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Posts Tagged ‘Azalea’

Today’s guest picture come from Venetia’s trip to Toulouse a couple of weeks ago.  She came across this very cheerful lady with a rather macabre exhibit in a local flea market there.

toulouse flea market

Our spell of remarkably fine weather continued with temperatures so far above the seasonal average that we were quite pleased to find them moderated by a brisk wind.

We didn’t have much time to enjoy the sunshine before we went off to sing in the church choir.  The choir sang a short anthem between the bible readings and we were stunned to receive a totally unexpected round of applause from the congregation when we finished.  It might have been sparked off by the visiting minister who was taking the service. I have never encountered this in the middle of a service before but it was very pleasing to be on the receiving end of it.

My throat is not much better but as I was singing bass, I was able to croak my way through without too much trouble.

When we got back to the house, there was a few minutes to look round the garden.  There is a lot to look at as the garden has been transformed in the week that we were away.

There is a good variety of colour ranging from the white of the  clematis round the back door…

clematis

…and a new veronica beside the middle lawn (which Mrs Tootlepedal assures me is blue but it looks dead white to me)…veronica

…and some sweet rocket near the silver pear.

sweet rockety

Slightly more colour can be seen in the pale aquilegias…

aquilegia

…and more still in the potentillas along the back wall of the house beside the dam.

potentilla

This year Mrs Tootlepedal has decided to be pleased by the various Welsh poppies which tend to pop up randomly all over the garden…

welsh poppy

…this one beside a promising looking hosta.

On the opposite side of the dam, Kenny’s euphorbia is going from strength to strength.

euphorbia

Stronger shades of colour have cropped up unexpectedly beside the yellow potentilla in the shape of this blue aquilegia which has dropped in from somewhere unknown.  It is very welcome.

aquilegia

In the garden, there was more blue as the first cornflower has come out.

cornflower

But for ‘big colour’, it is hard to beat a peony.  This is the first of the year.

peony

However, all things considered, this azalea does probably carry more zing.

azalea

Mrs Tootlepedal was worried because its leaves were tinged with what looked like an unhealthy colour but as you can see, it is looking very well.

We didn’t have time to do any lawn care or large scale watering as we had to rush off to Carlisle to get to an early start for the last practice of the community choir there before its season ending concert next Sunday.  Our excellent conductor is leaving us to go on to bigger and better things and as he will be sorely missed, the practice was a bitter sweet occasion.

My croaky voice just about stood up to singing the tenor part as luckily, the parts were generally in the lower range of tenor part singing but there were times when it gave up and I was left looking a bit like a beached fish with my mouth opening but nothing coming out.  The conductor has prescribed a week of not talking.  Those who know me will gauge how likely that is to happen.

It was a beautiful evening when we got home and Mrs Tootlepedal rushed to water her seedlings in the greenhouse (the temperature was in the mid twenties) and then she was able to do some useful work in the garden while I took a few more pictures.

The clematis at the back door is at its best when the evening sun lights it up…

clematis

…and the peony looked good too.

peony

Also looking good but not quite so welcome was this striking rhubarb flower.

rhubarb flower

The rhubarb has been neglected while we have been away and may be past its best for eating but there are promising signs of meals to come in the bean department.

broad  beans

The evening light was kind to our white potentilla…

potentilla

…but a new plant, recently purchased by Mrs Tootlepedal, was looking good in a shady bed.  It is a Choisya…

choisya

…and a good one as far as I am concerned.

The ornamental strawberries are having a very good year and Mrs Tootlepedal is spreading them about a bit.

ornamental  strawberries

I had no time to linger around at the kitchen window waiting for birds to come to the feeder today…

siskin

…but I did catch a siskin having words with someone.

The best I could do for a flying bird was a couple of shots of an aggressive pigeon trying to get another pigeon to fly away.

pigeons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an ingenious planter which my brother Andrew encountered on the platform of Penrith Station…..

penrith station

…where he also met my sisters Mary and Susan.  More about that later.

We had another generally fine day with just the merest touch of rain in the early evening but the sun was not so hard working as yesterday and it felt a good deal cooler.

I had intended to embark on a bicycle ride of some length but my legs had other ideas so instead I was happy to welcome Dropscone for a cup of coffee.  We sampled some of Mary Jo’s Canadian jam with his scones and found that it went very well.

Dropscone brought with him a small gift of crusty rolls which he had acquired at an extremely reasonable price from a Hawick supermarket just before it shut for the day as he passed through on his way home from a  golfing meeting late last night.  In return, we sent him off with a bag of rhubarb stalks.

I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass and then had a walk round the garden.

There is no shortage of things to look at.

The anemone is among my favourite flowers.  Its hand painted look appeals to me.

anemone

The white bluebells are looking strong.

bluebell

And the good weather has the tulips opening their petals to the world.

tulip hearts

At noon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre Coffee shop and I went in to have lunch and keep an eye on the birds.

Goldfinches appeared to be unhappy about something.

goldfinches

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal reappeared and I got out the new bike and went off for a gentle and short run down to Canonbie by my usual route.  I don’t have any pictures to show from the trip as most unusually for me, I did the whole twenty miles without stopping at all, except on the two occasions when I had to cross the main road.   I have added a pannier to the set up and the bike coped with this without difficulty.

Since I hadn’t taken any pictures on the cycle ride, I took a few in the garden when I got back….

bees on dicentra

Two colours of dicentra both acting as bee magnets

garden ferns

A ferny corner of the back bed

strawberries

Ornamental and edible strawberries both in flower

lamium, tulip and rhododendron

Lamium, tulip and rhododendron

daffodil

The daffodil of the day (not many left)

azalea

This is the dawning of the age of azalea (with more to come)

…and then, as it was sunny for a bit,  Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to see the bluebells.  Unfortunately we had left things just a moment too late and by the time that we got to the bluebells, the sun had gone in again.  There was plenty to see on the way through the park and along the river…

park trees

Blossom in the park

…but the most surprising thing that we saw was several young rabbits scuttling across the grass at the far end of the park and disappearing into holes in the banking.  We stopped to watch them scamper about and one rabbit felt mistakenly that it was well enough hidden…

park rabbit

…to avoid the inquisitive lens.

We walked on.

wild garlic

wild garlic along the path

easton ferns

ferns everywhere

P1100090

bluebells and more wild garlic

When we got to them, the bluebells were at their best…

bluebellsbluebells

…but the clouds had thickened up and the dull weather didn’t do them justice.  However, the scent from the flowers was not affected and gave our walk special pleasure.

We came home along the Stubholm track…

Stubholm track

…and walked back through the park, passing stitchwort by the Stubholm track and…

stitchwort and white wild flower

…and an unknown white flower in profusion at the park bridge.

We didn’t have long to wait after we got home before my brother Andrew drove up bringing Susan and Mary, my two eldest sisters with him.   Andrew is on a holiday in north Lancashire, my sister Susan had been staying with friends in Cumbria,  my sister Mary had joined them for a short break in the Lake District based in Penrith and all three had come to Langholm to test the new bench, marvel at the new bike and have a meal at the Douglas Hotel with us.

The test, the marvelling and the meal all went off well and we waved them goodbye as the light began to fade at the end of a good day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch showing strong shoulders as it approaches the feeder.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s trip to France.  She met this emerging monster in the Japanese garden of Toulouse.

japanese garden Toulouse

Our spell of good weather continues.  We find it a bit unnerving but it is very welcome.

I couldn’t make the best of a fine morning though as I was in duty on the Welcome to Langholm Office.  I did a little welcoming and a lot of entering data into the Archive Group newspaper index so it wasn’t time wasted but I did look longingly out of the window from time to time.

When I got home, I mowed the middle lawn and found surprisingly little growth considering the weather.  Perhaps the soil has not warmed up yet after several long cold months.

The rhododendron is enjoying the weather.

rhododendron

And a present of cow parsley, which we got from a friend who was a wild gardener, is doing well too.

jenny's cow parsley

I had an early lunch and got my new bike out and set out to do a few miles to see if everything was still going well.

It was.  It was a treat to ride.

On the down side, the hills seemed to be still there and although the bike is new, the engine has seen a lot of wear and is definitely past its best.

It was a fine cycling day with just enough breeze to keep me cool but not enough to discourage me.  The new bike doesn’t encourage constant stopping for pictures but the need for an occasional breather meant that I took a few on my way round.

hottsbrig bluebells 2

A delightful small mound sprinkled with  bluebells near Hottsbrig school

gair view

The view from the Gair road, looking back to the way that I had come

dandelion clock

The dandelions are going over

Gair road

The neatly clipped beech hedges are turning green again

Irvine House

Irvine house is disappearing behind the leaves

old A7

A welcome bit of shade ahead on the old A7

I did an undemanding circle of 31 miles at a modest speed of thirteen and a half miles per hour and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Mike Tinker had promised to come round to inspect the new bike and I found him chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got home. To show what sort of a day it was, rather than sitting on the new bench in the sun, they were sitting on the old bench in the shade.  And very sensible too as it was quite hot by this time.

As well as inspecting the bike, Mike and I went to look at Kenny’s euphorbia beside the dam at the back of the house.  It is impressive.

euphorbia

Before I went in for my shower, I checked on the tulips.  A little late afternoon sun brings out the best in them.

tulips

orange tulip

And Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of the ornamental strawberry flowers of the year.

strawberry flower

The azalea was ablaze.

azalea

It was a genuine Tootlepedal day because after my cycle ride, my flute pupil Luke came and we had a very encouraging play and then after tea, (another) Mike and Isabel came round and we played some enjoyable trios.

The word from the weather forecasters is that our good weather should continue for several days.  We are considering renaming Wauchope Cottage as Shangri-La.

On account of the warm afternoon weather, the flying bird of the day was having a little sit down when I took her picture.

sparrow

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from another inveterate traveller.  My Somerset correspondent Venetia has been eyeing up some tasty chocolates in Toulouse.

toulouse chocs

It was a day that would have been familiar to fans of Waiting for Godot….except that in this version, Godot finally turned up.

While I was waiting for the call from the bike shop to come, a perfectly wonderful day of sunny weather with light winds was just begging for some bicycling.  The garden offered consolations and I sieved some compost and chatted away while Mrs Tootlepedal worked at some of the many tasks a gardener faces in spring.  We also tested the new bench again.

There was a lot of colour about in the sunshine.

New on the scene was this anemone….

anemone

…and the first of the azalea flowers to open.

azalea

There was a colourful corner, entirely of tulips with a hint of grape hyacinth in the background…

colourful corner tulips

…and some individual flowers to admire as well.

tulip

Particularly this one.

tulip

The spirea is at is best.

spirea

And on the back wall of the house beside the dam, the first potentilla flower of the year was to be seen.  I expect to still be able to see potentilla flowers in autumn.

potentilla

More unusually, I found our neighbour Charlotte’s dog cooling its heels in the dam.

kenny's dog in dam

Charlotte was sitting in the sun nearby but resisted the temptation to jump in too.

There was fauna as well as flora.

A rook flew overhead…

rook

…a bee buzzed about…

bee

… a baby blackbird looked indignant (they always look indignant).

baby blackbird

…and a frog basked in the pond…

frog

…with what looks like a tadpole hanging from its lip.

The most interesting visitor to the garden though was human.  Our friend Bruce arrived on his electric bike…

bruce

…with news that he had not only heard a cuckoo on his bike ride but seen it as well.  Seeing a cuckoo is a very rare experience so he was quite excited.  His electric bicycle looked very exciting too.

Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a sparrowhawk collecting its breakfast from the feeder early in the morning and while we were eating our lunch, presumably the same sparrowhawk returned for another meal….

sparrowhawk

…but this time in vain.

After sitting in the tree for a while, it suddenly flew to the ground and started prowling about among the flowers.

sparrowhawk

I have never seen this behaviour before but I suspected that it was after one of the baby blackbirds which tend to lurk in the undergrowth there so I went out and shooed the hawk away.

It went reluctantly, circling round the garden for several minutes getting higher on each turn before it flew off.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiderer’s Guild meeting and I killed a little time until the phone finally rang and I drove off to collect my new bike from the bike shop in Longtown.

Levi at the bike shop fitted the pedals of my choice, I paid him a king’s ransom and then, putting the slow bike in for a service at the same time, I drove home with my prize.

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived back from her meeting shortly afterwards and got her bike out and came with me for an inaugural ride up to Wauchope Schoolhouse.  Then she returned and floated back downhill and downwind to Wauchope Cottage while I completed the twenty miles of my usual Canonbie circuit.

She took this picture before we set out.

new bike

The bike may not look much but it has sealed bearings, a belt drive, a 14 speed internal hub gear, mudguards and a rack so it is dirt proof and needs no day to day maintenance at all and is in every way suited to the needs of an elderly cycle tourist.  I say nothing about the state of the cyclist.

It was still a beautiful day, although the clouds were beginning to build up….

Cloudscape

…and as a day to test a new bike, it couldn’t have been better.

I kept an ear out for Bruce’s cuckoo as I went across the hill but there was no sight or sound of it and I had to be content with seeing both  a fox and a hare crossing the road in front of me (but not at the same time).

The sight of a rain shower developing to the south made me keep pedalling rather than stopping for photo opportunities though and the new bike couldn’t have been more co-operative.  It is light, firm and comfortable with the feeling that every bit of power that I was putting through the pedals was being put to good use on the road.

The 14 speed hub gear has a ratio for every occasion and I was able to drift up any little hills with an ease and grace far removed from the inelegant puffing occasioned by striving to get the slow bike up any incline.

For those with a motoring interest, it was like driving a Lotus 7 (but quite a bit slower).

I did force myself to stop a couple of times, the first to note the leaves arriving on my three favourite trees at Grainstonehead…

trees at Grainstone head

…and the second to pay tribute to fine bunch of primroses at Irvine House.

primroses

I arrived home having done 17 miles at 15 mph, a very satisfactory speed for me these days and on a real high.  I had been worried that I might have found the new bike not to my taste and would have regretted the money invested but it turned out that Levi had been quite right when I first visited him after my old bike needed replacing.  He said then that he had just the bike for me in mind and it turned out that he was quite right.

Now I hope for some good weather and the chance to give it a real workout.

The flying bird of the day is the sparrowhawk as it circled above the garden after I had disturbed it.

_DSC4008

 

 

 

 

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My sister Mary has been visiting Kew Gardens and with a guest picture like this, who can blame her?

kew gardens

Our spell of good weather is rapidly receding in the memory and we are back to ‘business as usual’ –  grey skies, brisk winds and occasional rain.

Still, the first part of the day was forecast to be the least windiest so I got out on my bike after an early breakfast and did twenty miles and was home in time for coffee.  It was quite strenuous as I did nearly as much climbing in my twenty miles today as I did in Monday’s fifty miles.  I creaked alarmingly but got home safely.

I stopped beside a violet at ten miles…

wild flower

…and the camera played its usual trick of focussing on the dull background more clearly that the colourful  intended subject.  I should have taken more pictures just in case this happened.

On my way home, I passed a superb bank of wild garlic near Waterbeck….

wild garlic

…and several examples of Jack by the Hedge or garlic mustard a bit further along the road.

garlic mustard

I have passed this little glen at Falford many times but I don’t think that I have ever seen it looking better than today in spite of the grey weather.

Kirtle water

As forecast, the wind got a little stronger as time went by and thanks to sound route choice, I got blown home in  a very helpful way.

When I got back, I shifted a little of Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure heap and put some buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn in an effort to encourage more grass among the moss.

I had a look round too.

We have dead headed the vast majority of the daffodils now and only a few remain.  This one was my daffodil of the day today.

daffodil

There are ferns springing up all round the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s current favourites are the ostrich feather ferns…

ostrich feather fern

..which are gently unfurling in the back border.

There is a smaller fern growing between the stones behind the pond.

fern

There are other things going on.

We are getting very excited by the development of the azaleas.

azalea

A bergenia is hiding its light under a bushel.

bergenia

An alpine clematis is flowering modestly.

alpine clematis

And the river of grape hyacinths is still flowing.

grape hyacinth

I didn’t have much time to watch birds today but I was pleased to get my first sighting of a baby blackbird today before I went out cycling.

blackbird baby

Ironically the baby is the larger looking of the two birds.

I saw the mother again later.

blackbird

The birds are making a mess of the lawns.  Both blackbirds and jackdaws are busy digging things up.

A jackdaw sat on Mrs Tootlepdal’s bean frame and tried to look not guilty…

jackdaw

…but I caught one at it later in the day.

jackdaw

There was plenty of seed eating on the feeder today, perhaps because there wasn’t so much gardening being done on account of the gloomy weather.

flying goldfinch

The birds didn’t look very grateful though.

redpoll and goldfinch

I made some soup for lunch and then a persistent rain started which lasted on and off for the rest of the day.

I found a dry moment to walk up to the garage to collect the car.  Mrs Tootlepedal had dropped it off there while I was cycling as we have decided that it is time to take the winter tyres off and have the summer ones put on.  Surely it can’t snow at this time of year……can it?

We put the afternoon to good use by doing the sort of tasks that need a wet day to get done and then we were cheered up by a visit for a cup of tea of not just Mike Tinker but by Scott, the minister too.

In the evening, I walked through the rain for the weekly practice of Langholm Sings where I sang several notes that were in the right place and at the right time.  Some of my other notes were not quite so accurate.  Home practice needed.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch supervising traffic at the feeder.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a reminder of a sunny day just past and shows an unusual view of the Benty bridge and church.  It was taken by my friend Bruce and stars his wife, Lesley as ‘The Lady on the Bridge’.

benty bridge

The sun made infrequent appearances today and in between the sunny spells, there were frequent showers of light rain.  It made planning a day difficult.  However, it was reasonably warm and the wind was light so cycling and gardening were on the menu.

The minister dropped in for coffee, his coffee radar being perfectly attuned.  As he brought a couple of eggs from his large flock of chickens with him as a gift, he was even more welcome than usual.  He is a keen cyclist and naturally our conversation turned to cycling.  When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal was so inspired by his cycling efforts that she got her speedy bike out.  I pumped up the tyres and we pedalled off to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, her first bike ride since New Year’s day.

Needless to say although it was fine as we set out, it rained quite heavily when we were two miles up the road.  Luckily, it soon stopped and we had a gentle and pleasant ride.  Since the weather was good when we got home and I needed the miles, while Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening,  I set off again to do the journey again.

It soon started to rain again.

Once again it stopped and I pedalled on.  I passed a small landslip, a common occurrence on our steep banks….

landslip

…and which once again shows how shallow the soil is on our hills.

Thanks to quite a bit of rain lately, there was a good amount of water coming down the Wauchope.

wauchope cascade

Yesterday I had seen seated cows and today it was the turn of the sheep to sit down.

sitting sheep

I didn’t stop for too many pictures as I didn’t want to get wet again if I could help it.

I ended up doing six and a half miles with Mrs Tootlepedal and seven and half miles by myself which, while not a great distance, at least got a few miles in on a damp day.

I set the camera up at the kitchen window while I was having lunch and had a look at the birds.  We had a good variety.

Sometimes there were siskins…

siskins

…and there was a good number of goldfinches…

goldfinches

…and of course there were chaffinches…

chaffinches

…but our most interesting visitors today were a pair of lesser redpolls.  Here is one showing why they got their name.

redpoll

At this time of year, they have very red breasts too to show themselves off.

redpoll

They are very small birds, much the same size as the siskins and make the chaffinches look big by comparison.

redpoll and chaffimnch

I had a walk round the garden after lunch.

I was most impressed by how much moss there is on our azaleas.

moss on azaleas

Each plant seemed to have a little clump of moss at its branch junctions.

I liked the range of colours of the moss on our old pile of stones.

moss in garden

We wouldn’t mind though if it stopped raining for long enough this summer for a lot of the moss to get discouraged and die away.

There were more signs of spring to be seen.

lilac buds

It is not too long before it will be lilac blossom time.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal got really stuck into the business of making a new seated area next to the middle lawn.  I went for a walk.

I have seen two very impressive displays of British Solidier lichen in America recently on blogs from Gunta and the New Hampshire Gardener  so I went along beside the park wall to see if I could find any there.

There were some to be seen but they were very tiny…

cladonia

As you can see, they hardly poked their heads above the surrounding moss.

I couldn’t find an army of them but there was enough for a small troop.

cladonia

Our friend Mike Tinker, who is a fern enthusiast, has promised to take me out on a walk to try to teach me to distinguish between varieties.  I look forward to it as there are a lot of ferns out there.  I passed some today.

ferns

Did I mention that it started to rain almost as soon as I set off on my walk?

Still, it was only light rain and I was pleased to see signs of wild garlic emerging….

garlic

…as this is a marker for the start of the wild flower season.

It wasn’t a day for views and I was happy to get some shelter from the trees along the Beechy Plains.  I was looking for birch trees in particular to see if I could spot any script lichens.  It turned out to be quite easy as almost every birch I passed seemed to have a patch…

script lichen

…or two.

script lichen

Mrs Tootlepedal was still working hard on her seating area when I got back but she came in for a cup of tea and a biscuit to get out of a heavier shower of rain before going out again.  There is a difference in height between the main lawn and the seating area and she has been swithering between a step, a slope or a dugout area, all of which have good and bad points about the construction required but after some experimentation today, she has settled on a step.

I look forward to seeing the results.

While I was out cycling yesterday, the man who made our new compost bins arrived with some new raised beds for Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden….

new veg beds

…and they are waiting to be installed.  You can see that the old beds are past their best.  It will take a lot of labour to get the new beds set up but Mrs Tootlepedal is not afraid of hard work and I am always available to do a bit of supervising.

I did some lawn spiking today in the hope of encouraging a blade or two of grass to grow among the moss.

I ate the minister’s eggs as part of a mushroom omelette for my tea.  They were very good.

The flying bird of the day is two chaffinches.  I couldn’t choose between them.

flying chaffinches

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by her mother Clare, shows Matilda having fun in the Botanic gardens in Edinburgh this morning.

Matilda in the Botanics

We were promised a wonderful day of sunshine here today but when I set off to fill the Moorland bird feeders after breakfast, the hills were covered with clouds.  By the time that I had got to the bird hide, the clouds were beginning to burn off….

Laverock Hide

…and by the time that I had filled the feeders, it was indeed a lovely day.

Laverock Hide

A pheasant had found a comfortable place on the roof  of the hide to enjoy the sun.

Laverock Hide

I was acting as a substitute feeder filler for Sandy who is on holiday in Greece and I thought that I would spend a little time watching birds while I was at the hide.  Sadly, there were very few birds indeed to watch, just a couple of siskins and a woodpecker.

woodpecker and siskin

I have never seen so few birds there.

I didn’t stay long but an indication of the heat of the sun, even this early in the day, was given by these sheep, wisely seeking the available shade as I went back down the road.

shady sheep

My trip wasn’t wasted though because  I was waylaid by Skippers Bridge on my way home and forced to take a few pictures.

I went from far….

Skippers Bridge

…to middle…

Skippers Bridge

…and finally, to quite close.

Skippers Bridge

I looked downstream before I moved on…

River Esk at Skippers

…and could have stayed much longer if I hadn’t had an appointment at the health centre to get some stitches taken out.

The stitch removal went well and I now look a lot less like Frankenstien’s nephew than I have been lately which is a relief.

I was pottering about in the garden when I got back, getting ready to take a flower picture or two when I was hailed from the road.

“Someone’s here to see your garden,”  came the cry.

It was Glyn, a regular blog reader from Langholm and his wife Liz.  They had a friend from Blackpool with them and Glyn told me that she reads the blog every day.  I think that this must indeed be true because when I invited the party in to see the garden, she knew all about it to the extent of hoping not to see any frogs in the pond (she doesn’t like frogs at all), recognising the well cropped topiary chicken and the garden bench with poppies…

bench with poppies

…and best of all, showing a proper appreciation of the compost bins.  It was a slightly strange experience showing someone who knew the garden so well round it but she said that visiting the real garden was a lot better than just looking at pictures of it so that was very satisfactory.

Her name was Mrs Hendry and by coincidence, it turned out that she had left Langholm at about the same time as we came to live in the town.   I took her picture with Glyn and Liz and Glyn told her that she will now be world famous, which I suppose is true in a certain way of looking at things.

Liz, Glyn and Mrs Hendry

It was a real treat for me to meet such an appreciative reader and garden enthusiast.

When they left to have a coffee in the Buccleuch Centre, I stayed in the garden and looked around.

veronica and azaleas

The sun brought out the best in the veronica and azaleas

geranium and ox eye daisy

A new geranium and the very first ox eye daisy

Rowan tree

The Rowan tree has started to flower

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some garden supplies and I sieved some compost to put on her vegetable beds.

It was well over 20°C by now so I didn’t spend too much time in the garden, though it was very tempting to stay outside on such a lovely day.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh and I went off to visit the nuthatches.  They were very busy taking food in and taking the rubbish out when they came to the nest.

nuthatches

I spent quite a bit of time trying to get a good shot from different angles…

nuthatches

…with varying success…

nuthatches

…and found it quite difficult to move away from the nest.  When it is busy as you always feel that as soon as you go, the perfect photo opportunity will arrive behind your back.

However, I did move on but I took a picture of the whole tree that the nest is in before I left…

nuthatches tree

It is the one on the right.

…and as I was in tree mode, I took a picture of another impressive tree not far away.

Castleholm tree

Mrs Tootlepedal is very impressed by the inherent strength in trees that enables them to support such heavy branches at such angles.

I pedalled on past the Kilngreen (without seeing any interesting birds) and up to Pool Corner where I checked on the slow worm hotel there…

slow worm

…before heading home for a cup of tea and a bit of cool shade indoors.

While I was inside, and being grateful for the good insulation of our ground floor, I spent a little time putting a week of the newspaper index into the database, a job I usually reserve for wet days.  Then I worked on the music for our concert tomorrow before having a tasty cheese flan which Mrs Tootlepedal had made in the morning and left for my tea.

After tea, Susan turned up and we went off to Carlisle to play with our recorder group. We have decided to play less frequently than we used to as we felt that perhaps we were getting a little stale after many years of playing almost every week.  This turned out to be a good idea as we thoroughly enjoyed our evening of playing….and luckily there were still the usual excellent biscuits to go with our post playing cup of tea.

We have one or two more very hot days to go before the weather is forecast to break and I will doubtless soon be back from complaining that it is too hot to complaining that it is too cold.

I did see a passing gull while I was at the Kilngreen and even though it was passing quite far away, it is the flying bird of the day.

gull

 

 

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