a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Autumn arrives in yellow



A misty start to a cool morning but at least we have had six millimetres of rain.


The early morning mist adds to the autumn feeling.


But the sun burns through and lights up the Maple-leaved Ash.  I don’t have many red leaves in the garden in the autumn.


My best autumn colours are yellow, many of the trees brown and lose their leaves rapidly.  The Mulberry bush is starting to be eye catching.  Actually it was supposed to be a Mulberry tree but it had an accident just as it was really getting going but it accepted its unintentional coppicing with a better grace than Kourosh did.  This is another tree he has raised from seed.

I thought I would try and find out if we should hope for fruit soon and did an Internet search.  Taking my source as the FAO (Food and Health Organisation of the United Nations) I found out that Mulberry trees are commonly dioecious but may be monoecious, and sometimes will change from one sex to another.

This did not reassure me that we had any hope of ever getting any white mulberries.  So if it is dioecious we will not get any fruit as we do not have a second tree in the vicinity to pollinate female flowers and if it produces only male flowers we will still have no fruit.  Let us hope that it is monoecious and produces both male and female flowers as it can self pollinate.


We have a happy event this year with the Loquat tree or Eriobotrya japonica.  This is another of Kourosh’s seedlings!  (We do buy most of our trees, this is just coincidence.)


For the first time the tree has flower buds.  They are just starting to shoot out.  The tree has not been watered over our dry summer yet is not showing any signs of stress.  In fact, it looks as if it has enjoyed the hot weather.


The flowers are not yet mature and the fruit, if we get any, would not be ripe until next year.  I doubt whether any fruit would survive the winter here but I am curious to know what the bees will think about the perfumed flowers.


I thought we had gathered all the walnuts but as the leaves start to fall they reveal still more fruit on the tree.  Sometimes the outer green covering cracks and the bare walnut falls to the ground but usually the whole fruit falls and you have to remove the outer covering as best as you can.  You can usually break off the green coating with your foot or wear plastic gloves as it stains your hands dark brown.  The dark brown stain will also stain fingernails a permanent dark brown.  I did not find this out from Wikipedia.


In the front garden the Kaki or Persimmon fruit are just starting to peep through the mainly still green leaves.  Soon the leaves will fall but the fruit will remain (I hope!)

Bumble bee in sage

The bees are all happy with the sunny weather although the activity starts later in the day.  I had been a bit disappointed in this sage “Hot Lips” (Salvia microphylla) in the summer time, I had not realised it would perform here better in the autumn than in the summer.

The honey bees too are very active and still bringing in lots of pollen.  They have been treated to control the varroa and they all have a full hive of honey to go into winter.  Even the divisions we made earlier in the year have full frames while last year three of the hives needed partitions.

The bees may be ready for winter but there is a lot of work still in the garden.


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.

31 thoughts on “Autumn arrives in yellow

  1. A lovely, interesting post. Beautiful photos of the trees in autumn.


  2. I so enjoy walking around your beautiful garden – and I love that first misty photograph.


  3. I hope you get some mulberries!


  4. My persimmon never manages to hold on to its fruit; I hope you have more success. I’m enjoying seeing all the stunning yellow foliage in your garden.


  5. I’m glad you finally had some rain. It rained here today but still far short of what we need. I like your yellows!


  6. You have such a colorful garden. I’m glad you’ve had some rain (we need some), and I’m glad the bees are happy.


  7. Love the autumn colour in the garden. We still have butterflies and bees finding pollen in the few remaining flowers and plenty of Asian hornets feasting on the over ripe figs, we have so many figs that we simply cannot keep up with them.


    • I find with the fruit and vegetables in the garden it can be a case of feast or famine. It is difficult to cut it so that you get just the correct amount. We are getting better at it with the vegetables but the fruit trees are difficult to control. Amelia


  8. Very nice autumn colours and glad to hear you have had a little rain. Here it is looking very autumnal, with colours and also wet and windy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful images. When we first moved into our current house there was a white mulberry in the back garden. When I walked out in my bare feet I jumped at the squishing because I thought there were grubs all over the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the yellow foliage… it really lightens up the garden here too. A lovely post Amelia, and hope your walnuts and fruits ripen and don’t fall too early!


  11. It is often said that Autumn is the start of the gardening year, there is always plenty to do.


  12. I have been trying to imagine where you are in France Amelia, two weeks ago we visited the Limoges region to help a friend with their ‘garden’, really a bare piece of land fenced off from their horses. The soil was like rock, so we built some raised beds in the shade of two elderly Cherry trees and with the aid of well rotted manure are vaguely hopeful of Butternut squash but not much more. We visited Villandry en route home and were amazed at how lush the area around there is compared to further south. Your garden looks so beautiful and in your photos everything seems so green, have you had lots of rain there? Our friends had not had any for 3 months. best wishes, Julie


    • We are in the Charente Maritime area of France and only twenty minutes from the sea, not far from the holiday town of Royan. We have suffered from a shortage of rain here too and there is a water ban on at present for agricultural use (not private). I never water the “grass” but new green shoots are coming through, I presume due to the heavy morning dew. I was expecting the trees to suffer more and when we dug holes (with a pick) in preparation for new trees in the autumn, the soil is completely dry as far as we can reach. On the contrary some areas of France received too much rain this year. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  13. great pictures – my next blog post is going to be about autumn colours (and aphids)


  14. Beautiful trees and lovely garden !


  15. The garden is looking lovely in clear autumnal sunshine, Amelia,
    best wishes


  16. Beautiful post, great work and share, thank you, regards, Barry


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