a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Things are changing in the garden


the Charentais blue sky

Yesterday was a  hot summer day with a cloudless blue sky.

The scorched back garden

The “grass” is yellow and the trees are suffering.

Today the change is evident.  The morning is misty with the humidity approaching a fine rain.

Cosmos sulphureus going to seed

In the garden it is the same.  The season is changing.

Plum tree dusted with yellow leaves

Yesterday I noticed the plum tree had a dusting of golden leaves on its crown that were floating to the ground when a breeze moved the branches.  At lunch time under the tree some leaves fell onto the food and decorated the table.

Yet other parts of the garden seem to be still in summer mode.

There have been large numbers of peacocks this year

Red bottomed bumble bee

Helophilus trivittatus enjoying the nectar

The bumble bee tree (Heptacodium jasminoides) is still alive with visitors.

Echinacea seed heads

The Echinacea is drying but has its own beauty and is pointing to the end of summer.

The cosmos is not only one of my favourites but also popular with the bees

The Cosmos sulphurous still provides bright orange and yellow flowers and there are plenty of seeds to collect for next year.  The cosmos is popular with the bees but I have been tricked here by this dronefly, so called because some people (who me ?) think it looks like a drone honey bee whereas it is an Eristalis sp.  Many thanks to Susan at  http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com

The dahlias provide end of season brightness

The dahlias too are passing but there are still lots of flowers to attract the bees and give the borders colour.

Asters are just starting to flower

The asters or ” Reine Margeurite” are as popular here for a country garden flower.  The seeds are easy to collect each year for sowing in the spring.

Queen of Spain fritillary, Issoria lathonia

Even the nepeta is still providing colour and nurture.

Never the less, I find the imminent passing of the summer sad.

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 “Things are changing in the garden

  1. That grass really is scorched! Love the bee & butterfly photos. I’m always sad when summer passes because it is time to put the bees away, for about six months each year we can only peek at them through the entrance.


  2. Last week we had a couple of misty mornings to remind us that autumn is coming; this weekend the temperatures are back into the 30’s, but the nights are cooler. Christina


  3. Beautiful photos. We too are noticing the onset of autumn, with morning mists and yellowing foliage. But I do look forward to this season as well.


  4. Hi there from the Touraine. I’ve just been reading a few of your posts and am impressed by the range of insects you notice and are interested in. I can identify quite a few of them. I hope you won’t be too put out if I correct some IDs 🙂

    The ‘bee’ on the yellow cosmos is a Dronefly Eristalis sp (a type of Hoverfly), btw.


  5. Superb photos, I’m collecting our Cosmos sulphureas seeds to sow on the bank of soil from our fosse beds… along with wild chicory and I am also digging up the ones of those I’ve been mowing round and transfering them there… once this weather breaks that is! At the moment the plants would just wither and die… if I could dig them up anyway.
    Oh… that looks very much like one of the Vollucella sp. on that cosmos… send it our way please… I’m having to hand-pollenate the cucumbers and courgettes at the moment… it is so dry that the insects just aren’t around… even the bee-eaters seem to have just passed on through the valley this year. Last two years they’ve been here about three to four weeks… just a glimpse of half a dozen of them early last week near their usual roost… now… nuthin’!!
    Glow-worm post progressing.


  6. Our summer is finally here, rather late but very welcome. One upside of it being so late is we still have green lawns. Well, sort of. I grow cosmos but not the yellow one. Must add that to the garden next year. I especially like the look of that seed head!


  7. These are stunning photographs. Just the thing to look at on a rainy day!


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