a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France



The last day of November brought frost to the garden.

For some flowers like the rose above and the pink Anisodontea it will herald the end to their flowering season.

The Mahonia will shrug off this slight inconvenience…

as will the winter flowering honeysuckle.

The frost will help keep the other Camelia buds tightly closed for a few months yet (I hope).

The flowers of the Loquat tree shrug off the frost and later were happy to diffuse their perfume and supply the passing queen bumble bees with nectar in the afternoon sunshine.

My Viburnum davidii looked attractive with its frosted flowers but I thought it was a spring flowering plant (?).  I must admit it has had a hard life.  In an effort to care for it I gave it a good dose of horse manure a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, I had not left the manure long enough to compost down and the leaves promptly started to crinkle and look burnt at the edges.  The plant has only just recovered and is perhaps still reeling from my over zealous attention.

Its not just the flowers that look good frosted.  The Linden tree still holds some of its fruits.  I pick the flowers for their delicious tea but I have to leave some for the bees.

This cotoneaster looks particularly good as some of its leaves have turned red.

This is the only cotoneaster bush that still has berries.  All the others have been stripped completely, which seems a bit early for us.  I cannot understand how they could miss this bush.  The berries are bright enough.

They say Medlars taste better after a frost but we have already been eating ours and I have never noticed an appreciable difference in the taste.  We must take them in now, or at least a good portion, to finish ripening inside.  We will leave a share for the birds who have already been sampling a few of them.

I always feel sorry for the bees when it is cold, but their hives are in a very sheltered spot of the garden and they were able to get out for a while in the afternoon sun.



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.

32 thoughts on “Frost

  1. Amazing clicks ! Really feel sorry about those bees !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed your photos – they’re lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely frosty photos, Amelia. I love the way frost completely transforms the appearance of many garden plants, and I agree that Cotoneasters are often some of the most dramatic at this time of the year.
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like Cotoneasters. I think they are real workhorses. They self-seed, giving me lots of new plants, they are drought tolerant, the bees love the flowers and the birds eat the berries in autumn. What more could I ask? Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely photos. What do you do with your medlars?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your frosty photos. I hope you are able to keep your bees warm. Have a blessed Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We’ve had a little snow but I haven’t seen a lot of frost here this year.
    You’re very lucky to have flowering plants in winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is the wonder of flowers that there are some that will flower in winter. I have tried to increase my stock of winter flowering plants so that I can enjoy watching the queen bumble bees, honey bees and other pollinators on them in the sunny days of winter. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The cotoneaster is an under rated plant which comes into its own this time of year and of course the bees love the flowers. Great pictures Amelia.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have grown just about every fruit that can be grown here, but have never seen a medlar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are a native European tree. They are not commonly eaten as a fruit now but I enjoy them. I was very careful to plant a tree early in the garden to give us a supply. I have now found lots growing nearby! However, those were planted as part of a hedge around a field. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are available here now, primarily from a grower in Washington, but they are uncommon because not many people know what they are.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think people can be extremely conservative towards food. I love trying new things and it is nice to be able to eat your own food in season. I miss my Kaki (Persimmon) this year and yet I see lots of trees nearby full of fruit. The frost we had in May was very local. Amelia

          Liked by 1 person

        • There’s one in the Botanic Garden here in Dunedin, New Zealand and I’ve seen one in Central Otago in a garden near a Berry Farm shop. Not many gardens would have them but they are obtainable, even down here in NZ! They seem to grow and fruit ok here!

          Liked by 1 person

          • You will have to try and get hold of one to see if you like it. It is very soft when it is ripe. Some fruits are not unpleasant when they are unripe, like say apples. Others like Medlars and Persimmon need to be ripe. Amelia

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely photos, Amelia. I don’t know why but birds here don’t eat my cotoneaster berries – or hardly at all. They mostly just rot on the branch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How strange! Perhaps your area has more of other fruits that they prefer. Over here a lot of our wild wooded areas are being cut down for agriculture like maize. The small fields separated by trees have been bought and cleared to form big fields. We see such a change in just ten years. The hedges are being cleared, so perhaps the blackbirds and thrushes are having to forage in our garden. Amelia


  10. Fabulous frosty photos! There’s something odd going on here as well with the cotoneasters and the birds. Some berries get eaten early and others are left until the spring, it may simply be ease of access or where they feel safe but I dont really know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is strange as although I have several types of cotoneaster in the garden, they are all related as they are different seedlings that I have spread around. The bush with the berries is far away from the house, I will just have to remember next year if it gets left to last again. Amelia


  11. Lovely photos.
    In Brittany, it’s cold as well, but not so frosty.
    I’m not very fond of medlars… I used to eat them when I was a kid, but I really prefer other fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful photos Amelia – I especially love those Cotoneaster leaves!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful images of your frosty garden Amelia. I forget, do you get fruit on your loquat? I’d love to grow one here.


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