a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Flowers of the moment


panorama back garden

The garden is still relatively green despite our higher than average temperatures and lack of rain.

Perennial sweetpeas-001

I have managed to have sweet peas for the second year, much to my surprise.  They are the perennial variety and have self seeded and caught me unaware, so I will just have to sort things out after they have finished flowering.  Perhaps next year I will be able to help them put on a better show.

Second flower Wisteria-001

The Wisteria is flowering for the second time and has had a sever trimming since this photograph was taken.

Hydrangia (2)-001

The mophead Hydrangea has supported the heat, up till now, although it looks a little sad in the evenings.


Although the flowers of the Lacecap Hydrangea are pretty close-up, I think they are more difficult to appreciate from a distance as the flowers face skyward.  The mophead Hydrangea may be more common but I feel our mophead has more impact.


The Foxgloves are mainly over but I will be collecting the seed and trying to increase them as they seem very happy in the garden and have put up a fine show this year.Larkspur 1-001The other star of our June/July garden is the Larkspur (Delphinium consolida).  I have found these grow best here if left to self-seed or sown in the autumn straight into the soil.

Larkspur (2)-001

They attract all sorts of pollinators and require no special care.  I get beautiful pale shades of pink and lilac but I have found that I must select the seeds of the white and the pale flowers or else it is mainly the dark blue flowers that take over.


My geraniums have made themselves at home all over the garden and are quite happy in drier, shadier areas.  They are also a big favourite of the bumble bees.


The lavender is growing well and enjoying the hot sun we are experiencing at the moment.

Humming bird hawk moth-001

The hummingbird hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) has been around for a while now and he visits the garden from early in the morning until the light is going.

Anthidium on Stachys-002

It is good to see the season visitors in the garden like the Anthidium manicatum bee on the Stachys.  Growing Stachys is a sure method to attract this bee to the garden.

Bottle brush-001

On the other hand the bottle brush (a Callistimon species) has not been the bee magnet that we had expected.


At the moment it is the Magnolia grandiflora that is the star of the garden.  It looks beautiful and smells divine.

…and of course the bees love it!  Have a look at this short video (30 seconds) to see the bees collecting pollen from the flowers.

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 “Flowers of the moment

  1. What a lovely post, Wonderful garden. Wow you guys have seriously green fingers. But the best bit is the video of bees on the Grandiflora. I have one that produces about 3 flowers a year that last about 2/3 days. How do I get more flowers on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Transplant the the tree to the Charente Maritime? Amelia


      • Amelia, oh no! Is that the only solution? How are your bees doing? Mine are in a great state after a most odd spring but with a reasonable amount of rain. I think I am going to have to start harvesting honey in the next couple of weeks. Michael. I just posted photos of some of my hives at Coursegoules on Instagram My ID. MtheClick


        • Our bees are doing well. We caught a lot of swarms this year but all have now been re-homed and we are back to our five hives. We do not usually harvest until the end of August. The sunflower will be starting here in about a week. I have never used Instagram but I will try.


          • I am pleased your bees are doing well. We think that the very strange spring with a quite a hot period before a cold and wet May might have caused a lot more swarming than usual. I have tended to harvest at several different times to help the back pains but also in an attempt to get different flavours. It also pSpreads the work load. Any good luck.

            Liked by 1 person

            • We harvest after the Colza but do not put in comb. The natural honeycomb is delicious and we strain any odd bits to give a very nice liquid honey that sets quickly. The flavour is very good as it is not all Colza. However, this year we did not get a lot as we had divided our hives and also some had swarmed. Our main harvest is the end of August.


  2. I adore sweet peas – what stunning plants you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to know that the garden is coping with the heat. How about you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely! Here in the Piedmont of North Carolina perennial sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius) is so aggressive you can cut it to the ground I often cut it to the ground in mid summer to clean up a prevent the seeds from maturing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Magnolia grandiflora is a favourite of mine but I don’t have room for it. Lovely

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely – and standing up to the heat very well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Did the perennial pea just show up uninvited? Did you sow normal sweet pea and get that instead? I know they show up uninvited because they do exactly that all over here. I have not sown normal sweet pea in decades because it does not do well for us. Your perennial pea has a distinct color. I just recently featured ours just because it happens to be blooming so nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had tried sweet peas for years and they never thrived here (heat?). Then someone on the blog suggested I tried perennial sweet peas and success! Once I get over the shock of them surviving here I will try and look after them better. Amelia


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