Some automatic watering at last

King's Place Swans

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan, who while having a cup of coffee with my sister Mary beside the canal at King’s Place, was entertained by two swans.

King's Place Swans

We spent a lot of the day waiting for it to rain.  It is very rare to find Mrs Tootlepedal roaming the garden saying, “Come on, rain!”  Usually she is to be found indoors looking out of the window saying, “Please stop raining.”  It has been a very unusual spell of weather.

We started the morning by going to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre.  It was enhanced by people selling plants today and while I bought fish and meat, Mrs Tootlepedal bought a meconopsis and two geums.

Then we went home and waited for the promised rain.  We put in a lot of work while we were waiting.  Mrs Tootlepedal did planting out of her purchases and other seedlings from the greenhouse, some weeding and endless improvements to the soil.  I mowed the middle lawn and edged it too.  Then  I sieved some compost….

sieved compost

…which finally cleared out Bin D.  Then, in an exciting development, I shifted the material in Bin C into Bin D.  I must say that the weather has been kind to the compost and it doesn’t look as though I will have to wait long before starting to sieve the new intake.

Compost Bins C and D

I also took time off from these labours to wander around taking pictures.

We are not short of strong colours…

azaleas and rhodie


icelandic poppy

…but there are more delicate shades to be seen too.




I really feel grateful to my camera for making me look closely at flowers that might only have merited a swift glance from me not so long ago.  I would never have realised how intricate a lupin flower is and how beautiful an astrantia can be….and a bunch of chives would just have been a bunch of chives and not a carpet of jewels.

I stepped out of the front gate and went round to the dam.  A party of sparrows was enjoying a swimming outing.

sparrows on dam

A second oriental poppy has come out.  It is hard to beat for sheer impact on the eye.

oriental poppy

At the corner of the house, a fuchsia has been flowering for many years.  It got a bit sick last year and I wondered if it had come to the end of the road.  However, although it is not looking fully fit, it has got a lot of flowers on it once again.


We think the the blackbirds might be starting a second family as they seem to be busy.


The clematis round the back door is at its peak…

back door clematis

…but splendid as it is, I am tending to appreciate the more modest front door clematis even more.

front door clematis

We are getting into the rose season and the Rosa Moyesii has been joined by Roseraie de l’Hay, newly purchased this year by the head gardener.

Rosa Moyesii and Roseraie de l'Hay

From time to time, I needed a quiet sit on the new bench and this gave me a chance to consider the curiosities of perspective.


The green patch in the foreground on the lawn has been created by Mrs Tootlepedal who who is employing little by little stealth fertilising tactics behind my  back.

The rain finally arrived in the afternoon, starting so weakly that we thought that it would come to nothing.  But as time went by, the intensity increased and by tea time, we were enjoying exactly the steady light watering that we would have ordered.  The forecast says that it should rain gently for most of tonight and tomorrow and then we should return to fine dry weather.  The garden will be most grateful if this is true.

The rain will do no harm at all to the fruit and veg which has been enjoying the warmth..

apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry and peas

The blackcurrants are looking very perky and Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress has successfully kept the sparrows at bay.  The apples are looking good and the gooseberry hasn’t got the sawfly yet.  What could possibly go wrong?

While it was just gently drizzling, I went upstairs and took some general views of the garden as I know some readers like to see these as the seasons change.  I took the three ‘rooms’ from left to right.

Front lawn from above
Left: The front garden, home to the azaleas
Middle lawn from above
Centre: The middle garden with the new bench
Veg garden from above
Right: The vegetable garden looking busy.

Because the plum tree obscures some of the middle garden, I took a picture of the hedge that divides the two rooms from a different angle.  Ally’s Allium Alley runs along behind the back hedge past the rhododendrons.

Azaleas from above

And I looked down on the little flower garden round the chimney pot where the bird feeder is.


sundial garden from above

The sharp eyed will be able to spot the new bright red geum that Mrs Tootlepedal bought this morning just in front of the green box ball.

This is a good time of year.

We both had to spend some time looking at the songs for the summer concert of the Carlisle Community Choir which takes place tomorrow.  This will be the final time that we will be taken by our excellent conductor Andrew, who is moving on. As a farewell gift, he is making us do four of the songs from memory. …with gratuitous clapping in two of them.

I did find time to catch a flying bird of the day but as the light wasn’t very good by the time that I came indoors and set the camera up, it is a rather fuzzy siksin.

flying siskin


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Some automatic watering at last

  1. Your garden is wonderful, both in closeup and from more distant views. What a lot of determination and hard work from the gardener, ably assisted by her second in command.

  2. The “crumpled paper” texture of the oriental poppy is remarkably lovely, and the finished compost is very fine, in all senses of the word.

    Like Mrs. T, we have been asking for rain. It’s been so dry in areas of the prairies that some farmers have reportedly stopped seeding until we get some moisture. The past two days have been grey and wet, though, and much welcomed – certainly on Fifteenth Street!

    1. I was looking back to June in 2011 and we had a drought then but I can’t think of such a long dry spell since so this has been an oddity for us. I am glad that you have got the rain you needed.

  3. I agree, the camera can make you see like you’ve never seen before.
    The gardens and lawns are as amazing as ever and I’d bet that it;s all thanks to hard work and that beautiful compost.
    Lawns are burning up and even tough plants are wilting here, with a 2.5 inch rain deficit, so you’re lucky to have rain. They say our turn will come Monday.

  4. Exciting compost update!

    Your garden is extraordinary from above. The veg garden is much bigger than I had pictured.

    I would love a rain like yours. We have been dry for what seems like a month and might get rain tomorrow.

  5. Fabulous, fabulous gardens. As for gentle rain…a gardener’s dream. All too often lashing rains come to beat down the flowers, and I am afraid that is what will happen to my irises, which are just coming into bloom.

      1. Wonderful! It is our turn for rain, which we need very much. Hope it’s as well behaved as yours.

  6. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, if my lawns and gardens looked like yours, I’d have a hard time ever leaving home!

    You’re right about the camera being able to show us things that we overlook otherwise, and you’re so lucky to be able to step outside and shoot excellent photos of so many flowers, or look out the window to see the wider views.

  7. It’s lovely to see your garden rooms from above…they all look beautiful. It’s great to see all the flowers individually as well and as you say to see them in such detail is an extra bonus. The clematis over your entrance doors look really pretty . Watering tonight has taken two hours….what strange weather we are having it the UK!

    1. Strange is not the world for this year. I feel that in spite of the present good spell, ominous is a more fitting term. However all this is short term worry and the long term is looking very worrying so I am just enjoying the sunshine while I can.

  8. All of the flowers and the gardens are simply spectacular! I am also grateful to my camera for making me look so much closer to all of nature’s creations. It’s simply wonderful to become more aware.

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