Finally, finally after three days of gazing at the bare branches, and just when I had gotten to that point where I thought that maybe this would be the first year that it wouldn't recover, the leopard tree finally started to sprout today.
I woke up and tentatively opened the blinds, hardly game to look and see if there was any present, and miracle of all miracles there were sprouts and all the branches were covered in the knobbly green ends signalling growth was finally showing itself. By this afternoon there are actual leaves, brown spindly poor excuse for leaves, but leaves all the same. I just hope that I haven't jinxed it by taking the photos, I was starting to think maybe I was the kiss of death or something.
Funny how your mind plays tricks isn't it. I would have sworn that there were no bare days between the last leaves dropping and the sprouts shooting, but this year there was two days, so maybe there are always a few days, but it is so magnificent as it fills with colour again, maybe you don't really notice. Nice to be reminded to stop and really observe rather than relying on memory.