Living in France

The magazine “Living in France” has chosen our garden for their new gardening page in the September issue of the magazine which has brought on a wave of nostalgia.  It seems as if we have turned a full circle from reading the magazine to becoming a part of it.

I was happy to be part of this issue but it also felt a little strange as this magazine had been bought and pored over by my husband while we were living in Aberdeen.  It had all started innocently enough with touring holidays in France but then the monthly purchase of the magazine warned me that ideas were brewing in his head.

In 2001 the deed was done and the house was bought.

old garden tif 0003

The garden was uninspiring, as this view from the bottom of the gardening looking towards the workshop shows.  On the right you can just pick out the ex-Christmas trees.

1-A & K back garden looking towards house June 2014

Things have changed since then.   This is roughly the same spot now but there are more trees and flowers in the garden.

1-IMG_2415

The front garden too has changed.  But it is not just what we have put into the garden but it is also what has come out of it!

We have had a Hoopoe fall down the chimney and get trapped behind the glass door.

Inside on side-table

Inside on side-table

The little green frogs are a special part of the garden and this one made himself at home on the coffee table.

LAPWING

Even in winter we have visitors like this solitary lapwing that visited us day after day one winter.

Close up bat

Some visitors are furry like this cute Barbastelle bat that roosted behind our shutters.

Triton in hand

We also have a menagerie of marbled newts, salamanders, frogs and toads that we discovered in our old well.

Tetralonia in Malva

Can you see her pink pollen sacs?

What we did not realise was that the more fruit trees and flowers that we added to the garden, the more wildlife would come and share it with us.

1-Butterfly on mint

Butterflies…

Hawk Moth Hemaris fuciformis

moths…

Bee kiss

and, of course, the bees.  The bees have become special to me as you can see from the bee kiss.

So much has happened since my husband first plotted his garden in France.  The garden did not turned out exactly as planned but perhaps all gardens take on a life of their own and give you back much more than you expected.

 

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45 thoughts on “Living in France

  1. In Australia we have the most amazing birdlife – parrots of every colour with very cool crests are the most notable but lots of little finches and the huge emus and… well we’ve got it all.

    Except the Hoopoe.

    I have Hoopoe envy. It takes a lot to make me jealous of a bird since we’re so well served here – you’ve done it!

    And congrats about the magazine spread. You (and your shy hubby) are amazing gardeners and have built quite the nature haven. Well done!!!

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  2. That’s a very interesting gradual development – from magazine-induced dreamers via hard work to featuring as an inspiration to others… Whatever that is precisely, I am sure there is a perfect portmanteau word in German to describe it! RH

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  3. What an honor, and wonderful reward for your efforts. I have also noticed how much more wildlife there is in the backyard with more natural plantings available to them.

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    • Thank you. I think gardening is a very popular hobby for the British no matter what size of garden they have (and some beautiful ones might be quite small) is very much part of their home. Amelia

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    • Thank you. We love hoopoes, strangely there are four in the garden at the moment! That has never happened before but there was heavy rain last night and they seem to be digging juicy things out of the front lawn. I hope they stay around. Amelia

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  4. How wonderful! I very much enjoy reading your musings and am always delighted by your pictures. Many congratulations on your magazine feature.

    On a recent visit to France I heard the most beautiful bird song early one morning – the same phrase repeated several times, almost sounding ethereal. I thought it might be a nightingale (never having heard one) but some research courtesy of Youtube reveals that it could have been a Golden Oriole. We were in the Haute Vienne: I don’t know if you have this species where you are?

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    • I listened on YouTube but sadly I have never heard that song, it certainly is distinctive. However, I am not a very “birdy” person and unless one came onto the patio looking for food I probably wouldn’t notice it! I do love to hear them sing but a lot of the little ones tend to hide themselves away so like the sparrows and blue tits and redstarts that are a lot friendlier. Amelia

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    • The Golden Oriole has a very distinctive fluting call. We have heard one in the forest around us this year. They are easy to hear very tricky to spot! (Auvergne, France)

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      • Unfortunately, I did not see the bird with the wonderful voice. It could have been easier to identify if I had. It is a bird song I will never forget – and hope to hear again!

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  5. It was inspiring to read your tail of French gardening and I must get the magazine. We have a little house in the Lot et Garonne and the garden was a vineyard so it has been a case of starting from scratch and we are not there full time so it is always exciting to see how things have changed when we come back. As you say the garden takes on a life of its own. And quite right too.

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    • We have just had a few days away staying not far from Agen. It is a beautiful region, perhaps usually a bit warmer than ours in the summer time. We enjoyed visiting some of the little bastides and the Lastournelle cave. Amelia

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