a french garden

Magnolia in winter

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The cold snap is continuing and as the sub-zero days increase in number I am becoming anxious as to the eventual effect on the plants.  They have never been subjected to such a continual cold period which is, as far as the forecasts lead us to believe, to continue.

Some of the plants seem to be resisting the cold well and I impressed by my young magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ).  I knew the thick, tough leaves allowed it to take the hot summer sun and could stand a good measure of drought but they appear to be comfortably accepting the sub-zero temperatures as well.

Looking at the photo taken today the leaves seem to be coping well with their first period of prolonged cold.

Last July my little tree produced its first two flowers which surprised me as I had been warned that they took years to flower and I had bought a very young plant.

I checked on Wikipedia and Magnolias are native of the south eastern United States and are not known to be hardy plants, however, the varieties with leaves which are brown coloured underneath are hardier than varieties with light coloured undersides.  As there are huge magnolia trees in this region I hope that my little one will not suffer to much damage.

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

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