Friday, 18 October 2013

La Tour Saint Antoine, Loches

La Tour Saint-Antoine in Loches.
Former church belltower whose bells also served to sound the town alarm. It is 52 m high. Constructed between 1529 and 1575 it is the only Renaissance free standing belfry in the Touraine. Access to the exterior is free. You can visit the interior on the Journées de Patrimoine.

I love the oily sheen of the slate roofs in this picture.
Orchard News: A goodly haul of walnuts collected and the last of the grapes picked. The first of the Ophrys sp orchid leaf rosettes has reappeared, preparing for next year after their brief autumn dormancy.
A la cuisine hier: Dolmades, using up the last of the vine leaves I pickled in brine in the early summer.
How Field Naturalists Die: Alex Wild has posted an informative graph on his blog Myrmecos. The top two reasons are vehicular and trauma, but you'll be pleased to hear that no one has been poisoned in over 20 years. Murder and execution is the third highest cause of death though – higher than animal attack, exposure, heart attack and infectious disease.
Bee News: My friend Jill sent me a link to a well written, well informed article (for once!) in the Guardian about the plants bees visit most in the garden. It won't come as any news to gardeners that lavender tops the list, but it is nice to have it quantified and verified scientifically. Plant more lavender and oregano if you want your bee population to thrive! Wallflowers are the best for butterflies and pelagoniums are good for nothing.


  1. Pelargoniums bring colour to dull days....
    they go on for ever!!
    Ours are still flowering...

    you are so right about no value to insects...
    the only thing I've seen on ours are frustrated crab spiders!!

    HOWEVER... the Ivy was absolutely covered in Hunny Bs nectaring like crazy...
    everyone out there...
    DON'T cut back older Ivy... the flowers are needed now by many insects...
    and the black berries are an early food for birds!

  2. Tim: Quite right, ivy should be pruned in February, after flowering and before birds start nesting. Half the Honey Bees on the flowers will be Drone Flies Eristalis sp, btw.

  3. To my surprise the humming birds are interested in pelargoniums - but only the bright red ones...the salmon pink plants are ignored.

  4. Fly: curious. Pelagoniums are native to Africa, so not a hummingbird's natural target. Could be they are hardwired to go for red flowers though.