a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

A rare event


We were sitting outside having lunch yesterday when we noticed beautiful colours in the sky above our olive tree.

We knocked on the door of our neighbours opposite and brought them outside to see the sky. I quickly took a photograph of the sky above our neighbour Annie’s house for her.

Kourosh took photographs on his phone too and sent them to Meteo France. Surprisingly, they sent us a beautiful reply explaining the phenomena. The general term is a  photométéore, which would include rainbows (I rather like this word, even if it is French and not English.) The phenomenon is rather rare and is associated with light being reflected by particles (water?) suspended on the surface of the clouds. So it is an iridescent cloud or irisation.

It was very beautiful and reminded me of watching the Northern Lights in Aberdeen.

Back in the garden I made a discovery that the clump of Oxalis, that I had planted years ago from some bulbs given free with a gardening magazine, was extremely attractive to the honeybees. I had never cared for it and it survived by finding a secluded spot here and there in the garden where it escaped being culled.

It is a strange flower and it will close in the middle of the day if there is not enough sunshine. It looks as if it is hiding (from me?) when it does that. When I looked closely the stamens held plenty of lovely yellow pollen.

Our wildlife pond continues to fascinate us. There are thousand of tadpoles now.

It is a great excuse to take a break and go and watch the tadpoles. Very relaxing. Have a look at this video and see what I mean.

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 “A rare event

  1. Fab that you have tadpoles!

    Dandelions close if there isn’t enough sun, too, I think?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Amelia, Stunning photos of the cloud – a new term/event for me, and how exciting to witness it,
    best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful picture of an unknown phenomenon !
    And you are lucky to have tadpole in your pond.
    None in our pond, maybe because we are in town …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beauitful sky and how lucky you were to see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is a lovely sight…. yes, it is particles….particles of fine ice crystals it is so high up!
    I have seen it once, too, in similar circumstances as you….
    I was, as Mr Pretor-Pinney terms it in his book…. “Cloudwatching”…..
    he calls them “cloudbows” and they are, rare…. cirrus clouds, full of ice crytals have got to catch sunlight at the perfect angle for us on the ground to see the prism effect….. so it is a right time right place event…. but, once seen never forgotten.
    I prefer the name “firebow”…. it is more descriptive imo
    Lucky you…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Photometeore – beautiful! I envy your tadpoles, always been fond of frogs. It looks like you don’t have any kind of pump circulating the water. That doesn’t cause issues with mosquitoes or the water getting murky?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a complete experiment. We are not putting in fish as they would eat too many tadpoles and other larvae. We have put in aerating weed but no pump. It is in the sun which will be bad for algal growth but I am counting on the tadpoles to keep the mosquito larvae down – for the moment. Frogs hopping in and keeping it clean later? We have a smaller pond but that has Gambusia in it and is in partial shade and that has stayed clear for two years. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I saw this phenomenon while watching a tennis tournament. Baffling and distracting! The ‘Cloud Appreciation Society’* explained the science of it, calling it a ‘circumhorizon arc’. *Well worth a look – amazing photos. You could even upload yours to their site. RH

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very interesting. We saw this phemomenon once some years ago when walking on the south Devon coast. Once seen not forgotten! We have a widlife pond although it is rather deep, we get frogs and newts and the newts eat any frogspawn.


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