a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


Still running to catch up with April

Ouside front garden

I feel guilty about our front garden.  Recently I have not been able to give it much attention and yet even the outside wall looks pretty with plants put in years ago.

Front garden less lilac

We did manage to remove an old lilac tree early last autumn which has left us with a very blank wall.  But I hope that other plants will be tall enough to remedy the situation by next year.

Spirea butterfly

The white Spirea provides a bright distraction but does not attract much insect life apart from an odd butterfly in transit.

Front garden fuschia (3)

Not so my Choisya Sundance!  It has lit up a shady wall all through the winter and is now full of fragrant flowers.

Choisia bee

Its flowers are beautiful, perfumed and the pollen seems to be appreciated by this wild bee.

Tree peony all

The tree peony is out and doing its bit to brighten up the wall.

Tree peopny flower

The flowers are large and lightly scented.

Cerinthe Anthophora

The ground in front of the tree peony is covered by Cerinthe which has self-seeded.  In the sunshine there is a constant buzz from the Anthophora bees…

Cerinthe Bombus pratorum

and the bumble bees.

Camassia Leichtlinii caerulea

On the front patio I’ve planted three Camassia Leichtlinii caerulea.  Last year I planted Camassia cusickii which I preferred but still I have plenty of bumble bees to watch as I have my morning coffee.

Lemon flower bombus pratorum

Then they obligingly move onto the potted lemon tree to help with the pollination there (this time it is a Bombus pratorum doing her pollinating stuff).

Front garden fuschia (2)

The Wisteria is the main feature of the front garden at the moment and it makes it presence known with its heavy perfume.Wisteria Carpenter

With Wisteria in France the Carpenter bees are ever present as well as the different kinds of bumble bees.

Wisteria bee

The honey bees come too but I doubt if they would get much nectar from the flowers if it had not been for the Carpenters and bumble bees leaving holes in the flowers to provide access for them.

Front garden fuschia (1)

All summer long my hardy fuschia puts up a marvellous show but I have neglected it this year and now new shoots are growing on the old stems that I should have cut down months ago.

Back garden ex pine spot

The back garden and the bees have taken up too much of my time this year.

Back garden ex pine

I am pleased with the willows put in as a screen where we frequently sit.

Dark tulip

The dark tulips grow in front of the willows.  Their petals are so dark that there seems a blush on their surface.

Quince flower bumble

The cherry and apple trees are in flower but the Quince tree is a particular favourite with all the bees but more about the Quince tree later.

Wisteria tree (2)

A couple of years ago we decided to try to grow a Wisteria into a tree.  Actually, two survived the first stage and we put the best in a selected, choice situation.  We did not know what to do with the other so we stuck it in the hedge.  Yes, the good one died leaving the survivor to hang over the fence!

Natural arrangement

Perhaps that is one of the charms of gardening that things don’t always turn out as you expect them to.  I left this dry, hollow log unadorned on a flower bed but by springtime Nature had adorned it with several mosses and a “wild” flower.  Left to itself it is prettier than anything I could have confectioned.