14 February 2016

Early blossoms and late greens

Thursday afternoon when I went out with the dog, I was surprised to see that my plum tree, which I grew in a pot and then planted in the ground 4 or 5 years ago, is already in blossom. I think it's nearly a month earlier than usual. Friday afternoon I went out there and took some pictures.

I have no illusions. I think these extra-early blossoms are going to freeze. I see predictions on MétéoCiel, one of our weather services on the internet, for temperatures as low as -4ºC on Tuesday. That's 24ºF, and it's cold enough to freeze plants and blossoms, especially if the temperature remains that far below freezing for a couple of hours.

In contrast, the weather Friday afternoon was absolutely spring-like. All day, we had showery periods off and on — you can see one coming in the photo above. I was lucky to have a dry walk in the morning. Then it rained hard for several hours before and around noon.

In the afternoon, I turned on the television and watched a documentary film that I recorded a while back and wanted to see. It was called Les Chèvres de ma mère (My Mother's Goats) and was about a woman who had given up city life years ago and moved to a farm in the southern Alps, near the Gorges du Verdon, to raise goats and make goat cheese for a living.

There were a lot of scenes of the woman helping her goats give birth to their kids, and toting huge, heavy rectangular bails of hay across the rocky farmyard to feed them. There were also long segments showing the cheese-making process. It was all very rural and agricultural. She appeared to be about my age, by the way. I enjoyed the film.

So there I was sitting on my behind watching this woman do all that work and go to so much trouble when I noticed that the sun was shining brightly outside. I thought, well, I wanted to take some pictures of the plum blossoms and, finally, cut down my collard plants and get the greens in and processed before they freeze later this week. That's what I did, as you can see above. A few minutes after I got back inside, the bottom fell out again.


  1. We too have early blossom particularly blackthorn and masses of daffodils, all 4-6 weeks early. My queen bee hasn't really stopped laying eggs this winter so I've got a lot of young bees flying about, I just hope they all don't come to a chilly end!

  2. One of our plums is about to burst out all over, next doors apricot is flowering, as is our almond. Daffs are out. As you say, there is no way we are going to get fruit from the trees flowering now.

  3. Blackthorn hasn't started but a Mirabelle has just begun....
    And we'll lose them!!
    My Mum would have called Friday....a "fits and starts" day...
    Can't get anything outdoors really started!!
    Must look to our Collards....
    Or fleece them...depends on today's weather...
    I'd prefer the latter....they are still producing good leaf and the flower shoots in the early Spring are to die for!!

    1. I like the meaty dark green leaves.

    2. So do we... That's why we like to keep on picking.
      The flower shoots are a bonus in the "Hungry Gap"
      Those pale leaves, tho', are wonderfully sweet and go well in a winter salad with endives....both lightly poached in veg stock.

  4. Spring has sprung here...and I am tempted to plant, but then in past years the cold came back and the little sprouts were frozen. So, I will wait a bit, on my behind. No goats for me.

  5. I remember once when we lived in Sunnyvale I planted tomatoes in mid-March because the weather was nice. And then April turned cold and damp. The poor tomatoes suffered, and some died. So it might be better to wait a little while.


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