Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia. It shows another of the garden doors that she met on her visit to the NGS garden at Whatcombe.
Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that we had another sub zero night followed by a very cold morning.
The cold night hadn’t discouraged the hedgehog and our trail camera found him/her pottering about beside the greenhouse at ten o’clock last night.
Although it was cold, it was fairly sunny and dry, and as there was no danger of ice on the roads, I managed to leap up after breakfast and get out for a cycle ride before I had even had a cup of coffee.
I had a quick look round the garden before I left and was pleased to see an insect on a doronicum as they have been very scarce…
…but I was even more pleased to see an orange tip butterfly fluttering about. It kindly settled on a hosta leaf to take in the sunshine, but sadly, it didn’t open its wings fully out. It did open them just enough to show why it is called an orange tip.
In spite of the benign looking views as I headed up towards Callister…
…it was very chilly, especially as I was pedalling into a keen north westerly breeze. My back, with the sun shining on it, was quite warm, but my front was freezing.
Things got better when I changed direction, and I found the wind behind me as I crossed the bridge at Linnbridgeford..
It was a clear day, and I could look across the whole of the county to see Criffel in the distance on the other side of the Nith Estuary.
Things are slowly greening up…
…but there is some way to go before I will be cycling through an all green tunnel at Solwaybank.
I was on the road down to Canonbie when I got a surprise. This was not what I expected to see when I looked across the Solway to the Lake District Hills.
I hope that any walkers on the fells were properly equipped.
Wild flowers in the verges, apart from dandelions, were few and far between so I was stopped in my tracks by a burst of yellow. Disappointingly, it turned out to be a field escape bunch of oilseed rape, but there was a little patch of what I think is stitchwort beside it.
The dandelions were doing a good job of directing cyclists round the corner when I got to Hagg-on-Esk.
In spite of the sunshine, pleasure in the 25 mile ride was modified by the chilly wind and I was pleased to get into the warmth of the kitchen when I got home.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be part of a group escorting a distinguished visitor and his wife up to the moor to have a look around. As she left a sprinkling of rain encouraged me to get the washing in but it didn’t last long.
When she returned, she reported that the party had been caught in a short but heavy snowstorm while they were up there. Not a flake of snow had fallen in the garden while she was gone.
I had been able to watch the birds at the feeder in the dry.
The feeder was busy and a rare great tit visitor got so frustrated that it dived down to get away from the crowd.
Goldfinches wasted time squabbling instead of getting on with eating..
Mrs Tootlepedal’s new willows seemed very acceptable to the birds.
I had a moment to sieve a batch of compost before Mrs Tootlepedal came back and as usual, I had a look around while I was out in the garden.
There is not much progress, but new tulips are coming out from time to time.
…but primula, magnolia and clematis are not doing so well. The primulas keep trying but several heads get knocked back by every frosty night, the magnolia has a lot of flowers but most have brown patches on their petals, and the lone blossom on the garage clematis has not been joined by any others yet.
I keep dead heading the daffodils, but some are lasting well.
And the blackbird keeps singing.
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted him feeding young in the nest which is hidden in the garage clematis today.
The evening turned out to be the best part of the day as far as the weather went. I should have gone for a walk after the sibling Zoom, but I was overcome by that sitting down feeling, and only managed to look at a greenfinch and a sparrow on the feeder pole…
…and admire the neat work that Mrs Tootlepedal has made of the new bed beside the drive.
The mini greenhouse is protecting some self seeded poppies. The rest of the bed is planted with vincas.
Looking at the forecasts it seems that we have got two more chilly nights to come before a spell of definitely warmer weather. On the downside, there is rain in the forecast for every day for the next week. At least things should start to grow. Mustn’t grumble.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch going at full throttle.