a french garden

Home Alone

20 Comments

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.

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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.

20 thoughts on “Home Alone

  1. I love your lush, full, delightful garden!!!
    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    ¸.•°❤❤⊱彡

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    • Thank you. I am sure that it is so very different to your garden [farm] in Colorado. But that is the beauty of our planet and her varied climate, fauna and flora. – K [Amelia’s husband]

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  2. Great Blog. You can come to my house anytime and be the substitute blogger.

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  3. Amelia is very lucky to have such a great replacement blogger, although perhaps you should be eating the salad too! Christina

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    • Thank you again, Christina. I, too love salads and in summer days frequently I make a large salad which Amelia and I have for lunch sitting out in the garden. But when you say that I “should” be eating salad, are you suggesting a diet [regime] for me? – K

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  4. Oh for some weeds like yours! And that climbing (falling) rose – wow. What a treat to come home to.

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    • I must admit that on one hand I find returning to the garden a journey of discovery: of new flowers, new plants and not to forget the bees and butterflies. On the other hand I see before me a jungle of overgrown plants that need a haircut. I am glad you liked the blog – K

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  5. All of the flowers are beautiful but I especially like the orchid. Congratulations on being new grandparents!

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  6. The garden looks lovely. And so pleased you updated us on the cherry tree. It was obviously pleased with its move to its new site.

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  7. Looks. To me like you’re trying to tempt Amelia home 🙂 Great news that your bee house is occupied.

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  8. Isn’t nature wonderful! I like the sheer cheek of the tomato and the lettuce, inviting themselves to live with the alpines. Congratulations on the new addition to the family.

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    • Thank you. The nature is indeed wonderful. [so is my baby grand-daughter!] These plants are like uninvited guests. As far as I am concerned, they are welcomed.
      Just to let you into a secret, I have left the lettuce alone until Amelia returns next week and we can sit on the terrace and enjoy a salad. – K

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  9. Hopefully you won’t mind a comment on an old post. Beautiful photos, particularly the Veilchenblau Rose – a type I don’t recall ever having seen before. And – I realised that you and your partner take turns (I think?) posting to this blog when the other is away? How nice. I wish mine had the enthusiasm for doing that!

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