a french garden

A week of hard work

34 Comments

Before fire

It’s been a week of hard work in the garden.

Bonfire

We have at last been able to burn the branches torn down from the trees during the storm on 26 July this year.  We need to get authorisation from the Mairie (our local authority) to burn the branches in the garden so we were all set for this Friday.

Fire from side

Of course, all the larger wood was cut up and we first brought it up in barrow loads for storing.  A huge pile of small branches had been left on the grass and even more was distributed under the trees.

Near end of fire

All it needs now is a cut with the mower and I will be very happy to forget about the mound of branches at the bottom of the garden.  I did notice it was the favourite haunt of a wren who used to fly out of it when I passed by.

Wren in arriere cuisine

I don’t know if it is the same one that paid us a visit.

wren in arriere cuisine 2

She came into the utility room.

wren on door

I can’t say I blame her as it was a very cold day.

wren on doorstep

She did no seem in the least perturbed by her visit to the house but I do not know why she was picking up dried leaves to fly off with.  It is not nesting time unless they make a place to roost when it is cold.

Ring dove in Kaki

Our resident ring dove is keeping watch over the Kaki fruit as they ripen.  There is not much fruit this year, perhaps due to the late spring.  It looks as if it is going to be a race between us and the dove to see who’s going to be the first to get them when they are ripe.

There used to be a Forsythia beside the Kaki tree but this has been removed to allow more sun on the border for flowers.

Toadstools

As I cleared the border I lifted a stone from the stump of an old Hibiscus to reveal the little toadstools hidden underneath.  I was struck by the symmetry and force of their growth.

Tremella mesenterica

I noticed another fungus when I was gathering the wood at the bottom of the garden.  It is an attractively coloured fungus that I have seen before on the dead wood in the garden.  I think it may be Tremella mesenterica.

Cotoneaster berries

On a brighter note our cotoneasters are full of bright red berries and are doing their bit to brighten up the garden.  They seem to thrive here on minimal water and care.

Pear tree in ground

Crazed with our success at replanting our cherry tree last year, we decided to move a pear tree this week.  It has not thrived well in the front garden and its removal will give more light to the border behind it.

pear tree in barrow

Its roots were not too big and it was a one man job to get it into the barrow.  No need to get the car involved this time, which is just as well as it would have been difficult to manoeuvre it into the front garden.

Pear tree replanted

It looks much happier in the back garden.  It has not given us large crops of pears (Williams) but I valued it more for the beautiful blossom that it gives us every spring.

1-Pear & bee 2

Gosh!  That was a near thing, I nearly posted a blog without a picture of a bee!

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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.

34 thoughts on “A week of hard work

  1. Amelia,
    it was collecting dry leaves to put in a nesting place…
    Wrens roost communally…
    this quote is from the 2010 BTO winter survey…
    ” Results just in from the BTO’s Roosting Survey show that Wrens are piling into nest boxes, bespoke roosting pouches and even old House Martin nests to stay warm overnight, with most (26%) roosting in groups of 5–9 individuals and, in one nest box in snowy Devon, 30–34 individuals recorded snoozing together.”

    [http://www.bto.org/news-events/press-releases/god_rest_chilly_gentle_wren]

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    • Thanks for that! I’ll make sure I put out some bird houses in case they use those in the winter. One nested in the outbuilding this year so they must be able to find plenty of snug spots in there. (I missed your comment as my emails decided to go into spam all of a sudden, thus the late reply.)

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  2. I think your identification of the jelly fungus as Tremella mesenterica is probably correct, but there are many that look almost identical and it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart without a microscope. It’s a nice example though, no matter the species.

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  3. I am glad the pear tree was easier to move than the cherry tree! Most pear trees seem to be prolific fruiters once they get established. Better start identifying pear recipes now 🙂

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    • The pear tree was amongst the first trees we planted. Maybe it is a natural bonsai or it is on a very small root stock and we never noticed when we were buying it. It will be interesting to see what it does when its place is changed.

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  4. So many beautiful things to see in your garden. The toadstools are amazing.

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    • Thanks. We’ve been really working hard and clearing the borders of plants that are taking up too much room. I am always looking for more room for plants that the bees like and they always do better in the sun.

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  5. Love the fungi pics, and the wren. I agree with NHG about the ID of the jelly fungus Tremella sp. There is no way of distinguishing it in a photo from another similar species we get here according to my myco friends.

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  6. You have a lovely big garden so well done for all your hard work! Your photos are beautiful too.

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  7. Spectacular photos of the wren.

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  8. Hello,
    I love the wren photos, and wonder if in France – or any of the other country’s you’ve seen wrens in, you’re aware of any mythology associated with wrens? There were some curious folk lore customs relating to wrens in rural Wales (12th night wren hunts and parades) that are now largely forgotten, and I know that Ireland also used to view the wren as being a special bird,
    Best wishes
    Julian

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    • I’ve never heard of any stories associated with wrens. It always seems to catch my eye in the winter even more than the robin. They allows seem to be solitary, not like the flocks of sparrows, although they do sneak in and feed with our sparrows in the winter on the patio.

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  9. The fungus on the Hibiscus stump looks like honey fungus to me (I could be wrong). You should be careful what you plant nearby as it could attack and kill other trees and shrubs; you should probably try to remove the stump.

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  10. Gorgeous little Jenny Wren – one of my favourite birds! Our garden feels dull and neglected at the moment, it’s nice to see so much colour in yours.

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  11. As always, we can enjoy the fruits of your toil without having to strain a muscle. I’d be very proud of all that! Pear tree move looks a good decision, good luck with that. And I think I see where the Boules pitch will go… Or do you prefer the rustic unconfined version over whatever course the thrower chooses? RH

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  12. A post which really captures the season. Most of my work in the garden and on the allotment is done now for the year. I’ve retreated indoors to crochet and make seed lists. Wrens are one of my favourites. I occasionally catch a glimpse of them but they are so tiny. I thought it might be honey fungus too. It’s a little hard to tell though. Possibly best to be on the safe side.

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    • I went straight out, removed the top growth to the fire, then proceeded to examine under the bark. Not anything to worry about. Then I looked for black boot lace hyphae under the ground. Sigh of relief. We still dug it completely out and consigned it to the fire – just in case.:)

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  13. Lots of work, all beautifully captured.

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  14. As always, a wonderful post that transports me into another world for a while. I am delighted by the comment above explaining that wrens roost communally. What a lovely sight that would be, several wrens all nestled together.

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  15. I’ve enjoyed the wrens as well and, like Rachael above, the comments that come after. You made me feel rather guilty because we didn’t ask for permission from the Mairie to burn our stuff (and I know you are supposed to!) Everyone seems to just get on with it round our way. The wrens really made my (rather depressing) Monday – thanks so much!

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