Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. She was very impressed by this floral hedge which she passed not far from her home.
We had some thought of an expedition today but uncertain feet and a dubious forecast persuaded us that some time spent in the garden while it was still dry would be time well spent.
Mrs Tootlepedal did those things which gardeners do. She planted out Sweet Williams, planted seeds in the greenhouse, planted beetroot seeds in a raised bed, weeded, tended and in general way was productive and busy.
I dead headed, mowed the middle lawn with the blades so high that I barely touched the grass, sieved a very little compost and took some pictures.
There is a little pause just now in the garden when it comes to new delights but old friends are thriving…
…and there are various dicentra on all sides, though the cooler weather seems to have discouraged the bumble bees.
The big euphorbias get more fantastic every week and some little ones are coming to join the fun.
Ferns are unrolling…
…and some shuttlecock ferns in a very shady spot have unfurled completely.
Shrubs are doing their best to add a bit of colour.
But my favourite view of the morning came while I was sitting on the new bench and looking at these tulips.
Mrs Tootlepedal made lightly curried parsnip and carrot soup for lunch (with croutons) and while she was cooking, I watched the birds.
More siskins than ever turned up today and places at the feeder were hard to come by…
…even for other determined siskins.
Once again, some siskins took to the peanuts, a sound policy in my view.
After a while, redpolls turned up. They are determined birds too…
…and one saw a chance to nip in while two siskins were fighting each other.
Another took a calmer view of things while it played a waiting game.
In the afternoon, we went up on to the hill in the hope of seeing some hen harriers but all we saw was some very heavy rain as we had chosen to wrong time for our trip.
Once we decided to go home the rain stopped of course and we could at least get a view across the Tarras Valley…
…but there were still clouds behind us….
…and more in front…
…so we went home anyway.
In the evening, we went down to Canonbie to hear a choir of Ugandan schoolchildren sing in the church there.
The children, most of whom were very young, did tremendously well, singing, dancing and clapping with great vigour. The concert was nearly two hours long, had no interval and was frequently punctuated with appeals for financial support for the religious charity which had brought them over to the UK. This left us with the slightly uncomfortable feeling that the children were perhaps being made to work a bit harder than would have been ideal. Still, we were glad that we had gone to hear them and they sang one beautiful African song which warmed the heart with its harmonies.
The flying bird of the day, taken when the light was poor, is one of the many siskins.