a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


Still running to keep up

Garden April 2016

The winter was mild and now the spring is coming, as it should, with sunshine and rain showers but I am still running to keep up with the changing season.

The star of the moment is the Amelanchier – the blurry, white blossoming in the middle of the photograph above.  It looks better for real.

Bee in Amelanchier

It attracts some honey bees and bumble bees.

Bumble bee in Ribes Pulborough Scarlet

I have been so pleased this year with my Ribes sanguineum “Pulborough Scarlet” as I have managed to kill off two different varieties over the years before they even flowered.  They are usually hardy shrubs but I am pleased that this one looks very healthy and has the pulling power for the bees that I had been hoping for.

Halictus in Ribes

These tiny bees appreciate the flowers as much as the large bumble bees do.

Bee in Coronilla

The Coronilla, coaxed from cuttings from a friend’s garden, has been flowering through the winter but on sunny days its perfume becomes strong and I notice the bees in its flowers.

Anthophora in Coronilla

Perhaps the plant only produces the perfume and nectar to coincide with times when pollinators are likely to be around.

Prunus mahaleb

Another new comer is Prunus mahaleb which I planted at the beginning of last December and has now flowered despite it only being about 90 cm. tall.  It seems to be living up to expectations of lots of flowers from this little tree.


We are glad there are plenty of bees around as the cherry and plum trees are flowering.

Quince flowers

I have always been fond of our quince tree but now it appears to have become a firm favourite of our bees too!


I do love the birds we get in our garden too, so I was very happy to see the first redstarts returning.  I was rather pleased with this photograph of one seeing as it was taken with a 100 mm. Macro lens at about 25 metres distance!

Bumble in broad beans

Our broad beans, despite one cold spell, have come through the winter well and the bumble bees are making sure that I will have plenty of broad beans to shell and peel.

Outside the garden is particularly beautiful this year after a second wet winter in a row.  Bluebells, anemones, violets and Asphodel are shooting up in places I have never seen them before.  I just bent to take a picture of some Stitchwort when at the last moment I saw a dappled white butterfly watching me.

Dappled white butterfly

Another example of great camouflage.