a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

First frost


frosted Hollyhocks

Last Sunday the first frost arrived.  It had taken a long time arriving, so I was pleased to go out and catch the plants with their winter coating before the sun rose higher and started to warm up the air.

I felt that this would be the last of the Hollyhocks but they have survived and have not given up the battle against the cold.  Frost resistant Hollyhocks?


The roses are other flowers that shake off the frost with little damage.

Frosted fuschia

The fuschia flowers and leaves though have completely succumbed and dessicated now.


Likewise none of the Savia survived and today I cut down the bare stems which was all that was left .

Frosted cotoneaster

The frost on the Cotoneaster leaves make them look like a silver variegated variety.

Frosted Veronica

The Veronica had the same variegated appearance but the frost did not damage either of them.

Frosted primrose

The best part about the frost was its effect on me.  Going round the garden in the frosty morning set my biological clock into winter mode.  The garden was behaving as it should in December and all was as it should be.

Frosted Mahonia

The frosty morning has given way to milder weather but I can finally feel that we are approaching the shortest day and it is really winter time.

Mahonia Charity

The Mahonia is regularly visited by the bumble bees and yesterday it was warm enough to tempt a honey bee to visit.

Triton marbre

The picture above is, in part, a set-up.  I wanted to mention that the crocus have started to push through but I thought I might place the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus) that was in the flower bed into centre stage.  He is very amenable to having his  photograph taken, or at least he has never complained.  The damp warmer weather must be more comfortable for him.  Sometimes we find several of them bundled up together to keep warmer in the winter time.

Frosty Hydrangea

The late arrival of winter this year allowed me time to  move and plant various trees and shrubs but now the garden is relatively tidy and I have no more plans for it until the new year,

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.

42 thoughts on “First frost

  1. As your photos show, frost can do beautiful things to plants. You obviously have a very long growing season there.


  2. Amazing to see the frost on your flowers. Our flowers are over now and the best we can hope for is frosted seed heads!


  3. Lovely images of the passing of the season.


  4. Not many of us can use a newt as a prop! Even in winter your garden is still stunning.


  5. Lovely photos of your frosted flowers. Isn’t it a shame that we can’t “frost” them all and hold everything in suspended animation for a month or two!


  6. With Susan on the Cute Newt…
    I must put some boards/corrugated iron out in the meadow and see what we have.
    I’d love to find a Marbled Newt… but I think we are that much too far North… pity.
    Like the Frosty Primula the best of the flower pix…
    but your post appears to have dandruff…


  7. Our first frost was a few weeks ago but we haven’t really had another since. I love frosty plants. Great photos.


  8. We have had a few frosts but I didn’t notice the gardens looking as interesting as yours.


    • The frost and the light only last for a short time together at the moment. I have seen it holding on white to the tree branches here but it has to be very cold for that and it only happens rarely. Amelia


  9. Lovely to see your frosty photos. I agree with Farrer that roses look like ‘ withered moths’ in winter, but when they are iced with frost as in your photo they look wonderful.


  10. I’ve yet to be able to get some decent frosty photos because of being super busy when at work when the frosts have been here. Yours are great, and seeing the newt was impressive.


  11. Your frosted flower photos are fantastic! The newt is pretty wonderful, too.


  12. The Cotoneaster image is perfect Amelia, I also love the last picture of the Hydrangea. We had our first frost on Friday morning. Not quite as deep a frost as yours but beautiful all the same.


  13. Really beautiful images Amelia, we need the frosts to herald winter properly.


  14. I found some sprouting bulbs when I was digging to put a new rose in. Funny old world!


  15. Beautiful frosty images! Our bitterly cold spell has abated and now we’re actually a little warm and damp. Lots of fog. I worry the bees are going to go through their food too fast but I guess they won’t starve if they can move around the hive easily.


  16. Beautiful. Returning from Venice last week and catching up with blogs, it’s a pleasure to see such beautiful frosted pictures. A fairy tale garden. Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas 🙂 x


  17. Quite agree about a good frost getting one in the right frame of mind for winter. The veronica looks rather magical… RH

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I forgot to ask about the Veronica (my mother’s name), what plant is that?


  19. You’ve got salvia into late December? Amazing!
    We are experiencing a couple of very cold sub-freezing nights. I’ve got all my echium covered up. I so want them to bloom next spring, that is, if my bees make it though the winter. I’ve chosen not to feed them this year.


    • Your bees look much cosier in their tree houses than in a lot of more conventional hives. I hope they have stored enough honey to keep them going until the flowers are out again. Amelia


      • I was happily surprised today to notice some bees on the gorse. Gorse seems to bloom all year, but it’s possible the bees are on it now because there is not much else to work. No one likes gorse around here because it’s blamed for the big 1936 fire that destroyed most of the town. If gorse feeds my bees mid winter, that’s a good thing to feature on the gorse video I’m making for Bandon Historical Museum.:)


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