A sign of the times

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “A sign of the times

  1. Quite surprising to see snow on the lakeland hills..could it be Helvellyn?
    Lovely shot of Linnbridgeford.
    Solwaybank tunnel looks inviting even only half green.😊
    The orange tipped butterfly is one I have seen before,very nice.

    1. They have arrived at the same time as the Lady’s smock is out whihc is good as it is a favourite with them.

      That was Skiddaw in the picture. They were skiing on Helvellyn yesterday!

  2. Nothing like a warm kitchen after braving the elements. Everything is looking crisp and clean at your place. Hope the distinguished visitors were appropriately attired

    1. We are happy with the results of the work on the drive. We will have to pay attention and keep it looking neat.

      I think hedgehogs eat worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs and millipedes so the garden is not at risk.

  3. It is good to hear your hedgehog is doing well.

    It has been cold there! I was amazed by the photos of the lake District hills. That looks like frosting we see in our Cascade Mountain Range at this time of year, in the upper elevations. I wonder if Scotland will have a year without a proper summer?

    1. The Lake District hills are at 3000ft maximum.

      It wouldn’t be the first time by a long chalk that Scotland hasn’t had a good summer but we have someway to go before summer comes.

  4. I think to be out cycling early in the morning is the best time, of all, to cycle. Things have been greening up down here as well, and the bluebells and daffodils are everywhere. That hedgehog of yours seems to be doing very well. No sign of the visitor we had a couple of nights ago. I meant to say what a beautiful picture, you shared with us in your post yesterday. It was the one looking back along the Baggra track, if memory serves me right. I thought it was fabulous. That tarmac track along the Solway Bank as you call it, is it a cycle path or a single lane road? Well I managed to do the exercises my physiotherapist gave me to do, yesterday. Couldn’t do as many reps as he instructed on a couple, because they were too painful, and doing them has left me very stiff this morning. But the effort of getting all the pedalling to nowhere kit set up in the conservatory plus the soreness of my knee prevented me from having a spin. But, at least, I have started doing something positive to getting back to work and lots, I hope, of tootling, similar to yours. My SwytchBike conversion kit is currently still moored up in Rotterdam, so still has to clear customs, hopefully, brexit delays won’t be too long. Cheers.

    1. Early in the morning is better when it is above 4 degrees! The Solwaybank road is a single track road and I occasionally meet motor traffic along it.

      I am glad that you have got started on your physio regime. I hope that it works well for you.

      I am really sorry about your SwytchBike.

  5. (Lake district hills) Could it be that your southern neighbour is showing you a cold shoulder?

  6. Still a lot of snow in may…. Nice to see but not realy what you would expect in spring.
    Your bike trip brought us some great pictures.

  7. Lovely photos from your cycle ride especially the snowy mountains…didn’t think I’d be writing that in May! Good to see the hedgehog is still out and enjoying the garden at night. The tulips are doing well not sure if its the frost, rain or wind but the petals have fallen off ours! The drive looks great- it’s a good feeling when a plan works out so well.

    1. The puddles weren’t too bad when it rained so we were relieved about that.

      The snow was a bit of a shock to me. I saw that they were skiing on Helvellyn yesterday!

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