a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Give Nature a Home


We have a RSPB sticker on the car that says “Give Nature a Home” but we mean in our garden.

Tit under fireplace

Today this young Great Tit (Parus major) appeared in the living room under the fireplace.  I’ve no idea how it got in, probably when the French windows were open.

Juvenile tit in hand

He was quickly scooped up and taken outside.

tit pecks finger

He was quite perky enough to peck the finger that was trying to rescue him and he was left near the feeding station where he would see the other birds.  There are no cats to worry about and he quickly hid in a clump of Alyssum by the wall.  So far, so good.  However, I could not resist checking to see if he had flown off a few minutes later.

He was still there and I gave him a fright.  He broke cover went to the left and fell down the well!

Tit comes out of well

It is not easy to recover a fledgling Great Tit from an old well with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in but he was eventually caught.

Tit in rose

This time he was placed high on the rose bush opposite the feeding station.

Tit sits in rose

Just stay in the garden and out of houses and deep wells.


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.

27 thoughts on “Give Nature a Home

  1. This is such a charming story, I really hope all ends well. Lovely photos.


  2. ‘He’ is very freshly fledged, still showing plenty of yellow ‘gape’…
    and I say ‘he’ because of the cheeky look in the penultimate picture…
    and entering unknown houses…
    and falling down wells…
    gotta be a ‘he’!

    Are you LPO members?
    Their magazine is a lot better than the dumbed down “Birds” magazine…
    or to give it the new name, “Nature’s Home”… how twee!
    If you are I thoroughly recommend their “Refuge LPO” scheme…
    we’ve registered La Forge….
    it is really vanity “nature reserving”… but with reason…
    we have a small bit of the bocage system and wish to protect it.
    And there is a around 65,000 hectares now registered….
    that is a lot of small “islands” for creatures to travel between.
    Thr RSPB ought to follow suite…


    • I’m not an LPO member. My husband is the more “bird” person, he feeds them, makes sure there is always water in different places. I expect the birds to work for me in the garden and eat all the bugs in the fruit trees and flowers. Amelia


  3. This has the makings of a children’s book. There must be some kind of Aesop Fable type moral in the story somewhere.
    It seems like he’s kind of clumsy, for a bird.


  4. Cool Amelia. Rescuing tiny birds is awesome. Sadly last week one flew into a window and it died I my hands! I was heartbroken.

    We have blackberry trying to consume the house, but Ian won’t cut it because there may be birds nesting.

    Our mason bees have done their thing so we are going to put mesh over the openings to prevent wasps etc. eating the poor bees. Then I am going to try harvesting in fall and putting the cocoons back into re-entry houses in spring. I hope it works.

    Meanwhile it is grass cutting time, many acres! I always hope it gets cut before it flowers because I have grass pollen allergies, but we NEVER get it done it time. 😦

    We are enjoying sunny weather, courtesy of climate change I am thinking. Warmer springs and colder winters. Since we moved here 16 years ago, we have never had bright weather in April, May or June. We are mesmerized by long days and sunlight, and sometimes don’t get around to eating before 8:30/9:00 p.m.

    I am not complaining, but we are a little short on water.

    So we have a few final details to figure out for our trip. I am getting excited about it.

    Love Annie


  5. Unexpected adventures for you and one little bird. Hopefully it will be a wiser, stronger bird because of this day!


  6. Very cute story! It is fledgling season, I have a couple of Northern Cardinal fledglings around my yard, the parents are still with them and bringing them to my feeding station.


  7. What a cute little goof. I hope he wises up and learns to take better care of himself 😉


  8. Fell down a well?
    Oh, hell.
    Recued again?
    All’s well.


  9. We once found two young swifts in our house, it was rather alarming (for us and probably for them), but we managed to catch them and I threw each up in to the air and they flew off. Philip


    • We had a similar problem with a couple of house martins who wanted to nest on our beams. For a few days we had to keep the windows closed or they would fly in. It took them a few days before they gave up. Amelia


  10. Poor little thing. It feels great when you can rescue them.


  11. There are so many young birds around at the moment aren’t there? I almost trod on a young great tit the other day. Dave


    • Actually, I don’t see as many birds in the garden as you would think. They come to the feeding station in front of the dining room window – mainly sparrows and tits but I’ve known a lot of gardens in the south of England with more bird visitors than ours over here. I am not a bird person so I don’t know why. Amelia


  12. He was lucky to have found such kind helpers, Amelia! I hope his future is less full of danger, do you think he might have fallen down the chimney? A small owl fell down ours once so we covered the top with a cowl to stop it happening again.


    • No, he was completely clean. Our chimneys have hats on too, which prevents a direct fall but not a hoopoe falling into the main chimney and getting into the “insert” (I don’t know the English) and behind the glass door. That happened a few years ago. Nature seems determined to invade the house. Amelia


  13. I’m so supportive of this scheme, but wish I had my own garden so that I could do more. There are so many benefits to people if we give nature a home. Beautiful pictures!


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