a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

A frosty December morning


Frosty mornings on the Charente Maritime are not too common but this year I was keen to get out and take a look before all the frost was melted by the winter sun.

Frosty brambles

I found even the bramble leaves looked different covered by the frost.

Ice crystals on bramble

The cool evening temperature had formed ice crystals on the leave.

Frosty red bramble leaf

The autumn reds had been changed into frosted Christmas decorations.

Frosty wild rose hips

The wild rose hips were taking the frost in their stride.

Frosty spindle tree  berries

The spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus) berries looked sugar coated by the frost but will not survive many more freezing and de-frosting cycles.

Robin waching

The little birds flew out of the bushes as I approached, it was only the robin who could not retain his curiosity about the only person who was entering into their domain and lingering to look at their territory on such a frosty morning.

Frosty persimmonI decided to return and check out the garden.  The birds, mainly the blackbirds, I think, have turned one of the persimmon into a frosty dessert.  They choose to open the fruit at a ripe spot and I admire their choice as it is conveniently placed for easy perching.  A real fast food option for the bird on the go.

Frosty lonicera

In the back garden the fragrant honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, is completely frosted over with its perfume sealed within the ice waiting for the sun to arrive.

Frosty winter honeysuckle

The delicate flowers look as beautiful in the frost as they do in the sunshine.  More flowers will follow the flowers frozen by the ice.

Frozen bee

I was thinking of the bees that would be enjoying the new flowers on warmer days when I caught sight of a bumble bee.

Frozen bumble bee

The poor creature had been seeking overnight shelter on a flower and was frozen in place.  Male bumble bees do not survive the winter, the queens will be snuggly overwintering but the others will not see the spring.  My poor bumble bee had the added affliction of mites which survived the low temperatures remarkable well.

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.

36 thoughts on “A frosty December morning

  1. Love the red bramble leaves. 🙂


  2. How gorgeous, love those crisp frosty winter mornings. Poor bumble bee though! Hope it was a male and not a queen that emerged too early.


  3. We are not even close to frost here. The sugar coated spindle berries are cool 🙂

    Have you ever handled a bumblebee? They are quite disconcerting because they are warm, and get warmer. They vibrate and warm themselves up.


  4. Amelia… thanks for yet another lovely post… it has brightened a dull, rainy morning…. may you enjoy a great Festive Season and a fruitful 2013.


  5. So beautiful. The plants – fruits, flowers, berries and leaves – look like they were frozen in mid-summer. It’s a fascinating contrast with the ice coating everything.


  6. A morning to remember. Poor Bee 😦


  7. Lovely photos, well worth braving the cold for.


  8. Lovely photos. Most of our berries have already been eaten by the birds, but a couple are hanging on even in the snow. The frozen spindle tree berries look like iced cake decorations!


  9. Beautiful photos of the frost needles on fall leaves.


  10. Gorgeous photos as always, Amelia. I love the bramble leaves – really lovely composition. Poor old bee!


  11. Your photographs are so lovely!


  12. Those horrible mites…what a photograph, but mites on the bees is a very BAD thing!


    ¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥


  13. Poor bumble bee, my Lonicera isn’t flowering yet, hopefully it will soon, it also still has most of its leaves. Christina


  14. Very nice photos, and this robin is very sweet. But the poor bumble bee….


  15. I love the third shot, such a brilliant contrast of red against the frosty white..


  16. c’est beauuuuuuuuuuuuuu !:)


  17. What inspiring photos. I am looking forward to taking pictures of January frosts. There is actually so much happening and to see in nature in winter!


  18. A lovely series. Sad about the bee, but such is nature. I ave a shot somewhere of a very bedraggled bee – no frost but still he had passed away on his leaf and remained there coated in rain.


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