a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Lavatera in the garden


Lavatera front of house

I have Lavatera at the front of the house.

Lavatera bottom of garden

I have Lavatera at the bottom of the garden.  In fact, it is an ideal plant for this area and I will have one anywhere I have a space in the garden.  The grey green leaves give a clue and it is indeed a well suited plant to withstand hot, dry summers.

It can get a bit untidy as its fast growth can take you by surprise.  It is not a long-lived shrub and we have already got a small shrub in waiting and some cuttings – just in case they are needed.  They root very easily and are not difficult to find homes for if you end up with an extra pot or two.

Lavatera Carpenter

Mine is a Tree Mallow but I have no idea of the species.  In French it is called Lavatère en Arbre or Mauve en Arbre – a very appropriate name as they are mostly this mauve colour.

They attract all sorts of pollinators, it is a Carpenter bee in the above picture.

Tetralonia from distance.JPG

However, it is at this time of year I love to check out the flowers in the morning and I often find what I think is a Tetralonia malvae bee still asleep in the flowers.

Tetralonia close.JPG

What surprises me is that she is not an early riser.  I took this photograph at 9.44 a.m.

Tetralonia v.close

You do not often get the time to get close up and photograph bees.  What appeals to me is that she is such a fluffy bee.  Her long feathery hairs on her hind legs look so silky but are perfect to transport caches of pollen to her nest.

Tetralonia with pollen

Once she starts collecting pollen the hairs are covered and take the colour of whatever pollen she might be gathering.  She is pretty faithful to the Malvaceae family but the pollen colours do vary.

Tetralonia in Guimauve

This is what she looks like gathering pollen from the Marsh Mallow.

Tetralonia in lavatera

So many reasons for growing Lavatera.



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.

17 thoughts on “Lavatera in the garden

  1. Very interesting and beautiful bees ! I have never seen this kind of bees. Nice photos ! I need to have a look to my “mauve”.


  2. Lavatera was one of my Mum’s favourite shrubs, she grew it in Norfolk in the UK. We do not have it here in Seattle, though I think it would be happy. My carpets of creeping thyme which are everywhere are currently covered in bees of various kinds, and we are just about to cut down the daises that grew in a lawn area. Waited until the bees had done their thing. Great pics as always Amelia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a thriving cutting of the Lavatera, there is just the problem of the Atlantic Ocean and a bit more :(. Thyme is such a great plant for the bees and the daisies grow back soon. Amelia


  3. It look like Lavatera maritima to me, only because that is what is common here. However, the color is more like that of Lavatera olbia. I really do not know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you get any bees sleeping in the flowers? Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never noticed. I do not grow any of the Lavateras, but have encountered them at work. I now the bees really like them, as well as the Abutilon.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Here our Abutilon attracts more the honey bees not the Tetrallonia. I love that plant too. Amelia

          Liked by 1 person

          • You know, now that I thin of it, they do not attract the Tetralonia malvae because they do not live here. I should have thought of that earlier. Honeybees do happen to like the Abutilon, but prefer the rosemary and other flowers that re out in warmer situations. The abutilon is down in riparian situations. About noon, I will be near a rather large abutilon that happens to be out in the open, and is typically a circus of bees. It gets ants too but not in a serious aphid-fest sort of way. They just come, take some nectar, and leave.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating to see the Tetralonia bees and lovely pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We had one in our yard that was definitely planted by a bird! It was lovely to have. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful…those long leg hairs are to hold the HUGE mallow pollen grains, which are almost as large as pumpkin pollen grains. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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