a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Home Alone

I joined Amelia in England for a couple of weeks, but now I have just returned to our home in France and to Amelia’s “afrenchgarden”.  She is still in England, staying with my daughter and her new baby girl.

So, I have decided to write this short blog updating you of some of the things that have happened in our garden whilst I was away, and I suppose address the blog also to Amelia, telling her what she is missing and reminding her of her neglected duties.

Our neighbours have told me that whilst I was away it rained, and rained.  The evidence for me is the knee deep grass, and an abundance of strange giant weeds.  The climbing roses with their branches  full of flower are tumbling on the ground.

Veilchenblau Rose

Veilchenblau Rose

The peony under the olive tree looks somewhat neglected but still is charming.

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In front of the house, the rose Pierre de Ronsard [or as sometimes called Eden Rose 85], as well as the malva are impressive, although a little untidy.

Pierre de Ronsard against the wall

Pierre de Ronsard against the wall

Amelia has been planning to grow alpines in the  large stone trough near the house.  In her absence a giant lettuce  and a few tomato seedlings have grown in the midst of the saxifraga and delosperma.

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The vegetable patch is now full of broad beans, as well as peas and spicy mixed salad leaves.  I am sure that Amelia would have loved some fresh salad for lunch.

Broad beans planted in November 2012

Broad beans planted in November 2012

The cherry tree that we carefully transplanted last autumn and have kept our fingers crossed, has not only survived well, but has born fruit. 

Transplanted Cherry Tree

Transplanted Cherry Tree

I am not sure why nepeta has been called catmint, for to me it is a butterfly and bumble bee bush.  At this time our several nepeta bushes are laden with a variety of bumble bees and butterflies.

Nepeta Cataria

Nepeta Cataria

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Painted lady, Vanessa cardui

I have not neglected my duty to check on the newer bee houses that I made and we placed under the large plum tree.  “She” will be pleased to know that the tenants have indeed moved in and four of the holes are now filled – I am not yet sure if by mason bees or some other species.

Room to let to mason bees

Room to let to mason bees

More holes have been filled in the older bee house that we positioned in the front garden.  I believe that they are occupied by a small fruit wasp, as well as mason bees.  Just below the wasp I also saw what I think is an Anthophora  female who hopefully has chosen the bamboo to nest in, as she has been flying back and forth to her preferred hole.

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Near the terrace the poppies are rampant.  I think some of the wild poppies sadly have to be “weeded.”  Sorry I did say that I will have more respect for the weeds.

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But I am glad that last year Amelia placed a marker where a pyramid orchid had grown.  This year the weeds had not stopped the sweet plant which is once again in bloom.

Anacamptis pyramidalis

Anacamptis pyramidalis

So my tasks are all ahead of me: to cut the grass, to harvest Amelia’s precious broad beans as well as the peas, in addition to finding places for all the new plants that Amelia has sent with me to plant in the garden.  A busy second half to this June.