a french garden

A hot end to May

25 Comments

LHS garden

The left hand side of the back garden has shade in the afternoon.  Today the temperature in the shade went up to 34 degrees Centigrade but I was able to work in the shade as there was a light breeze too.

Shady place

Shady sitting places are needed in these temperatures.

Chelidonium majus (1)

There were a lot of weeds to clear out before the earth got too dry to move them.  Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus ) is a perennial and I was horrified to see how it can grow so quickly and produce its long seed pods ready to fling the contents onto the garden.

Chelidonium majus (2)

At least this weed – sorry interesting herbal plant – has flowers that are appreciated by the pollinators.

As a side issue, the strange orange fluid that the cut stems exude is said to cure warts and corns.  If anyone has had success using this fluid with any warts/corns I would love to know.

Elaeagnus angustifolia (1)

A more favoured yellow flower on my part is my senjed (Elaeagnus angustifolia ) which has flowered for the first time.  The flower is perfumed and I am curious to see whether I will get fruit here in France.

Elaeagnus angustifolia (2)

I planted the senjed in the autumn of 2013.  It has shot up this year and is now fighting for light with the overhanging branches of our large plum tree.  It was less than a metre when I got it and it cost just over five euros, so a good investment for such an attractive plant.

Carpenter Spanish broom

Another yellow perfumed flower has just opened further down the hedge – the Spanish broom.

It is a tall, gangly plant that is difficult to control – a bit like the Carpenter bees that are so attracted to it.  The Spanish Broom wins out on the perfume stakes with its strong perfume that will float in the air once all the flowers are open.

Potager

The vegetable garden has been planted with tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines this week.

Poppies in veg patch.JPG

Kourosh insists on leaving the self-sown poppies at the side of the vegetables which makes things difficult to keep tidy but watching the antics of the bees in the poppies provides great entertainment.

Red tailed queen

Likewise the Phacelia is allowed to run riot.  We have noticed this particularly beautiful red-tailed queen bumble bee in the Phacelia and I feel certain that it must already be a queen born this year.

IMG_8690

I think the flowers that self-sow in the garden make a better display than when I plant things.  These have all pushed through in a border that I was despairing about last month.

Kaki flower

Things can turn out better than expected in a garden.  The untimely frost earlier in the month damaged a lot of plants and although the some of the kaki flowers (persimmon) are brown tipped they look healthy enough to give fruit.

Veilchenblau roae (1)

Finally, a pollen gathering competition took place on the veilchenblau rose on the hedge this morning.

First prize went to Bombus Terrestris – an disputable first with a pure veilchenblau pollen pellet.

Veilchenblau roae (2)

Second was Apis mellifera (the syrphid fly was not in the competition but happened to be passing by.)

Veilchenblau roae (3)

Third place is shared equally by several different solitary bees.

If you want to hold your own pollen gathering competitions remember to schedule them early as the best flowers are depleted of pollen by the afternoon.

 

 

 

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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.

25 thoughts on “A hot end to May

  1. It is sucha delight tocatch up with the events in your garden. Thanks for sharing. John

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  2. I haven’t heard too much about greater celandine but I have read that all parts of it are toxic. Putting a drop of sap on a wart probably wouldn’t be bad but too much of it might be.

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    • I told my granddaughter that she could make cool tattoos on her skin with it but that was before I knew about the warts and the toxicity. Luckily she had no bad reactions and I was unaware of its properties until recently. Amelia

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  3. Hallo both,

    When I have been stung in the past during the summer months when greater celandine is growing I very quicky rub a whole leaf over the sting, not so that the yellow truly exudes, just flat rubbing. My experience is that what otherwise in myself would be a big and painful swelling does not materialise. For me then a beneficial herb. I also had succes with a stubborn wart halfway down one of my fingers. I had that for about 2 years and after letting the yellow exactly drop onto the top of the wart daily for a few weeks it did disappear and it has never returned as yet.

    Have you heard of Nicholas Culpepper? This is what he has to say about your Greater Celandine plant….
    “This is an herb of the Sun, and under the Celestial Lion, and is one of the best cures for the eyes; for, all that know any thing in astrology, know that the eyes are subject to the luminaries; let it then be gathered when the Sun is in Leo, and the Moon in Aries, applying to this time; let Leo arise, then may you make into an oil or ointment, which you please, to anoint your sore eyes with. I can prove it doth both my own experience, and the experience of those to whom I have taught it, that most desperate sore eyes have been cured by this only medicine; and then, I pray, is not this far better than endangering the eyes by the art of the needle? For if this does not absolutely take away the film, it will so facilitate the work, that it might be done without danger. The herb or root boiled in white wine and drank, a few Aniseeds being boiled therewith, opens obstructions of the liver and gall, helps the yellow jaundice; and often using it, helps the dropsy and the itch, and those who have old sores in their legs, or other parts of the body. The juice thereof taken fasting, is held to be of singularly good use against the pestilence.
    Nicholas Culpeper, 1653”

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    • Thanks for that. I did not know about its calming properties for stings. I am always getting stung by nettles so I must start trying it out on those.
      My 2 Diervilla rivularis have survived in extremely adverse conditions. How have yours got on? Amelia

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  4. Pollen gathering competition- love it. Very hot here in London too but not quite as hot as you have it.

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  5. Hello Amelia, the garden’s looking lovely under blue skies, and with all that heat. Our similar hot ( though not as hot ) spell ended with almighty thunder storms overnight and very welcome rain. Hope you manage to keep things watered with such temperatures, but then I guess a lot of your plants thrive in these conditions,
    best wishes
    Julian

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    • I cannot manage to cope with any flower or plants that need too much care or watering. That said, even drought tolerant trees and plants need attention during the first two years. I do stand back in admiration though at the plants when they are taking so much heat and appear to be growing in dry soil. We are promised rain but so far have had the thunder yet no rain. It feels very heavy. Amelia

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  6. Agree with you about the self-seeded flowers in the borders: they look natural and very pretty. We can’t always improve on nature, after all.

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  7. Good to know the late frost didn’t do any real damage in your garden. Even my new grapevine that I thought might be dead has recovered and even has some embryonic grapes! I should probably remove them as the plant is so small but I’m tempted to see how they grow.

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    • Our grapes have pushed out more fruit buds but these will have less fruit so we are told. I don’t think I will notice as our grapes have not been very productive but Kourosh clings to them, hopefully. Amelia

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  8. I love to see the self sowers appear in the garden, the insect life seem to prefer them also.

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  9. Lovely to enjoy your Summer photos, as we head into our Australian Winter!

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  10. The picture of the red-tailed queen on phacelia is particularly good!

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    • Thank you. Unfortunately that phacelia is in my saffron patch. I think the phacelia and the poppies have got a bit out of control there and we will have to be firmer with them next year. Amelia

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  11. Is that a sweat bee on your final picture? We get lots of them in the garden, I’d love to grow more flowers for them to enjoy.

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    • I think one of them could be a Halictus species but there is no way of knowing until you catch them and identify them. This year I am seeing so many that I would need further training before attempting an ID. I have a feeling that many of the little solitary bees live in the garden as I see less of them on the flowers outside. They may not commonly fly the distances that honey bees fly. Amelia

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      • I hope the little solitaries live in the garden, I’d like to see many more of them and working hard to propagate all the flowers that they seem to like. The sweat bees love our big thistle and visit it almost every morning.

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