a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Is it autumn?


The trees are starting to have brown leaves.

Some of the leaves are starting to fall.

The new little Tetradium daniellii, tree which flowered for the first time last year, has not flowered this year and its leaves are turning yellow.

Luckily, I have another established Tetradium and my new little tree turned out to be a female and the flowers produced seeds. I planted them last December, just to see what would happen and now I have a little seedling!

The Caryopteris in the front garden is still flowering well and attracting the bees. Last year we cut it back after it had flowered so there was a considerable number of cuttings. I don’t know if it was the correct timing but Kourosh put six cuttings in a pot and they all took!

We put the cuttings in various places in the garden to bide their time until finding permanent homes and now they are flowering! That is quite a success story, so it must be an easy plant to take cuttings from, so if you have some in your garden…

The cosmos add so much colour to the front garden at this time of year.

The cosmos make great landing spots for all types of bees.

They are also a good source of pollen.

This year I noticed the honeybees on the sedum before it was completely opened.

I associate sedum more with bumblebees and butterflies but this year has been different, perhaps because we had such a dry August.

This year we had less summer honey than last year. Now we are treating the bees against the varroa mite with thymol which is a natural extract of thyme oil. It has a strong smell and the bees do not like it but Violette makes the most fuss.

It was quite hot on Monday so Kourosh supplied her with a parasol but she was still unhappy. As long as it makes her scratch the horrible mites off, then it will be worth it.

This week white cosmos have started to flower everywhere in the garden. As they are mainly self-seeded I do not understand why the white coloured cosmos have flowered later than the pink/lilac ones.

A new season is coming but it is reassuring to find a baby marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus) in the garden. Everything has been so strange and disturbed this year that it is good to see that these newts have continued to breed in the garden.

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.

19 thoughts on “Is it autumn?

  1. Newts are a great find in the garden. Just found and identified a bee moth in my moth trap for the first time. I thought of you and how bee keeper must dislike them!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fall colors are creeping into the garden here as well. Seems way too soon for me. 🙂 Picked apples and blackberries today, that is a sure sign the seasons are moving on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Both,
    The days are certainly becoming noticeably shorter here as well. Harvest of grapes, pears and apples are in full swing before the raccoons decide to eat them.
    The bees are desperately taking feed and we have treated with Apivar. The garden is full of Cosmos and Sedum and planted Cat Mint this year that has proven a hit. The Tamarisk tree has had a second flush and a limited amount of lavender has rebloomed.
    Bees are bringing in yellow, orange and grey pollen still . We have Calendula and Japanese Anemone but they appear to have no interest in the pollen.
    I have observed very few mites this year ( but I am not less vigilant) and will treat with OA later in the season.
    All the best for you, the bees and garden.
    Regards Janine near Vancouver BC

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love the catmint, it survives the drought and the sun and is always there for the pollinators. I have never had lavender flower for a second time! Kourosh counted the varroa before we treated with Apiguard, they needed treatment but the count was not too high. Do you feed your bees while you treat them? Here we feed just after harvest and then we treat. I suppose your season is shorter than ours. Here the ivy has just started to flower and theoretically this is what the bees stock up on for winter. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Even here where autumn is later, summer seems to be finishing. The box elders have been shedding. They start shedding more because summer is so dry than because of cooler weather. Nonetheless, they look like they are responding to incoming autumn. Sycamores are browning in Los Angeles arleady.

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  5. Tetradiium daniellii is one of my favourite trees and certainly lives up to its common name of Bee Bee Tree as it is generally mobbed by bees. It has undergone a name change and is now Evodia daniellii. Yes, autumn is here!

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  6. The caryopteris is a beautiful blue. How fortunate you were able to achieve so many viable cuttings.

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  7. In our garden, the sedum is almost exclusively visited by honeybees and this year, like you, i saw one trying to extract nectar when the flowers had not really opened.

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    • The ivy in this area is just starting to open if it is growing in the sun. I hope it gives enough nectar for all the pollinators to get their autumn feed. Well, I do not feel so charitable towards the Asian hornet which likes the ivy but I try. Amelia


  8. That photo of the honeybee on the pale sedum flower is so pretty! Loved the photos and the adorable newt. Who is Violet? A queen bee?

    Liked by 1 person

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