a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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We need rain

broad-beans-planted

Our region has had water restrictions imposed for agriculture use to protect water table levels.  There are still no restrictions on domestic use for gardens or washing cars.  I’ve planted my broad beans anyway.  I have been protecting unused parts of the vegetable garden with cardboard and I hope to put compost on top of it in the winter.

Mouse nest.JPG

That means mousie has been turfed out of his house.  It looks pretty comfortable if you could imagine it with a cardboard roof.

saffron-001

Still the mouse did not do so much damage as the moles did in my saffron patch.  Last year I thinned out the bulbs and planted them in straight rows and then sowed Phacelia in between the rows.  All that went well and I covered the patch with cardboard after the Phacelia flowers had finished.  That really kept down the weeds down until now when the saffron is popping through…but not in straight lines.

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I rushed out and took a photograph of the first saffron flower of the season.  I think the soil is dry for them this year.

Walnuts.JPG

On the topic of food, we have had a good bowlful of walnuts from the tree we planted about fifteen years ago.  You need to be patient if you want your own walnuts.

2-tone-cosmos

I have found a two tone Cosmos sulphureus.  It is half between my yellow ones and orange ones.  I have kept the seeds.  You never know…  It will be fun to try them next year.

yellow-cosmos

Meantime the bees are indifferent to the colour of the Cosmos.

bee-on-cosmos

There are a lot going to seed now but I find the seed heads attractive too.  I have not seen the birds going for the seeds but I presume they must.

bumble-bee-on-savia-uliginosa

The Salvia uliginosa attracts both the bumble bees and honey bees at the moment.

Dark Salvia.JPG

I like to watch the honey bees on my tall dark Salvia.  The flower looks too long for them but they must just fit in as they disappear completely inside for some time before entering the next flowerlet.

bumble-on-madame-isaac-pereire

It has been too hot for my Madame Isaac Pereire rose this year but I am glad she has not lost her attraction for the bumble bees who go deep inside to buzz in satisfaction.

Girona tree.JPG

I have a problem and was unsure if I should broach it but I took courage and ran outside and took a photograph of it.

Kourosh is an inveterate seed collector.  I have banned him collecting any more tree seeds because once you have a tree it is difficult to part with it.  The problem is we have a tree but we have no idea what it is.

close-up-leaf

This is a close up of the leaf.

girona-tree-2

This is a photograph taken of the tree in flower in Girona, Spain in May 2015 during their flower festival.

girona-tree-1

The previous year’s fruit was still on the trees.  I was sure it would be easy to find the identity of these beautiful, sweet perfumed trees once we returned home.  I would like to know if it had a chance to survive here and of course I would be so grateful if anyone recognised it.

 


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Plants behaving badly

Misty chairs

There is no doubt about it.  Summer is coming to an end.

Misty arch

Still, September has been an amazing month and even after the occasional early morning mist the sun burnt through later on to give us sunshine.

Misty gardens

I have to thank my husband for venturing into the back garden in his pyjamas to capture these images!   I was too happy contemplating the mist from inside over my second mug of tea.

Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Ice

In fact, I’ve been doing quite a bit of contemplating about the garden.  I’ve been happy with my sunflowers Vanilla Ice and the darker ones which are the offspring of my last year’s Earth Walker.

Earthwalker cross

I can’t get enough of sunflowers.  I like the early single head ones and these multi-headed ones really brighten up the garden in the late summer.

Salvia coahuilensis

My new Salvia coahuilensis is going to be success against the Cosmos sulphureus once it has got established.

IMG_4641

My Salvia guaranitica has flowered again.  I have to thank “Arthur in the garden” for the ID as I thought it was a Nepeta last year!

IMG_4748.Salvia guaranitica

It grows so tall.  I never knew Salvia could grow so tall.  I would not have a chance of getting any close up photographs of bees on them unless I had a very tall ladder!

IMG_4635

I have another beautiful tall Salvia grown for me from a cutting by my friend Linda.  This is not so tall and has very fragile stems and several stems bearing flowers have been snapped off – I presume by birds landing on them.  At least the broken stems seem to catch well as cuttings.  I’ve seen no bees on these flowers and I wondered if the flowers were too long for the bees to reach inside them, but I have now seen a hummingbird hawk moth happily flitting from flower to flower.  It stayed at each flowerlet for a long time drinking the nectar – long enough to get a really good photo – but I did not have my camera.

I have some really lovely tall plants now but I feel I am not showing the tall plants off to their advantage.

Cosmos

Of course, the plants themselves don’t play fair.  These Cosmos have burgeoned to more than a metre and a half tall.  I grew the seeds from a packet and then transplanted some here and others grown from the same packet I planted elsewhere but those were much shorter.

Aster blue. Sweet Lavender

I tenderly cared for my Aster “Sweet Lavender” which flowered for the first time last year.  I bought it a fancy plant support in the early summer but  that turned out to be ridiculously too short.  It is tied up unceremoniously to the fence and looks very sad as if I am trying to garrote it.

Tomatoes in well

Plants don’t do what I expect of them.  This year the tomatoes in the vegetable garden put up a poor show but we let a little tomato plant that had seeded itself down the well continue to grow, to see what happened.  Actually, it has managed very well (sorry about the pun).

Close toms

I don’t understand how an uncared for plant can grow on a stony well wall and then provide us with tasty tomatoes long after the ones in the vegetable garden have gone.

I must try and sort out my taller plants, I would be grateful for any ideas or suggestions.

A plant I have been very impressed with this year is the Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica).

Megachile 2

It is a wild flower but in late summer it is a magnet for all sorts of insects.

Anthidium

I have collected lots of the seeds and I want to introduce it to the wilder parts of the back garden.

Fritillary perhaps

I think this might be a Fritillary butterfly.  The Common Fleabane does attract lots of different insects, it is just I tend to photograph the bees.  I am a little nervous of introducing a wild flower into the garden in case it gets out of hand but it is as attractive as many cultivated flowers.

My only worry is that it too may behave badly once it is inside the garden.