Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The rhubarb that refused to go to sleep

This brave little plant is a hero. It has refused to go to sleep at all. During the winter it has continued to keep growing, albeit slowly. And OK, so the recent frosts have singed its leaves, but it has refused to be made to go dormant. It wanted to see and experience its first winter here at Labartere, having been dragged here in the back of a removal van from the UK last June. And it was hard for this little plant. Sometimes it went thirsty, and it took to dropping its leaves in a sorry-looking wilt, saying, "Water me". Most times its pleas were heard.

And for all the rest of the summer months it had to stay in its pot, the pressures of moving diverting us away from its needs. But finally our resident plant-guru realised its needs, and into the ground it went but without any other nutrients being added other than what was in the soil itself which couldn't have been much: these are un-manured hard-farmed fields. The other rhubarbs weren't too pleased about their new residences, and two retired to sleep very early on in autumn, one stayed awake for a few weeks longer and then that went into dreamland as well. But this one didn't.

Deer came and went, but none munched on its leaves: I am sure it snuggled down so they couldn't get at it. Or perhaps the deer have not, as yet, tried le rhubarb Anglaise. They had a morsel of everything else around it, but then they were French plants and they are French deer. Still it stayed awake, experiencing frosts, tempests, a smattering of snow, and torrents of rain while its three other companions gave in to winter sleep.

But I think it was the sun which kept it awake: it must have developed a stoicism for weathering the not so good times knowing that all would be well when the sun came out to warm it up.

A bit like us really!

The planting of the brave rhubarb and its not so brave friends.

And part of Duck Pond Wood with its first smattering of Spring flowers.

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