a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

We give Nature a home…usually


We plant flowers that all the bees like – not just the honey bees.

It is not too difficult finding the flowers for us and the bees.

I love Wisteria and it was good to see that a female blackbird has chosen the Wisteria growing on the wall of our outbuilding to make a nest.

Another blackbird has chosen to nest in a cherry tree in the back garden.  (A blackbird nesting in a cherry tree?  Not much hope for our cherries.)

Some accommodation is specially made and it is not only this Anthophora that has made use of this bee house.

The Barn Owls have taken to their adapted trunk high up in the outhouse.

Some accommodation, like the window shutter, is improvised and is a home for the Barbastelle bat.

Of course, good accommodation includes bathing facilities, much appreciated by the Redstarts.

However, when a swallow chose our living room it received a resounding shout of “Out!”, and the doors were firmly kept closed until it had chosen another nest site.

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.

33 thoughts on “We give Nature a home…usually

  1. I love it! We do this in our garden! And in gardens I design for other’s I work in plants that feed birds and pollinators and water-features for them to drink from…and of course for my clients to enjoy too!


  2. At least the swallow wasn’t a bat. They’re hard to get out of a house!


  3. Yeah, I don’t think I’d want anything nesting inside the house, even as much as I like swallows.


  4. Great pictures, especially the barn owl. My garden is full of birds and bird boxes, but nothing uses them. I wonder if my two cats are the problem.


    • It would not surprise me. Many people with cats do not encourage birds to come into their garden. The number of cats kept in towns in the U.K. has increased in recent years and some people associate it with the decrease in sparrows and other small birds in their gardens. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Amelia,
    Wonderful photos, and over the years, it’s clear that giving nature a home is indeed one of your guiding gardening principles. Has it been a good year for swallows with you? here, we seem to be very down on numbers?
    Best wishes


    • They are down near us as well. It is hardly surprising. A lot of the little patches of woodland are being cut down and the agricultural fields enlarged. This is drying up the ground water and the little ponds are disappearing, the larger ones shrinking. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post made me smile for many reasons.
    Some years ago I came home to find that there had been a severe storm and two young swifts had taken up residence in one of the upstairs rooms, a window having been left open. I evicted them, VERY carefully, but we still find some of the signs.
    This year’s swifts arrived yesterday, but not in the house.


  7. Too funny! Word has gotten out that you are a friend of Nature, I guess.


  8. Great photography. Are you opening a zoo? What a variety.


  9. I have to say that it is the sound as well as the sight of wildlife that brings the garden to life. Yesterday I saw the first Golden Orial in the mulberry tree, wonderful.


  10. Sounds like a real nature reserve in your garden. I’m sure there are plenty of other suitable spots nearby for the swallow to nest!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of the joys of gardening is sharing it with the wildlife. Robin’s built a nest in an old jug, in our large greenhouse this spring, the door is left open. The young fledged three days before the open gardens allowing me to put the nest out on display.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I agree, its not just the plants but what they attract. You must have been glad the nest was vacated before lots of people were around. Amelia


  13. Oh you are mean, Amelia – you should share your living room with the swallows! 😄 Beautiful pictures, and you are so, so lucky to have such a wonderful array of wildlife living with you. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How wonderful. The owl especially. Swallows in the lounge? definitely a no no!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such fabulous photos. I love the close up of bees and your owls. X


  16. Pingback: Advantage bat | a french garden

  17. Pingback: Is it worth it? | a french garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s