Today’s guest picture comes from my New York correspondent, MaryJane. She was out walking when she saw a cormorant and several weed covered turtles beside a duckweed filled pond.
As had been forecast, we had another grey day here. It had a tendency to start to drizzle every time we went into the garden. However, as it tended to stop again soon afterwards, we spent quite a lot of the morning gardening, and in my case, taking photographs too.
Before I went out, I filled the feeder and checked on the birds. There was not a lot of traffic . . .
. . . but Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a pigeon that looked a class above our usual visitors . . .
. . . and when it moved its foot, we could see that it was a ringed homing pigeon having a rest on its way home.
It hoovered up all the fallen seed it could find under the feeder and went on its way.
In the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal was wielding the shears with abandon, and many underperforming plants bit the dust. I ferried the remains to the compost bin and chopped them up to speed up the decomposition.
In between times, I looked for new flowers and found quite a few. Spelling checks were required in some cases such as alstroemeria . . .
. . . and leycesteria . . .
. . . and antirrhinum, though I could manage French Marigold quite well without help.
Mrs Tootlepedal is worried that our Martagon lilies are not doing as well as they should. They look OK to me . . .
. . . but they are not lasting as they should, and Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the soil is not right for them. I nod my head wisely.
We have another lily out at the moment, but it requires an eagle eye to see it, as it is completely hidden in the back border and other plants needed to be held aside for me to get a view of it.
I took the opportunity to shift some of the compost in Bin B into Bin C. I was interested to find out how well the cardboard which we have been adding to the compost has been rotting down. The answer was, pretty well. More will be added to the fresh stuff in Bin A to get variety into the mix.
There were new roses out as well as plants with tricky names. Bobbie James has put out the first few of many flowers . . .
. . . and the rose always known as ‘that little red rose in the corner’ has put out flowers too. It is the one in the top left corner of a panel of otherwise familiar roses.
Crown Princess Margareta had flowers today which neatly show her progression from youngster to mature princess.
A new lupin has arrived . . .
. . . and I completed my photographic morning with a shot of Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite white foxgloves.
I recently sharpened and tightened the garden shears and Mrs Tootlepedal was so pleased by the result that she gave one of our box balls a neat haircut.
Along with the garden activity, I managed to fit in a visit to the corner shop where I paid my bill, a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal (Margaret was on a visit to Carlisle today), and a most enjoyable crossword all before lunch.
When I looked at the birds after lunch, there was still not much action, but I did note that several of the willow withies that Mrs Tootlepedal stuck into the ground to proved shelter round the feeder have rooted very well . . .
. . . although some have not, as this sparrow showed when it perched on a bare twig.
Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to watch today’s stage of the Tour de France, but I resisted the temptation and went for a cycle ride of my own. The forecast was a bit equivocal about the possibility of rain but it was fairly warm and the wind was very light, so I put a rain jacket in my pannier and set off.
It turned out the rain was a bit equivocal itself, and although it drizzled for twenty three of my thirty three miles, I didn’t have to get my rain jacket out until I had done fifteen, and I was able to put it away again after another ten miles.
A lot of the verges remain uncut so there were many chances to stop and take pictures of wild flowers. I didn’t want to get my camera wet so I only took a few of the chances.
I saw agrimony not long after I had set out . . .
. . . and meadowsweet all along my ride.
I couldn’t pass the Korean pines at Half Morton without another look at the cones . .
. . . and while I was there, I photographed the steps over the wall which let visitors into the church without letting the minister’s sheep out of the churchyard.
The rain stopped as I left Half Morton and the roads dried up so the last part of my trip was most enjoyable. The verges on the old A7, very little used now since the new road past Auchenrivock was built, are rich in wild flowers . . .
. . . but the highlight of the outing was a grand display of orchids along the Canonbie by-pass. This was one of the best.
When I got home, the stage of the Tour was over but Mrs Tootlepedal was kind enough to wind back the final kilometres which she had just watched so that I could share in another win for the remarkable Mark Cavendish. He pedals quite a lot more quickly than I do.
More potatoes, beans and turnips from the garden added flavour to our evening meal, and that brought a cheerfully active day that contrasted with the rather gloomy weather to a satisfactory conclusion.
I simply couldn’t catch a decent flying bird today so readers will have to settle for a flower of the day, but it is a good one in my view.