Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bird’s-foot trefoil’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who, for her permitted exercise, walked up to the top of the hill and looked down on London .

Mary London View

We had another bright and sunny morning, perhaps not as cold as yesterday.  I was able to walk round the garden in shirtsleeves to admire the zing of the tulips after breakfast.

three tulips

The sun lit up everything, potentillas, aquilegias against the back wall of the house,  the lamium and some freshly flowering bed straw in the back border.

potentilla, columbine lamium bed straw

My morning favourite was this shot of the rhododendron in sunshine and shadow.

white rhododendron in shade

The street coffee morning did not take place today as one member was waiting for a phone call, another wasn’t there, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a WhatsApp visit to Matilda and her parents in Edinburgh at coffee time.  They seem to be doing very well and Clare is developing their small garden to grow as much as is possible.  She was happy to take some advice from Mrs Tootlepedal.  The call ended with a display of dancing from Matilda, who is keeping very active.

After the call, I checked on the bird feeder to find a dunnock just checking out….

dunnock diving

…and then a visit to the garden  revealed our resident blackbird trying to look like a pelican.

odd blackbird

I was just wandering about when a tiny glimpse of orange and white caught my eye.  You may be able to see it in the dead centre of the picture below.

orange tip fist view

It was an orange tip butterfly.  As I had nothing better to do, I followed it round and round the garden as it fluttered about trying to find the best plant for a visit.

I was beginning to think that my pursuit would be fruitless, when the cow parsley caught its eye and I managed to get two flying shots of it as it flitted from flower to flower.

orange tip butterfly on cow parsley 3

You can see from the bottom two pictures in the panel above just how hard it was to spot the butterfly when it closed its wings among the flowers as the orange tips only show when the wings are open.

Luckily for me, it settled on a flower at the very end of a stem and I was able to take a picture of the beautifully marked underside of its wings.

orange tip butterfly on cow parsley 1

I went in to fetch Mrs Tootlepedal out to see the butterfly and very fortunately, not only was it still there when she came out, but it opened its wings just enough to show her the orange tips…

orange tip butterfly on cow parsley 2

…and then shut them again so that she could see the decorated undersides too.

This put even the arrival of a flying bee at the lamium into the shade.

bee at lamium

A lot of watering was needed and while Mrs Tootlepedal lent the plants a helping hand, I became involved in the eccentricity of the euphorbias and the beauty of the bluebells.

euphorbia bluebells watering

Mrs Tootlepedal had obtained some leeks from our local butcher so I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we enjoyed it with bacon butties on the side.

After lunch, I went for a walk.  The sun had gone behind clouds and there was a brisk wind blowing but the forecast was good, it was pleasantly warm, and I went off still in my shirtsleeves.

I headed along the river, past the wild garlic and the bluebells…

garlic and bluebells

…walked along the Murtholm track and then took this delightful path….

track up from main road

…up the hill and out into open country.  Still climbing gently, I soon had a good view behind me.

track up from skipperscleuch

As the track dwindled into rough and sometimes confusing paths, I found useful signposts to keep me right.

walk eleven post

I was following the route of Walk 11 of the Langholm Walks Project.

The route took me along the side of the hill, giving me good views over the Esk Valley and the main road south…

esk valley from old irvine

…as well as the River Esk itself.

esk from old irvine

I cam to Old Irvine and followed the old green road up the hill towards the Kerr Wood.

This is now a well surfaced forestry track as there has been a lot of recent tree planting here.  There were yellow wild flowers (unknown, dandelion, tormentil and birds foot trefoil) to keep me interested….

yellow wild flowers

…as I battled up the most boring part of my route, a mile long, dead straight track, uphill and into the breeze.  I was more than pleased when I got to the top of the hill to be able to look back down it.

Old Irvine track

In the end, the track met the road which I often cycle along when I am doing my Canonbie circuit and the difference between cycling and walking was made very clear to me when I saw the signpost at the junction.

langholm sign

The five miles home, downhill and downwind, would take me less than 20 minutes on my bike but it was a different matter when I was on foot.

Still, you see a lot more when you are walking and the sun had come out and even for a walker, having the wind behind is a good thing, so I wasn’t at all unhappy.

The commercial foresters have to plant native trees as part of the license to grow conifers.  They use plastic tubes and this little plantation on the very top of the hill, certainly needed protection from the wind.

new trees Kerr

I enjoyed older trees too.

two trees bloch

When I got down to Wauchope Schoolhouse, I had a choice of following the correct walk route over more rough ground and tracks, or heading straight home down the road for a cup of tea and a Garibaldi biscuit or two.

I went down the road.  I was a bit sorry not to go the full route but my feet weren’t sorry at all, and the way home was enlivened by more wild flowers, lots of lichen and interesting grass seeds.

wildflowers, lichen, seed head wauchope road

The final stage was very colourful with a good patch of ivy leaved toadflax on the wall at Pool Corner…

pool corner wall

…and a stunning display in a front garden on Buccleuch Terrace.

Buccleuch Terrace garden

I hadn’t checked the length of the walk before I set out and was quite surprised to find that I had walked nine and a half miles by the time that I got home.

An added bonus to taking the direct home from Wauchope Schoolhouse was that I arrived in time to take part in the daily Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters.  My brother had been for a three hour walk too.

Today has been a big day for Mrs Tootlepedal, as the project for the community land buy out has reached the crowd funding stage.  Anyone who wants to find out more about the project and perhaps help by making a modest contribution to the purchase fund should visit the Langholm Initiative website where everything is very well explained.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked an excellent meal of mince and tatties for our tea and after tea, I sat at the computer and knocked off six items from a to-do list for the day of six items.  This brought an excellent day to a very satisfying conclusion.

The flying bird of the day is a passing jackdaw.

flying jackdaw

Footnote:  Having all the time in the world on my hands is leading to too many photographs but kind readers have said that I can’t have too many pictures in a post.  I hope that was true of this rather overloaded effort.  If not, I am sorry but it may well happen again if the fine weather holds.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  On a recent tour, he stopped at Tewkesbury and took a picture of the bridge there.

bridge

Yesterday’s heavy work on the lawn was an experiment in ‘kill or cure’ and when I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the balance had tipped firmly down on the ‘cure’ side of things.  For the first time for ages, my feet weren’t painfully sore.  I didn’t let my feet go to my head though and took things pretty gently through the day.

I did go out into the garden and look at the flowers.  I liked a vetch which has come up of its own accord.  Mrs Tootlepedal is going to leave it where it is as it is popular with bees.

vetch

New white flowers have appeared: Mrs Tootlepedal describes the one on the left as an educated onion and the one on the right is the first of the philadelphus.

four flowers

The Dutchman’s breeks and the Welsh poppies are adding an international air of gaiety to the garden…

…and the light was just right to take a picture of the yellow ranunculus.

yellow ranunculus

I noticed that the plain fuchsia by the back gate is producing flowers but it doesn’t look very well so there may not be the usual waterfall of blossom this year.

old fuchsia

As my back was in such good order, I did some shifting and sifting of compost.  I started to turn Bin C into Bin D but the material had rotted down so well that I was able to sieve a lot of it and just put the remains in Bin D.   I have been trying to layer the compost in Bin A more carefully lately, green and woody in turn, so perhaps this is a reward down the line for good behaviour.

I went in for coffee and watched the birds.  Sparrows were the flavour of the day but redpolls are frequent visitors too.  The goldfinches have almost entirely found a better place to feed.

sparrows and redpoll

The old sunflower stalk continues to provide a useful perch…

sparrow on stalk

…and Mrs Tootlepedal is growing a new sunflower nearby for next year.

We had other visitors.  There were quite a few jackdaws on the peanuts during the day and Mrs Tootlepedal witnessed some angry scenes among them.  I saw this one daring anyone to come and have a go if they are tough enough.

jackdaw going nuts

There are starlings nesting in a neighbour’s tree and one came to the seed feeder today.

starling feeling seedy

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help in the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar over lunch and I went for a cycle ride.  I had intended to try for some long, slow distance today but the forecast was very uncertain and there had been spots of rain on and off through the morning so I settled for some short, slow distance instead and went round my familiar 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

It wasn’t hard to notice that the hawthorn had come out while we were on holiday.

 

hawthord on hill

And there were wild flowers all the way round.

verhe wild flowers

I took a closer look at the bird’s foot trefoil, a flower that I like a lot, and discovered a tiny creature among the petals.

birdsfoot trefoil

The back roads were lined with cow parsley and on this section it had a hem of buttercups as well.

cow parsley and buttercups

There was a lot of wild geranium to be seen.

wild geranium

I stopped to get a picture of the hawthorns beside the Hollows Tower and found that the managers have erected two flag poles beside the tower.

hollws tower and hawthorn

I was pleased that I had decided on a short ride because there were some very threatening showers further down the road and it rained a bit when I got back.

Back in the garden I found that a Rozeraie de L’hay had managed to survive yesterday’s rain showers.

rose in garden

I was struck by this single aquilegia which had grown through one of the golden box balls.  It looked odd.

aquilegia on box ball

When I had walked round the garden, I went in for  a cup of tea and a shower and then settled down to practice some of the songs for our Carlisle choir concert.

In the evening, our recorder group met for a play and for a change the group assembled at Wauchope Cottage which was very convenient for me.  Because the sun had come out again by the time that they arrived, we had a walk round the garden before we started playing.  We played Handel, Bach, Mozart, Byrd, Purcell, Morley and Scheidt so we had good material to work with.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It was heading back towards the feeders but as it already had a mouthful of seed, I am not sure why it was bothering.

flying siskin

Footnote:  I was speaking to our daughter Annie on the phone today and she put in a  request for some more general pictures of the garden to put my flower pictures in context.  I am always anxious to please so I found a sunny moment late in the afternoon and took a random set of pictures of various borders.  In spite of the many colourful flower pictures which appear on the blog, the predominant colour in the garden is green.

 

garden bed 1garden bed 2garden bed 3garden bed 4garden bed 5garden bed 6garden bed 7garden bed 8garden bed 9garden bed 10

And of all the views, this one, taken from our new bench as the sun goes behind the walnut tree, is my favourite.

.garden bed 11

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  She got down to sea level in Madeira and brilliantly caught this Atlantic spotted dolphin in mid leap.

Atlantoc spotted dolphin

Our spell of great weather is coming to an end but we are being let down gently before rain and gales blow in tomorrow night and we had a calm, warm but rather grey day today.

The iron pills have not worked their magic yet and I am still feeling a little tired so I was happy to spend a quiet morning doing a little business and paying bills after breakfast and then doing some aimless wandering around in the garden.

I said to Mrs Tootlepedal the other day that we seemed to have a lot of philadelphus in the garden and she rather thought that I was exaggerating but when she looked round, and counted, she found that there are at least nine…

philadelphus panel

A small selection

…and as they are pretty well all out, the garden is full of blossom and delightful aromas too.

I kept my eye out for new flowers and spotted the first of many Martagon lilies.

martagon lily

Mrs Tootlepedal is getting very excited by some small but perfectly formed blue alliums which are just about to come out.

blue allium

I was pleased to see a couple of red tailed bumble bees back on the chives.  They are very striking and an ornament to any garden.

red tailed bumble bee

I pulled myself together after a cup of coffee and set about putting some liquid fertiliser on the front lawn. The front lawn is still very mossy and I thought that what grass there is needed some encouragement.  As the fertiliser is applied by watering can, it is a labour intensive activity and kept me happily occupied for some time.  I did a bit of the middle lawn too.

I took time out to do the crossword and watch the birds.  The feeder was quite busy today.

greenfinch

A few greenfinches turned up…

flying siskins

…but mostly it was siskins and some goldfinches again

I was thinking about a gentle afternoon pedal but a few drops of rain put me off the idea and I went for a walk instead.  It seemed like quite a time since I had been up a hill so I went up our nearest one, Meikleholm Hill.

The rain held off as I walked up the track to the hill, admiring the many grasses on the way.  There was a splendid variety…

garsses

…but the star of the grass show when I looked at them on the computer later on, was this colourful spray with added visitors.

grass with insects

Just before I got to the gate onto the open hill, I noticed a few rabbits in the field beside the track.  Most of them scampered away but one remained, pretending to be a blade of grass.

rabbit in grasses

I always like this gate just before the top of the track…

Meikleholm gate

…but I was glad to be finally out on the open hill and looking back across the town towards Whita Hill on the other side of the valley.

View of langholm from Meikleholm

Even on a grey day, it is a view to lift the heart.

There were plenty of wild flowers to look at as I followed the track which curves up round the side of the hill…

tree on meikleholm

There was a lot of tormentil which I failed to record properly and quite a bit of bird’s-foot trefoil and various hawkbits too.

trefoil and hawksbit

I was hoping to see some early orchids too and wasn’t entirely disappointed as there were a few small flowers to be seen.

orchids

There are sheep on the hill and I don’t know if they will nibble off the orchids or not but there should be a lot more flowers as the summer goes on.

They sheep probably won’t eat these marsh thistles though.

marsh thistke

I was considering an extended route when I got to the top of Meikleholm Hill but a look to the north….

rain over Potholm

…and the south….

clouds over solway

…persuaded me that the straight route home might be the best bet.

No sooner had I made up my mind than the rain started and I had to skip down the hill as fast as my creaky knee would let me.

I did stop for one last photo opportunity as the racecourse on the Castleholm looked very attractive but that was the only stop as I was getting quite wet and didn’t have a coat with me.

racecourse castleholm

The rain eased off without entirely stopping as I got down to the town so I was happy to get home without getting soaked through.

That was my last excursion for the day, though I did get as far as the back door later on to take a final picture of the day.

colourful corner

Mrs Tootlepedal finds colours and textures in flowers, grasses and shrubs and mixes them all together in a most harmonious way in my view.  I am very lucky to be the beneficiary of her skills.

In the evening, she went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of Swan lake performed by the Royal Ballet.  I stayed at home because although I admire the wonderful skills and fitness of the dancers, I keep waiting for something interesting to happen and as nothing does, I get easily  bored.

The flower of the day is one of our foxgloves.  Some gardeners may turn up their noses at these common wild flowers but I am glad that Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t.

foxglove

Read Full Post »