a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

A hole in the grass


This is a picture of a hole in my garden.

And why should this interest you?  Well in fact, it probably doesn’t interest most people.

For my sins, I found it very exciting.  To me it seemed an extremely interesting hole.  My immediate thought was that I had stumbled upon the entrance of a solitary bee’s nest.  I was delighted!

Well, just long enough to take a closer look and see how big it was.  Definitely not the entrance to a bee’s nest.  But it did have a well-travelled looking little path leading to the entrance.  Something was definitely going in and out and it was bigger than a bee.  I had no ideas about what it might be but I was desperate to find out.  So it was a matter of patience.

I settled down to out-stare the hole.

I was rewarded by some movement.   I got the camera at the ready and out popped a head.  A quick photograph, and I was still none the wiser.

A bit of movement and he was gone back down his hole, only re-appearing if I remained still and quiet.

This thing with the big bulbous head was not a beetle.  After some head scratching and some research on the Internet, I believe it is a field cricket.  It was the first time I had seen one.

Strangely the same night he (or a friend) came to sing in the front garden so I nipped out to take another photo.

And I had thought it was cicadas that had been serenading us all this time!  Now I know who sings to us in the summer.

Maybe next time I’ll find a solitary bee’s nest.

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.

14 thoughts on “A hole in the grass

  1. That is a good bit of research. We have some holes in the garden but I am slightly wary as to what might come out so I have not been as diligent as you. We have badgers. What amazing powers they have in those front legs. We also have rabbits, foxes and much more in the area. Our worst pests are glis glis (edible dormice) and even though they are not a native species they seem to be protected. However, they get in roofs rather than holes in the ground I haven’t heard any for a couple of years so I hope they have gone for good.


    • I did not realise the edible dormice were pests. I’ve always been seduced by their big innocent eyes that I have seen in photographs.


      • The glis glis look absolutely gorgeous. As you say, their eyes are lovely. Their ears are cute, too. They are nocturnal (and possibly acrobatic or over romantic) so when you and your visitors are trying to get to sleep, the evidence of their activity over head sounds unbelievably loud. They have also been known to chew through electric cables in the loft and drown in the water tank. I think it was Lord Rothschild who let them escape round Tring, Hertfordshire and at one time they were confined to quite a small area close to Tring. However, they seem to be spreading. They adore bits of apple. Because they were protected and we weren’t supposed to trap them, kill them, let them loose I have heard of numerous pyjama clad husbands whose wives have sent them out into the dark night with instructions to leave the things somewhere they can’t find their way back so I feel sure that was why they have spread.


  2. I don’t think I’d find it possible to consider a dormouse as a pest, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never had any in my roof. Love the hole in the ground story. Great perseverance.


  3. And, by the way, have you seen this? http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-05/16/tweeting-bees


    • Thank you so much for this link. It is absolutely fascinating. It is a great example of different branches of science pooling their resources. Bringing up to date technology into studies like this is the only way to monitor the complexities encountered in the natural world.


  4. Gorgeous pics! I spotted a field cricket’s burrow in our lawn a few weeks ago and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen either the burrow or the cricket before too! It makes you wonder what other amazing wildlife we have in our gardens doesn’t it?


  5. I have holes in the grass too……. where the voles live…… the ones that ate the bark off my apple trees at the beginning of the year


  6. Lovely cricket, what a great friend to have in the garden. I did think the (very interesting to me too) hole looked too big for a solitary bee, they tend to use tiny little holes not even a centimetre wide.


  7. Hmmmm. . . really like you approach to this hole. At this time of year I frequently find several similar holes – I always assumed they were bees and/or a skunk trying to dig something out. Never thought about crickets and never had the initiative to sit and wait. Nice post!


    • Glad you liked the post. Maybe you could take a mug of coffee over to one of your holes and see what pops out? If it looks used and has a little, sort of tiny gravel path in front, it could be an insect. There are holes in our limestone house wall with this same path where solitary bees go in and out. If it is a bigger hole and belongs to some nocturnal creature you’re in for a long wait and I’ll deny ever having suggested you should watch the hole.


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