a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Spring in February


For the moment the garden has decided it is opting for full on spring.

We have not really had a winter yet.  The borage decided to keep on flowering this year.  The bees did not complain.

The colour is supplied by the Camelias and everywhere the Mimosa trees are in full bloom.  That is everywhere but in my garden as I do not have the patience to deal with all the shoots they push up around their trunks.  The bees just have to go a bit further to find them in neighbours gardens.

Next door’s sheep have been producing a good crop this year, mostly twins.

My first Osmia cornuta arrived on the twelfth of February.

By the next morning lots of male Osmia were already checking out the holes in the bee holes hoping to find a female.  They will have to wait some time yet.  In the meantime they rest in the holes when they are not hungry or it is cold.

How many bees can you see in the photograph above?

I can see five.  Four in/on the log and one (rather blurred) sitting on the wall to the right of the bee house.

It is a delight at the moment watching the bees enjoy all the spring flowers.

This year I am enjoying finding the different hybrids of my self-seeded hellebore.

I still love my original dark purple…

but I like the variety of this delicate small petal variation.

The big pussy willow at the bottom of the garden is just starting to display pollen and as the plum tree nearer the house is starting to finish flowering, the bees will transfer their allegiance to the willow from next week, I think.

Next week I will be keeping my eye on the Japanese medlar and I wonder with this mild weather whether we will have medlar fruit this autumn for the first time.

Whatever happens the garden always keeps you guessing.

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.

14 thoughts on “Spring in February

  1. Ah! Amelia I am just envious!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely! Here in Raleigh, North Carolina we had only had a few such that the bananas are still growing and last frost is usually in the second week of March!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is your mimosa the Acacia dealbata? I likely mentioned earlier that Acacia dealbata is one of the most aggressively invasive of the naturalized exotic species here, but it is not easy to disapprove of the spectacular bloom! If the species did not bother me so much, I would relocate one to my own garden. There are plenty of other nice and less invasive species of Acacia, but I so enjoy the Acacia dealbata. Anyway, your medlar is getting my attention. I had always ignored them, but have been noticing them more now that cultivars are being planted intentionally into home gardens again. (Mine was feral.)

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  4. It is indeed the Acacia dealbata that is grown in garden around here for their eye catching floral display which begins here at the end of January. I admire their colour and I am happy that their pollen comes at such a propitious time for the bees. I do not have any myself because they are so invasive. I have heard you can buy plants that do not sucker but I do not know anyone who has one. I find the fruit of the Japanese medlar or Loquat delicious. It is not the prettiest fruit but if you are concerned only with flavour it does not disappoint. Amelia


  5. It really does look like spring! We are having the occasional mild day to tease us, but spring can take longer here!

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  6. I recently attended a talk by a prominent hellebore breeder, the colours, patterns and petal shapes are amazing, they even have a yellow one. They are wonderful spring plants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I would have loved to go to a talk like that! I do not get opportunities like that here. Perhaps around Paris it is possible but I have never heard of anything like that. Amelia


      • I belong to two garden clubs, both have speakers each month with garden visits in the summer. Is there nothing like that around you?


        • No. There used to be a flower arranging class for ladies where you bought flowers, I do not know whether it is still extant. It is a country district and I find in general there is no desire to look more deeply into gardening than picking up some coloured flowers from the supermarket and planting them and hoping for the best. They are the really keen gardeners that actually grow more than vegetables in their garden. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucky you having the Osmia cornuta out already. Here, although there are many signs of spring the continual rain and lack of sun is putting a hold on things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel even more fortunate with our garden today as all of France has been confined to stay inside their home. We have our garden but for people confined in a small appartement it will be difficult. It is for an initial period of 14 days but probably this will be increased according to the rate of spread of the infection. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

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