a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

The colours of December

24 Comments

The colours of December are more subdued. The leaves fall in progression. The Liquidambar leaves are a gift whether they are on the ground or whether I have swept them up to decorate the borders where they hopefully retard the weeds and surely provide a good mulch.

The big Salix caprea or Pussy Willow at the bottom of the garden is still holding onto its leaves that have turned golden now and light up in the morning sunshine.

The Salix Alba “Chermiesina” catch the morning sun also and look on fire in the early light. I am not so happy about their mid-summer hair cut that left their lower trunks bare, but made the mowing easier. Hopefully, Kourosh will have a more restrained trim next year.

The Abutilon is still holding onto some of its flowers but the petals have become almost transparent with the cold.

The Hydrangeas are much more subdued but I like their dusky colours.

The Sedum’s colours have completely faded but hold their own against the pale blue of the Rosemary bush behind them.

The leaves of this Cotoneaster have turned an attractive copper. I’m not sure whether it is supposed to do this or whether it is going to die and this is its swansong.

Luckily, there are plenty of other cotoneaster bushes in the garden with plenty of berries for our blackbirds and thrushes.

This year we have added two Malus “Coccinelle” to the garden. I was pleased to see that in the first year the bees had plenty of flowers and now the nibbled “apples” show that they have been a success with the birds, too.

This is what we have been waiting to see. Our pear tree “Chanticleer” survived its first summer in the garden, which was extra hot and dry and has now its bright leaves. No fruit for the birds, yet, but perhaps next year.

The bright leaves in this photo belong to Diervilla rivularis (Honeybee). I was recommended this plant through the blog and brought two plants back from the U.K. in 2016 as they were not available in France at the time. I only bought two as they were quite expensive. The amazing feature is that they can survive at the bottom of my garden in the shade and dry. However, I say survive. In conditions like that it is not possible to have rampant growth! They are so pretty that I moved one this year to better conditions where it can be better appreciated. Certainly an interesting plant if you had a small garden and wanted a pretty little bush for a shady corner.

We had our first frost this week and some heavy rain has started. I will have to wait to see if the rain will wash away the bright colours of December.

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.

24 thoughts on “The colours of December

  1. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sunshine certainly makes the colours of the gardens very beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The hydrangeas are just as beautiful in their ‘dusky’ colours.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s all beautiful–and that hydrangea photo is incredible!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Not wishing to take sides but I think the Salix Alba “Chermiesina” looks wonderful along with the “Chanticleer” Pear tree.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Is ‘liquidambar’ always the common name, or are they also known as sweetgum?
    Those willows in the third picture are pretty rad. I remember them from before. Pollarding and coppicing are so stigmatized nowadays.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Amelia,
    Lots of lovely interest still in the garden, and some amazing leaf colours – particularly the pear – stunning. Like you, we like the fading Hydrangea flower colours, and most years Fiona harvests some to dry , when they seem to last for ages,
    best wishes
    Julian

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So nice to look at, your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for an interesting overview of the colours of your December garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your garden is magical! Love the winter colors. How do you care for your hydrangeas? Really struggling with ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our hydrangeas get mostly tough love but last year I was recommended a youtube video on how to prune them in the spring. I followed it and I think they flowered better this year. I could give you the link but it is in French. Amelia

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s