a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


The garden in July

White Wisteria

The garden in July is different this year.  The Wisteria is flowering for the second time.

Blue Wisteria

The blue was the first one out in May but the white one pipped it to the post this time.  Usually they have a second bloom much later so I wonder if they will bloom three times this year.  Perhaps it was all that rain in the winter and spring.

Bee in pumpkin

The garden can play tricks with you.  I went out to check the pumpkin flowers this morning, as last year they had a beautiful perfume.  I got quite excited as I thought I could see a yellow bee – but no, just a very well pollinated pumpkin and a pollen covered bee.  Unfortunately, the pumpkins have no perfume this year but they are a different variety.  Pity as the perfume was really heady last year.


The garden in July is very perfumed.  It is not just the obvious flowers like the lilies.


We have a good number of Buddleia and some even hang over from the next door garden.


The lavender is just opening now, not only to our delight but to the insects in search of nectar.  All of the perfumes intermingle, even the wild mint in the grass.


The garden in July is full of distractions.  I am seeing so many new bees I can’t keep up with them.  I was pleased when I noticed these ones today as they were moving so quickly in the lavender, just like the Anthophora plumipes moved in the Cerinthe at the end of April.  I could see males with similar but white faces instead of yellow.


A quick close-up on the dining room table and he is definitely a male Anthophora but I have not had time to find out what species – if indeed I will be able to.


The garden in July has drama.  Do you see the blurry white form behind the bumble?

Crab spider

The Echinacea are a magnet for all sorts of insects but this morning a crab spider was sitting waiting for them with open arms.  the bumble seemed unaware and although I feel I shouldn’t interfere with nature I knocked the spider of his perch.

Spider with butterfly

Only hours later I noticed the spider was back and had caught a Peacock butterfly.  My husband was there and he could not watch the butterfly in the spider’s grasp and had little hesitation in tampering with nature.  Sorry spider lovers but the fate of the spider was not a happy one.


Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum

The garden in July is never lonely.  Something is always flying past you or smiling at you.

Baby toad

Natterjack toad Bufo calamita.

This baby toad quickly hopped under the shade of the strawberries.  I am seeing more baby frogs and toads in the garden this year.


These brimstone butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni I think) were all over the Echinacea and nearby lavender.  (Perhaps it was just as well the spider was disposed off.)

Red poppy

The garden in July is lots of bees.  They are in the poppies.

Blue geranium

They are in the geraniums.

Tree bumble bee

And they love my flowering leeks!  Today was the first time I had seen a tree bumble bee (Bombus hypnorum) in the garden even though they are a European species.  I saw my first tree bumble bee in Surrey a few weeks ago.  They only arrived in the UK in 2001 but are now very common in parts of Surrey.

July in the garden for me is certainly the bees.  Even this morning, sitting having coffee, some pollen laden bees disappeared into the soil in front of the bench I was sitting on.  Some more solitary bees to investigate!

Borlotti beans

The garden in July is also full of hope.  I hope the borlotti beans keep on growing.

Sweet pea teepee

I hope I might be able to grow sweet peas this year.  I’ve never succeeded yet.  They are on a teepee in the potager receiving intesive care.  I’ve said I’ll never try again and this really is my last attempt but I do love their perfume and I have specially chosen the seeds of highly perfumed sweet peas.