a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

The canicule


A canicule (the dog days), in French, is a period of time when the daytime and the night time temperatures are extremely high.  We are having a canicule.  That means that what few apricots that the sudden late frost left us are now ripening fast.

The tomatoes are growing at an amazing speed.

The first lavender is just opening its buds and I steal some of the stalks from the bees in the early morning.

I look up, lavender in hand to see a hot air balloon between our Ash trees and I wave.  (A hot air balloon?  Is it the heat?)

Pull up!  Pull up!  I hope you know where you are going!

I knew where I was going.  The garden is too hot during the day so we may as well take advantage of living near the sea.




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.

34 thoughts on “The canicule

  1. The beach looks great! I fear you are sending some of your heat here–we are threatened with 33 Celsius over the weekend. Today is a perfect sunny Seattle summer day. No tomatoes yet though 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Over here in Grenoble it’s a question of getting some height on the subject. With temperatures soaring and staying high we make use of the mountains we are spoiled for. The sea must be so welcome for you! As ever your pictures are absolutely stunning. Tonight we have guests for a casual supper. There will be plenty of garden fresh produce on the table (just not our garden since we are presently in a flat) – the marketeers look almost guilty at the rude choice of ripe and luscious, crisp and juicy delights they have on offer!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is good to have an escape route when the temperatures soar. Getting into the trees must soak up a lot of the heat. When the sun is really hot in the summer a parasol in the garden just does not work but sitting under a tree is fine. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember reading once, many years ago that trees always feel cool because they are constantly transpiring so we benefit from the cool water that they are releasing into the air even though we will not feel it as dampness. I need to look it up again and absorb the knowledge a little more fully but I think that is the gist.


  3. Oh I envy you the beach! We are so far from the sea and it has been roasting all week. The only possible relief is deep in the forest when I finally get out of work. Still the red currants are ripening! Stay cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely to be near a beach. Do you swim? Our canicule has come to an end and it is windy. I could do with a bit more lovely hot sun and hammock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always loved the water. I taught myself to swim when I was very young and was not put off by outside unheated pools or the sea in Scotland. I’m softer now but I love being in, on or under the water. Amelia


  5. Hi Amelia..It’s been hot hot hot here too, today (friday) we are cooler so I’m taking advantage of this to try to find the momentum to catch up on chores… oh how we wished we lived a bit nearer to the coast, but being in the midlands not so. Enjoy yourselves. Sue

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Our horrible heat has given way to a stretch of unseasonably cool weather. There’s been enough rain that it’s actually feeling more like spring than most of spring did. The garden is loving it, but so are the gnats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been so dry that I have noticed the lack of mosquitoes at night time this year. Still I would put up with them now if we could get some more rain. At least your garden is contented with the rain. Amelia


  7. Canicule: Thank you for introducing me to a new word. We definitely have them here in NC.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A day at the seaside is what I could do with Amelia! Hot here too. We have had several days of ‘tropical nights’, as they call nights here where it doesn’t go below 20°C. Enjoy those apricots! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s hot here too, but welcome after such a cold rainy spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It was very hot here too but now cooler. Everything seems further on than last year, flowers and insects.


  11. The only drawback to living in the midlands is that we cannot pop to the sea. Enjoy.😎


  12. Those apricots look so delicious!


    • We emptied the tree today which just gave us a bowl – not a big crop. The flavour was good but not as good as other years which I put down to the lack of water this year. Amelia


  13. You’re right Amelia the beach is the only place when it is as hot as it is now. Do you make ice cream with the lavender?


    • I have never cooked using the lavender. K has been experimenting with an essential oil distillation apparatus I bought for him and he has made mint oil. I am collecting some lavender just as it breaks into flower to see if we can get any lavender oil. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lovely photos, as always, Amelia!


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