Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent, Paul. He has been having a holiday in the Lake District and enjoyed a scented azalea garden with an enormous pieris.
I had a full day today and some lovely summer weather to go with it. At the moment we getting very friendly temperatures, warm but not too hot, and often with a cooling breeze on hand. We could do with some rain for the garden but, as they say, you can’t have everything.
The day started with a disappointment. The overnight camera showed that cats had once again managed to evade Mrs Tootlepedal’s security system and entered the garage overnight. When Mrs Tootlepedal checked, there was no sign of the hedgehog or any young in the garage at all. Whether they have just moved out because the intrusions of the cats or whether the babies have fallen victim to the predators is not clear, but it is clear that hopes of seeing a hedgehog family in the garage are over.
Things could only get better after that.
I had a look round the garden before coffee.
A young blackbird was looking as though it was time that someone turned up with something for it to eat.
The red peony is lovely . . .
. . . and a choisya has come out in the bed at the top of the middle lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal is not happy with the state of its leaves but it is flowering well.
I was relieved to find that there were more bees about today, poking about . . .
. . . and getting stuck in.
We had coffee in the garden with Sandy today as Margaret had gone to Carlisle. Sandy is going off on a holiday in England at the end of this week and he was looking forward to it a lot. We are still trying to make up our minds as to whether we should go to London to see Evie, our granddaughter.
In the garden, the care of youngsters was very much to the fore with sparrows and blackbirds getting looked after. I enjoyed a little cameo on the feeder pole by a pair of starlings. It is to be read clockwise from the top left corner.
I had time for another wander round the garden before going to the shop for supplies.
Colourful corners are well established . . .
. . . and the alliums are now nearly all spherical.
On the drying green, the yellow rattle is breaking into flower…
…which is part of Mrs Tootlepedal’s plan for a mini wild flower meadow. Yellow rattle is a parasite which should weaken the grass and give space for other wild flowers to grow.
Lupins are getting bigger and better very day, both the blue . . .
. . . and the white.
I cycled round to the shop past the church, and saw that work on repairing the bell tower has begun.
The metalwork in the tower is in poor shape but the right people seem to have been hired to get the repairers up to the job.
I checked on the birds in the vegetable garden and on the feeder when I got back.
The good weather has been causing me to take far too many pictures and I took far too many again today, so I apologise for an extended post. It is hard to throw them all away.
After lunch, a cheese sandwich with a dressing of Mrs Tootlepedal’s home made vintage green tomato chutney, I went out for a pedal.
After yesterday’s trip with Mrs Tootlepedal, I decided to start in the same direction, but instead of turning left at the top of the first hill, I kept going and pedalled on to Claygate and then went to Harelaw. The verges were full of wild flowers . . .
…and the fields were full of hawthorns.
When I got to Harelaw, I looked over into England across the valley of the Liddle Water . . .
. . . and then plunged down the hill to the bridge that marks the border.
I had hoped to wander around taking pictures but quite a number of people had got there before me so I took some quick shots and got on my bike and puffed my way up the steep hill on the English side.
At the top of the hill, and some way from the actual bridge, is the Bridge Inn, and this had a handy sign showing me what I had missed.
Instead of going straight down the road to Longtown from the Inn, I tacked across country on some very minor back roads, enjoying the scenery and the peace and quiet.
I had stopped to check on the map when I saw a strange looking flower on a stalk. I thought that it was some sort of grass but research tells me that it is Common Bistort.
Common Bistort, P. bistorta, is a vigorous rhizomatous perennial growing to 1m tall. I knew that you would want to know that. It is very pretty.
I enjoyed the north Cumbrian roads on both sides of Longtown and I add some illustrations without further comment.
I was just back across border near Milltown of Sark, when I saw this fine meadow of buttercups.
I came back to Wauchope Schoolhouse across the hill so that I could get three miles of downhill, downwind riding to end my trip and at the same time check to see how the local hawthorns are doing.
Quite well, was the answer.
I got back after thirty two slow, hilly but enjoyable miles in time for a cup of tea and a shower before the regular sibling zoom.
An already good day was then made even better by an hour of playing flute, cello and piano trios with my friends Isabel and Mike. I have been practising a bit, and while far from perfect, I played a bit better than I did at our first go last week.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin…