forsythia

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.

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

6 Responses to The optimistic forsythia

  1. Sue says:

    I remember winters in Pittsburgh. There was a modest yard on on side of the house. A little bit of lawn. A big standard shade tree. An elm, likely. And an informal barrier of forsythia bushes between yards. Old ones. Well hardened over many years.

    The early blooms that covered those willowy branches had the most powerful effect of erasing memories associated with dirty piles of snow and winter generated paper mâché along the wire fences of the turnpike.

    Nature’s Spring magic.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Lesley says:

    The plant has been hearing too much about the Mayan ‘End of the World’ on the 21st and just wanted to flower one last time.
    Glad to see a RFD report, I was concerned that you might be unwell. So now I can wish you a Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

  3. loren24250 says:

    Sue, very lovely and poetic message. Thanks!

  4. loren24250 says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Lesley. I realize I have been avoiding my Radio Free Daglan keyboard for too long — I think I’ve absorbed a bit too much of the “closed-for-the-winter-season” mentality around here! I shall try to do better. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  5. Ron Freeman says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Canada. My wife and I met you at Roy and Letitia’s on Roy’s birthday. We stayed there for our second time vacationing in Peyruzel. I enjoy reading your blogs which keep me in tune with what is happening in Daglan—- one of our favorite places to vacation

  6. loren24250 says:

    Thanks for the note, Ron, and I’m really pleased that you enjoy Radio Free Daglan — not to mention Daglan itself! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your wife too. Jan and I remember you well from the party for Roy.

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