Tales from the riverbank

I am very fortunate to have a pretty little river La Beune running through the grounds here at Le Banquet. I often take time out and just sit on the bank spotting fish and generally just observing whatever really.

Occasionally a family of Coypu or Ragondin, as they are known here in France will venture from the river and on to the lawn. Cute animals but sadly considered something of a pest as their burrowing can undermine riverbanks and they will eat corn if grown nearby. These and other activities cause their unpopularity with farmers.

Yesterday was the start of the trout fishing season and it seems the world and their dog have descended on the banks of the little Beune. It'll calm down. There's always this initial flurry of activity and then really not much else. I know the best trout spot, needless to say, it's a secret.

I've noticed the Iris pseudacorus emerging from the water's edge. Every summer there are pockets of brilliant yellow along the length of the river as they are well naturalised here. That said I'm sure there were more last year. I wonder if the Coypu have eaten them?

So I'm walking along the bank spotting the Iris's when at the bottom of the field I'm suddenly hit with a wash of intense blue. There's a large area that's been colonised by Violets.

I've never seen so many. They're just popping up everywhere. I can't possibly cut the lawn now! Incidentally, lawn cutting is a four hour activity which is tedious and leaves me practically losing the will to live. OK slight exaggeration but it is a drag.

The weathers been near perfect in recent days. Sunny, sometimes hazy, Soleil voilé and temperatures in the low 20's centigrade. Spring!


  1. What a lovely little river Rob. And those Violets must have been lying dormant just waiting for the right year to bloom. Lovely. You should consider one of those new robot lawnmowers or a local lad short of pocket money!

  2. Your place is just to die for. I think the sounds of running water are the most peaceful thing in the world. The flowers are sweet and welcome expecially since it was a surprise.

  3. Rob,

    Your river is such a gem! I would spend hours just being there, too. Don't worry about the yellow flag irises -- they will multiply. I don't know the critter that your talking about. Is it an otter or beaver?

    My husband loves to mow our 2-acre meadow, but he has a John Deere riding mower that he selected as a retirement gift from the company. I'd rather see it planted as a lavender field, but that's against the homeowner's association rules.


    PS We're been looking at the property listings on latitude.co.uk during the rainy days here. Many gorgeous Dordogne properties.

  4. What a lovely spot, you are indeed fortunate to have this stream for your own contemplation. I laughed at your secret best trout spot too! :-)

  5. Very "Wind in the Willows", right down to your own water rats! Thank you for a lovely tour of your delectable river.

  6. Your right Hermes, maybe I should consider my options.

    Hi Anna, the violets were a surprise, at least the amount of them.

    Cameron, the Coypu is somewhere in between. A bit like a Mink, it was introduced from South America and bred for its fur.

    Hi Frances, nice of you to visit. I nearly fell over when I first viewed the stunning pics on your blog.

    hey D Planter, I suppose it is a bit wind in the willows.

  7. Beautiful spot. I also could spend hours there just watching the water... Unfortunately, right now, I am watching heavy non-stop snow turning green into white...

  8. I wish I were so fortunate to have a natural water feature like your river! I actually enjoy the mowing of our yard but it isn't a 4 hour ordeal. Sometimes I find myself wishing it would take a little longer! Enjoy your secret fishing spot!

  9. Rob you are very lucky to have that beautiful river so close. One of my favorite places in the world is on the river where my Grandfather homesteaded. We still go on a camping trip (homesteader reunion) there every year and I hate to leave.
    Your pictures are beautiful!

  10. What a nice thing to have, a river! I bet the iris do look pretty all in bloom and the violets are such a nice color. I've never heard of a Coypu before, they look a little like a beaver.
    Hope you can keep your fishing spot a secret :) Enjoy your spring weather!!

  11. Most certainly, a bit of Paradise, Rob. And are the iris robust yellow-flag? They look like mine. And do you fly fish? Love trout :)

  12. Tatyana, what can I say, winter's really hanging on for you, sorry.

    Dave, please, please mow my lawns.

    Hi Rain gardener. Rivers are truly magical.

    Catherine, trust me, the trout spot is secret. I keep shtum.

    Joey, yes they're yellow flag Iris. No I don't fly fish. Maybe one day.

  13. Temperatures in the low 20s - now that sounds good reason to be joyous Rob. Oh what beautiful violets - you can't possibly cut the lawn now :) Did you bump into Ratty and Mole on your travels ?

  14. Hi Anna

    Yes, weathers been superb.Ratty and mole? most certainly.

  15. So lovely to have been transported to such an enchanting place via your post.

  16. I love flag iris growing in their indigenous place by the water's edge. My violets, where they are in full sun, are opening too, it's good to know (physiologically) that our zone isn't that far off your southern France location, and as if to prove the point the weathermen expect over 16 °C in London today. Always good to see and read about your locality. Regards F

  17. Your pictures make me want to visit that area even more! One more year!

    The coypu sound like beautiful little creatures, though I'm sure the gardeners there would disagree!

  18. Wow Rob - fantastic photos and what a glorious place to live! My little pond can never compare to your beautiful river - I love rivers, so peaceful (except when full of trout fishermen!).

    We saw lots of coypu last year when we had a week on a narrowboat in southern Brittany - I quite liked them, but then they weren't eating my corn!

  19. I grew up on property that had a creek running through in the woods nearby and I miss that. We live only 1/2 mile from the Tennessee River but we can't see it from our house. I've always wanted to live with a view of water.

  20. Rob, the life you are living sounds more and more like a fairy tale all the time. Except for the lawn mowing part.

  21. Hi Ilona, It's muddy over there, right?

    Hello Fay, not long 'til Paris

    Tim, 2010 it is!

    Hi Gnome, your pond is a Brunel -esque feat. Does that make any sense?

    Phillip, Tennessee river, Is that catfish territory?

    Hi Susan, life here isn't too shabby.

  22. Oh my Rob... what a fantastic feature for your garden having your very own river and river banks through it. Oh... that would be just wonderful and to see the wildlife living there would be fantasic too. I could find myself loosing all sense of time if I were you :-D

    Oh... and I love those violets too. Mm... I would have to have a wildflower meadow along my (imaginary) riverbank ;-)

  23. It all looks and sounds wonderful, Rob...except the 4 hrs. which leave you without the will to live;-) Perhaps you should get a riding mower or robot! (Or is the 4 hrs already w/a riding mower?)

    The river adds ambience and the iris and violets only add to it. I'm glad you have the best kept secret in your neck of the woods! What's for dinner?!

    I'm glad spring has arrived for you!

  24. Such a lovely place in which to live! The violets are beautiful.

  25. You have a beautiful River bank. We have a branch of a local River that runs through our wooded property. I don't get any pretties like these in our section of the water. Of course I should note that we live in once was known as the Black Swamp. YOUR photos are breath taking as always! Happy Spring to you Dear Garden Friend.

  26. Beautiful, Rob! I would be in heaven to live in such a place. I'll bet seeing so many violets is just gorgeous, too. I love violets. My favorites are the Labrador violets, which are considered invasive by many, but for me, it's okay.

  27. How lovely to have a little river, and great that you have your own secret trout spot :)


Post a comment