Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba’s trip to England. She went down to Hastings on the south coast and was rather surprised to find a reminder of home in the shape of a somewhat morose moose.
Although I had enjoyed my cycle ride up the hill to the bird hide yesterday, the effect of having to push hard to get up the hill hadn’t been kind either to my breathing or my feet so I wisely decided to go nowhere further than the corner shop today.
Luckily there was plenty to look at and quite a bit to do in the garden so I wasn’t bored.
One of the field beans from Mrs Tootlepedal’s green manure planting has avoided being dug in and is flowering merrily and the potatoes are just popping their heads through the soil too.
The front door clematis brings a smile to my face every time I pass it by.
It was sunny again today but not as warm as it has been but new arrivals are still appearing and we saw the first veronica and choisya flowers today.
And the sun has encouraged abundance…
…not least among the alliums.
Not all the good things can be seen from inside the garden and I had to go out onto the road to see two more arrivals, a honeysuckle in the hedge…
…and the first flowers on the rosa Moyesii.
When I went back in I spotted two more new arrivals, a pink aquilegia and a posh geum.
Undoubtedly though, the brightest flower in the garden wasn’t even out yet.
That is the very definition of red in my view.
I didn’t just wander about. I did a little work too. We recently bought a very reasonably priced half moon edging tool from the ever intriguing middle aisle at Lidl in Carlisle and Mrs Tootlepedal and I put it to use in producing some neat edges for the middle lawn.
Mrs Tootlepedal, who really likes a neat edge, was very pleased with the result.
So was I.
Then I got the electric hover mower out and mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass. I often talk about mowing the drying green but I don’t know whether it has ever appeared on the blog before. Here it is….
…not the greatest expanse of grass in the world but sufficient for its purpose.
It has a fringe of nettles and other wild plants in the far corner to encourage insects. Mrs Tootlepedal has a plan to let the grass grow freely and cut a path just wide enough to give access to the whirligig. She intends to plant tulips among the grass so as to make the area decorative as well as useful.
Then I lent a hand as Mrs Tootlepedal fashioned a protective cage for her sweet peas. If our peas and sweet peas are not fully protected, the sparrows nip the tops off the growing plants and they come to nothing. It is very infuriating and gives Mrs Tootlepedal a lot of extra work, but this year she thinks that she has got the peas properly protected.
The pair of blackbirds nesting in the hydrangea are working very hard collecting food and it is rare not to see one or both of them pecking away on the lawn.
Seeing them working away made me think of the front lawn which is still in poor condition so after lunch I got out one of those cheerful packets of soluble fertiliser which promise you a greener lawn in five days and used it.
For once, I believed the advertising hype as nothing could be less green than the front lawn at present so the manufacturers are on a winner here. Mrs Tootlepedal helped by filling one watering can while I sprayed with the other, and in this way the work was soon done.
Over by the compost bins, the rowan is coming along nicely.
I was standing in the drive, thinking quietly about life at one stage of the afternoon when I was nearly run over by the partridge.
It nudge me aside and headed for some fallen seed from the feeder. It didn’t stop long and scuttled off through a neighbour’s hedge.
And that was quite enough activity for the time being, so I went inside and watched horse racing from York on the telly. There were some good races.
Before I settled down, I went upstairs and had a look at the azaleas round the front lawn from a window.
Mrs Tootlepedal has planted some new azaleas and they should add to the picture over the next few years.
This is one of them.
When Mrs Tootlepedal set about cooking our evening meal, I popped out to mow the middle lawn and had to duck my head as I went through the back door to avoid the overhanging clematis there.
The need for all the lawn care and pea protection is because we are going away for a week to frolic by the sea with Matilda. There should be a lot more to see in the garden when we come back (quite apart from a much greener lawn). While we are off, our neighbour Liz is going to feed the birds for me and Mike and Alison are going to keep an eye on the greenhouse and the garden for Mrs Tootlepedal, so things will be well looked after.
There is no flying bird of the day today. This is partly because I didn’t spend a lot of time looking and partly because the chaffinches, which are by far the best at offering flying bird opportunities, have more or less temporarily (I hope) disappeared from the garden.
A blackbird, finding a wheelbarrow full of compost to dig in, is the parental bird of the day instead.