The end of July 22 in the garden

The shutters are closed while the sun is up. At least now the nights are cooler and we can air the house in the cool of the morning.

Most plants are showing signs of heat exhaustion and the lack of rain. The Chitalpa does not get watered but it has flowered for even longer this year, having had flowers since early June.

The plants in this patch of the back garden get sun most of the day. The lavender has survived for many years, although it has finished flowering for this year. I am not sure whether the Colutea will survive as all I can see is its seed pods with no leaves. Surprisingly, the Eucryphea has started to flower even although some of its leaves have been burnt by the sun.

I’m not sure what the yellow flowers are in this area. They are very tough perennials which grow out of tubers that must allow them to survive in the heat and dry.

They are very attractive to the honey bees and although I find them rather invasive, I do appreciate them during hot summers.

The cat’s ears in our “lawn” provide a splash of colour in the sunshine as the lawn is a crispy brown.

The honey bees love the pollen and have been bringing in this bright orange pollen to the hives.

The cat’s ear weed attracts the Dasypoda bees. They are also called pantaloon bees as their hind legs have such long hairs for collecting the pollen. These bees nest in sandy soil, digging tunnels into the ground to lay their eggs. I am sure I must have nests nearby but I have never discovered any.

The larger Tetradium daniellii (the bee-bee tree) has just started to flower on the top branches and there is a satisfactory buzz when I stand underneath it. The garden is managing in the heat better than I am but both of us would benefit from some refreshing rain.

They grow up so fast!

Outside our kitchen door we have access to what is called the cellier. In this cellar we keep a lot of our beekeeping equipment, and so in spring we need access to that place very frequently.

So, spring being what it is, the birds help themselves to the shelter that the beam is providing to make a nest, reducing our ability to freely visit the cellar. This year it started with the robin.

She visits the back of the house where we have placed a water trough for the bees. She has her daily bath there. So it was not surprising that we found she had laid 6 eggs there.

about 10 days later I saw that two eggs had hatched. What happened to the others?

After that, it did not seem to take long before they flew up to the nearby ash tree.

A couple of weeks later I noticed that the redstart was flying back and forth from the nearby washing line to the same nest.

Four eggs! I wondered what will happen to them. That was 18th of June.

I investigated on the 23rd of June and behold all but one chic had hatched.

Two days later they were all in the nest.

They were so tiny. But on 2nd of July, they seemed big enough to leave the nest.

On 5th of July, all I had was an empty nest. The birds had all gone to the nearby trees.

Robin and the sparrows visit the water trough and share it with our bees. With these very dry and also hot days that the French call the canicule, (the dog days) with temperatures around upper 30s and reaching 40 degree C (over 100 degrees F), we ensure that there is plenty of water for all the birds and the bees.

Amelia and I are concerned that although we water the vegetable patch and a few of the more precious shrubs, we will inevitably loose some plants and even trees. The heat is literally killing their leaves to a frazzle. Gardening is getting difficuly. I did try to cut down a branch of the ash tree, but without success. The pigeon had decided to nest just above the branch.

So, I do hope everyone keeps well and keeps cool.

  • Kourosh

The rhythm continues

The rhythm of summer has begun.

It is hot, although this year there is more of a breeze in the garden.

We all have our habits. We take our morning coffee in the front garden but soon it will be too hot for that and we will shift to the cool of the trees in the back garden.

The shade of a parasol is getting insufficient to keep the heat of the sun at bay on the patio.

In addition we have to do our “frog check” each time we open the parasol.

He is not easy to dislodge.

The parasol has to be removed and the frog shaken on to the lemon tree close-by in a pot. This is a secondary favourite haunt so he will hop off easily.

This is a closer view for those of you who cannot see him in the photo above.

In fact, it is much easier to take our coffee in the back garden now.

Sunflower time

The sunflowers have started to flower around us here in the Charente Maritime in France.

There are some small fields near us.

A little further on there are fields so large that their yellow blends into the horizon.

This year the bees and bumble bees have descended upon the sunflowers and so I presume they must be producing a good supply of nectar although it has been an overall dry season.

The different sunflower hybrids produce nectar with different sugar mass quantity so whether this season will produce an abundant honey supply or not remains to be seen.

For the moment our girls at the bottom of the garden are very busy.