a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

What do gardeners do when it is raining?


Ever since our Barbastelle bat first came to visit us in 2014 we have been thinking of ways to provide shelter for bats in the garden.  See “A furry visitor

A bat box seemed the obvious choice, as did a web search for information and help because we do not know a lot about these fascinating creatures.

One of the good sites we came across was the Bat Conservation Trust

This site provides not only loads of information but also plans for building your own bat box.  Many more plans can be found by searching the web.

Kourosh tackled his bat box on a cold, wet day last February.  He had bought his untreated wood and cut it up to the required dimensions in the workshop.

I popped in from time to time to provide the much needed encouragement and I was pleased to see he had managed to assemble it.

The roof of the box was added and the holes to attach the box were drilled inside the house, where it was warmer to work.

The finished product looked the perfect new home for a bat!  (Well, we thought so.)

Kourosh was insistant that it should be painted to blend in with the house and decorated to be pleasing to humans after all the work he had put in.  For bats that appear to have a penchant for white painted shutters this may be a good ploy.

We felt that having the box ready in February would give the bats plenty of time to settle in this year.

However, so far we have had no takers.  We look regularly of tell-tale signs of occupation, but so far it is unoccupied.

However, this September the same white shutter, so favoured by the Barbastelle bat, was adopted by a Pipestrelle bat.

There is no accounting for taste!

We are still waiting to see if the bat box will eventually tempt any bats.  In the meantime I wonder if I have tempted anyone to have a go at building their own bat box?

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.

7 thoughts on “What do gardeners do when it is raining?

  1. I love bats they are my favorite mammal. I’ve traveled to bat locations in Mexico just to see them emerge, what a sight. You can feel them fly past you. I have bat houses here in Provence, but don’t know if bats are using them. Its too hard to tell, as they are high up. There are bats flying around here, I hope they’ve found their houses. I’ve had bats living behind the shutters in my house in the Herault, which I confirmed by their poop on the windowsill. If you don’t already know how to tell bat poop from rodent poop, let me know, its very easy. I applaud you for your efforts on behalf of these wonderful animals. There is also an organization called Bat Conservation International, based in the US, which has been advocating for bats since the 1980s.
    bonnie in provence

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are incredibly appealing creatures. I hope some bats take shelter in your houses and they will enjoy the creatures you attract to your garden in the summer. What happens at night time in the garden is so different from the daytime and I am largely unaware of the night time creatures. Amelia


      • Yes, the night garden fascinates me. I mean to get a wildlife cam that will be triggered by our nightly visitors. I know there will not be lions or tigers, but a herisson would be just dandy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We often have bats living on the louvered vents in our attic. On the outside, which is good, because they can be disruptive inside the house, where they never really want to be. And in summer and fall we see them flying, missing the windows, swooping and gliding. Everything stops to watch them. But despite having bought Ian, (husband) a—- How To Build a Bat House book 20 years ago, no bat house has appeared. I am always so happy to see them, they really do a number on the mosquitos. And their aerial display is amazing!

    Annie in the Cascade Foothills north east of Seattle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We enjoy watching the bats over here is France. I suppose they will be different species but equally fascinating. I am surprised at Ian, as you said he was a crack hand at the bee houses :). Amelia


  3. Pingback: Advantage bat | a french garden

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