Today the sun was out, tempting me out into the garden again.
The long cold spell has taken its toll. It does not look like my garden as I know it at this time of year. I have iris leaves turned black and looking more like some exotic grass species. I go around pondering the toll of the freezing weather we have had.
Then I see a friend basking in the sunshine, settled on the frozen remains of my climbing rose “Madame Isaac Pereire”. I am so glad to see her back as the little green tree frogs are very welcome visitors but I have been concerned that the bitter weather had taken its toll on them too.
I spot another one in the well outside our dining room window. The well is a favourite spot and is the haunt of the frogs, newts and lizards. Not such a good place to be if you were an insect, I guess. They are well camouflaged (no pun intended!) against the ferns but often come out when it rains. She is called La Rainette in this area and if I read my favourite website (http://www.herpfrance.com/fr/ ) correctly Hyla arborea in Latin.
The lizards are active in the sunshine and I managed to photograph a little one before it hid in a hole in the wall of the house. Once again I think these must be Podarcis muralis but I am quite happy to be corrected on that. They provide unlimited amusement with their antics, scampering over the patio and walls in the sunshine.
It is the sunshine and warmth that I look forward to. Today I saw a sign that is a sure harbinger of spring. This afternoon I took a walk in the countryside and spotted butterflies. One was brown coloured and more shy, veering off quickly into the woods. The other was more friendly and was happy to warm itself up on the asphalt track – just long enough to get a photograph, a peacock butterfly.