A Burgundy diary – 20 May 2021

Buttercups and bees in the countryside

Is it my imagination, or are the wild flowers more prolific than in most years in the midst of this strange Spring. April was dry and clear, with sunny days and very cold – even frosty – nights. We sat and ate outside then, even in evenings, and for a couple of days. I worried as another drought threatened. Then came May: sunny and dry at first, then wetter and colder than the previous four weeks. Heavy cold showers and – here – strong south west winds blowing cold and persistent from the Morvan.

Through all this, wild flowers are everywhere truly abundant. In the fields the buttercups spread a glowing yellow everywhere. They sprinkle – drench, almost – the sides of the Épinac voie verte (cycle track). The fields are a gently billowing, golden yellow. Back towards Paris (on the northern boundary of Burgundy), yellow rapeseed (colza) could be seen everywhere from the motorway. But its yellow is flat, dusty, lifeless. I have seen no rapeseed in the fields around here.

Buttercups, in smiling contrast to the rapeseed, shine through the fields, and the road- and track-sides. They are a bright and warm yellow – boutons d’or in French – and reflect the sun when it shines.

They shine in our meadow (below); and I am sure Lucie’s bees – who till today have had a harsh time in the prevailing harsh south west wind – welcome the buttercups.