Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent, Paul. He doesn’t have a proper garden he tells me, but he can still grow a lovely rose in a pot. This is Alpine Sunset.
Yesterday’s forecast for today was for a lovely sunny morning followed by a dry but duller afternoon. My plan was to get up fairly early, get in twenty miles cycling in the sunshine and then go for a walk in the afternoon with our visitors.
The plan was not entirely successful as the forecast was not entirely accurate. I did get up quite early and get my cycling in, but there was only one moment of sunshine the whole way round. Still it was warm and dry and the winds were light so I had a good pedal.
The moment of sunshine came as I got to the Hollows and a bright hedge caught me eye at the same time.
There was rosebay willowherb…
…and vibrant rose hips.
The sun had disappeared by the time that I had got round the corner but Hollows Tower still looked good, so I took its picture too.
I only stopped once more. I hadn’t had anything to eat before I set off so I was pleased to come across some ripe and tasty blackberries…
…which fuelled me up for the final three miles.
I got back home in time to wave goodbye to Mrs Tootlepedal, Annie and Evie as they went off for a walk and a shopping trip. By the time that I had had a shower, gone to the corner shop for milk and looked at the crossword, they had returned.
After coffee, Evie, Annie and I went out into the garden. It was hard to miss the many butterflies on the ‘morning’ buddleia.
Most of them were red admirals…
…but there were several small tortoiseshells about too. Alternatives to the buddleia were popular with the tortoiseshells.
It was really good to see a lot of butterflies swirling around above the buddleia, the first time that we have had a small flock of them this year.
It was a bit warmer than it has been lately and there were plenty of other insects about. Indeed, it was quite hard to take a picture of a dahlia without an added insect….
…though I did manage to find one.
You might think that the cheerful pink Japanese anemones would be attracting some pollinators but this one seemed undisturbed.
It was nearly time for lunch by now but I couldn’t leave the garden without another look at the morning buddleia…
…and since it was just after midday, a quick check on the afternoon one too.
It was busy.
As it turned out, I was lucky to have spent some good butterfly time in the garden before lunch because the afternoon was at first gloomy, and then rainy, and then very gloomy, rainy and windy too. That put paid to any thought of a walk. Fortunately today’s stage of the Tour de France was much more interesting than expected. We were quite happy to watch the rain blowing past the window and the cyclists whizzing up the Atlantic coast of France.
I watched the birds for a bit before the light got too bad and we settled down.
There were a lot of siskins about…
…with more waiting in the wings.
Greenfinches occasionally loomed up in a threatening manner….
…while a chaffinch approached much more diffidently.
Mrs Tootlepedal roasted Tony’s splendid aubergine for our tea and we ate it dressed in a tomato sauce, as an accompaniment to salmon and courgettes from the garden. It all made for a delicious meal. Sadly this will be the last evening meal with Annie as she and Evie are heading back to London tomorrow. The house will feel very empty without them.
Maybe we will see some sun to cheer them on their way. It has often been rather rainy while they have been here.
The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.