a french garden

A bit of sunshine

26 Comments

Yellow crocus

Yellow crocus

A bit of sunshine in the Charente Maritime and the seasons seem to slide before your eyes.

Wild violet

Wild violet

The violets appear.

Crocus

Crocus

The crocus pop up.

More crocus

More crocus

And up.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Daffodils usually signal the spring.

Snowdrop and clematis

Snowdrop and cyclamen

But there are still plenty of snowdrops in the garden.

Red hazel catkin

Red hazel catkin

The catkins are out.

Plum  tree blosssom

Plum tree blossom

The plum tree seems to be bursting to open its flowers.

Hellebore

Hellebore

The Hellebores are opening.

Bee on Viburnum Tinus

Bee on Viburnum Tinus

The Viburnum is buzzing with bees but the air temperature is only 8 degrees centigrade.  I thought the air temperature should be much higher for them to be so active.

 Winter honeysuckle

Winter honeysuckle

The winter honeysuckle still has flowers but less than before.

Red Valerian

Red Valerian

The Valerian has started to flower – in February?

Cellandine

Cellandine

The cellandine has decided it is springtime, much to the relief of the dronefly.

Celandine and bee

Celandine and bee

The celandine offers its nectar to bee and fly alike.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries

The wild strawberries are already flowering along the roadsides and starting to set their fruit.

Pararge aegeria Speckled wood butterfly

Pararge aegeria Speckled wood butterfly

The sun even brings out the butterflies.

European Peacock Inachis io

European Peacock Inachis io

Do they know it is February?

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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.

26 thoughts on “A bit of sunshine

  1. Gosh, you are well ahead of us in the Touraine. I haven’t got half that stuff happening yet.

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  2. Lovely to see all those signs of spring. Perhaps you have managed to create a special little microclimate this season which is encouraging all this activity.

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  3. How wonderful! We are having proper sunshine here too. No bees or drone flies yet but my garden has been full of aphids for at least a fortnight already! Bad for the roses and solanum jasminoides but good for the camera. Lots of leaf hoppers and midges about too. Looking forward to the first bee.

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  4. Spring indeed in your part of the world. Bees are active here too and our daily highs are not any different to yours. Their buzzing gives the garden a summery feel. Christina

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  5. Wow! Looks like spring has sprung in your part of the world – lovely sunny pictures. Hope you don’t get a cold snap take those bees etc by surprise.

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  6. I know it’s February . . . I can see the snow as I shovel it.

    But good to know Spring is out there, somewhere. Nice post.

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  7. Wow you’re way ahead of us in the UK! The crocus are out and some early (non native) daffs, but it still feels pretty wintery yet. Lovely blue skies for a change though. 🙂

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  8. The snowdrops and cyclamen make a lovely combination. Great photos, as always.

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    • Thank you, I have just started to plant down by the trees these past couple of years and the cyclamen are doing well. I am trying to naturalise some bulbs that will lie dormant under the trees in the summer and come out in spring. I’ve still got a lot of ivy to shift though.

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  9. OH! LUCKY! LUCKY! YOU! We won’t see any of this until April or May!

    Linda
    *♥´¨) ¸.-´¸.-♥´¨) ¸.-♥¨) (¸.-´ (¸.-` ♥♥´¨
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

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  10. Butterflies! I am surprised! Your crocus are adorable. And I love the sweet little bees. I know they’re happy to see spring starting to emerge!

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  11. It’s nice to see all of those spring flowers-I can’t wait for it to happen here. I’ve never seen cyclamen grown in the soil before. Here it is used as a fall / winter houseplant and then thrown away by most.

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    • I think they are a different kind of cyclamen. The house plant ones have larger leaves and flowers. These ones are much smaller but really tough cookies and go dormant in the dry soil during the summer. They give good ground cover when established.

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  12. The first bees and butterflies I’ve seen this year. So Spring really does exist?

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  13. Gorgeous crocuses, I am so jealous of your garden. About the bees – they can forage for pollen at 8 degrees centigrade. For nectar foraging they need slightly higher temps of around 12 degrees upwards, though I think that’s mainly because most plants only produce nectar during warmer weather. They can raise their body temperature to be higher than the surrounding air around them. Bumble bees are even hardier than honey bees and can forage at lower temperatures; I’ve seen them busily foraging away during rain showers.

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  14. Thanks Emily, that explains things for me. I did not realise they would forage for pollen at lower temperatures than for nectar but it makes sense and it corroborates what I’ve seen.

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  15. This is amazing! What a great variety of color and types of both flowers and insects. Your seasons must be about 4 months ahead of ours.

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