One of the (many) reasons that I love olive trees is their evergreen nature. In winter, when the neighbouring grapevines are reduced to knobbly stumps, and the naked chestnut trees shiver, the olive trees remain green and glossy, meaning that olive groves escape the bleakness of many bare winter landscapes. Retaining their leaves – shiny, dark green with silvery undersides – throughout the winter, olive trees, and olive-cultivating areas have a consistent beauty and colour palette for much of the year.
Now the trees are changing, and with them, the complexion of the Tuscan hills. Fifty shades of green may be an exaggeration, but only just. The trees’ usual deep green leaves are now accompanied by pale, pistachio-hued shoots, splashes of chartreuse growth, and fresh pea-green foliage. The trees and the hillsides have suddenly taken on a new, mottled appearance.
After all the pruning we have been doing there was an anxious wait for new growth, but happily the trees are also covered in buds. Flowers mean fruit!