a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

New plants, new places


Spring continues to be mild with plenty of rain to support the abundant new growth.  The large plum tree on the right has finished flowering and has started to put on leaf.

The willows are still bright but I am keeping my eye on them as the leaf buds are just visible and soon they will have to be reduced to stumps providing lots of canes.  More than I will be able to use.

The flowers of the apricot trees stand out on the bare tree discretely.

I have seen the first flower on the Cornus mas.  My plants are quite young but I am hoping for a better show this year.

The Coronilla glauca has more flowers and the ever green leaves a good addition to the hedge.

The Eleagnus ebbingei has produced a good crop of berries this year.  I have read that all the Eleagnus varieties have edible berries (I said edible not tasty) so I will have to have a nibble when they are ripe.

We have another plum tree in flower at the moment.  It is only small and is a shoot from a yellow plum tree that died and had to be cut down.  It is probably a shoot from the root stock and it will be interesting to see if we get any plums from it this year and what kind they will be.

We removed the vines from an area at the top of the garden to create another sitting area.  In the autumn we planted a Pyrus calleryana “Chanticleer”.  This tree has long been a favourite but we had not got a good position.  With the removal of the vines, we decided we could at last have this tree.  It has already produced some flowers but it will take some years before it will put on a show in the spring and shine in its autumn colours.

We have also been tempted to plant the ornamental apple tree Malus coccinella.  It too is quite small.

The little tree has managed to hold onto the little apples that are both decorative and hopefully feed the birds in winter.  I would be interested to hear from anyone with this tree on how keen the birds are on these fruits.

I grew this Loncera nitida from some small cuttings I took some years ago.  I have been very pleased with it as a ground cover plant and I have been transplanting rooted growth to areas I want to cover.  I hope these rooted transplants will take more quickly as the little white flowers are very attractive and much appreciated by the bees just now.

Elsewhere. the Hellebores continue to provide lots of colour.

They mix well with the heather and daffodils and provide good ground cover in the summer time.

The male Osmia cornuta continue to patrol the bee houses but it will be at least another two weeks before the females will come out, I think.  In the meantime they keep dry in the empty bamboo tubes when it is cold and wet and take nectar breaks when it is sunny.

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 “New plants, new places

  1. Fruit blossom is such a springtime joy. We have the crab apple Golden Hornet, the birds completely ignore the yellow apples unless it is a very cold winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mmm. I suppose it must depend on what else they can find. I do notice that the cotoneaster berries are eaten more or less depending on the year. They seem to be consumed more when it is a colder year. Amelia


  2. Eleagnus is not a plant I’m familiar with, but I do like your photo of the fruit.
    Spring is certainly bursting forth in your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are many different species of Eleagnus. They tend to have small discrete flowers that are often perfumed and provide nectar for pollinators, They are usually tough plants, so excellent for hedges or places that need screening but that will not support tender plants. Amelia


  3. Your season is actually ahead of ours in California! The only plums that are done blooming are those that grew from understock, andd one is actally still in bloom. The fruiting plums an other stone fruits are still blooming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so interesting! Never the less, our early plum tree is not a commercial variety and more like the wild plum trees that grow around here. The plums are quite small but sweet whereas the wild plums are too acid to eat raw. All the trees and bushes here are bursting out in flower or leaf and the sap is rising in the vines, (here is a big area for producing the wine they use to make cognac.) It is not uncommon here to have cold weather here up until May so it is an unusually mild winter. We just hope there will be no late cold snap. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I know exactly what you mean. It is common for us to get dry spells (although they are not a long as this one has been), but rain typically resumes just in time, before the end of the rainy season. When the orchards were still here, that process could ruin the bloom and fruit set. I am normally not worried about a frost this late, but the late bloom while the weather is so warm makes me think that the trees are expecting a late frost or torrential rain.

        Liked by 1 person

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