a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

The solitary lapwing

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During the past few days I have noticed a solitary lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) in our front garden.  I found this rather strange as I have only seen them previously in flocks during cold weather in the nearby fields.  I admit to having a special fondness for them as they recall my childhood following my father on his fishing trips in the west of Scotland.  There too they were in flocks and I loved to hear their distinctive cry which gives them their common name of peewits.

Being unsure of their habits I checked with the RSBP website and sure enough they do flock on farmland and ploughed fields.  So what was a single one doing in our garden day after day?

The worrying aspect of this is that his chosen “patch” is just outside our living room door (glass door).  He appears to be looking in forlornly from the sub-zero outside while I sit comfortable beside my log fire.  It seems as if I am refusing entry to  a reticent guest.

I warn myself of the dangers of transferring human emotions to animals with no ability to feel them.  After all that patch of the lawn is now clear of snow and I have seen the blackbirds feeding on it so the lapwing must be doing likewise. Then he walks past the window again and stands one leg as if he is trying to warm up the other one.

I really must get out more.

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.

One thought on “The solitary lapwing

  1. Pingback: Living in France | a french garden

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