a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Dark November



November has become a cold dark month. We have been touched by a tragedy in our little hamlet that rocks the foundation of your thoughts and leads to introspection.


We gardeners who love our gardens and share them with the many visitors that pass through them have something truly precious. Others lack our interest, and November can be a dark time without interest or a kindred spirit to share hopes, exchange ideas and bask in the comfort of being with people of similar ideas.

It is difficult to reach out to people who have a different nature but we are all different. It is wrong to be too pushy but it is also wrong to relent too quickly.

I will try to open my eyes wider, to be more inclusive, to think more of others, not to be misguided by false smiles and easily obtained assurance that all is well. Perhaps, we can all make that phone call, email or coffee invitation that we have been putting off. Will it make a difference? I do not know.

In the meantime, Cathy of “Words and Herbs” has suggested we join her in a week of flowers, starting on the 1st December. It can be a difficult month but I admire her positive spirit.

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.

16 thoughts on “Dark November

  1. The challenge of winter–especially for gardeners–is to find the color in the off season. It’s there, to be appreciated, the yellow in the naked willows, the evergreens for contrast–just a more subtle for of lovely. Here, where the snow blankets everything–it’s a bit more of a challenge, but even here there is delicate color and beauty for those who’ll look. Then, share what you see with those that might be similarly affected.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Amelia. I have often thought of you this autumn and only now realize I had been unsubscribed from your blog! So I have resubscribed and have just been catching up a bit. 😃 It sounds as if you could also do with some colour and smiles right now and I do hope you will also be able to post something for the coming Week of Flowers. 🤗 Thanks for adding the link… the more the merrier. 🌻🐝🍁

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Amelia. Sorry to hear of a tragedy in your hamlet. Yes, a love of nature keeps us grounded. We see the cycle of life, and know that winter is not really a time of death – the grass is still green, the birds are still calling, and the buds are already on the fruit tress waiting to burst. We’re just pausing for a little breath. Others may not have the solace which that view provides, and we should all make the effort to share it with them – as you do. Malcolm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such wise words and comforting! You have the strength of character to reach out and talk, even at a distance. Without that extra effort we would never have met and never had the pleasure of sharing your company. I think the reaching out is so important in life. Amelia


  4. I am very sorry to hear about the tragedy in your hamlet. I hope with time that things will heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Amelia,
    Really sorry to hear about the sadness and events in the hamlet. Thinking of you all at this difficult time, and always the worst time of the year to have to confront such sadness. The seasons will turn, the light will strengthen and as you say, you have your lovely garden, the local community, and the wider internet one to help you make sense of this difficult time. I was sent this poem, by my brother at a similar black time. It may be of some comfort to you also?
    With warmest wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some lovely autumn colour Amelia, it will soon be the shortest day, we can then all start to look forward to brighter times.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a heartfelt, moving post Amelia, with a good reminder to reach out. I’m so sorry to hear about the tragedy. So many people around the world are having a very difficult time, especially these days. Your words are inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

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