From little acorns . . .

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She was passed by this fine vehicle as she was walking home from the village of Street.

We had a somewhat cooler, much greyer, and just as windy day today, but fortunately, it stayed driy as Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to Broomholmshiels to join Kat and the the volunteer team helping in the Tarras valley Nature Reserve.

We were set the task of spotting and marking any oak seedlings we could find among the old oaks in Longwood.

We set to work . . .

. . . and although I had thought that this might stretch my capabilities to the limit, once we had got our eye in . . .

. . .we found and marked about 100 seedlings in a remarkably short time.

The purpose of the exercise was to spot the seedlings while the grass and the bracken are short. The seedlings won’t survive where they are under the thick cover of the old oaks, so they will be transplanted. However, they can’t be transplanted at this time of year. The team will be able to spot the markers and dig up the seedlings in the winter, and then replant them elsewhere on the reserve.

As we walked back to the cars, bluebells on the open hillside showed where old woods had been cut down in the past.

When we got home, we had a cup of coffee and a blackbird posed for me.

After coffee, we trimmed the grass along the dam, and then Mrs Tootlepedal did some work in the garden, and I wandered about. I noticed that the oak seedlings from local acorns that Mrs Tootlepedal is growing in her cold frame are coming along very well.

They will be planted out too.

I spotted some new flowers, geranium, Limnanthes douglasii (poached egg flower), peony and Sweet William . . .

. . . and some old friends, azalea, choisya, ceanothus and astrantia.

The cow parsley is blooming marvellous!

I went in and looked back out at the birds, and found a redpoll perched on the willow twigs.

The twigs are thriving and will make an excellent shelter for the bird feeder.

After lunch, I had another look at the bird feeder and found mixed company . . .

. . .and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her stitching group, I felt strong enough to brave the very brisk winds and go for a twenty mile pedal round my Canonbie route. I went the ‘wrong’ way round again, getting as much shelter as I could while pedalling into the wind. It was very grey but I stopped for a few pictures as I went round.

The natural rhododendrons are coming out . . .

. . . and some of the hawthorns are sensational. This one has a horse chestnut in the background.

Some of the farmers have already taken a cut of silage off the fields, and the birds were busy looking for worms.

I saw clover, crosswort and hawkbit in the verges . . .

. . . but the most interesting thing that I encountered was this pine.

I have passed this way many times and never noticed it before. It was hard to miss today.

I have no idea what sort of pine it is and would welcome suggestions. Google thinks that it might be Pinus Massoniana, a native of Taiwan!

I got back just as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her stitching, and we had a cup of tea. The weather was getting gloomier and gloomier, so I had a last look round the garden before the rain started.

The veronica is starting to show a few flowers . . .

. . . and the shy clematis by the front door is opening up a little.

My two oldest sisters have been on jaunts lately, one with my brother, and we got hair raising tales of travel excitement from them in our regular Zoom meeting in the evening. The oddest was from my sister Mary. She was waiting on a platform for a train which, when it came, whizzed through the station without stopping. General consternation!

Our changeable and windy weather is set to continue for a few days, so I am glad that I managed to get a windy bike ride in today. There may have to be more battles with the elements next week.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin, considerably brightened up in the photo editor.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “From little acorns . . .

  1. I’m intrigued to know if Mary’s train backed up to the station when ‘it’ realused its mistake. Or, otherwise, how inconvenienced she was. I shall ask her when we meet up next weekend!

  2. I like that geranium. I’ve never seen one like it.
    I’ve never seen a pine tree like that one either. It reminds me of a red pine which has course needles like those are but I don’t think that’s it.
    Finding seedlings must have been a lot easier than planting them.

      1. Those are the male pollen cones of a pine tree that aren’t releasing pollen yet. A red pine has two needles per bundle and counting the number of needles per bundle is one way to help with pine identification. White pines have 5 per bundle.

  3. I am interested in the oak transplanting process – a good idea to mark the seedlings now. From the markers it seems they are too close to each other to survive anyway, so it will be good to transplant them further away from each other.

    1. The fact that all the seedlings that we found were new shows that they won’t survive if they are left to themselves. There is not enough light and too much competition.

  4. The rhododendron and hawthorns are looking very beautiful as summer approaches. The oak project is admirable. Good luck with transplanting those seedlings this winter.

  5. โ€‹I’ve found that routine of ‘getting an eye in’ to be remarkable. It works for lots of things… How nice to be transplanting oaks where they are needed. โ€‹

  6. Very interesting about replanting the oak seedlings. Isn’t it amazing how the bluebells persist after their host wood has long disappeared. The hillsides here have been seas of blue. These hillsides have long been farmed for sheep. I would guess the woods that covered them were felled well over 100 years or more.

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