a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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The picture window

Our French doors leading into the front garden might be considered picture windows as they give us a good view of the garden. However, I think they could be called picture windows as Kourosh uses them to take photographs of the birds that visit the patio.

We are getting more and more birds visiting the patio.

On one side of the patio we have a large stone trough which has been there for many years. To cut down on watering, I have started to grow succulents but so far I have had only a moderate success with them.

The trough has not an exactly regular base and so a little cave has been formed on the bottom right hand side. Wrens are insectivorous, so I imagine it must form an ideal mini habitat for lots of invertebrates as it is visited regularly by the wren.

The Latin name for wrens is Troglodytes troglodytes meaning one who creeps into holes or a cave dweller. It is very appropriate for the timid wren. In French the common name is Troglodyte mignon. Mignon in French meaning cute or sweet, which is again very appropriate.

This week a pair of Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) were caught bathing in front of the picture window. The male has a black cap and the female a chestnut brown one. The water certainly attracts all the birds which means we have to fill the trough up during the day as they soon empty out the bath water.

The clump of wild fennel is full of seeds now which attracts the birds like this little Warbler. I do not think it is just the food, I think the birds feel protected in the cover of the fennel stalks.

The birds need to feel safe and sheltered.

This has made me feel that if we had more cover on the patio we might attract even more birds up close. I now feel it is worthwhile to increase the pots at the “picture window” and use larger sizes of pots to keep the plants moist.

I am making a start here with the lemon tree, new orange tree, Salvia leucantha, Jacaranda and winter heathers for later.