a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Persimmon and Saffron


The Persimmon tree, at the front right of the photograph, is still hiding its fruits well.

You have to get right underneath it to realise that there are already ripe fruits on the tree. Of course, the birds found out first.

We did not realise how much fruit there was until one of the branches broke. We will keep the fruit indoors and hope that it ripens. Persimmons will ripen indoors and once they have fully swollen we will be able to bring them in. They are delicious to eat just as they are or to make them into a dessert with fresh yoghurt.

The first saffron bulbs have flowered although most of the bulbs have just broken the surface of the ground. From now on I start my daily collection of the pistils for air drying inside the house.

I had this planter full of basil and lemon balm but decided to change it to spring bulbs. I am going to see if I can grow different bulbs at different depths. So I started with hyacinths and tulips and then added crocus and muscari. I have never tried this before so we shall see what happens in the springtime.

To empty the container we had to tip it right over onto the grass and much to our surprise we found four marbled newts (Tritorus marmoratus) and what I think looks like a little toad. The newts are such gentle creatures and it was easy to displace them and suggest they found a better place to hibernate.

Autumn is being kind to us here and we have sunshine after the rain. The cosmos have almost finished flowering and I am itching to remove them to tidy up the garden. I have left the straggling plants as the seeds are appreciated by the goldfinches and warblers. I prefer to see the birds than to have a tidy 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.

21 thoughts on “Persimmon and Saffron

  1. What Magnificent newts! I prefer wildlife to tidiness too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cat just jumped on me and i am not sure if my last reply sent! Anyway I prefer wildlife to tidy too and the newts are spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting fruit, persimmon, but not one for the Irish garden unfortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you might need a very big greenhouse in Ireland. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Tobin, you’ve just blown me clean out of the water. I have been wondering about these delicious fruits for many a year and could I grow them in Inishowen. Alas, you tell me, it is not to be. But, it’s worth a try. The ones we get to buy don’t have seeds in them. So internet hunting for trees has taken some time these last few days. Not many to be found. Wee Liziqi, on YouTube, has them everywhere. I’d love to try growing them. You never know, we might get a good Summer and get fruit. There was an apple tree that grew at the front of the Gate Lodge of The Rectory here and it only fruited in very good Summers. Those apples were huge and delicious. Sadly, like so many other things, now lost forever.

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      • I think you should manage to source a Persimmon tree to be sent to you by post from the larger suppliers – definately they exist in the U.K. Inverewe Gardens on the west coast of Scotland can grow surprising plants because of the Gulf Stream – why not you? Amelia


  4. Are saffron crocuses different that your standard spring bulb? (I’ve never known them to bloom in autumn.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saffron crocus are Saffron sativus and flower in the autumn, the spring bulbs that I have planted are Crocus tommasinianus. There are many species of crocus and they flower at different times of the year. Sometimes a flower similar to crocus – Colchicum autumnale- is called confusingly the autumn crocus. This is unfortunate because Colchicum autumnale is poisonus. It is easy to get the bulbs of saffron crocus from reliable suppliers and they are easy to grow. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A really enjoyable post….there is a Persimmon Tree in a nearby hamlet to me (NE Charente) which just looks amazing after it has lost its leaves with the golden fruit still clinging on like baubles…..What a great discovery and pic of the newts and toad…..I have yet to see 1 let alone 4!

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    • When the fruits turn red on the tree they remind me of decorated Christmas trees. I have seen large trees like that near us. We love to eat the Kaki so we take the fruit off early and let it ripen inside. Amelia


  6. My ‘saffron’ did nothing in autumn, . . . and then bloomed in spring with the rest of the crocus! It looked just like saffron, but I really do not know. I have not grown it in a while, but will try it again eventually. Most flowers bloom early here. I can think of nothing else that bloom almost half a year late . . . or just more than half a year early.

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    • I would be very suspicious of plants coming up at a time that is not when they are genetically programmed to bloom. The pistils of my saffron are much longer than my spring crocus and if you dampen them you can see the colour seep out straight away. I am not sure this would be the case of spring crocus. Amelia

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  7. Amelia, yes it is a toad… and with that stripe down the back, it can only be a Natterjack Toad [Bufo calamita]… so rare in the UK.
    And I am very envious of your Tritons!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How lucky you are to have your own persimmon tree! Luxury! It is a fruit I don’t think I have ever seen for sale in Germany.

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  9. Very interesting especially about the persimmons, Hazel is keen on a type of persimmon called Sharon fruit, I am less so! Loved the newts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is the same fruit marketed under a different name in the U.K. Thus said, the persimmon have different properties, just like apples. We are lucky our Persimmon does not have that very astringent flavour some unripe Persimmon have. I think the texture of the fruit is displeasing to certain people – often the same people who dislike Okra, aubergines and Marrows. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: A pond for the garden | a french garden

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