The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Posted by on in Lou Messugo

May garden at Lou Messugo

The garden is alive with self-seeded wild cistus flowering all over the place.  This makes me so happy as not only are they very pretty, they are what we named our house after and they had disappeared.

      cistus1

When we bought our plot of land in early 2008 it was a forest full of green oaks, tall pines, interesting rock structures and wild cistus.  We would come and play or picnic in it while waiting for permission to build.  It was natural and wild.  Obviously we had to cut down many trees to build a house and the general damage to the land by diggers, concrete mixers and trucks was sad to see.  I wondered at the time if it would ever recover.  

      cistus2

Once the house was built we set about creating a garden and the idea was to try and get it back to as natural as possible, while incorporating some lawn to play on.  We have planted hundreds of plants and replaced the huge trees with smaller prettier ones.  But we never planted any cistus, and yet, five years after the construction began, the cistus are well and truly back.  We have a slightly lazy attitude to weeding and don't use any chemical products in the garden which has meant it has returned to how it was naturally, with the addition of all that we've planted of course.  Like I said already, this makes me happy.

      cistus5

The arid, drought-prone landscape of Provence is typified by garrigue, a sort of low soft-leaved scrubland mainly composed of kermes oak, lavender, thyme, and white cistus with a few isolated trees.  The white cistus (which produces pink flowers, the white refers to the downy texture of the leaves) is what we have flowering here in our garden in abundance, though there are two other types too.  It is also known as Cistus Albidus, rock rose in English, ciste cotonneux or messugue in French and Messugo in Provençal. The word messugue is often used interchangeably with garrigue, refering to the general landscape.  So the story comes full circle and we're back to the name of our house: Lou (the) Messugo (cistus/typical Provençal landscape). And now you can see why I'm happy the messugo are back!

      cistus4

What's growing in your garden right now?  Do you have an association with a particular plant or a story to tell?

      Lou messugo messugues

You might enjoy these other posts about the garden at Lou Messugo:

From forest to garden

Summer garden

September garden

Oleander - the flower with power

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Catherine Monday, 12 May 2014

    We are at Lou messugo at the moment and the smell of the jasmine is overwhelming. It's great!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 10 May 2014

    Hey Christine, next time you come to Lou Messugo you should take a cutting and try to grow some in your garden...who knows, it might work?

  • Guest
    Christine F Saturday, 10 May 2014

    The flowers are beautiful. I would love some in my garden! I love the romance of the story too :)

  • Guest
    Mammasaurus Friday, 09 May 2014

    It does look so lovely and natural now - and I love that I know the meaning of the name now too :)
    I named my eldest daughter Holly through a love of the tree and my youngest's middle name is Bluebell, another floral fave or special meaning to me. Thank you for joining in and sharing this xx

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    Another lovely flower association. We don't get bluebells here, I guess it's too hot/dry. I love them though. Happy to link up :D

  • Guest
    Gemma Thursday, 08 May 2014

    It's great that you are trying to get the garden back to its natural state, it's looking lovely. The last photo looks like paradise!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    Thank you Gemma. :)

  • Guest
    Emma Thursday, 08 May 2014

    It is so interesting to find out about the meaning of the name - thank you!
    And I can truly see why you named your home after the Messugo.
    I named my children Jasmine and Holly, so I guess they are the plants that I feel most closely associated to!
    Emma x.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    Lovely that you have flower/plant associations too Emma. We have loads of gorgeous jasmine in the garden too at the moment, the smell is heavenly. You can see it in the last photo, to the left of the door.

  • Guest
    Mummy of Two Thursday, 08 May 2014

    I really wish I enjoyed gardening more seeing all of these beautiful flowers!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    Most of these are self-seeded! We do enjoy gardening but we're not obsessive. The results are worth all the hard work.

  • Guest
    Catherine Thursday, 08 May 2014

    Fingers crossed that the messugo are still blooming when we are stayin in the gite next week

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    They will be, they stay for a while! Can't wait to see you here Catherine!

  • Guest
    Boo Roo and Tigger Too Thursday, 08 May 2014

    Loving the daisies, such happy flowers

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    Thanks for commenting :)

  • Guest
    thereandbackagain Wednesday, 07 May 2014

    Lovely post, yes, I particularly love lily of the valley, the flower of my daughter's birth month :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    You'd love May Day here in France then as it's all about Lily of the Valley. Have a look at the post I wrote about it http://www.loumessugo.com/en/blog/entry/may-day-traditions-in-france

  • Guest
    Debbie Wednesday, 07 May 2014

    What beautiful flowers- I am so glad the land recovered after the build. Our garden is just grass- and hint of flowers immediately get plucked by the children and proudly presented as gifts!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 09 May 2014

    It's sweet that the kids give you flowers. I can't remember the last time my boys thought to do that!!

  • Guest
    Kate Thompson Wednesday, 07 May 2014

    Love the purple with the yellow! My daughter is after a dress in those colours from the new Boden catalogue!!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 08 May 2014

    How funny that these colours are in the Boden catalogue! I wander if Johnny was inspired by Provence?

  • Guest
    Jen aka The Mad House Wednesday, 07 May 2014

    These flowers are so beautiful. I love colour and we so need some in our garden

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 08 May 2014

    I love the colour too Jen, thanks for commenting :)

  • Guest
    OneDad3Girls Wednesday, 07 May 2014

    What beautiful looking plants. Our garden is mainly filled up with fruit and vegetables

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 08 May 2014

    I'd love a good veggie patch, but my fingers aren't green in that area!

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