a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

How not to plant daffodils



March has almost finished and in this upside down year it certainly has not been “in like a lion, out like a lamb” as the winds are roaring down the country.  It continues to be exceptionally mild, going to 21 degrees centigrade a couple of days ago.  Seemingly this winter has been the mildest since 1880.

I hope the little plums on the large tree in the foreground of the picture above don’t all get blown away.Daffodil edge

This year the daffodils in the front garden were beautiful but the clumps were needing to be divided.  I cannot plant bulbs at the bottom of the back garden because of the tree roots but I had a cunning plan!  Kourosh was cutting out turf where he is planting wild flowers so I decided to cut out a shallow trough for the bulbs and cover them with the divots of turf.  I must admit I found there were more bulbs than I had expected and carting the divots was more tiring.  The resulting plantation is eccentric but if even twenty percent catch I shall be pleased.

Mass of wild anemones

Actually this is the sort of planting I would really like and there are masses of them all around us at the moment.  Nature is much more cunning than I am.

Wild anemone

The wild anemones are mainly white but some are a delicate violet or pink or a mix of the two (See, What colour is a white wood anemone?)


The Pulmonaria and


violettes and

Potentilla sterilis

this little white flower are out in abundance in the woods nearby.  The white flower is Potentilla sterilis or the barren strawberry which I have been calling a wild strawberry up until today when I read this post on WordPress from Catbrook Wood.  We do get wild strawberries too, but later, of course.

Polygala myrtifolia

We continue to add as many bee and insect plants as possible into the garden.  Today it was the addition of Polygala myrtifolia.  It is of South African origin and tender but it is well protected in a corner of the front garden although it will need to be covered if we get hard frosts.

Polygala close

It is supposed to flower all year round but more plentifully in the spring.  You can see the stamens full of pollen tempting the bees.

Camelia and bee

Will it be more successful than the Camelia which has a successful but short season?

Osmia cornuta clearing hole (2)

The female Osmia cornuta have arrived to keep me amused.  I was amazed to watch this one decide to clean out a hole another insect has used so that she could re-use it.  I have a variety of empty holes available but she capriciously decided that this one was the one that she wanted.

Blue tit on car (2)

This blue tit has been providing us with entertainment every morning as he tries to see off another male that peers at him from inside our car.  I would imagine it is the spring and the mating season that makes him more aggressive but it does seem that he is rather looking for trouble.

Blue tit on car (1)

These intruders get everywhere if you let them.

Reinette on ferns

Continuing on the theme of garden animals, can you see the one in this picture?

Clue it is exactly in the middle of the photograph and is not easier to see in real life.

Reinette on hand (1)

Give up?  A frog in the hand is easier to spot.  There are a lot of these little tree frogs (Hyla meridionalis) around this 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.

30 thoughts on “How not to plant daffodils

  1. Polygala myrtifolia looks an interesting plant Amelia and new to me, it looks a great addition to your plants for bees. Your violets and wild anemones are beautiful, I can see why you love them. I could only spot your frog after the clue, what brilliant camouflage!


  2. Very nice. Cute frog.


  3. He is very well camoflaged on that Hart’s-tongue Fern leaf…
    he being the treefrog….
    we haven’t seen one here for a couple of years now…
    hope we haven’t lost them.
    And I love the confused Great Tit!


    • You can have some of ours, we have lots 🙂 Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d love some, but yours are Hyla meridionalis… ours are H. arborea….
        although both exist in your area.
        The first has the brown stripe only from the nose to the shoulder… H. arborea has the brown stripe all the way along the flank to the hind-leg, where it then juts upward.


        • They are very difficult to see so I have never seen an H. arborea near us. I think the H. meridionalis have saturated the garden and those are the ones I see. I have never seen any outside the garden but of course I know they are there because I can here them in the evenings. Amelia


          • It may be that where they overlap in their distribution, you will not get both varieties at the same site… so you have H.meridionalis… half-a-mile or so away, there may be a thriving colony of H.arborea…
            in slightly different “accomodation” so to speak!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the polygala. They all seem to have beautiful flowers. We have a native one here that is called the fringed polygala (Polygala paucifolia). They’ll bloom in mid May.


  5. Your critter photographs are remarkable.


  6. That poor blue tit. He’s working so hard and the other guy just won’t go away! We had a similar experience with a superb fairy-wren attacking our car window on a camping trip. I finally got up and threw a towel on the windscreen. I just couldn’t stand him wasting any more time defending his territory 🙂


  7. Well done for finding the frog, I think I would only have seen it if it had moved.


  8. Still waiting for the Osmia here


  9. This made me think of the old proverb, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Do you think this applies to frogs?


  10. You’ve got plenty to keep the bees happy then. Love your little frog – what a gorgeous colour! It has only just started warming up here, but the bees were out in full force today!


  11. Even when I knew what I was looking for it took me ages to spot the tree frog. We have lots of the strawberry plants in our garden for some reason, some I pull out, others I leave.


    • Even in real life it takes a long time to point out to someone where they are sitting! Sounds like your strawberry plants are doing well. If you are happy with the variety you have I think that is the best thing to do. Amelia


  12. Lovely pics as always, Amelia. I wish I got frogs like that in my garden! We have lots of common frogs, and tens of thousands of tadpoles at the moment. Isn’t that a great tit, fighting his reflection?


  13. I really got a good chuckle about the blue tit…checking out its competition , in the mirror…LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Enjoyed your picture of the pulmonaria, but just cannot figure out whose yellow and black tail tip is sticking out from it! Is a bee or a bee-like moth? I read every sentence and also each comment, so if I missed the answer in there I apologize!


    • Actually it is its black head sticking out :). It is a bumble bee. I do not get more technical than that with Bombus lucorum and Bombus terrestris. They are difficult to distinguish often and as the buff-tailed bumble bee often has a white tail over here you can see where I am leading. Sometimes I am absolutely sure what it is and I might say, other times it has to be vague like bumble bee or solitary bee but you are correct, I’ve ignored the poor creature completely. Amelia


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