a french garden


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Snow!

An unusual sight today 30 March 2020, it is snowing from early morning.  The air temperature is around 3-4 degrees C so the snow flakes melt when they touch the ground.

Two days ago I was sunbathing in my swimsuit in the garden.  However, the temperature is not forecast to drop below zero.

12.00

I have certainly spoken too soon.  The snow is giving a very decorative dusting to the garden.

We can never complain about the weather being boring.


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Isolation in the garden

Back potager

The vegetable garden remains untouched although it is not from want of time as we are now in our third week of isolation.

Back plum tree-001

Despite the unprecedented events in the outside world the large plum tree fills its branches with leaves to provide shade.  This is a favourite spot for outdoor eating, but when will be able to eat again under its leaves with friends and family?

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We are never the less so grateful for the warm weather and sunshine that allows us to watch as the tulips take over from the daffodil bulbs.  It is an unsettling feeling as I think of so many people obliged to stay in appartements or who find themselves alone.

Cerinthe (1)

I stalk my bees and find the Cerinthe are the noisiest flowers at the moment.  They are a great place to see the Anthophora, like the one above.

Cerinthe (3)

The Cerinthe are a great favourite with all the queen bumble bees at the moment.

Cerinthe (5)

I love these teddy bear shaped bees and remember searching in vain to discover what sort of grey bumble bee it was, and being so puzzled to discover that bumble bees did not come in grey.

Red dead nettle

Outside in the wild, Anthophora (and bumble bees) love red dead nettle, so it is a good time to see them at the moment.

Borage (2)

Only the Borage can attract similar numbers of bees just now.

Broad beans (2)

Our broad beans are doing very well this year.  I plant the seed in the autumn and often the young plants get hit by winter frosts but this year was the first year that we have had no sub-zero frosts in the garden.

Broad beans (3)

The broad bean flowers are a magnet for pollinators.  The Carpenters, like the one above, are particularly fond of them but all the bees come for nectar.  The beans are setting but the ground is getting dry as we have had no rain for some time.

Back walk

This has been our wettest winter and early spring.  The river at the bottom of the garden is still full of water.  Our daffodils put on a good show but it was too wet to enjoy them when they were at their best.

Hellebore (1)

Some plants seem more value than others.  Our Hellebore are still blooming in the shadier spots, they first started flowering at the beginning of February.

Hellebore (3)

When the flowers start to produce seed, the petals lose their colour but I still find them attractive with the softer hues.

Lily beetle (2)

I made an unpleasant discovery in the garden.  A lily has been infected by the lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii).  The only way to get rid of them is to squash them until they pop.  I recommend using some kitchen towel to perform the dirty deed.  It is best to surround the plant with a white paper kitchen towel because if you drop one, it will lie on its back and you will never find it on the ground.  I did this on three consecutive mornings and I have got rid of this infestation but I am sure others will follow and I am keeping my eyes on them for the moment.

Coronilla (4)

The Coronilla is another worthwhile shrub that is still flowering and providing nectar for the bees.

Coronilla (7)

Even very little ones.

Eleagnus umbellata (2)

In February 2017 we bought 10 Eleagnus umbellata for 1.71 euro each from the Pepiniere Bauchery online.  We planted 7 and gave 3 to friends and this year we are reaping the rewards.  They are pretty, small trees which survived well the drought of last year to flower profusely with these attractive white flowers, to the delight of the bees.

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Not all our trees have survived.  One of our two quince trees is dead and a young self sown plum tree that we had transplanted the previous autumn.

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After the intense heat and drought of last summer, I decided to grow more succulents in the pots and they have survived well through the winter.

Osmia cornuta (3)

Our Osmia cornuta continue their nest building oblivious to the trials outside in the human world.

Keep cool

We just follow the example of our little tree frogs and stay peaceful in the calm of the garden.

 

 


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A smile on a cloudy day?

This originates from Instagram (@irrev_gardener) – I do not have an account myself but I hope The Irreverent Gardener will not mind me sharing this.

 

⚠️Bad Poetry Alert⚠️

 

Found this little bumblebee today.

I am not responsible for the poem that follows. (Ok, I am.)

 

                     ‘Save the bees’ 🐝

I hatched out a little too early I didn’t know where to hide,

Then I met a slightly odd lady Who invited me inside. 🐝

She offered me some nectar Presented me with a flower

And then some sugar water To give my buzzy bits power. 🐝

She really seemed to like me ‘We all must save the bees!’

I nodded my agreement As she brought out meats and cheese. 🐝

Then she passed around canapes And offered me some wine

She slipped on a formal evening dress And invited me to dine. 🐝

She laid out some jam sandwiches And a chunky honey comb

As she tucked in my tiny napkin I felt the urge to go home. 🐝

She beamed as I nibbled some food Her eyes were slightly manic

When she offered me a bed for the night I really started to panic. 🐝

It’s really nice that people care But she was taking it too far

I sidled towards the window As she whipped out a tiny jar. 🐝

Inside the jar was a tiny bed A bathtub, and a chair

I flew out of the window quick As she lunged into the air. 🐝

I had a narrow escape my friends My freedom was nearly lost

What makes it worse is the simple fact That I’m actually a wasp. 🐝

 

I so love this poem!  I suppose I felt a twinge of affinity for the mad bee lady as do rescue tired bumble bees form time to time.

I wonder if it would be possible to convince The Irreverent Gardener to start a blog?  I can’t imagine that he is really appreciated on Instagram.

This is my bee rescue dating way back to May 2012 https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/bumble-bee-rescue/