a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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May in the garden

May has been a wet month so far.

This was what the woods looked like on the first of May.

It has not stopped the garden flourishing but it has cut badly into the time I have been able to spend in it.

The lilac has flowered largely unappreciated, whereas it usually provides welcome shade in addition to its balmy perfume.

The apple trees are flowering now, our youngest is the Belle de Boskop.

Our oldest is the Reine de Reinette, which has a similar flavour to a Cox’s apple.

The third is a Golden Delicious, which was also the heaviest cropper last year.

The Medlar tree is also in flower.  I planted it specially as I love Medlar fruit and they are difficult to buy or even find in the shops.  I love the flavour and the fruit arrives very late in the autumn when almost everything else is finished.

It is not widely appreciated yet it is a lovely tree and has lovely flowers.  What more could you want from a tree?

It still has to put up with the indignities of being assaulted by a Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata).  According to Wikipedia they feed on flowers, nectar and pollen but the upside is that their larvae are detritivores consuming decaying vegetable matter and so just what I need in my compost heap.

The second of May saw the arrival of the first tree peony flower.  I did not realise it was such a hardy plant, it is only its second summer in the garden and I did not expect it to have survived this year’s harsh winter.  A gold star for tree peonies.

But May is really the month for the roses here, before it gets too hot for them.  The first rose opened in the garden was ‘Mme Isaac Péreire’ which climbs up the sunny wall in the front garden.  The perfume is an old-fashioned rose perfume and very strong.

Next was ‘Mme Alfred Carrière’ climbing over the arch in the back garden.  You cannot have a french garden without French roses.   ‘Mme Alfred Carrière’ has her own beautiful perfume.  The pleasure of a garden for me is as much how it smells as how it looks.

Lastly the bumble bees love  the Lamiastrum for the nectar and pollen and I love it as it covers up the weeds only too numerous and vigorous at this time of year.