Plants, people, animals, you name it - summer at the chateau is a busy time for everyone. Well... except maybe for Lola, but she lives a placid life untouched by the seasonal effects that govern us mortals. For everyone else, however, the lengthened days of summer mean work harder, play harder.
At the chateau, we know summer is upon us when small clusters of red start appearing all around the grounds. But as eerie as that may sound, the truth is actually rather cute. If you take a closer look, you will see dozens of small baby beetles, all scuttling for the best spot to bask in the sun (and if you’ve ever seen tourists rushing for sunbeds when the pool opens, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what that looks like).
These beetles are called Gendarmes in french meaning ‘men-at-arms’, (a gendarme is a paramilitary police officer in France) because their red and black colourings mirror the colours worn by the gendarmes at the end of the 17th century. Here at the Chateau, however, there seems to be very little policing happening and the young officers-to-be appear to instead spend their time diligently learning what they can eat and where the sun is best. Preferably at the same time.
Now, if we stand back up, take a step back and move away from the small critters, we can appreciate the grandeur of the flowering Tilleuls (Linden trees) that are dotted around the château gardens. These trees are part of the Tilia species and can reach a staggering 40 meters tall and hundreds of years old.
But the Tilleuls are not just an impressive sight, their flowers can also be dried and used for a delicious tisane :) (an infusion of fragrant herbs, fruits and flowers). So when the weather is good, the whole family joins forces to collect the prized flowers. But the Tilleul flowers are in high demand and we’re by no means the only ones attracted by their alluring scent.
If you stand quietly enough, you can hear the buzzing from the busy highway at the crown of the Linden trees. The traffic comes from the bees and other insects taking full advantage of the long summer days to secure some of the sweet Tilleul nectar. In fact, there is a belief that the Linden trees were an important ingredient in the legendary Hyblaean wildflower honey from the Hyblaean Mountains in Italy. And some even say that’s the reason our honey here at the chateau is so scrumptious ;)
However, while the bees simply stop by for their usual 9-5, others have decided to set up more of a permanent residence in the tall château trees. Our rambling roses have spent all year trying to grow as tall as they possibly can up the side of the trees, so that their annual display of ephemeral bloom will be seen and admired by as many as possible. And this anticipated exhibit is happening right now but will only last for a couple of weeks, making it all the more precious.
The difference between climbing roses and rambling roses is generally that climbing roses have larger flowers and will repeat-flower (bloom more than once) all summer, whereas rambling roses have extremely vigorous growth but will only bloom once a year in a fleeting display of smaller flowers. But I think it’s almost lucky that they bloom for such a short period, for the sight is truly breathtaking.
There are of course many other hard workers that warrant a spot in the blog but adding just a small mention at the end wouldn’t do them justice, so they’ll have to wait their turn. In the meantime, we will be sure to enjoy some well-deserved summer relaxation after a turbulent year and a half, and we hope that you can do the same!