a french garden

Judas Tree

20 Comments

At this time of year there is often one special plant in the garden.  At the moment it is our Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum).

They can grow as multi-stemmed plants and we received ours as an off-shoot from a friend.  In fact, he gave us two and we now have three from one we split ourselves.

These trees can grow up to 10 metres tall and they do very well in our area.  I have seen beautiful examples of huge old trees.

The flowers arrive before the leaves and are a special pink colour.

The flowers are the same shape as sweet peas or the flowers of green pea plants.

The flowers attract all the pollinators but especially the Carpenter bees that have the muscle and force to pierce the flower head to reach the nectar.

The nectar in the flower must be really good as the honey bees go to a lot of trouble to push open the lower petals of the flower.

She really has to keep up the pressure and take her “shoulder” to it before she can get the flower to open.

You can see her licking her tongue here, obviously worth the effort.

Now the trees are starting open their leaves while keeping their flowers.  The fresh leaves are shiny and very attractive.

Definitely a star of the April garden!

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.

20 thoughts on “Judas Tree

  1. Our common redbud (cersis canadensis) has been beautiful this spring. One of our favorite native spring trees. Grows wild everywhere and in gardens. Yours and ours must be cousins.

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  2. Your Judas tree looks stunning. In our garden at the moment, the star is the apple tree in blossom 🙂

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  3. That is the European version of redbud. There is a native species here, and a variety of an Eastern species is the state tree of Oklahoma!

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  4. Hello Amelia, stunning colours and great photos of how the different bees tackle the issue of reaching the nectar. Thanks and best wishes
    Julian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very similar to our Redbud. I’m curious about the origins of that common name.

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  6. Your tree is very beautiful. I also liked the pictures of the carpenter bees with their blue wings. I saw them once in France but never here although there have been one or two reports this year in the UK.

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    • The Carpenters are comic. They fly like tanks and often fly faster than their steering abilities allow them. They seem to be very attracted to flowers with pea-shaped flowers like the brooms, Wisteria, Coronilla and even broad bean flowers. Amelia

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