One of the positive aspects of all the recent rain is the proliferation of wildflowers, now coating the banks at the side of the road, nestling in amongst the hedgerows and cornfields, and blanketing areas of uncultivated land. They are also appearing in and around the garden, vegetable plot and orchard (perhaps I should note that the french for ‘orchard’ is ‘verger’ – hence the title of the post).
The poppies win my Wildflower of the Week award, photogenically colouring the roadside with their cheerful, deep red tones.
Last year, we decided to have a go at planting our own wildflower meadow, and cleared an area around an ancient pear tree. We chose a mix of flowers that would attract insects deemed beneficial to the vegetable garden, together, of course, with bee-friendly wildflower seeds. Nettles and other unappealing weeds were removed, the earth laid bare and the seeds duly scattered. And we waited. And nothing. And then the nettles and other horrid weeds came back.
But then this year, as if by magic, a colourful carpet of mixed wildflowers has sprouted up. They are a bit localised and bunched together – but quite magnificent. The marigolds are particularly vigorous – these came from seeds left over from companion planting for the tomatoes (they repel nematodes and slugs).
In a different style, but nonetheless wild, I was thrilled to find this orchid, sitting majestically alone in the middle of a patch of grass (too unkempt to call ‘lawn’), lucky to have escaped the blades of the tractor. It belongs to the Tongue Orchid family.
Credit to Amelia (https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/of-the-well-trodden-paths/) for alerting me to these wild orchids – didn’t think I would spot one so soon after reading about them, let alone in my very own garden.
Flitting about in the garden are quite a few of these butterflies – the Heath Fritillary. In the UK, they are considered to be threatened, but not so in France – where their preferred habitat is given as pasture or unimproved hay-meadow (an apt description of the lower part of our ‘garden’).
And finally, here’s a shot of something not terribly wild, my faithful hound, posing in amongst the poppies.
I see a future calendar in the making!
Yes, you are probably right – expect a ‘surprise’ in December
How exciting to be starting a wild flower meadow. I am just starting to read a book by David Goulson, actually I dipped into the chapter Chez les Bourdons first! He started the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust. He bought farming land for himself in the Charente some years ago and the first thing he did with it was to start to return it to meadow. I do not have enough land to create a meadow but I will follow yours with interest.
I have just sown some more seeds in the wildflower meadow, encouraged by this spring’s emergence of plants – and it looks like some cornflowers and daisies are about to bloom – all very pleasing.
So pretty. I love all the different colours.
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Such bee-autiful photography, another skill mastered!