Spring Pops

The past 48 hours or so have brought about several changes. Most of them I expected. One of them I didn’t.

First, the mirabelle plum tree in the garden.

In just the space of less than two days, it went from this:

Buds on a plum tree
The mirabelle tree on the cusp of blossoming.
All photos: PKR

To this:

Mirabelle tree in spring
The sky was a little cloudier, but the tree itself is a cloud of white blossoms.

And someone must have told the bees, because the entire tree is thrumming with pollinator excitement. This particular tree makes me especially happy, because when we moved here it was just a dry stump. We tended to it, and as a reward, we started getting plump, sweet yellow mirabelle plums. Not to mention this luscious display of blossoms in spring.

The other expected change was along my running route. I’m so grateful that our region of France stopped using pesticides and herbicides to keep country roadsides clear.

Roadside blossoms in spring
Violets that might not be native, nestled among other flowers that probably are. A tiny corner of roadside biodiversity.

Every few weeks from spring through late fall, large trimming tractors cut back any green growth like massive herbaceous shavers, cutting back everything from grass to weeds to tree branches in the fauchage. I’ve rarely seen any roadsides in the world as tidy as those in France.

orchids bloom in spring
Tiny native orchids that enjoy the altitude and cold winters of our mountainous region.

In the inbetween times, this approach allows the growth of wildflowers along the roadsides, which is good for plants and pollinators alike.

The one unexpected change brought by the warm weather and the past day was the fencing in of my running route. There had always been a grazing pasture one one side. Now, the path is flanked by a second pasture for the first time in the twenty years we’ve lived here.

Fenced farmland in France
The fence to the left forms a new boundary to my regular running path.

At least, I’m assuming it’s a grazing pasture because of the electrified fence. Every year, this field has rotated wheat, corn, clover and other crops – I guess this year, grazing dairy cattle is more profitable than any of those crops.