A complete turnaround

fiona's hedgehogs

Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent, Fiona and shows her resident garden hedgehog on the left with one of four new hoglets on the right.  She thinks that the hoglet is three or four weeks old.  We are very envious.

fiona's hedgehogs

We had a slightly cooler but still sunny day.  With our final concert of the season due tomorrow and a brisk breeze blowing, I decided that once again a reasonably restful day would be sensible with the added advantage that it would give me time to keep looking at the songs which we have to learn by heart.

I wasn’t entirely idle.

I started the day with some shopping at the Producers’ Market at the Buccleuch Centre and then went on a bee hunt with my macro lens.  I haven’t by any means mastered using the macro lens and the results tend to be very hit and miss so although I got quite a good fly picture…

fly

…I managed to get a sharper picture of some of the petals of an allium than I did of the bee that I was trying to catch as it approached the flower.

bee and allium

And I managed to take a wonderful picture of the bees knees….

bees knees

…when I was trying to capture its head.

I was sometimes a bit more successful…

bee on azalea

…but I hope that I will get some more sunny days soon to hone my skills.

I had two goes at an orange hawkweed with variable results as well.

orange hawkweed

orange hawkweed

Still, there are obviously a lot of possibilities and I will stick in.

I had a cup of coffee and went back out for more floral fun.

tropaeolum
The tropaeolum has survived the drastic pruning of the yew and is looking promising.

The white spirea is covered in flowers with what look like rather spotty petals…

spirea

…but a closer look shows that the spots are not on the petals but floating on front of them.

spirea

Once again, I am in awe of the amount of varied detail Mother Nature has put into designing her flowers.

On the more colourful side of things, large poppies are popping up….

poppy

…and Lilian Austin has spread her wings.

lilian austin rose

I liked these two irises in a shady corner…

iris

…and in complete contrast, these two Sweet Williams blazing in the sunshine.

sweet williams

I found a snail hanging upside down on the surface of the pond, perhaps trying to keep an eye on the tadpole below.

snail

I quite often see snails like this and I don’t know whether they have had an accident or are just warming themselves in the sunshine.

Two final flowers for the day, an allium on the way out but still looking very pretty…

allium

…and a climbing hydrangea on the way in.  It will soon make up in quantity for what it lacks in individual interest.

hydrangea

After lunch I mowed the middle lawn and the drying green and then settled down to some serious composting work.  I finished sieving the contents of Bin D (the most mature of the bins) and distributed the results on various vegetable beds and then I surprised myself by turning Bin C into the empty Bin D, then Bin B into the empty Bin C and finally Bin A into the empty Bin B.  When I had finished, it all looked like his….

compost Bins

…much like it did before but now with all the compost shifted a metre to the right.  Bin A, on the left, is empty and ready for fresh material to be created by Attila the gardener.

Some people may well wonder why I don’t just leave the compost to rot where it is and stop bothering it all the time.  This is a fair question but then what would I do for fun?

Actually, turning the compost speeds up the decomposition process and beaks up any stubborn layers of material that are refusing to decompose properly and are just sitting half way down the pile in a sullen, soggy lump.  Big systems using continuous turning methods can make compost in seven days.

To add to our composting joy, Mrs Tootlepedal received a gift of three bottles of liquid worm compost from Mike Tinker’s wormery.

worm pee
In a suitably ecological way, she collected it by bicycle.

Suitably diluted, this is very good stuff to add to the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a bee with a prominent proboscis.

flying bee

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “A complete turnaround

  1. I was working with compost yesterday. I hope yours wasn’t as wet and heavy as ours was. We’ve been getting 2-3 inches of rain each week for a while now.
    That’s a nicely crinkled poppy and Lillian Austin shines like the sun.
    Great shot of the fly.

    1. The only reason that I could shift all three bins was because the compost was pretty light. We have had hardly any rain lately and Bin B has a cover on it so all was good on the shifting front. The compost wasn’t dried up though, it was just moist enough.

  2. Persevere with that macro lens, I love the results. Thanks for including the photograph of the hoglet, I had never seen one before and didn’t know that was what you called a baby hedgehog.

      1. I find manual focussing a bit of a problem as it takes me so long to do that the subject has often found better things to do than pose for me.

  3. The bee’s knees – love it! I’ve started stalking bees in the garden – I try to catch them as they are backing out of the flowers and too busy to notice me. Great post, tootlepedal.

    1. We are rather short of bees at the moment. It really helps to have a lot of them and some nice warm weather so that you get plenty of goes at getting a bee shot right.

  4. I admire your compost vigilance. I just let mine sit and encourage it verbally. Love your bee photos–especially the last one.

  5. I also have trouble with macro photography and like SueBee and Kat my problem is most likely my eyesight! Very nice flower and bee photography indeed!

  6. The hedgehogs are sweet little creatures. Beautiful photos from your Newcastle correspondent, Fiona.

    Glad to see you have bees. There were far fewer this spring here, which has us concerned.

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