a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

A rainy day story


After a spell of sunny, mild weather that made gardening a delight, we are experiencing some rain.  Now, I am always happy to see the rain, and it is so important for the fast growing plants in spring, but it does not take the edge of the spring fever encountered by gardening addicts who are confined indoors.

Their enthusiasm has to find another outlet.

Well, we had just cut the willows and I know they should be dried and re-soaked but…

Beginning (1)

We decided to start off by bringing our aluminium planter indoor.  It is still holding the remains of dead basil plants and the re-surging shoots of Melissa officianalis (makes excellent herbal tea!).

We stuck seven sturdy cut willow stems around the planter to provide the correct diameter of base for the structure.

1st row (1)

We had to move it to give us more room for the weaving and we started to make a woven base and then tied the top of the wigwam.

Second band

There had been no design plan so the second row was added “by eye”.

3rd row

Then the kitchen steps were called into play and the last two woven layers added.


It popped easily out of the planter and is completely self-supporting and two and a half metres tall.

We were rather surprised that we have managed our first attempt and we have more supports planned.  We don’t really need such tall ones it just seemed a shame to waste such tall willow.

One precaution we have taken is to store our wigwam inside the atelier for the moment as we are pretty sure that if we stuck it in the ground just now it would probably start growing – and that is not the objective.



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.

18 thoughts on “A rainy day story

  1. Well done. A masterpiece or should that be a master and missus piece? 🙂


  2. Very impressive!……you shame me with your excellent use of free resources and time…….I have spent these rainy windy days cruising garden Centres and spending a fortune on new things to plant….I am in the process of transforming a jungle into a garden ….yes, I have used some cuttings and grown things from seed but a feeling that with advancing years…..I want quicker results!


    • I must admit I regret not having invested into some larger plants, like some trees, earlier on. There just was too much to do and it seemed a lot of money at the time. If you are sure of where you want to put things, I think some good plants/trees from a reputable nursery are a good investment. They don’t stop you having fun with friends cuttings and plant sales. Amelia


  3. Very clever and possibly holds some Carbon The Copy Cat ideas for me I think. We have lots of willow and lots of rain so who knows……

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent use of williow. I use it to make hurdles to hang up on an ugly wire fence

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amelia, I told you years ago that you two could weave! 🙂 Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That looks wonderful, I look forward to seeing it covered in plants

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done, I would love to do that. Clever to use the planter as a vase.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Amelia..
    Probably start growing…. you are “avin’ a larf”!
    Will start growing…. and even this will leaf partially…. using residual water in the stem!!
    I make dead-hedges here… as they rot down they make a good habitat at the bottom for hibernating creatures and are a neat way of getting rid of all the brushwood without using power/fire.
    I have had those come into leaf…. until the heat kills the leaves!!

    As for your work… excellent quality… Horrid Horticulture and other companies charge a small fortune for these!!
    I can just see Morning Glory, or Black-eyed Susan …. or even Runner Beans…. growing over this!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had thought of that and we scorched the growing ends with our gas canister torch. We hope it will keep it from shooting when it goes into the vegetable garden. Amelia


  10. Well done Amelia and Khourosh, willow weaving is quite therapeutic, and very satisfying n’est pas?
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It certainly kept us occupied on a wet day and gave us more ideas of things to make. 🙂 Amelia


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