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jardin-perdu / Spring arrives in France
Hellebore France

Spring arrives in France

I’ve mentioned before how I love that the seasons here in France seem to change with the click of the fingers, and this spring was certainly no exception. Last Tuesday we awoke to a covering of snow…..

Snow 4th March 2014 France…and by Saturday we were basking under blue skies and a rather glorious 200c; this year winter metamorphosed into spring in spectacular style.

Spring in France

This last winter has been the mildest we’ve experienced since living in France. We had snow in November which lingered on the ground for weeks and brought us temperatures of -100c, but beyond that the snow never really made an appearance; that which did fall in January and February melted throughout the day to be replaced by more overnight.

Unfortunately the lack of cold temperatures meant we endured a lot of rain, which for days on end turned the garden into a bog and with its constant pelting down brought a multitude of small stones to the surface of the soil.

Fuelled by the sun this weekend I began the big garden clean up. Twigs, branches, leaves and small stones have been gathered up and borders have been tidied. Old Hosta, Crocosmia and Hemerocallis flower stems have been removed to make way for the new growth and many plants have indeed already started growing and budding up.

It wasn’t only me who enjoyed the warmth of the weekend sun. The first bees and butterflies of the year took advantage of the sweet delights of early flowering Hellebore and Primula.

Hellebore France

Although I managed to resist the temptation to move a few plants over the weekend (I decided to wait a few weeks longer before doing this due to the morning frosts), I did succumb to my desire to get the French gardening year started and planted a multitude of vegetable and flower seeds in the greenhouse;

Tiny Tim tomato (In heated propagator)

Roma tomato (In heated propagator)

Cerise tomato (In heated propagator)

Maskotka tomato (In heated propagator)

Moneymaker tomato (In heated propagator)

Anaheim chilli (In heated propagator)

Habanero chilli (In heated propagator)

Jalapeno chilli (In heated propagator)

Cayenne chilli (In heated propagator)

Sweet pepper California wonder (In heated propagator)

Sweet pepper Romano  (In heated propagator)

Cucumber burpless tasty green (In heated propagator)

Butternut squash


Winter squash Uchiki Kuri





Verbena bonariensis (In heated propagator)


Sunflower Taiyo

In the bed I have in my greenhouse I have sown the season’s first batch of lettuce, spring onions, radish and American land cress.

Finally, the weekend sun meant my big baby, my Gunnera manicata, could be brought out of his winter slumber, and OMG is he going to be huge this year!


The sun is shining over the majority of France for the rest of the week so I hope that you will be able to get out into the garden, and start off your gardening year, please do let me know.

A bientôt

Katherine x

'Spring arrives in France' have 5 comments

  1. March 12, 2014 @ 7:31 am Cecilia48

    Hello Katherine
    How I share your enthusiasm ! Here in the Lozère, altitude 2000 ft, every morning we wake up in winter with a hard frost, a sprinkle of white everywhere, and by midday I am too hot in sleeveless teashirt, getting sunburned. Our hellebores are spectacular, big clumps of white picotee, deep plum, rose with a purple border. Snowdrops of the purest white. Time to sow my first early potatoes, Arran. About to transplant under cloche a batch of oak leaf lettuce seedlings bought at the supermarket. Collected a lot of grafts of old local apple varieties which will be grafted in the orchard in a couple of weeks. Local farmer delivered a huge load of manure that must be spread asap. Back breaking job, but so satisfying ! So much to do, so little time… Have a wonderful day.



    • March 12, 2014 @ 1:43 pm Katherine

      We’re at about 2500ft and I love the fact we have proper seasons – snow, frost yet also 40 degrees in summer! I’m planning on buying more hellebores, and would love some plum coloured ones and lime ones. I’ve got ratte potatoes happily chitting away, but am not planning on putting them in the ground just yet. May spring last!


  2. March 12, 2014 @ 1:19 pm lil

    love your helleborus, i have just moved my one….fantastic weather and such a change as your pictures show….lovely to see spring back !


  3. May 11, 2015 @ 5:31 am Betty Carlson

    I came over here from #AllAboutFrance (for the second time, I think) but am no gardener so decided to look at another type of post.

    Here in Aveyron, we also have this type of season change, perhaps even more so being at 625 meters (Rodez and Gages, where I live.)

    I know some parts of Corrèze quite well as we have good friends who live near Meyssac/Collonges. Is that your neck of the woods?


    • May 11, 2015 @ 10:53 am Katherine

      Hi Betty, thank you for popping across again. We’re in the Millevache National Park, so higher up in the Correze department than you friends. We’re at almost 800m so have lots of snow but lovely summers 🙂


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Le Jardin Perdu 2018. All images and posts are the property of Katherine Forshaw

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