a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Little things…

20 Comments

We are still under a curfew at 18.00 to 6.00. The restaurants, cafes and places of entertainment are still closed. You can go clothes shopping but I was never too keen on that and my garden has a very relaxed dress code.

So I have more time to pay attention to smaller stuff. Every morning I check my seed trays. There is great joy if I actually see a change! This is a Cupressus sempervirens seed that has just burst through its seed coat. The little root is making a tentative exploration into the potting compost. The first leaves are still hidden inside the seed coat.

The beginning can be tough if the seed coating sticks onto the new leaves.

Once free of the seed coat the new leaves green up. It is hard to imagine this tiny thread like shoot becoming a tree.

I’ve never grown Morning Glory before but Kourosh saw a video of bees swarming around some Morning Glory so he has decided to grow these climbers around one of our apple trees.

At least their germination is amusing.

No tiny first leaves for them.

They open up like butterflies.

Very impressive first leaves!

Liatris seeds germinating

Then of course there is the problem of how sparingly to sow the seeds. This depends on cost and availability for me. Sometimes you will only receive 4-6 seeds and if it is something you really want it means individual pots and special care.

Last year I grew Liatris for the first time and I kept all the seed. I’ve had no one to share it with this year and as I had no idea if it would germinate, I put all my seeds into one small tray.

Yes, you guessed! I think every seed must have germinated. Of course, I was delighted when I saw the little shoots popping out from their tufted seed capsules. They will not flower this year but form bulbs and flower the year after.

Just after the seeds germinated I noticed they were selling summer bulbs in packets at our local supermarket. I had a look and bought a packet of 15 Liatris bulbs for 2 euro 50, at least these will flower this year. Growing Liatris from seed does not seem an economical proposition but I will be so proud of my home grown ones :).

I often think of a taunt that used to be thrown at people when I was a child – “Little things please little minds.”

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 “Little things…

  1. Well, then my mind must be absolutely tiny judging by the size of the Lobelia cardinalis seeds I saved and then sowed last year. Like your Liatris nearly every one of the hundreds of them germinated so thinning was a nightmare. And currently my tiny mind is absorbed with my first vegetable garden seeds coming up under their grow lights. I get excited all over again every year when I start the process.

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    • Gardening maybe a mainly outdoor activity but in the dark days of winter we still get excited over what seeds we will plant. Kourosh bought a grow light this year for his lemon tree and it has been a great success. It looks much happier now than it usually does. Soon we can put it outside. Amelia

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  2. Lovely post . I adore watching seeds germinate but it is still a bit early for us. Morning glory has always done well for us, but doesn’t flower until late July August. I keep the seeds for the next year. Enjoy 🌱🌱🌱

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  3. Mind that morning glory–they can get away from you. My seeds have arrived–but we dare not plant yet–not for a couple of weeks.

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    • They are Kourosh’s responsibility :). I am very cautious about plants that like to wander. I have to wage war on Vinca here. Amelia

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      • That’s so funny, because Vinca is my cross to bear. I am its champion, and its warden. I plant it–to solve problems (grows in shade, holds a hillside), and then remain committed to policing the problems it can cause (invasive into the forest.) Sigh. Here, in the times of climate change, I wonder about our xenophobic aversion to invasives. Surely, we should stand on guard against plants that displace beloved natives–but what about when the natives cannot cope with changing conditions? As species after species falls to exotic pests, or changing conditions, do we bang our heads against the wall and continuing to plant to fail? Or do we grimly assess the future and plant that which has a chance to survive what we may think is coming. Heady thoughts for someone who really just likes beauty and the comforts of hands in the dirt.

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        • I am so glad you find your Vinca useful. It might allow me a little smile at its beautiful lilac flowers – just before I pull it out. When we garden we must choose the plants suitable for our gardens and our backs. I love the wild blackberries (brambles) that grow in profusion here and make bramble jelly every year. I cannot have them in my garden as they are thugs and would take over in less than a year. Our choices for our gardens are usually made in a miniscule scale. For the planet the decisions are much larger and complicated. I am so glad though that Vinca is useful for you.

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  4. What an excellent post…. love the ‘relaxed dress code for the garden’ all the best.

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  5. A germinating seed is a thing of joy.

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  6. And that taunt could not be more wrong! Another saying is that it is the little things that give us pleasure. If we didn’t have these little things to focus on at the moment life would be very dull! Happy seed growing Amelia. 😃

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  7. You have a lovely blog, I enjoyed looking at your close-up photos, it never gets boring to see seeds germinating, far from it! I will be trying Morning Glory for the first time too this year, the first leaves are indeed impressive – when do you think you will plant them out in the garden?

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  8. I will be planting out the Morning Glory along with a lot of other things when I think that the last frosty nights are over. This requires nerves of steel, a lot of patience and a deep desire to get rid of the seed trays I keep tripping over in the dining room. Patience and impatience continue a warring battle which escalates with a few warm, sunny days until I can bear it no longer. I hope you find this concise information helpful :). Amelia

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  9. Such beautiful colours on the germinating and growing morning glory plants!

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