a french garden

Sunday afternoon walk

25 Comments

It had been raining all morning and was forecast to continue raining in the afternoon.  Then after lunch the sun appeared and we quickly flung on a waterproof, willing to accept walking in the rain later for some  some sunshine in the present.

Moss

Despite the earlier rain most of the water had soaked into the sandy soil but there is much more moss in the woods this year.

Moss on old tree trunk

This moss had found a moist base on a fallen tree trunk.

Germinating acorn

I’m not sure how this acorn had become so embedded into the same fallen tree trunk.  Hardly a propitious site but the acorn had heard the call of spring and was germinating all the same.

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

The Lesser Celandine has been out for some time now and the bright yellow flowers brighten up the woods.

Ant and Bombylius major

Ant and Bombylius major

The Lesser celandine is a favourite with all sorts of insects, including bees, flies, hover flies and Bombylius major.

Bombylius major, Large bee fly

Bombylius major, Large bee fly

I only see these around in the springtime as they are parasitic on solitary bees, wasps and beetles.  They lay their eggs near the nests of these species or on flowers that they visit.  After hatching the larvae parasitise the host larvae which they consume.  Not very nice.

Bombylius major on Pulmonaria

Bombylius major on Pulmonaria

I usually like fluffy things but the Bombylius major doesn’t quite do it for me.

Narrow-leaved lungwort, Pulmonaria longifolia

Narrow-leaved lungwort, Pulmonaria longifolia

The Pulmonaria is opening now, it deserves its place minus the bee fly.

Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa

Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa

I saw my first wood anemones of the year but none in full flower.

Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa

They are usually white when fully open but the buds are usually pink in colour.Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa

As the flower head matures the petals become paler in colour.  They look so elegant just now as they are just breaking into flower.

La Dame d'onze heures, Ornithogalum umbellatum

La Dame d’onze heures, Ornithogalum umbellatum

Another first sighting on the walk was my first  Ornithogalum umbellatum or Star of Bethlehem.  It is such an elegant flower that I prefer the French name of La Dame d’onze heures which I find much more fitting.  She is elegant but not shy and does not disdain to grow in the “lawn” in our back garden.  This causes a very irregular mowing pattern in the spring as my husband refuses to go over them with the mower.

Dog violet, viola

Dog violet, viola

The dog violets were open in the woods and have been in the garden for a couple of weeks.  Most of the violets are the unscented dog violets but I did find a clump of perfumed ones last year.

Bumble on Red dead nettle, Lamium purpureum

Bumble on Red dead nettle, Lamium purpureum

The queen white-tailed bumble bees (Bombus lucorum) is the most common bumble around us at the moment.  I often see them on the look out for a likely nesting spot flying close to the ground, not interested in finding flowers.  This one has no pollen so perhaps she too is on the look out for a good site.

So we managed our walk without getting wet.  Just as well as the rain seems to have set in again.

Advertisements

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.

25 thoughts on “Sunday afternoon walk

  1. Thank you for sharing your walk, and for showing the Ranunculus ficaria. The leaves are the same as the plant I have but the petals of my flowers are much more pointed. I’m not keen on the furry bee-like fly either, here they fly most of the summer. Christina

    Like

    • I’m sure there must be quite a lot of variety amongst wild flowers in the same species which makes identification very difficult. I like the Lesser Cellandine for the brightness it provides at this time of year.

      Like

  2. I am not a fan of the sound of the Bee Fly… it is like a high-pitched buzz saw… or a French teen’s low powered “motorbike” going past flat out… but at least with the latter… you get a doppler effect as it goes past!! And, of course, it GOES PAST! The bee flies don’t!!

    I get told off by Pauline for mowing round the Lizard Orchids…. “You can’t leave them all!!” is the usual comment… but A] I like Lizard Orchids…. and B] it adds a some fun to what is really a boring task going up and down with the mower!!

    Lovely pix as per the norm!

    Like

  3. I have a fondness for all the anemones, but I have never seen a wood anemone. Now that I’ve seen your photos, I really want one! A nearby nursery lists such a large selection I don’t know how I will choose. Do they like shade?

    You are lucky to have a husband who mows around the flowers.

    Like

    • The wood anemones grow in the clearings in among the trees and only last for a short while until the trees get their leaves and it becomes quite shady. I don’t know how they would behave in a garden. I found a patch last year with different colours , I will go back this year to see if they are still the same.

      Like

  4. Lucky, Lucky you…we won’t see anything like this for at least 6 more weeks!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    Like

  5. Those insect photos are amazing. You’re quite the photographer.

    Like

  6. How lovely – all those flowers! Beautiful photos of the anemones. I think they look prettier at that stage anyway. Does Pulmonaria grow wild near you, or is that in your garden?

    Like

  7. We just got another 9 inches of snow here so it’s nice to see your flowers. We won’t see any for a while yet.

    Like

  8. What a wonderful walk! Such beauties along the way. Great photos of the bee fly!

    Like

  9. Your photos are so amazing. I love the detail, love the color, and they are just fun and enjoying to look at. Thank you.

    Like

  10. That was interesting about the parasitic bee-fly. It has a remarkably long proboscis– must be adapted to feed from some long-necked flowers?

    Like

    • I hadn’t thought about that. I’ll keep a look out. It does tend to feed very rapidly, hummingbird style so it is adapted not to necessarily use a firm landing site and sit on the flowers although it can do that to.

      Like

  11. I aways enjoy your walks. Wish I could be there with you!

    Like

  12. I was thinking how pretty the bee fly looked until your description, Amelia. Now… Not so much! You are weeks ahead of us here in Surrey – we are currently in the grip of winter again.

    Like

  13. So beautiful! I’m still waiting for the spring to come 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s