a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

I can hear my plum tree from 20 metres away


I can hear my plum tree from 20 metres away and I can smell it even further away.  The bees and butterflies can smell it as well and it is the sound of the bees foraging in the plum blossom that I can hear.  It only lasts a few days but I love to go and stand under the tree at this time of year and listen to the bees.

The perfume fills the garden too; a bitter almond mixed with honey.  The special perfume of a special tree that is the first to flower in our neighbourhood.  It shares its beauty with everyone who passes by just as it shares its nectar with a variety of bees and butterflies.

In a few days the flowers will be over, leaving a thick carpet of petals under the tree as the leaves themselves unfold.  Next comes the coy season when the leaves are fresh and green and the attention is displaced towards the other trees and plants flowering in the garden.  Then one day, despite late frosts, I will see a tiny green plum, then another and another.  The old  plum tree never disappoints.  Its plums are not the biggest but they are the first fruit in our garden and delicious eaten straight from the tree.  The plums are small but what the tree loses by the size of its fruits it gives in the quantity that it produces.  More than enough fruit to eat, to make into jam, to preserve and to share.

Even once we have harvested its fruit the tree is indispensable in the summer as it performs the function of an enormous parasol sheltering us from the sun.  What more could you ask from one tree?

If you would like to listen to my bees and also the first cuckoo I have heard this year, click on the link below.


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.

4 thoughts on “I can hear my plum tree from 20 metres away

  1. Quelle bonne idée d’avoir filmé cela! On s’y croirait! Il ne manque que le parfum..


  2. I do enjoy eating those plums until I get a sore belly. I’m looking forward to May!


  3. Pingback: Sunshine after the gloom | a french garden

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