a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

More eggs

23 Comments

Some years ago I planted Allium cernuum bulbs and loved the flowers but larger plants grew over them and they perished.

A year ago I decided to plant seed and keep them in a pot. This is the result of the second year of my half packet of seeds. They came up so well that I decided to plant the other half of the seeds this spring – but I forgot to stratify them with a cold period. The second sowing has not germinated so I better look after these bulbs!

They are also called Nodding Onion and you can see the family resemblance in the papery covering of the flower bud.

Of course I grow them to watch the bumblebees that love them.

I love her heart-shaped pollen load!

The pot stays on the steps so that we can watch the bees from the living room.

I noticed that my blue geranium was not looking too happy and I decided to release her from the pot. The temperatures are shooting up this week to 35 degrees Centigrade (95 F) so I am starting to reduce my pots if possible.

It was a bit of a struggle to get the pot bound plant out of the small top of the pot (bad design!) but as I struggled I noticed things falling on the earth!

I think these are lizard eggs. A number of years ago I found similar eggs and kept them inside in moistened vermiculite until they hatched – and they were lizards. This time I have just covered them with soil and hoped for the best.

At the moment the Philadelphus and the Linden tree are competing for most perfumed plant in the garden.

We have several Philadelphus in the garden, all very beautiful and all very perfumed but none of them attract the bees; strange.

The fledged Redstarts have flown the nest and we see them in the back garden but Kourosh noticed that a redstart was visiting the nest box again. On the first of June he tried for a photograph and found one newly laid egg!

On the fifth of June he tried to see if she had more eggs but – oops, she was in residence. On the eight June she has a clutch five eggs. They are a prolific pair as the last chicks had only left the nest a few days before she started laying again.

Our excitement this week was that our Melia azedarach tree has flowered for the first time. Kourosh planted seeds he had collected from beautiful trees we had seen flowering in Girona in Spain. We did not know what they were and it was only through help on this blog we found out what the tree was called.

There are not many flowers on the tree yet but it is a start.

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 “More eggs

  1. Lovely to follow all the adventures you are having in your garden. Thank you. J.

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  2. Beautiful as well as interesting. Has azadarach got anything to do with neem? That is azadirachta they seem quite similar words. Keep us posted how the lizards fare please?

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    • Both the Azadirachta and Melia are in the same family but the flowers are a different colour. The Melia has blue flowers, the colour is more pronounced when the tree is bigger and full of flowers. The Azadirachta has white flowers, although I have never seen one. I do not think I will see the baby lizards again as they are very independent when they hatch and there are always many lizards in the garden. Amelia

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  3. I love the photo of the bee with the heart shaped pollen sac. White cedar (Melia) grows very well here, and at the end of our street there is an enormous one, quite beautiful. Unfortunately the leaves can be severely attacked by caterpillars, and look quite sad by the end of summer. When they are in flower they are pretty and I also like to see the copper berries against a grey sky in the winter.

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  4. I also love the photo of the bee!

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  5. Hi Amelia. You say that the temperature is rising into the mid 30s, so you want to reduce your pots. Does that mean it is difficult to keep potted plants in the hot summer (watering? stress?). Do you see potted plants more as a Spring display? Autumn? Thanks, Malcolm.

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    • All of the above! It is difficult to keep small pots correctly watered and the roots can get too hot. Also the watering gets tiresome in the summer and I do not like to abuse the generosity of my neighbour who will water my pots if we go away. As we sit out on the patio it is a way of getting some colour close bye in the spring and I am trying with some winter flowering heather this year in pots. Up until covid I have been more sparse with my pots so I think it is a function too of how often you are going to leave them to themselves. Amelia

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      • Yes, I see myself going in the same direction. I potted up summer bloomers to have colour when our visitors are here, but now I see the challenge. I think a display of Spring annuals would be a great way to start the year. I’m also thinking about using more hardy succulents, which will survive neglect.

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  6. Such cool eggs, especially the lizards! I would be thrilled to find such a thing though lizards are very rare here. Also Judy hates lizards. I also have the nodding onion, it is a North American native. Yours look more purple than mine. Here they spread freely without help from the gardener.

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  7. Heart-shaped pollen that will take some beating!
    Nature photo of the year.

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  8. Hello Amelia,
    How wonderful finding the lizard eggs, they look quite large. I think here in Wales we only have the viviparous lizard. I also have never seen any bees on our Philadelphus, though by strange coincidence I followed a link to Cally gardens, in Scotland, yesterday, and the new(ish) owner was extolling their merits as a bee friendly plant. He also mentioned the Allium as a being a favourite – it looks stunning,
    best wishes
    Julian

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    • I should have put a coin beside the eggs but I was in the middle of replanting the geranium and a couple of other things and I did not want to take my boots off to go inside. Strange about the Philadelphus, it is either that it is a different variety which has more nectar or the plant is used in the absence of other better choices. If it was the latter I would have thought I would have seen some bees on it occasionally. I think that finding a place for the Allium is difficult – apart from in a pot. I have just found out that it is edible. Amelia

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  9. Fascinating observations and lovely pictures! We have a large philadelphus that is very fragrant and does attratct bees. I agree that it may be a matter of supply and the bees choose the best source at one time.

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    • That is so interesting! I had wondered whether it had been a case of mistaken identity either of the philadelphus or the bees but I know you would not make a mistake. Our philadelphus are highly perfumed and it had always puzzled me why the bees did not visit. I will keep a more attentive eye on them here now. Amelia

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