a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Winter begins

Winter has finally arrived.  The drop in temperature over just two days felt brutal.  We have gone from mild, sunny autumn days to dull days with temperatures sometimes in the single figures (Centigrade!) – still no frost yet.

Liquidambar

My liquidambar has lost most of its leaves now without producing spectacular bright red leaves but yellow/orange is good too.  I’m pleased with the Cornus alba doing its bit on the left to add a bit of red for the autumn.

Willows

I planted four scarlet willows (Salix alba “Chermesina”) to provide a blaze of red stems in autumn and through winter.  Well, they are not quite there yet but I am pleased that they have all taken and seem to be quite happy.

fuschia

The fuschias are still providing lots of colour and don’t even look tired.

Cotoneaster

But I still come back to the humble cotoneasters for the best show.

missing berries

And I noticed today that the berries are starting to go missing so they also provide a good winter food for the birds.

cotoneaster in front garden

A flash-back to last May and the cotoneaster in the front garden and you can see what a useful plant this is.

bumble on honeysuckle

It was only nine degrees in the garden this afternoon but the bumble bees were happy on the winter flowering honeysuckle …

Bumble on salvia

and on the salvia, but it was too cold for the honey bees to put in an appearance.

bumble bee

I enjoyed watching, what I think must bee a buff-tailed queen, sunning herself on the ground where she was sheltering at the base of a plant.

queen grooming

She had been feeding on the winter honeysuckle and in consequence got covered in pollen and felt the need for a good grooming.  She will not need the pollen until next spring when she starts her first nest.

partridge

This morning my husband grabbed his camera and shouted for me to look at what was on the patio.

red partridge

This is a red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) and a new visitor to our feeding station.  I had a good idea where he had come from.  I checked with my neighbour and not too long ago partridges had been released for hunting purposes.

red partridge

However, this is a lucky one – well for the moment- the season is closed now and it will be safe to eat at our bird feeder.  Mmm. just how much wild bird food can a large partridge eat?