a french garden

There is still a buzz in the garden

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Tomorrow is November and my sunflower “Vanila Ice” is just as confused as I am with the summer sun and temperatures.  the Halictes bee is still looking for nectar and being warmed by the daytime temperatures reaching 26 and 27 degrees Centigrade.

Carpenter bee

I associate the Carpenter bee with the summer but she seems just as happy here visiting the late flowering Nerine bowdenii.

Fuschia and bee

I think I am seeing more honey bees in the garden at the moment and the fuschia interests them more now.

Pink Salvia

The pink Salvia that none of the bees looked at earlier in the year is now receiving some attention.

Bee on Salvia

Look you are not going to get anything like that!  Your tongue is not long enough to reach the nectar.

bee on fallen Salvia

You have to be more patient and when the flowers fall it is much easier to attack the problem from another angle.

Carder bumble bee on Dahlia

There are plenty of Dahlias still around for the bumble bees but I notice the Carder bumble bees getting paler

Carder bumble bee on Nepeta

and paler.  These are worker bumble bees so I presume there are still nests with queens although there is not much pollen gathering.

Grasshopper

The Hypericum is still flowering with no sign of let up and looks summery supporting the grasshopper.

Lycaena phlaeas Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas Small Copper

The butterflies are still around.

Parage aegeria, Speckled Wood

Parage aegeria, Speckled Wood

These ones with the Peacock and Red Admiral are the common ones that I see in the garden at the moment.

Bee in Hollyhock

Some of the Hollyhocks are still attractive and attracting the bees but there are others I would like to cut down and get the garden more tidy.

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But early yesterday morning I noticed a pair of Goldfinches near the patio.

Goldfinch eating Cosmos seeds

It was early and my husband has done well to get me some photographs through the window in the poor light.  I noticed they were eating the Cosmos seeds.  I did not realise they did that.  I always leave the Rudbeckia to be stripped of their seeds but it looks as if the garden will have to stay looking untidy for a little bit longer.

Broad bean seedling

I had hastily planted my broad beans when I returned from my trip to the U.K. two weeks ago.  They have now germinated.  I always plant the broad beans now to allow them to flower as early as possible.  Spring plantings flower later and totally succumb to blackfly.  I only tried to plant again in spring once when it was very early but I would never try it again it is not worth the hassle.

Rock Samphire germinating

The other thing that is germinating is the rock samphire that I saw growing on the cliffs in my post “Gardening on the Beach” and I want to see if I can get it to grow on rocks in the garden.  It is only in a small tray of gravel at the moment, the tricky bit will be getting it to take to a more convenient spot.

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There is no doubt about it summer must finish soon but it has been a wonderful year in the garden.

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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 “There is still a buzz in the garden

  1. As you said your temperatures are higher than mine this week. I find the Carpenter bees are the ones that fly most of the year here; there only needs to be a warm day even in the middle of winter and I will see them. I try to have something flowers for them but it is not easy. They like the shrub honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima and then there is always the Teucrium for most of winter.

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  2. We have snow today, no doubt, summer is gone.

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  3. I suspect you’re right about autumn sowing of broad beans, Amelia but I was put off by young plants flattened by snow. But as we had no snow at all last year, I’ll re-try I think. Btw I’m still rescuing butterflies, bees and indeed birds from the greenhouses. It was absurdly warm today. Dave

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    • Planting broad beans in the autumn works very well as long as you don’t have a prolonged hard winter. We sometimes get snow and very low temperatures but it never lasts very long. It very much depends on your winter conditions as to whether it will work. I hope this very late warm weather will make winter feel short this year. Amelia

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  4. Hi Amelia, your garden wildlife is wonderful, interesting too about the goldfinches taking the Cosmos seed, a very good reason to grow them. We have been having warmer temperatures too, 24c at Kew apparently today. You are prompting me to try broad beans in the Autumn, I will get some in tomorrow.

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    • I would not recommend planting broad beans just now unless you have a relatively mild winter. I do not think I was clear enough there. It has always worked for me but I am on latitude 45.55 N, considerably south of the U.K. and close to the Atlantic coast which again makes it milder in winter. I am not sure how it works in other areas. I wonder if anybody else sees the birds at their Cosmos seeds? Amelia

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      • Hi Amelia, I am going to try a few broad beans and put cloches on them, nothing ventured, we had a very mild winter last year but the lovely summer and autumn this year make me think there may be a payback to come.

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        • I think they can take quite a bit of cold but would not like to be buried under snow for a long time or subjected to a continuous period of freezing weather. So I think if you have your cloches at the ready it is worth a try.

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  5. It was warmer here too today, but the sun doesn’t often manage to get through our fog or mist at this time of year. They say it has been the third warmest October on record though. Your garden seems to think it’s still September! Lovely that the bees and birds are finding so much still, and you have butterflies! I haven’t seen any for over two weeks now.

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  6. We expect to see snow flurries here tomorrow. You’re lucky to have such a forgiving climate.

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  7. And we are having a very warm spring. I don’t grow cosmos but I know the little birds love the borage so I let it lie about as long as possible even though it looks so untidy.

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  8. Amelia,
    Very envious of all your blue skies, warmth and insect activity at the fag end of October. Lovely photos, and great diversity. The Met Office say its been a warmer than average October across the UK, yet although Wales is drier than average, we’ve seen very little sun recently. Bad news for SAD people,
    Best wishes
    Julian

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  9. It has been very mild here in Devon and on the last day of October we walked about in the evening without sweaters. There are still bees about and there has been quite a bit of sunshine but the weather is finally forecast to get colder this coming week. Beautiful pictures of the goldfinches. Philip

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  10. Interesting post – we got berries off our fuschias this year – quite tasty

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  11. We are having a very warm autumn here too and the insects and flowers are confused. I quite like the seed heads and dilapidation of autumn in the garden.

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    • I used to think everything was finished after the summer but now, like you, I like the seed heads and the new shapes and colours that appear in the garden in the autumn. I think if the autumn is sunny it is easier to enjoy what the garden and countryside provides. It makes me think that I should provide more autumn interest in the garden. Amelia

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  12. I tried autumn planting the broad beans last year and all that happened was that the small rodents ate the lot. How do you prevent that?

    PS Strictly speaking, your ‘grasshopper’ is a bushcricket — Phaneroptera sp by the look of it.

    And you might like to check out my blog post for today, entitled Dining at the Ivy.

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    • Thanks for the ID, I really appreciate that, especially as I’ve never heard of a bushcricket but I will remedy my ignorance with some web searches.
      Touch wood, but the only problems I have with any of the greens are snails and caterpillars. There are lots of mice, shrews around in the garden and hares and rabbits in the fields nearby but so far I have been lucky. Amelia

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  13. Amelia…
    today’s “The Life Scientific” on BBC Radio 4…
    I am listening to it at the moment…
    the interviewee is the author of “A Sting in the Tale”
    a certain Dave Goulson!!
    Have a listen on “Listen Again”
    it is lovely!

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    • I had pre-ordered “A Buzz in the Meadow” so I would receive it as soon as it was published. I keep meaning to post about it because it is such an interesting book and follow-up to “A Sting in the Tale”. I think Goulson is such a talented popular science writer, it is so rare that scientists take the time to share their knowledge with the general public. I do not know how he manages it with his own research, bumble bee conservation work and a young family. Amelia

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  14. Hi. I love how you posts present on your home page, with the image on the left and the text on the right. How do you do that? Is it a particular theme or could I do this with my Weaver II theme?
    Also, found time over Christmas to write a couple of pages on the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and asian hornet, Vespa velutina.
    Thanks for advice.

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    • I am using the “Fresh and Clean” free theme. I wanted to continue with it on my other blog “Bees in a French Garden” but I found it had been discontinued. The nearest I could get was “Misty Lake”. Word Press has decided that everyone likes to have a continuous scroll blog. I do not like that at all. My next blog could be on cabbages and the one after that on carrots which might not enterest you at all. Whereas by looking at the left hand images you might spot an earlier blog about wild bees that might interest you. I will check out SHB (heaven forbid I ever see one) and velutina which is a big problem here. Amelia

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