a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Enough gardening, let’s go for lunch!


On Saturday it was too good to stay in so we decided to go to Pons for lunch.

Pons Donjon

We had lunch on the restaurant balcony overlooking the old Donjon and then walked down to the river to see if we could spot any Kingfishers.

1-Ducks la Seugne

Unfortunately, no Kingfishers were sighted but the ducks were parading with their numerous offspring so I was not disappointed.  As common as ducks might be I never tire of their antics nor of seeing flotillas of duckings.

1-Bridge la Seugne

The riverside walk has changed over the years and they have added some wooden bridges so that you can cross over the meandering Seugne.

1-Young male Calopteryx splendens(4)

It was a warm sunny day and quantities these dragonflies were flying around.  As far as I can tell they are male Calopteryx Splendens.

1-Calopteryx splendens (2)

Green ones were flying around too but these were less numerous and I supposed them to be another kind of dragonfly.  In fact, they appear to be female Calopteryx splendens.  The insect world does its best to confuse us.  At least when you take photographs of the dragonflies it gives you time to examine their rears.

1-Boy bits

Here is the male dragonfly displaying his boy bits or claspers.

1-Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

The Speckled Wood butterfly  (Pararge aegeria) was everywhere too, it is the most common butterfly we see in the woods around here.

1-For Picasa

There were lots of little white butterflies, probably different sorts of Pieris.  I always associate them with cabbages but of course their are lots of other plants in the Brassicaceae family.

1-Cardamine pratensis

Lady’s smock (Cardamine pratensis) is in the Brassicaceae and there was lots of it around.  I don’t usually see such dark ones near us.

1-Cardamine pratensis (2)

Although in the minority there were lighter forms as well.  It is called La cressonnette or cresson in French and apparently is edible although I have never tried it yet.

1-Bee pollen 1

This time it was my husband who spotted the cute bee.

1-Bee pollen

She was so covered in pollen that she had difficulty taking off.  Either that or the nectar she had been sampling had started fermenting in situ.  I cannot identify her as she was so covered in pollen but I would guess a little Halictes bee.  After a brief respite on my husband’s hand she took off into the air.

1-Bridge 2

Back over another bridge and we had finished our circuit around the river.


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.

35 thoughts on “Enough gardening, let’s go for lunch!

  1. Those might be Damselflies (although they might be called different in Europe):


    Nice photos, especially of the little bee.


    • They are called Demoiselles in French or Beautiful Demoiselle in English but you are correct the are Damselflies or Zygoptera rather than Anisoptera, Dragonflies. I’m afraid I cannot get as excited about them as I do about bees even though they are beautiful. Amelia


  2. Loverley…
    and, judging by the second picture, you went to Duck Pons????….
    great damsel pix too…
    and as for that poor yellow bee…
    our car looks like that at the moment…
    what with all the rape pollen around…
    and my offerings from shredding spruce branches downwind….
    all loaded with male catkins!!
    It should be grey!!


  3. That was a nice walk. I love the colors of the dragonflies.
    I’ve never heard of the lady’s smock but I just read that it has escaped cultivation and has become naturalized here.


  4. What a delightful outing. I am a fan of ducks too. Never get tired of watching them. The little bee is gorgeous. Reminds me of a child who’s been eating chocolate biscuits and is smothered in chocolate and biscuit crumbs. Concerning the white butterfly, I was intrigued by this article http://www.doc.govt.nz/about-doc/news/media-releases/2014/call-to-plant-cover-crops-that-dont-attract-pest-butterflies/ which says the white butterfly is destroying our native cress.


  5. Agricultural rape Brassica rapa makes an excellent green manure and soil improver. The only downside is that it stinks.


  6. We have Demoiselles in the uk , they are different than damselflies 🙂


  7. Looks like a beautiful place. Your insect photos inspiring me to look more closely at the ones around here and maybe even see if I can get some portraits. I wonder how much macro lenses are running these days…


    • I’ve really had a lot of fun with my Macro lens. It is a 100mm Canon lens. I think 100mm is the minimum you want for insect photography but any more and it may be difficult to handle. Often I see things in the photographs that are next to impossible to see by eye.


  8. Lovely photos Amelia – looks like you had a very nice day out.


  9. Lovely outing, we just saw our first family of ducks and ducklings this year.


  10. Looks a nice place for a walk. And lunch! RH


  11. What a beautiful place to visit. And of course, the bees were cute too.


  12. You had a very different day on Saturday to us! Here it rained almost all day. Thank you for sharing your day out, what a beautiful city and I bet lunch was very good. Those ‘Monet’ bridge images really capture the moment.


  13. I can imagine the lunch had, must have been different than my 2 dry slices of bread. And what a garden, different than my brown, sleeping one. Nice photos.


  14. I’m envious of your insect photos. They are lovely!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s