Nature’s choicest gifts

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who saw a neatly thatched house recently.

Unusually, we didn’t wake up to a sunny morning and it was slightly cooler than it has been. We were grateful.

We spent the morning in the garden, with a break to go across the road to have a cup of coffee with Liz and Margaret in Lizzie’s garden.

We have decided to have a go at clearing out the pond and I made a start this morning at taking away some of the surplus water lily leaves. This revealed a great number of flowers which had been hidden from us before, and it also showed us that the pondweed has tiny flowers which we’d never noticed.

It is a major task and it will take some time to get it completed. In the meantime I wandered around the garden taking pictures of flowers in between sieving compost, dead heading, and watering.

Although there are still no butterflies, we have plenty of bees and I could see them today on a lupin , a melancholy thistle, and trapped in a Snapdragon . The dahlias continue to develop and French marigolds are very bright . . .

. . . and I have included a moss rose and a philadelphus as they are getting near the end of their time, while snapdragons, vinca and feverfew caught the camera’s attention too. I found three of the white dahlias all pointing the same way today.

When I went in for lunch, I took a moment to watch the birds, and as well as the usual siskins, there were quite a few sparrows about today.

After lunch I decided that it would be good to have a walk after several days of cycling.


The first verse of the song Bonnie Langholm, which we sang in the church yesterday, includes these lines:
“Stream and woodland, hill and valley, nature’s choicest gifts are thine. Like a wreath of glory round thee, gems of beauty rich entwine.”

I thought that in what should have Common Riding week, I ought to pick a walk to illustrate the truth of these words by D J Beattie.

I started along a stream. To tell to the truth, it is really a river, but the Esk is so low that it is more of a stream just now. A reader asked if the ducks and gulls were still around when the water is so low. There are some.

As I walked up the path past the Lamb Hill and onto the hill road, there were many of nature’s choicest gifts on hand, harebells, fireweed, ferns and perennial nasturtium, not to mention a really big thistle.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t really a day for views, being cloudy and rather hazy, but as the song mentions hills, I took a few pictures anyway, including a shot of the golf course just to make Dropscone happy..

And there were more of those choice gifts of nature on the hill too.

I walked along the quarry track past Whita Well, leapt nimbly over the style, and then went very carefully down the hill and into the woods into the valley below. The sun chose this moment to come out, and as it was quite hot, I was grateful for the shade provided by the oak trees.

As I went down the path beside Jenny Noble’s Gill, more gifts were to be found, including potential blackberries and striking longhorn beetle.

The only thing missing was Jenny Noble’s Gill itself as it has run completely dry.

I walked back to town along the banks of the Esk, taking in fine verbascums, much straighter than the one in our garden (now deceased), large clumps of the pretty but invasive Himalayan Balsam, and a patch of marsh woundwort.

It was so hot when I got back to the town, that I was fortunate to be able to pop into John’s shop just before it closed and purchase two large choc ices. I shared these with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got home. She had been busy in the garden andwas quite pleased to cool down too.

I felt that in the course of my five miles, I had met the challenge to visit hill and valley, stream and woodland and enjoy many of nature’s choicest gifts on the way.

We had another helping of roasted kohlrabi with our evening meal, and we are not at all unhappy to find that we have several more still growing well in the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow . . .

. . . and the flower of the day is that tall dahlia, smiling in the sunshine when I got back from my walk.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Nature’s choicest gifts

  1. I’d say you certainly lived that first verse.
    The fern spore cases and the bell heather were nice to see and it looks like some of your most beautiful dahlias are coming along.
    Good luck with the pond. Lots of hands and knees work, usually.

  2. I was interested to see your mention about the butterflies not having shown up yet. We’ve noticed the same thing, despite the garden being filled with all the flowers that usually attract them.

  3. Really good idea to illustrate the poetry as it provided a most enjoyable selection of beautiful photos. Good to see the few ‘water’ birds and good eye sight spotting that longhorned beetle! Just the day for a walk through the oak trees- looked lovely.

  4. A beautiful, though hot day there, and the flowers are still exploding color everywhere. That massive old oak along the trail caught my eye. It reminds me of one that grew in the woods near my childhood home. It was a favorite tree.

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