a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Summer arrives


We had almost no Winter this year; and the Spring has been most unusual.  Across the mainland Europe, warm days were interrupted with days of heavy rain and wind.

A week ago Amelia and I were driving near the city of Cognac and it was truly sad to see large tracks of vineyards completely flattened by hail-storm of late May.  They will have very little grape to harvest this year as well as next year, as next year’s crop should appear on this year’s growth.

In this little corner of the Charente-Maritime of France we have been gratefully sheltered from the worst of the inclement weather.

Since 20th June the temperature has suddenly shot up to over 30 degrees C (about 90 degrees F).  The garden has changed, as some of the Spring flowers have faded and others such as monarda and hydrangeas have  taken over.


The bees have been extra busy, but for a while I had some difficulty retrieving my bee suit and the bee equipment.  They are all stored in the cellar just outside the utility room.  There is a little beam there less than two metres high and a little redstart had decided to nest there using an old robin’s nest.

redstart nesting

Another sneaky look whilst she was away and what do I discover?  The little lady has been really busy.

redstart eggs

Five tiny eggs packed in gently in the old nest which she had repaired.

Two or three days after that I had another quick look to see what is happening.

redstart chicks

They were all there.  All five of them.

It became a little easier after that to enter and leave the cellar to retrieve my bee suit.  But at each occasion, the chicks thought that their mummy has returned and will feed them soon.

redstart chicks

Meanwhile in the olive tree in the front garden a little sparrow was waiting for his mother.

baby sparrow

Oh, well.  If mummy is slow in returning, perhaps the little fluff ball can have a go at the seeds himself.

baby sparrow

But what is this little bird in the water tough?  He is having what my little grand-daughter calls her ‘splishy-splashy’.

baby sparrow having a bath

Even the blue tits is wondering who he is.

birds at the water dish

Despite the heat, I must go and cut the grass in the back garden.  But I don’t really have the heart cutting the wild flowers.

The garden and the hives in June



14 thoughts on “Summer arrives

  1. How wonderful you are having your own birdwatch experience. I love the pictures, especially splishy splashy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. When we moved here, we hardly saw any birds near the house. Now we see many birds of different species. I love watching birds at this time of the year taking a bath. – Kourosh


  2. We narrowly averted becoming host to a swarm who rather fancied moving in to our toilet exhaust fan outlet yesterday. I had to stand there for about half an hour gently swishing bees away with a feather duster while Simon taped the outlet up so they couldn’t enter. Ten or so made it all the way through and ended up in the laundry next to the toilet. Finally they gave up and pushed off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Almost every year – even before we started keeping honey bees – we had visitors; swarms that liked lodging in the chimney. It is almost impossible to collect such swarms. We have even been obliged to completely block on old chimney, as once the queen had laid her pheromone, the swarms would come back over and over again to the same spot.
      You certainly did the right thing persuading the bees to move to another location.
      – Kourosh


  3. We once had a finch nest and lay eggs in our front door wreath. For days we couldn’t use the front door. The neighborhood kids loved to watch the process, but we were relieved when they successfully fledged.
    Aren’t granddaughters wonderful? You will probably have “splishy splashy” as a recurring phrase for the rest of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Granddaughters are certainly wonderful. I recommend them to everyone!

      As we live too far away from my granddaughter, I amuse myself watching the antics of the birds in the garden. This morning, again a blue tit was pecking at the door handle of the patio, wanting to get in.

      You are right about recurring phrase. After all these years, I still remember the cute phrases that my own kids used to say and I smile. Memories are made of these. – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What great shots of the babies! It’s hot here too now. We left a few bits of lawn unmown this year, mainly for the insects. But we have noticed how the birds also use thses areas for cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy. I do try to set the lawnmower tractor on a high setting at this time of the year to same as many wild flowers. The butterflies, the solitary bees and the honey bees visit many of them. You are also right about the birds, not only they hide there, but also they eat the seeds. I have several times this year seen a pair of goldfinches coming to the garden and eating the seeds from dandelions. – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great pictures! I have a few Robin nests above my head as I type. I haven’t been able to peek into them yet.
    I felt the same way as you about the wild flowers as I was mowing my lawn this morning. The little yellow flowers looked so pretty, I hated cutting them down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked them. It is certainly magical having the birds nest in your garden. Some are quite shy, but usually they all get used to you and they decide that after all you are not a cat and therefore no threat to them.
      I try to set the lawnmower on a high setting at this time of the year, to save as many of the wild flowers . – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s too bad about the vineyards. The price of wine will surely go up, and then will most likely never go back down.
    I think I’d wait until the flowers had passed to cut the grass. You have a meadow that many would love to have.
    We’ve also been hot and have had many days of high 80s F with no rain in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The force of nature is incredible. Every year or two we get a storm that brings down some old trees or other vulnerable plants. Last year near us, I saw a whole field of sunflowers in bloom absolutely flattened in a storm. It is sad when that happens, but it just increases my respect for the mother earth and nature.

      I do set the lawnmower tractor blade on a high setting to spare the wild flower heads. I also leave large patches of uncut grass where there seems to be an abundance of flowers. The bees and the birds love it and I must admit that it actually looks pretty in the garden.
      – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What beautiful pictures of the eggs and chicks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel just honoured that so many birds trust us now, and are willing to share their lives with us. – Kourosh


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