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Posts Tagged ‘Allium’

Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s visit to Knightshayes.  There were animals everywhere.

knightshayes

Yesterday had left my legs feeling rather elderly so I was quite pleased to spend most of the morning sitting quietly in the Welcome to Langholm office.

I took a picture of the two roses beside the path from the front lawn before I went up to the town.

Lilian Austin

Lilian Austin

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren

I was working away at the Langholm Archive Group newspaper index, largely untroubled by having to welcome any visitors in the office. The only downside of this quiet spell was that it was extremely warm so just sitting there felt like quite hard work.  It did give my legs a break though so I mustn’t grumble.

I spent the afternoon pottering about in the garden watching Mrs Tootlepedal work.  I sieved a bucket or two of compost and was pleased to find that it was in good condition.  It has been so warm that I set the sprinkler onto both the front and the middle lawn.

In between times, I tried to turn the bright sunlight into a photographic bonus rather than a hindrance.  The roses drew me to them.

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren at lunch time

golden syllabub

A young Golden Syllabub

golden syllabub

And a grown up

We have been visited by royalty.

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

She leads a complex inner life

Things caught my eye as I passed them…

allium

geranium

…on my way between roses.

A new clematis has joined the party.

clematis

The butter and sugar iris is doing well…

butter and sugar iris

…which Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased about this as she transplanted them and that is always a risky business.

The Rosa Complicata is bursting with flowers.

Rosa complicata

The new petunia is in the greenhouse waiting for a home…

petunia

…and you can probably see why it attracted Mrs Tootlepedal’s attention.

The peonies are in various states of dress and  undress.

peony

peony

The white ones offer bees every chance of a profitable visit.

In the evening, Luke came for his flute lesson and we battled away in the heat without making much progress but as always, it was enjoyable to play a duet with him. He had been playing for the old folk yesterday and told me that his performance had been received well.

I was hoping to go for a pedal in the evening again but couldn’t summon up the energy as it was still pretty warm and my legs, when consulted,  were against unnecessary exercise.  They are much improved after a day of rest though.

The flying bird of the day is a bee which is definitely not flying any more as it has fallen victim to a spider lurking among the astrantia.

spider and bee

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Devon where they make walls in their own particular way.

Devon wall

I was expecting to retire to bed at my usual time last night and to get up in the morning to be greeted by what would be, from my point of view at least, a rather depressing election result but we turned on the the telly late in the evening to get the exit poll result and it was so unexpected that I found myself still sitting glued to the telly seven hours later at 5.30 in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cracked and gone off at 3.30 but I stayed up until the final result was almost certain.  For those interested in this sort of thing, I chiefly watched the ITV election coverage and it was excellent; calm, with no gimmicks, with excellent guests and with a pleasingly light and un-portentous touch….and much to my surprise for a commercial channel, with no interruptions for advertisements all night.

As far as the results went, my feelings were mixed.  On the whole though, I am quite pleased that the results both in Scotland and the UK in general look as though they might force politicians to pay a little more attention to the voters and a little less to their own MPs, financial backers and media barons so that should be a good thing.  Readers of the blog from abroad can have no notion of how truly terrible much of the British press is, with no commitment to balance, truth, fairness or even the well being of its readers. If this election has knocked a little bit off the influence of the press barons, that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, getting up after only three hours sleep meant that I have been a bit tired and emotional today and I even turned down the chance of treacle scones as I was still in my dressing gown at coffee time and, in the end, only got dressed after lunch.

When I did get dressed, it was into my cycling clothes though and I went out for a 27 mile gentle spin up and down the road to Cleuchfoot in a brisk wind, stopping for photo opportunities.

There was still plenty of water in the Wauchope……

bessie bell's cascade wauchope water

My favourite cascade

…and in the Bigholms Burn too.

Bigholms Burn and Logan Water

Bigholms Burn joining Logan Water

When I went down to see the cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I passed a small group of friends hobnobbing.

flower with flies

A popular meeting spot

The wind  wasn’t quite as strong as two days ago and I got a better shot of a wild iris as a result.

wild iris

This little ride took me over 2000 miles for the year and in spite of a very light cycling month in June so far, I am on schedule for my annual target.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden and I took a walk round to look at the results of her work.

The pale peonies are just getting going.

peony

peony

And there are more still to come.

I had fun looking at irises.

iris

iris

And the weigela.

weigela

The honeysuckle is looking good this year….

honeysuckle

…and it is a good place to look for bees.

honeysuckle with bee

…of which there were a lot more to be heard and seen in the garden today.

bee on lupin

This one was on the lupins by the front lawn.

lupins

They have really enjoyed the weather this year

A combination of roses and philadelphus in a corner makes not just for a pretty picture but a good smell too.

rose and philadelphus

In spite of the heavy rain yesterday, the flowers seemed undaunted today and everything was looking strong and healthy.

astrantia, clovery thing and sweet william

A little yellow allium has arrived on the edge of the front lawn.

allium

I popped in and out of the house to check on the progress, or lack of it, of Andy Murray in the  French Open tennis and was sad but not surprised to see him fade away in the fifth set against the excellent Stan Wawrinka.

When things on court were going badly, I consoled myself with the promise of treats to come…

strawberry

…and the sight of flying floral tadpoles.

tropaeolum

My view is that I shall sleep well tonight as I am getting too old for late nights now and I am feeling distinctly tired as I type this.

The flying bird of the day are two oyster catchers on the Logan Water trying to see the political situation from both sides.

oyster catchers

Note: I know that they are not flying birds but we are living in a post truth world these days.  They are however probably more strong and stable than some people I know.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent, Fiona and shows her resident garden hedgehog on the left with one of four new hoglets on the right.  She thinks that the hoglet is three or four weeks old.  We are very envious.

fiona's hedgehogs

We had a slightly cooler but still sunny day.  With our final concert of the season due tomorrow and a brisk breeze blowing, I decided that once again a reasonably restful day would be sensible with the added advantage that it would give me time to keep looking at the songs which we have to learn by heart.

I wasn’t entirely idle.

I started the day with some shopping at the Producers’ Market at the Buccleuch Centre and then went on a bee hunt with my macro lens.  I haven’t by any means mastered using the macro lens and the results tend to be very hit and miss so although I got quite a good fly picture…

fly

…I managed to get a sharper picture of some of the petals of an allium than I did of the bee that I was trying to catch as it approached the flower.

bee and allium

And I managed to take a wonderful picture of the bees knees….

bees knees

…when I was trying to capture its head.

I was sometimes a bit more successful…

bee on azalea

…but I hope that I will get some more sunny days soon to hone my skills.

I had two goes at an orange hawkweed with variable results as well.

orange hawkweed

orange hawkweed

Still, there are obviously a lot of possibilities and I will stick in.

I had a cup of coffee and went back out for more floral fun.

tropaeolum

The tropaeolum has survived the drastic pruning of the yew and is looking promising.

The white spirea is covered in flowers with what look like rather spotty petals…

spirea

…but a closer look shows that the spots are not on the petals but floating on front of them.

spirea

Once again, I am in awe of the amount of varied detail Mother Nature has put into designing her flowers.

On the more colourful side of things, large poppies are popping up….

poppy

…and Lilian Austin has spread her wings.

lilian austin rose

I liked these two irises in a shady corner…

iris

…and in complete contrast, these two Sweet Williams blazing in the sunshine.

sweet williams

I found a snail hanging upside down on the surface of the pond, perhaps trying to keep an eye on the tadpole below.

snail

I quite often see snails like this and I don’t know whether they have had an accident or are just warming themselves in the sunshine.

Two final flowers for the day, an allium on the way out but still looking very pretty…

allium

…and a climbing hydrangea on the way in.  It will soon make up in quantity for what it lacks in individual interest.

hydrangea

After lunch I mowed the middle lawn and the drying green and then settled down to some serious composting work.  I finished sieving the contents of Bin D (the most mature of the bins) and distributed the results on various vegetable beds and then I surprised myself by turning Bin C into the empty Bin D, then Bin B into the empty Bin C and finally Bin A into the empty Bin B.  When I had finished, it all looked like his….

compost Bins

…much like it did before but now with all the compost shifted a metre to the right.  Bin A, on the left, is empty and ready for fresh material to be created by Attila the gardener.

Some people may well wonder why I don’t just leave the compost to rot where it is and stop bothering it all the time.  This is a fair question but then what would I do for fun?

Actually, turning the compost speeds up the decomposition process and beaks up any stubborn layers of material that are refusing to decompose properly and are just sitting half way down the pile in a sullen, soggy lump.  Big systems using continuous turning methods can make compost in seven days.

To add to our composting joy, Mrs Tootlepedal received a gift of three bottles of liquid worm compost from Mike Tinker’s wormery.

worm pee

In a suitably ecological way, she collected it by bicycle.

Suitably diluted, this is very good stuff to add to the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a bee with a prominent proboscis.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture shows one of the two diesel locomotives that together pulled Dropscone and his daughter Susan to Scarborough on a railway special to celebrate her birthday.  They didn’t have ideal weather for a seaside outing.

diesel loco

We had another pleasant morning and it was further brightened by the arrival of Dropscone bearing traditional Friday treacle scones.

I had enough time for a good look round the garden before he came.  The combination of the Japanese azalea and sweet woodruff is delightful even with the azalea not fully in bloom.

sweet woodruff

New flowers are turning up all the time.  This is Veronica…

veronica

…and these are two other white flowers which I haven’t had the time to identify yet.

white flowers

The tulips are going over but they are going out in style…

yellow tulip

red tulip

…and there are still a (very) few lonesome daffodils to be found here and there.

late daffodil

I like an aquilegia and this one caught my eye today.

aquilegia

The garden is well ordered but if you get the right view, it can look quite satisfyingly wild too.

garden in May

When Dropscone came, I got the full story of his trip to Scarborough with Susan.  In spite of some rainy weather, they had enjoyed the outing, although the fact that the weather in Langholm had been very nice in their absence was a little hard to bear.

I cheered him up with some rhubarb and he went off intent on shopping and golf.

I looked at the forecast when he left and it offered heavy rain by four o’clock so I had a quick lunch, got my fairly speedy bike out and got ready to go for a ride.  My saddle has been making creaking noises recently so I took it off and cleaned and greased the fittings.  This is always a risky business because it is hard to ensure that you put a saddle back in exactly the same position that it was in before.

I set off to see whether I had managed this trick.  It turned out that it was fractionally different but as it now seems to be in a better position when I cycle uphill, I may leave it for a while and see how comfortable it is on a longer ride.

It didn’t get much of a test today because I stopped after 23 miles.  I had intended to go a bit further but I felt good when I started and pedalled harder than I meant to so I stopped before I got too tired.

I only took one photo opportunity as I was busy pedalling.

bull and calves

A bull pretending to be a bush and two of his progeny

The short ride gave me the opportunity to mow the drying green and have a chat over the back fence with a neighbour who has just come back from America.  He said that the temperature had been in the 80s there and he was finding our 50s a little chilly.

I sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepedal who was planting out a couple of rows of carrots and then had another wander round the garden.  I found another newcomer.

lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

allium

A set of alliums with a decided aversion to growing up straight like a good allium should

The hostas are beginning to put on a show.  I like this variegated variety.

hosta

We went in and had a cup of tea and then I put some time into practising both playing and singing.  I wish our conductor wouldn’t make us learn songs off by heart.  It is more trouble than it is worth for me, though I must say that when I do finally get the tenor part of a song confidently off by heart, it does feel like a genuine achievement.

I have always relied on being able to sight read music reasonably well and have never developed a musical memory as I should have.  However, this is a lesson too late to be learned now.

I should say that it rained exactly at four o’clock so the forecast was bang on time today.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had an enjoyable time playing pieces that we know well (but haven’t had to learn by heart).

No flying birds today but some crouching sparrows, house and hedge, on the ground beside the fat ball feeder.

sparrows

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother, who was on one of his outings.  It shows the Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye.

Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye

We had a very pleasant day here today with lots of sunshine but with a wind just brisk enough to make me think of several reasons why going cycling might not be my best option.

It had rained overnight and the plants in the garden were holding on to some of the raindrops.

willow and pulsatilla

Willow and pulsatilla unwilling to let go

There was plenty of buzzing to be heard in the garden…

bees

…and plenty of new flowers for the bees to visit.

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

After coffee, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a short trip on our bikes up the Wauchope road might be worth while and so we went off to see the bluebells that I had noticed on my bike ride yesterday.  We left our bikes by the side of the road and walked up the hill.  The view down the valley without the bluebells was very good….

Wauchope valley

…but it was even better with bluebells.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

And there was no shortage of bluebells on the hill side for us to enjoy.

Up…

Wauchope valley with bluebells

…down….

Wauchope valley with bluebells

…and along.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

I could have filled a whole post with bluebells.

There weren’t a lot of other flowers among the bluebells but there were some of these tiny yellow flowers.

yellow wild flowers

As we cycled home, I stopped for a look at some fresh hawthorn blossom…

hawthorn

…and an orange tip butterfly which kindly rested for a moment or two on a bluebell beside the road.

orange tip butterfly

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, chatted to blackbirds…

blackbirds

…who were keen to share the lawn with me, enjoyed a whole hearted tulip…

tulip

…and then went off on an outing with Sandy.

We drove up past the bluebells but the sunlight was in quite the wrong place so we drove back through the town and went to visit the Moorland Project bird hide.  When we arrived, we found that others had beaten us to it so we left the car there and walked down the road…

Rashiel road

…to the banks of the Tarras Water.

Tarras water

We crossed the bridge and walked along the bank of the river for a few hundred yards and stopped to be amazed by a forest of horsetails which Sandy spotted…

horsetails

…growing in a very soggy patch beside the river.

I will have to come back and look at these again as they are interesting plants.

One of them had a friend.

horsetail

We walked back up the hill to the hide and found yet again that someone else had got in before us but this time we went in too and shared the viewing windows.

There was a lot of woodpecker activity and for the first time ever, I saw a woodpecker on the ground pecking away at the grass.  Of course there were plenty of pheasants doing that too.

pheasant and woodpecker

There wasn’t a great deal of other activity so we made for home and had a cup of tea and a couple of mini Jaffa cakes with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sandy went off and I mowed the middle lawn and had a look round the garden.

Alliums

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are Alliums

The garden was alive with sparrows feeding their young…

sparrows

One even sat on Mrs Tootlepedal’s bicycle handlebars

…but because the feeders are not up, it was hard to be sharp enough to catch them in the act.

I had a last look round…

Garden

…and went in to practice a few songs and look at the many, many pictures which I had taken on my outings and in the garden.  It is very hard not to take too many pictures in spring time.

I noticed that I had seen quite a lot of unfurling ferns here and there during the day…

unfurling ferns

…so I put some together.

I was feeling pretty tired by now and I let the chance of an evening bike ride slip through my fingers and settled for eating spaghetti with tomato sauce cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and having a little snooze.

It is not a good picture but I feel that a flying bee of the day is the way to end this post.  It was a flying bee sort of day.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who had occasion to be in Kent recently and took this picture of Hever Castle just to show that there are castles there too.

Hever castle

We chose the right day to leave North Berwick as it was either raining or just going to rain as we packed up and left after breakfast.  Matilda went back to Edinburgh to a packed social day of dancing and parties so I expect that she will sleep well tonight.

  We had really enjoyed our holiday with her and her parents.

We pottered home cross country in our newly repaired car, hoping that it would last the distance.  In spite f passing through a torrential downpour near Selkirk, the car lasted the distance and we arrived back in time for lunch.  It was raining  lightly but that didn’t discourage us from having a quick look round the garden to see how things had gone during our absence.

The lawn wrecking crew had been hard at work.

pecked lawn

You would think that there must come a time when there are no more insects to peck down there.

The rhododendrons and azaleas are coming into their time…

azalea and rhododendron

…and several azaleas which Mrs Tootlepedal moved late last year seem to have survived the ordeal very well.

The path along the back of the garden is looking very promising.

back path

The rain let up a little in the afternoon so I went out and did a lot of tulip deadheading.  Most of the tulips looked a bit like this…

tulip head

…but in sheltered places, the later tulips were still looking good.

tulips

tulips

There is no shortage of replacements for the tulips.

The first of the geraniums were ignoring the rain.

geraniums

There is a regiment of alliums ready to burst into action and the advance party is out.

allium

The clematis over the back door is looking very healthy after the mild winter.

clematis

Sweet rocket….

sweet rocket

…and cow parsley…

cow parsley…add a little wild flower touch to the back path.

In the vegetable garden, the gooseberries and strawberries will soon need protecting from hungry birds and the Christmas tree has survived being dug up, sat inside and then replanted and should be bigger and better when required next winter.

Christmas Tree

The pulsatillas have finished flowering but are still very decorative, especially on a damp and soggy day like today.

pulsatilla

Altogether, it was a good welcome home.

There has been some small bird disease about so I am not putting any seed in the seed feeders for a while so the flying bird of the day will have to make way for a flower of the day for the next week or so unless I get a lucky shot of a passing starling.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to the Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park last week.

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park 29.04.17 004

Our welcome spell of dry and often sunny weather continued today, although once again it came with enough added wind to make my morning pedal down to Canonbie and back quite hard work on the return part of the journey.

I had a quick look round the garden before I set off and was pleased to find another bee hard at work on the apple blossom.

bee on apple blossom

Nearby, the strawberries are just beginning to flower….

strawberry flower

…and I saw a strangely static wasp which looked as though it was glued to a rhubarb stalk.

wasp on rhubarb

I was a bit pushed for time on my cycle ride so I only stopped twice for photographs, once to look at the river near Byreburnfoot….

River Esk

A lot of leaves, not much water.

…and once to look at the bluebells in the wood at Skipperscleuch.  They looked potential from the roadside….

bluebells

…so I left my bike and walked up into the woods.  I was a bit disappointed because although there were bluebells…..

bluebells

…there wasn’t the complete carpet that I was hoping for.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that I am looking a bit too early and they will come out fully soon.  I hope that she is right.

I got back from the ride and as usual, I found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden.  She was in the greenhouse, preparing things to plant our later….

plants

…although, as you can see on the left of the panel, some things are already out in the vegetable beds under cloches.

She is enjoying the dry soil which is much easier to prepare than the more usual heavy, soggy stuff we get in spring.

I had another quick walk round the flowers and saw the first blossom on the clematis by the back door and a potential allium giving notice of a fruitful flower future…

strawberry, hyacinth and allium

…while the grape hyacinths are beginning to wave goodbye.

The apple bee was really getting down to business and filling its pollen sacs.

bee with pollen

Although Mrs Tootlepedal and I have dead headed a host of golden daffodils, there are still quite a few standing.

daffodil

The cool weather has helped them last for a long time this year.

The geums under the feeders are looking superb.

geums

After I came in from the garden, I had time for a shower and a light lunch and then we got into the car and drove to Dumfries where we visited the Infirmary and I had a small and painless operation to remove a skin tag from my eyelid and then Mrs Tootlepedal drove me home again.

Always keen to combine business and pleasure, she worked in a visit to the council civic amenity waste site (The Dump) on our way and dumped some of the wood from our old compost bin and several buckets of unwanted stones from the garden.

We arrived home in a cheerful mood.

My lawn co-workers were busy excavating the moss from the middle lawn.

jackdaws

They are jackdaws.

jackdaws

While I was out thanking the jackdaws for their tireless toiling, I took a look into the mystery of the dark heart of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Alnwick tulips.

tulip

I was just about to cook my tea when Sandy rang up and suggested that I should go out into the garden and look up.  I did.

This is what I saw.

strange cloud

The oddest cloud that I have ever seen was rising from behind the trees…..

strange cloud

…and stretching half way across the sky.  It was so long and thin that I couldn’t get it all in one shot.

Even Sandy, who was a bit further away, couldn’t quite get it all in.  He sent me this shot.

strange cloud

The cloud ended rather like a feather just to the right of Sandy’s shot.

The conditions that could cause a cloud like this are a complete mystery to me.  I thought that perhaps it might be a con trail from a long departed aeroplane which had condensed as the temperature dropped in the evening but Mrs Tootlepedal, and others who saw it, were of the opinion that it definitely was just a cloud, although a very strange one indeed.

Apart from it, there was not another cloud in the sky.

Once again, I didn’t have much time to look at birds and this goldfinch was the best that I could manage as flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch

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