a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Conversation beside the Brussel sprouts


It’s no good trying to pretend your’e not there, because your’e so well camouflaged.  I saw you fly in there.

I can see perfectly well what your doing.

It really doesn’t wash with me the innocent “I’m just resting in the shade” look.  I can see your yellow eggs positioned neatly on the stem.  Now flutter off and find some plant I don’t intend to eat to lay your eggs on.

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.

8 thoughts on “Conversation beside the Brussel sprouts

  1. Nice post Amelia, we’ve been chasing these pests too! Despite thye fact that they look nice flying around… and we haven’t been able to get any Nasturtiums established for them to lay on either, yet!


  2. IS there any natural deterrent? The caterpillars destroyed my rocket and babyleaf this July! (But the butterflies are so pretty!)


  3. There is a ‘natural’ deterrent, in the form of the biocontrol bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis however I’m personally not a fan of it. You need to really know not only the target’s lifecycle, but all the similar lifeforms that could be active at the same time in the same place, then weigh up whether you really want to use it. In other words B. thuringiensis isn’t specific to Pierid caterpillars, but will attack any caterpillar or similar soft bodied larvae that ingest it.


    • I’ve managed to control the caterpillars on my veg by the removal method as they have never reached epidemic proportions. I think B. thuringiensis could be useful if the threat was more important and in difficult to reach areas such as in trees.


  4. Nice one! I totally overlooked the butterfly in the first photo. Best deterrent I know of is to pick the caterpillars off by hand. It’s easier than removing Japanese Beetles from apple trees.


  5. He he – love your conversation. I always prefer removal by hand as I am afraid introducing biological controls may upset the natural balance of my garden.


  6. This made me smile! We’re also having issues right now, with our broccoli. We’re hand picking the little critters, I think it’s perhaps the best removal method. Super photos 🙂


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