a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

The garden in the longest days


The hours of sunlight at the moment are at their annual peak.  It made me wonder what are my favourite plants in the garden at this time.  Obviously I can spend a long time watching the action on the lavender when it is sunny.

Our Fuchsia has become immense and performs a sterling service covering a difficult part of the front garden.

It has provided several babies that are well on their way to perform the same service in the back garden.

They are always full of bumble bees and so keep the garden from being too quiet.

The everlasting sweet pea plants seed themselves into the same area.  I love these as I have never been able to grow the more conventional sweet peas that do so well in the U.K.

The Larkspur comes up in shades of blue, white, pink and pale lilac wherever it has found a free patch of ground and I cannot imagine summer without them..

My Hydrangia this June is putting on a surprisingly good show having been well supplied with rain, for a change.

I do have some plants that do not attract bees.   The Pierre de Ronsard was one of the first flowers to be planted.

It was my husband’s choice for outside the front door.  This year it has been beautiful.  Once again, the plentiful rain must agree with it.

I have planted a number of Hypericum and the bright yellow flowers are lighting up a number of spaces that were dull.  These have improved the summer garden.

However, I think the stars of the summer garden are the Malvaceae, like the Lavatera above.

Hollyhocks are emblematic of the Charente Maritime and I try to have as many as I can squeeze in the garden.

This picture was taken just after 7 o’clock in the evening and already the Tetralonia malva bees were settling down for the night inside the Hollyhock.

I often find them still abed up to 9 o’clock in the morning, so I must have plenty of Hollyhocks to provide them with shelter and me with the fun of finding them.

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.

23 thoughts on “The garden in the longest days

  1. That’s a wonderful floral review of the longest day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful flowers. It’s astonishing to see how many flowers can attrack all kind of bees, it’s the same in our garden though I cant take a good picture of them !

    Liked by 1 person

    • As the natural areas shrink our gardens become even more important little sanctuaries for all types of bees. They love all the vegetable flowers like the beans and the courgette/squash flowers too. Amelia


  3. Stunning Hydrangea and some lovely Hollyhocks

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very pretty rose Amelia. I love seeing hollyhocks but the ones hhave grown always get rust and eventually disappear. Perhaps I should try again in the new garden. How lovely to see the bees curling up in them for the night!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your fuchsias are just amazing, I don’t think we see them down here in the Vaucluse. I too have Pierre Ronsard which was here when I moved in. The flowers are beautiful but always hanging down, disappointing really. I would never plant it, but as its here it can stay. I just wish it would look up!
    bonnie in provence

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Everlasting sweet pea, which we know as perennial pea, is something of a weed for us. Yet, it is so pretty that I dislike pulling it from where it is not a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pierre de Ronsard is a beautiful rose, I have not seen it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is very popular over here and well-known but people think it is an old rose because of its name. The full flower is very blowsy and wanton with a hint of green in the outer petals. Amelia


  8. Your garden is about two weeks ahead of mine, but the rain has made your lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rain is so good for the garden but it is better for me because I find it tiring to water when it gets really hot. When we get a hot spell (like now) I always wait until the sun is way down but even then the temperatures are still high. Amelia


  9. That’s a lovely picture of the two tetralonia in the hollyhock. Are they related to Eucera?

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to Michener they are in the tribe Eucerini. I think the long antennae are another feature that makes them so appealing but nothing beats their habit of settling down for the evening inside a flower :). Amelia


  10. Wow that Fuchsia is immense! I’ve never seen one that size. I love hollyhocks but stopped growing them because of rust. I’m giving them another try this year after a long hiatus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the consensus view is that it might be difficult to separate the hollyhocks from the rust. Mine do tend to look a bit scraggy at the base. The trick is to only look at the flowers 🙂 Amelia


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