The bare forests of early March that carpet the valley sides were only lifted by early blossoming wild cherries and catkin-covered willows. The towns and villages were full of bright Forsythia and orchard blossom. At the end of March into early April, a few days of snow and frost laid waste to the blossom and much turned a dead brown.
Now in late April, the hills have greened after weeks of warm sunshine; the birches, poplars and willows are in leaf and the beech and larch are following on. The oxlips are over in the lowlands but still out in the hills where the carpets of squill are now flowering along with the first orchids. Pyrenean fritillary is abundant and flowering in the meadows amongst the cowslip and in the open woods. The valleys around the river Ariège today are a spectacular scene. The towns are now purple and pink with lilac and wisteria and potagers are being prepared and planted with the first crops. Even so, in the upper Aston valley in late April, Spring has barely arrived with the snows continuing to melt and just Hepatica and Gagea in flower on the long, dormant turf.