The dirty garden

Last Wednesday morning started in a strange way. Sitting at breakfast and looking out of the window – things looked different.

All I could think of was that someone had changed our window panes to yellow tinted glass while we were sleeping. They must have been very quiet but I could think of no reason for the change in hue. I had a quick look at BBC online as I thought there could have been a volcanic eruption somewhere but nothing was mentioned.

As the morning progressed the colour lifted and I had my second surprise when I started a bit of weeding in the front garden.

All my lovely Hellebores were diseased! It looked fungal to me.

Then to my horror I saw that all the other plant leaves had been attacked by the same disease. Here I started to get suspicious as I could not imagine the one fungus successfully attacking such a variety of plants. We are having a lot of tree pollen being blown around at this moment and the spots could be rubbed off like soft pollen but I did not think that was the answer.

Then I remembered the yellow light and searched on the French sites and found out that we had sand from the Sahara blown onto the garden. I had to wash my parsley well that day and it was strange to think that the sand from the Sahara was going down my sink.

Luckily our car was under shelter but there have been very dirty looking cars driving around and the car washes are busy! This is the first time I have encountered this phenomena but I believe it is not too unusual in the south of France.

Continuing on the strange theme, we saw this strange beast in our pond this week. Has anyone any idea what it is?

Just before noticing the beast, I thought a wall lizard had fallen in and drowned in the water, so I tried to scoop it out of the pond in case it might be still alive. The “lizard” swam off to hide in the pond weed! So, I have another question. Was the “lizard” a newt or do wall lizards swim?

This week the bulbs are filling the borders. The front garden is a mass of flowers. The late daffodils are mingling with the early tulips.

We have some Puschkinia bulbs in pots for the first time this year. They are not very showy, perhaps it is the way I have planted them. Perhaps they would be better to accompany another flower or would do better in the soil.

However, they attract the bees and provide us with bee entertainment when we are lucky enough to have the warmth to enjoy our coffee on the patio.

Even their leaves are smudged with dust and I could not find enough clean flowers in the garden to fill a vase for the house. So I had to content myself with a slightly soiled bunch of flowers.

In the top of the back garden there are three trees in flower. From left to right – the ornamental pear “Chanticleer”, the little pink cherry blossom “Accolade” and the Nashi.

We planted Chanticleer in the autumn of 2019 and it is now showing clearly its distinctive tall form.

The little Prunus “Accolade” was a impulse purchase in spring 2020. It is not a purchase we regret as the little tree is smothered in a mass of flowers.

The Nashi “Kosui” was only planted in January of 2021 but perhaps it will give us some fruit this year as it has plenty of flowers.

So much happens in the garden at this time of year. Even the evenings can be colourful.

March 17 2022 at 20h20

26 thoughts on “The dirty garden

  1. Janine

    Good Morning from BC. Spring is beginning to show its face in the form of heathers in heavy bloom as well as cherry trees blossoming.
    The bees are beginning to bring in pollen so we are hopeful three hives have come through the winter. It is too cold to lift the lids but they are taking fondant.
    It is so interesting to contemplate that the sands of the Sahara are dusting the plants, houses etc. It is a small world and everything so connected.
    Keep well and enjoy each new vista as your garden comes to life.
    Thank you for posting.
    Regards Janine

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, The sand does show how connected we are even if we are not always so aware of it. We lost two of our five hives in February even though they had been doing well. There appeared less and less bees until we opened them a week ago and found nobody home. The other three are doing well and vey busy. I am trying a Demaree with one of them to see if I can prevent it from swarming. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Janine

        We now have three hives and would like to keep it there as we have a small garden. We will also try the Demaree method to try and keep the workforce together.
        By the way our mite counts in 2020 were huge but much less in 2021. We treat with OA in the Fall in a series with the last in mid January. Also used Apivar after the Summer harvest.
        Good beekeeping. J

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We treat for varroa similarly, only we use Apilifevar in fall and the OA trickle mid-winter. The strange thing is we have one hive that is almost totally clean and the others were not too bad. We have had a clean hive before (I suppose hygenic bees ?) but you cannot get this trait by division because of the bees complex genetics.


          1. Janine

            That is interesting as you must have drift with the hives being close. Just found our third hive did not come through these last weeks of cold weather, other two 7/10 frames full.
            I also wish Spring would not fade so quickly as it means summer and fall will quickly follow.
            We cannot stop time.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Nepidae is a family of exclusively aquatic Heteropteran insects in the order Hemiptera. They are commonly called water scorpions for their superficial resemblance to scorpions, due to their raptorial forelegs and the presence of a long slender process at the posterior end of the abdomen, resembling a tail.

    Hi Amelia,
    I think this is your new pond inhabitant. If it is one … do not put your toes in the pond, they are always hungry and quite predatory.
    My son was bitten by one once when swimming in our natural pond. He said it hurt very much.
    Your garden will clean up with the next good rain so not to worry.


    1. I’ve checked out the photographs and it is very similar. They seemingly inject a neurotoxin into their prey so I have a lot of sympathy for your son :(. I am glad I did not try to catch it by hand. We are not forecast rain for a while which is needed not only for washing but the soil is getting dry. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We noticed the strange light last week too, but we have had that before so I knew what it must be. Luckily it rained a little bit that night, so most of it was dispersed. My newly cleaned windows looked a mess though! 😉 Your blossom is lovely. You are so far ahead of us this year. We haven’t been able to sit outside yet. My daffodils aren’t up either, except for a few of the miniature ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Experienced this sandstorm event on Crete, many years ago. It was pretty intense.

    We have had snow the last two mornings, north east of Seattle, but we are up in the hills a bit. So no St. Patrick’s day pea planting happened here, as I usually do. We are still shivering. Envious of your flowers, can you stop it raining here?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Laura Green

    Morning. I’ve been loving your photos and blog for quite a while!
    I think your beast in the pond is the nymph of a dragonfly, a broad bodied darter – the adult male is blue and the female yellow. We see them a lot here in the Hautes Pyrenees and I saw the first nymph close to the surface of our pond for the first time this spring yesterday.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Paddy Tobin

    Some of the sand has reached us in the south-east of Ireland, I think, for the windscreen of the car was quite dusty this morning. Otherwise, as with you, it is a busy time in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How strange indeed about the saharan dust reaching your garden so far away! It’s so fascinating to read the accounts from gardeners all over the world. Oooo…what a scary looking water bug! Sounds like you’ve had some good ideas suggested. In our pond, we also get dragonfly larvae which look scary, but aren’t. And we also get the pernicious diving beetles which bite badly. Luckily I’ve never been bitten and hope it stays that way. Your garden is so pretty, adorned with all its blooms. I really like the white bulbs. Beautiful sunset!


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