a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

To a daisy


We have had much more rain this winter than usual, even the water table level that has been getting dangerously low for some years has returned to normal.  This is all good stuff for gardeners and I look forward to seeing many more wild flowers this year.  What has surprised me is the crop of daisies that has appeared in the grass around the house.  I had not noticed their absence until they appeared in quantity this year.  In the wet west of Scotland there is no shortage of daisies in the grass and making daisy chains was a summer pastime.  I hated the lawnmowers that put an end to them and created a boring green plain.  I was difficult to console and had little sympathy with the adults who assured me the daisies would soon reappear.

I have my own daisies now and I have enjoyed photographing them and capturing the variety of shapes and colours as they unfold.  Some   begin with deep raspberry-tinted petals and some are round like miniature peonys.  Some unfold coquettishly, others  frankly becoming completely white, while others retain a pink rim to the petals.

But the fateful day was sure to come.  I was informed that if the grass was not cut the machine would not be able to cope.  I begged a stay of execution for a patch with speedwell and dandelions near the plum tree and my mining bee nests.  The rest of the grass is now more or less green.

At least I have my photographs.

And I am comforted that Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s national poet felt pretty bad about seeing the daisies cut down too. His poem is to a Mountain Daisy but I’m sure its like my daisies.

To A Mountain Daisy (Written in 1786)

Wee, modest crimson-tipped flow’r,
Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow’r,
Thou bonie gem.

To read more or to listen to it being read, http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/to_a_mountain_daisy/

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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.

23 thoughts on “To a daisy

  1. How lovely. As you may have heard, we are still in the depths of winter here. There was some sun yesterday but the temperature hovered doggedly around freezing all day. Not a bug in sight! Lovely to be able to enjoy daisies here at least.


  2. There are some stunning shots here Amelia – especially the one with the rain/dew drops, and the swirly ones.


  3. Great pictures…
    what height does your “it must be mowed” mow at?
    I am finding that an eight centim cut height leaves a neat sward…
    and most of the daisies and speedwell.


    • I think it gets mowed much less technically. Latest news is that it has had to be dragged out of a steep slope and the blade has been knackered on a foreign object, so I’m keeping a low profile on the mowing at the moment.


  4. Exquisite photos. We had masses of daisies in public gardens this past summer. Looked like carpets of snow in summer.


  5. Your photos are stunning, love them.


  6. Your photos are stunning again! We are still a long ways off from anything green!



  7. Glad the mining bee nests were left undisturbed. Making daisy chains used to be a summer hobby of mine too, and I spent a lot of time looking for a three-leaf clover.


  8. These photos are fabulous! Thanks for sharing your beautiful daisies with us! 😀


  9. Lovely slide show. What beautiful colors!


  10. It sounds like you need a meadow. They really arent that hard to do and a strip between the lawn and the woods, for instance, looks very natural . Beautiful pictures.


  11. Your daisy photos are quite amazing. Really enjoyable.


  12. What a lovely tribute – rendering the humble daisy into something quite exquisite.


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