a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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The garden in September

Sunflower Earth Walker (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflower Earth Walker (Helianthus annuus)

Despite being surrounded by commercial sunflower fields, I still like to have sunflowers in the garden.  Some we sowed from the wildbird seed and are remarkably successful and are still flowering.  The sunflower Earth Walker seeds were free with the “Amateur Gardening” magazine.  I would never have bought them but are much more attractive than I imagined.   I will keep the seeds for next year (if the birds spare me some) as I have been charmed by their multi-headed plants.

Hemaris fuciformis on buddleia which is still flowering

Hemaris fuciformis on buddleia which is still flowering

I am still in denial about the autumn and I think the garden is with me.  The wisteria has been flowering since the beginning of the season, not as abundantly, granted, but there have always been flowers.  Now some other flowers are deciding to re-flower.

Pale blue delphineums

Pale blue delphiniums

I’ve never seen my delphiniums flower at this time of year.

Bell flower,  Platycodon grandiflorus

Bell flower, Platycodon grandiflorus

I am particularly fond of this plant as I bought it as a Heliotrope (complete with label) it took me a couple of years before I realised it was fooling me.  It usually flowers once in early summer so a second flowering is unusual.

Astrantia

Astrantia

My Astrantia are doing well still.

Yellow flower

Yellow flower

These are early to mid summer flowers but are still going strong.  They thrive in the hot sun and dry soil.  I was given them by a friend who called them black-eyed-Susies.  I think the error in this name is very clear but they are a great summer flower for my garden.

Clematis "Helios"

Clematis “Helios”

My yellow clematis is still in full swing and has only just started to have some fluffy seed heads.

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)

This is a weed, or wild flower if you want to be kind.  It appeared on its own but it was so well placed near my bee hotel I had to leave it; it attracts too many pollinators.  I didn’t know then it would be a convenient re-fuelling spot for my leaf cutter bees.  That was because I did not know I had leaf cutting bees in the garden but more about them later.

Pumpkin patch

Pumpkin patch

A garden doesn’t let you stay completely in denial.  We planted two types of pumpkins this year Rouge Vif d’Etampes and Giraumon Turban.  It’s our most successful year yet.  They are well away from the potager and it looks as if the Rouge Vif d’Etampes will supply us with enough pumpkins for the season.

Turban and impostor

Turban and impostor

The Turban pumpkins are coming along nicely but another type has appeared that I have not planted.  I’m not sure where it has come from.

Red hazelnut tree

Red hazelnut tree

I took this picture in July.  The hazelnuts were just forming but we have saved them from the red squirrel which had just started to eat them and leave us the shells a couple of weeks ago.  The rapid rescue mission left me no time for a more up to date record.  We harvested a good bowlful which is a very good reward from such an attractive little tree.

Vines

Vines

Our grapes are ripening too.  They are not as good as last year, unhappy with the late summer probably.

Reine de reinettes

Reine de reinettes

Our oldest apple tree is a Reine de reinette and full of apples this year.  The apples have been the most successful of the fruits apart from the dark blue plum.

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious

The Golden Delicious is also having a very good year and we have a small pear tree in the front and in the back garden which will provide enough to eat and probably make some compote.

Storecupoard

Storecupoard

This all brings me back to why I am in denial.  All this fruit has to be usefully preserved.  I have started but there is more to go and I still haven’t got round to gathering some brambles for jelly!