Posts Tagged ‘alstroemeria’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan.  She was having a cup of coffee beside the Paddington Canal basin when she was  greeted by an appropriate bear.

Paddington Bear at paddington

The main business of the morning was the Common Riding church service where a presentation was made to our choirmaster and organist Henry, this year’s cornet.  We had a more than adequate replacement in the choir loft and we sang a selection a popular hymns with great gusto, and threw in a three verse introit and an anthem too.

As the congregation was much larger than usual, it would be fair to say that we made a joyful noise today.

The service started later and took longer than usual, so it took up most of the morning but the late start gave me time to wander about the garden before going to church.

It was a cloudy day and the light gave me a chance to get a good look at our St John’s Wort which is thriving uninvited in a patch in the vegetable garden

st johns wort flowers

Its cheerful berries are almost as good as its bright flowers.

st johns wort berries

The Queen of Denmark is lasting very well and adds a touch of class to the garden.

queen of denmark rose

Under the groaning plum tree, the first flowers of alstroemeria are poking their heads out.


…and the purple clematis nearby enjoyed a brief burst of sunshine.

purple clematis

The poppy of the day is one of those that look as though they have been made of crushed tissue paper…

red poppy

…and the white flower behind it is a sort of achillea.


I have tried and failed to get a good picture of our white astilbe but the camera finds the pink one a little more sympathetic.

pink astilbe

When we came back from church, the skies were very gloomy but Mrs Tootlepedal got busy tidying up the garden, clearing away many of the flowers that are over.  I made myself useful when I could and made a pot of coffee to keep the gardener going.

The forecast was very gloomy with heavy rain promised in the afternoon, so we didn’t make any plans.  Once again an interesting stage of the Tour de France gave us something to watch while the day got gloomier outside.  In the end though, the rain which poured down on the Open Golf in Northern Ireland, must have passed just to the north of us and it remained dry enough outside for me to have gone cycling.   As my feet were feeling the effects of yesterday’s short walk a bit, I was quite happy to put them up, and I didn’t grieve at the lost opportunity too much (or indeed, at all).

I was half thinking of an evening ride but an occasional light drizzle and the need for a visit to the shop put paid to that and day turned out to be a day of rest, very suitable to a Sunday.

The light was so poor that the most interesting thing I saw when I was looking out of the window at the birds was this phlox, growing in the bed in front of the window.

phlox through window

There were a few birds about…


…but not many.

siskin and sparrow

We are getting regular updates from London and we are very pleased to be told that our new granddaughter Evelyn, is progressing well and all is well with her parents too.

Today’s short post will make up for the excessive length of yesterday’s offering and as tomorrow’s weather seems to have a lot of rain in it, perhaps things will be quiet again.

The nearest that I could get to a flying bird of the day was this collared dove which had been flying shortly before I took its picture.

collared dove on pole

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Keith, a correspondent from Edmonton, Canada says,”Many of the buildings here in Edmonton feature limestone that is just chock-full of fossils and hunting them is a good way to pass time when one is taking shelter from a thunderstorm.”  I think that there must have been a storm because he sent me this as today’s guest picture.

Edmonton fossils

We were far from stormy here today as our spell of very reasonable weather continued.

We had a lull in the appearance of new poppies so I had to settle for purple pictures from the back bed….

moss rose, buddleia and knapweed

…and phlocks of phlox.  The white ones are doing well and have flower heads almost the size of phootballs.


In the vegetable garden, the cardoon is threatening to take over the world and now towers over me.


Photo courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal Photo Services Inc

It has a several flowers waiting to come out but sadly they may be just too high in the sky for ordinary mortals to enjoy.

While we were in the veg garden, there was quite a lot of sympathetic nodding to be done as Mrs Tootlepedal bewailed the incessant depredations of the sparrows which constantly nip the tops off growing plants.  We may not get any runner beans this year at all thanks to them.

Somehow I managed to pass the morning without doing anything more meaningful than the crossword and making coffee and taking a few more pictures in the garden.

Among the new arrivals are these alstroemeria…


…and this Japanese anemone.

Japanese anemone

Welcome as new flowers are, these two signal the turning of the year and the start of the descent into autumn so the welcome for them is a bit ambivalent.

Nasturtiums are in the same camp.


It feels that the later flowers are a bit early this year but we have had an untypical weather pattern to contend with so maybe the flowers are confused.

We are not short of colourful corners though.

colourful corner

Spirea, ligularia, nasturtium and roses

One thing that caught my eye today were these petals on this clematis which have neatly curled up to make a point.


After lunch, we settled down to watch a short but exciting stage of the Tour de France.  I took the precaution of changing into my cycling gear, pumping up the tyres on the fairly speedy bike and filling the water bottle  before I started watching the telly so that as soon as the race finished, I could get going and not loll about just thinking about going.

This cunning plan worked well and I was soon off on the twenty mile trip down to Canonbie and back.  Tuesday’s long ride had left my legs in fine fettle and I pedalled away very happily, easily able to persuade myself that the casual spectator would have had a hard time distinguishing between me and a real cyclist.

in spite of the best efforts of Genghis the Grasscutter, wild flowers are still to be seen beside the Wauchope road.

orchid and harebell

Sometimes in large numbers.

Yellow agrimony

Yellow agrimony

I took a closer look at the agrimony and the thistle too.

Yellow agrimony and thistle

I need three things to come together for a vigorous ride – good legs, good breathing and a friendly breeze and today for once, I had all three.  After I had taken the wild flower pictures,  I pressed on, enjoying the feeling of going well.  It may sound a bit silly but so pleasant is the sensation of cycling when all is going well that it is easy to day dream a bit and remember younger days.

Small hills soon put a stop to that sort of thing but it is not a bad thing to have some illusions in life.

I stopped for a second look at wild flowers when I was nearly home.  The knapweed is glorious on the old A7.


Mixed in with it were some greater birdsfoot trefoil (thanks to Clare Pooley for the ID) and a clump of bright yellow flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal thinks is yellow bedstraw.

trefoil and yellow flowers

To my great delight, I managed to achieve an average speed of 15 mph for the Canonbie circuit today for the first time this year and it goes to show what a good idea it is to watch some top class cyclists going like the wind just before you set off for a ride.

There was time for another walk round the garden when I got home.

The lilies on land are thriving….


…and there is a lily on the water in the pond too…

Water Lily

….though it is a bit cramped for space.

The rose of the day is Special Grandma which is flowering freely.

Special Grandma

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and more wind was expended in blowing my flute as Alison and I played through the three excellent pieces which Alison bought on her recent Welsh holiday.  I will not be short of music to practise for some weeks or  months yet.

The flying bird of the day was resting on a hedge.



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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Flamborough Head last month.  When it came to trying to spot the odd bird, he was not alone.

Flamborough Head

With a forecast of “rain later”, it was important to leap out of bed early and get going today.   I didn’t exactly leap (it was more of a stagger) but I did get going reasonably soon and managed a twenty mile bike ride by eleven o’clock.

My reward was a stroll round the garden….


Life for the moment was a bed of roses


Mrs Tootlepedal is a bit worried that all her ‘mixed’ packet of poppies may turn out to be red.


A clematis points the finger


The alstroemeria is doing well

…followed by the arrival of Dropscone bearing scones.  I ate mine with a drop of the first local honey of the year and they went down very well.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from tidying up the church with her church choir and did a little work in the garden while I mowed the greenhouse grass and the middle lawn.  It has been so cool in recent days that there was not a lot of growth but the temperature had risen a bit today so I thought I ought to do some mowing before things got out of hand.

All this took me up to lunch.  After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal hosted a committee meeting of her Embroiders’ Guild branch and Sandy arrived to go for a walk with me.

The promised rain hadn’t arrived so we drove a mile or two up the Wauchope road with the intention of seeing if I could recognise any wild flowers after my expedition on Saturday.

We had just caught up with a selection of grasses…


…and a very pretty blue flower…


Probably an ajuga

…when it started to rain.  Pausing only to catch my favourite gate…


…we set off back through the town and headed south as Sandy wisely pointed out that it is often drier on the side of Langholm.  He was right and we found a spot on my morning cycle route and looked around.  The light was poor but it was dry and warm.

In the next hour we walked slowly up the road until we got to the top of the short hill.

Old A7

At the bottom there was another gate.


…and as we walked up, there was any amount of wild flowers beside the road.

umbellifer probably hogweed

An umbellifer, probably hogweed


red soldier beetle

A red soldier beetle


I don’t know what this fluffy white one is but there was ‘cuckoo spit’ on its stem


There was a lot of knapweed about


And more grass

Some plants reached up to the sky.  This one was taller than me.


And some kept close to the ground.

Birdsfoot trefoil

Birdsfoot trefoil

But my favourite shot was of an early stem of rosebay willowherb.

rosebay willowherb

When we got to the top (a long walk of about 200 hundred yards!), it started to rain and so we walked back down a lot more quickly than we had walked up and went home for a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal’s committee, who had just finished their business.

We were joined by Mike Tinker and we had a convivial conversazione until it was time for everyone to go home.

Then there was time to see Andy  Murray play a quick match at Wimbledon in fine style before I went off to play trios with (another) Mike and Isabel.

In spite of neither Mike nor Isabel being in perfect health, we had a really good evening and did justice to most, if not quite all, of the pieces which we played.

The flower of the day is a nectaroscordum pretending to be a castle.

nectaroscordum castle of flowers


And the flying bird of the day is a sparrow.




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Today’s guest picture shows my friend Bruce’s dog Guthrie relaxing in Sheffield where he is on holiday.  He had two walks yesterday and felt the need of a little lie down.

GuthrieAs my knee was still sore, I was in full Guthrie mode today and did very little of note.  Another cold, windy, grey day helped ease the pain of having to waste time.  I did put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the database so that was a plus point.

I set the camera up on the tripod again so I didn’t have to stand around holding it up but the gloomy weather made good bird shots impossible.  I clicked away though.


Siskins in a flap


Sparrows arriving in formation


Greenfinches landing with care.  Or maybe the same one twice.

It was very windy again and the roses and delphiniums are getting a battering but the day lilies are coming out as though there might be going to be no tomorrow.

day liliesI found some sheltered poppies and as always, was interested in the differences between very similar flowers.

poppiesThey all look much the same from the side.  I took another set of shots a little later.

poppiesYou can see that the bees had visited the one on the right.

I tested out the knee with a walk round the back of the house….

Fuchsia crocosmia

A flood of Fuchsia and the first flash of a Crocosmia

alchemilla and potentilla

Alchemilla and Potentilla

It is looking quite colourful along the back wall.

Going back to the front, I had another look at the alstroemeria, which I think are well worth a repeat viewing.

alstroemeriaThe arrival of the Ligularia….

ligularia…and the first phlox of the season….

phlox…is welcome, but these flowers bring a definite late summer air to the garden which is most unsatisfactory because we haven’t had a proper spring yet, let alone early summer.  It feels as though this year is going to be over before it has started.  I shall be interested to see the Met Office statistics when they come out.

After lunch, I tottered up to the High Street, sold a few Archive Group postcards to the paper shop and settled down for two hours of dispensing wise advice to tourists in our new tourist information office, which is ideally situated in the heart of the town.

Had there been any tourists, my advice would have been indispensable but since there weren’t any, it was useless.

The problem of getting tourists to visit this beautiful corner of Scotland seems insoluble.  It would need huge investment to get tourists but without tourists, you can’t get investment.

I tottered home again, even more slowly than I had come out and watched the Open Golf.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we had a very productive practice.  He has really got the idea that he needs to work at improving things himself and not rely on me to tell him all the time.  His counting was (almost) flawless this week.

After tea, I went off to play with Mike and Isabel and we had a most enjoyable evening.  I drove up to see how my knee and driving got on together and took another little tour afterwards.  The results were promising and I hope to drive to Lockerbie tomorrow so that I can catch the train to Edinburgh and visit Matilda.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture shows an array of Mr Grumpy’s London cousins lining up on the banks of the Serpentine.  It was taken yesterday by my sister Mary. There is a flourishing herony in the park there.

Hyde park heronsIt didn’t matter what the weather was like here today as I wasn’t going anywhere so I was secretly pleased that it was another chilly and grey day until the late afternoon.  I wouldn’t have been happy to sit with my leg up if it had been a fine cycling day.

I was determined to give my knee a thorough rest and apart from going out to open the greenhouse and water the tomato plant and taking a picture of a new flower….


It is an Alstroemeria

…and some plums….


We have plenty of plums but will they ever ripen?

…I managed some pro resting for most of the day.  I limited my standing up and looking out of the kitchen window to a very brief spell but it did include a visit from a crow.

crowIt hung about until it was sure that I had taken a good picture and then flew off without further ado.  The goldfinches have found a better place to go as there are none in the garden at all just now and our feeders are visited by sparrows, siskins and chaffinches with the occasional greenfinch and blue tit for variety.

sparrowsI was fortunate to have chosen a day of rest which was well supplied with mindless sport to watch on the telly with the Tour de France, the Davis Cup and the Open Golf meaning that the only thing that got any exercise today was my channel changing finger.

The brighter weather in the afternoon did tempt me out into the garden just to stretch my legs a little and I took the opportunity to pick some gooseberries and make myself some stewed gooseberries for my tea.  They were delicious.

Our neighbours Liz and Ken came in for a stroll round the garden while I was outside.  I hope she will come and pick some gooseberries too as the bush is loaded down with far more than I can eat and it would be a pity to waste them.

We were looking at the ornamental clover when a bee interrupted us.

bee in cloverThis picture is therefore a visual demonstration of what “being in clover” might be like.

When they left, I stayed out long enough to catch a moss rose glowing gently…

moss rose…and the jungle lily reflecting back the sun.


The sun shone through a geranium.


Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are called Cranesbills because of the seed heads whihc you can see in the picture.

A lot of the hostas are in flower now.


Their flowers look better in a little low sunshine

I think that the garden looks at its best in a summer evening so I ventured out while I was in the middle of cooking my tea to try to show why.  I couldn’t do it justice but here’s a couple of views.

garden in eveninggarden in eveningFor all the flowers that are about, it is the restful greens of the shrubs, hedges and lawns that give it its tone.

The only bad thing about this very restful Sunday is that my knee was no better at the end of the day than it was at the start.  (For joint pain enthusiasts, I can report that it isn’t swollen, it isn’t hot and I can bend and straighten my leg freely without pain.  It is just mysteriously sore, especially when I walk but even when I am resting it.  I may have to seek medical advice if it doesn’t go away soon.)

I did get one flying bird but it was no better than my knee.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my nephew Emre, by way of my sister Susan who forwarded it to me, and shows his daughter Lila, the latest addition to our family.  A great uncle again.  I am feeling my age.


The full day that I enjoyed yesterday turned out to have been a little fuller than it should have been and I spent most of today mooching about and complaining about a sore hip.  However mooching about and moaning turned out to be a good way to go on and by the evening, I was in much better condition.

I hope things continue to improve as I don’t mind being slowed down for a day or two as long as I can find something to do on my computer but at present sitting in front of the screen is just making things worse so I am liable to get severely bored.  Sitting or lying while reading isn’t any more comfortable.

As neither sitting nor lying down was very relaxing, I tried very slow walking round the garden after breakfast instead.


The sight of the roses always cheers me up.

A day lily and a longer lasting variety.

A day lily and a longer lasting variety.

Two new flowers:


An Alstroemeria, freshly out.


The first cosmos of the year.  

I took a photograph of an impressive bunch of delphiniums…


…looking vaguely like a bunch of zombies on the march.

I was glad to have taken this shot because strong winds had knocked most of them over by the evening and as this was then followed by heavy rain, I think that I caught them at their very best.

I did manage to get out of the garden and go off in the car to top up the Moorland bird feeders as Sandy was at work all day and had asked me to fill in for him.  There were quite a lot of birds about so I stopped for a look.

Last time Sandy had been up, he had seen woodpeckers chasing each other around the tree trunks and they were at it again today.


A jay also appeared and visited several of the feeders.



More usual birds were also hanging around.

siskin and great tit

Siskin and great tit

And of course the pheasants were there to pick up the fallen seed.


I didn’t stop long but as I left, a spot of colour in the grass caught my eye.  There were two different orchids there, nearly side by side.


Marsh orchids, I think. One had plain leaves and the other had strongly marked leaves.

Nearby, a white thistle stood out from the crowd…

white thistle

…while a bee visited a more traditionally coloured plant.


I got home and spent the rest of the day doing nothing useful at all, sitting for a while and groaning, standing up and doing a little more groaning, walking around doing a even more groaning still….and not watching Andy Murray getting a pasting on the tennis court.

Dropscone dropped in in search of some rhubarb for a crumble and we were able to find some good looking stalks for him.  He is off to Glasgow tomorrow for his youngest daughter’s graduation ceremony.  He is very proud.

I managed to spend some of the groaning time looking out of the kitchen window and I had to do a double take before I realised that this very yellow bird was in fact a juvenile blue tit.

blue tit

This one looked a bot older.

blue tit

There was no doubt that this fellow was a sparrow.


By the evening, the steady diet of groaning had paid off and I was feeling much more cheerful but sadly, the weather had become far too gloomy to allow for a little walk so I had to be cheerful indoors.  Our fine, calm weather of late seems to have come to an end after a lengthy spell and we are in for our more customary changeable conditions with a really horrible day coming on Friday.  Mrs Tootlepedal fears for her flowers with gusts of 50 mph and heavy rain forecast.

The potatoes have been looking so good…


…that Mrs Tootlepedal dug up one of the earlies and found that it had produced a good crop so we had new potatoes and home grown white turnips with our tea and very good they were too.

One of the benefits of hanging about doing nothing was that I had time to wait for a flying bird of the day,  a flying sparrow with feathers ruffled by the wind.

flying sparrow




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