"The Almond tree was in tentative blossom"
Mayle uses the flowering patterns of the Almond tree to hint at the shifting seasons from winter into spring. The awakening of this deciduous plant brings with it the news that warmer weather is on its way, as the Almond tree begins to produce leaves and whitish pink flowers at the beginning of spring. It will begin bearing fruit during the autumn months but takes five years of growth from a sapling to become fertile enough to do so. Its nuts (really a fruit in botanical terms) can be eaten raw, salted, toasted and sweetened, can be turned into almond butter, milk or oil and are a great addition to many dishes. Furthermore the nut is packed full of vitamin E, rich in monounsaturated fats (the good ones) and is gluten free!