Today’s guest picture comes from none other than Mrs Tootlepedal herself. She has been going round the garden taking pictures with her tablet for her records so that she can remember what the garden looked like this year when she is planning for next year. This is her view of the front garden.
It was another in our series of generally grey July days, though it was quite warm enough for coffee outside, and working in the garden was a pleasure.
Mrs Tootlepedal was out and about pretty smartly after breakfast, but I listened to a radio programme on education and did the crossword before I joined her.
Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy trimming hedges and box balls, so I thought that I should do my bit and trimmed the two large box balls at the end of the front lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal cleared off some intrusive plants from in front of the two roses behind the balls and the results look pretty neat. The canes indicate where sunflowers will appear later in the season.
There are still more hedges to go.
The trimming took quite a bit of time, and we had our coffee break with Margaret in the middle of the job. As always, I had my camera in my pocket and took a moment to look at roses before coffee. Mrs Tootlepedal transplanted our Golden Syllabub, and we are very pleased to see that it has come into flower in its new spot. It takes pride of place on the top left corner of the panel below among some old friends.
After coffee, I finished the trimming and started on some dead heading. And took some more pictures.
A small tortoiseshell butterfly landed in front of me at one point, the first butterfly for some time to be seen on the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal is improving the soil in a vegetable garden bed by growing some big white and red clover in it.
Another of the striking red double poppies has appeared, and along with the campanulas, Icelandic poppies and alstroemeria, it is contributing to a good range of bright colours at the moment.
There was a bit more of a buzz about the garden today though there are not as many bees as there should be by any means. A new coral peony has come out and the snapdragons are developing well . . .
After lunch, we managed to get organised enough to drive down to England to see our friend Sue, whom we haven’t seen for well over a year. This would be our first visit to someone outside Langholm since March of last year.
Our arrival caused a bit of a stir among the locals.
Sue is in the middle of building works and we arrived just as some sand blasting was going on. It was a bit like a storm in the Sahara in her garden, so we took refuge indoors, and over tea and biscuits caught up with her news.
When the sand blaster had left, we had a walk round her garden. I particularly liked a cheerful poppy and a very fine astrantia.
Sue lives on the edge of the fells above Talking Tarn in north Cumbria, and there is plenty of good walking on her area. She took us on a two mile circular walk along the quiet lanes outside her door.
She is a great wild flower enthusiast, and if we had stopped to look at every flower and grass that we passed, we would still be there now. As it was, we stopped and looked at a lot, starting with a very blue flower which is somewhat oddly called a green alkanet. It appears in the panel below along with valerian, a hawkweed of some kind, and a wild red currant.
Sue’s walk took is through the village of Talkin and up quite a steep but mercifully short hill. From the top of the hill, we could enjoy the view . . .
. . . which was good in spite of conditions being a bit misty today.
On the nearest hilltop, a group of stone cairns stood against the horizon.
You might easily think that these were ancient structures with some deep religious significance, but they are quite recent and have been erected stone by stone by local walkers in an arbitrary way and are still growing.
As we looked at the stone cairns, more surprised locals looked at us.
While we went round the walk, we got occasional opportunities to look down to Talkin Tarn which lay below us. I took several pictures of the tarn but as they don’t fit easily into my usual square panels, I have put four of them in a little gallery. If you want to look at the top three at full size, you will have to take the time to click on one and scroll through the others.
Mrs Tootlepedal and Sue talked learnedly about the flowers . . .
. . . and grasses . . .
and I took pictures of them.
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a dead tree which had definitely seen better days.
It was a delightful walk along picturesque lanes and we took our time going round, enjoying the wild flowers and the gently rolling countryside.
Not all the locals were surprised to see us. Some were too busy eating to notice us at all.
Almost the last thing we saw before getting back to the house was this red hawthorn, something that I have never seen before.
When we got back, Sue entertained us with more tea and biscuits, and then we drove gently home, conserving as much of Zoe’s energy as was compatible with not holding up the traffic.
It was great to go out to visit a friend after all this time, and we hope that Sue can come and visit us soon.
Between the gardening in the morning and the visiting in the afternoon, I didn’t have any time to look at the bird feeder so there is no flying bird today. A siskin is sitting in.