a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

An April to remember


The one strong feature of the garden in April is the perfume of the Wisteria as it pervades the garden and the house.

Of course, there is the noise of the Carpenter and bumble bees in the Wisteria that is part of April as well.

The Cerinthe is well established in the front garden now and pushes through unbidden each year.  I have a little in the back garden but it is so attractive for the bumble bees and Anthophora that I will collect the seed and throw more in the back garden.

I like to read under the olive tree where the Cerinthe have decided to grow thickly and the noise of the buzz pollination of the bumble bees can be distracting!

April is to watch the fruit trees flower one after the other.

It is to watch the Andrena fulva in the blackcurrant flowers again.

The Camassia bulbs in the pot in the patio have once again opened their flowers providing us with entertainment with our morning coffee outside.  I highly recommend three or four Camassia bulbs in a pot as a sure magnet for bumble bees.  They do not last long but I savour them while they flower.

Another relatively short flash of beauty is the tree peony which is going from strength to strength giving us more of its huge blossoms each year.

But despite all the expected pleasures there are always new discoveries.  This year I have seen bumble bees taking nectar from the white Spirea for the first time.  It is good to know that these bushes that do so well at the side of the garden can also be useful for the bees.

My one concern this April is the lack of rain and the low ground water level in the area.  Watering has now been forbidden until after 7 o’clock in the evening.  Winter and spring is the time for heavy rain here and we have had very little.  I would not expect any appreciable rainfall until next autumn.

This coupled with high day temperatures (often over 25 degrees centigrade) and some mornings with a thin layer of ice on top of the bird bath in the back garden make it an April to remember.


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.

24 thoughts on “An April to remember

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are still in a moderate drought too. I hope you’ll see some rain soon!


  3. Beautiful! That is my favorite tree peony color.


  4. It certainly has been an April to remember. Very dry here as well, and heavy, heavy frosts at night. Hopefully we are due for a couple of days rain from this evening. I see that even in Britain it has been a dry spring. Your bee pictures are a delight, as always. Thank you!


  5. Beautiful photos as always! Such a lovely time of year…!!!


  6. Lovely pictures! As I look out of our front window I see bees on the wisteria and cherry tree, both looking beautiful in the sunlight this morning. I now also have cerinthe (thanks to you!!) but it has not yet grown very large. We have wintery showers forecast for later.


    • I’m glad your cerinthe has survived, they could be later than the ones that have self-seeded over here. I find that the plants that self-seed are much stronger (natural selection, I suppose). Amelia


  7. It has been very dry here this spring and winter too. I also fear there won’t be enough ground water to keep the well full all summer, and it is our only source of water. I think your days have been warmer than ours.


  8. Looking lovely, Amelia! We had a lovely warm spell here a couple of weeks ago and the garden was literally buzzing with activity. Very chilly again at the moment, though, and the lack of rain is worrying over here, too.


  9. Some lovely photos Amelia. Everyone seems to be showing Cerinthe this week and I have failed at trying to grow it. So perhaps I should give it another go! We have also had cold nights at around zero or below for a week or so now. But the daytime warmth of late Match and early April has vanished too making it an April to remember here as well!


  10. Your wisteria looks wonderful,I can imagine the scent. It has been a very dry period here, while we need the rain I hope we don’t have a deluge when it comes, causing floods like it did in May/June 2007.


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