Posts Tagged ‘day lily’

Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew’s wife’s Australian cousin Janet who found Andrew hard at work on his son’s mower making hay  while the sun shone.

andrew making hay

After yesterday’s outing to Beamish, I had a plan for today: in the morning I would put the pictures from Beamish on the blog, mow a few lawns, make soup for lunch and then in the afternoon, I would go for a cycle ride.

Everything went entirely to plan until I got up.  Shortly afterwards, I went back to bed again with a very sore back and an outbreak of being strangely tired.  As I didn’t get up until noon, the morning part of the plan was shot.

I took a quick look at the garden flowers when I had risen and found a lot of Sweet William that I thought was worth recording.

six sweet williams

The first day lilies have arrived.

day lily

And ever more irises are appearing.

two irises

I like the last of the lupins to join the garden show.

new lupin

I found another Philadelphus flower.

single philadelphus

And my favourite rose, Lilian Austin was looking at her best.

lilian austin

She has been joined by a burst of moss roses.

three moss roses

Then I went in and watched the birds for a while.

Although the weather was good, it was pretty breezy and birds had to hang on to the feeder.

sparrow hanging on

And when they did get settled, it wasn’t long before someone else came along and booted them off.

threatening siskin

I had a cheese and tomato toastie for lunch and fortified by this, I went out and mowed the lawns.  This was a bit of a kill or cure experiment with my back and I am happy to say that the result tended much more to cure than kill and I felt a bit better for the rest of the day.

I noticed a flash of colour and dashed in for my camera and for once a butterfly kindly stayed in place for long enough for me to get a picture.  It was a red admiral, the first that i have seen in the garden this year.

red admiral butterfly

Looking around, now that I had my camera with me, I was impressed by the growth on the delphiniums…


…and by the pertinacity of the aquilegia which are still growing through a box ball.

two aquilegia on box

I spotted the first calendula of the year…


…and enjoyed the dancing feet of the martagon lilies in the sun.

martagon lilies

The two clematis on either side of the front door are at very different stages of development.

two front door clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal has a bit of a cold and had had a very busy morning, so while I was pootling about in the garden, she wisely had a siesta.  When she came downstairs, we decided to go up to the Langholm Moor and look for interesting bird life.

Our timing was off.  The sun had gone and light rain and low clouds had beaten us to the top of the hill.

moor in mist

The wind was strong too and the bog cotton and grasses were being blown about.

bog cotton

Altogether it wasn’t the best day for watching birds on the hill.   Still, it is always a pleasure to be out and about and the roadsides were full of wild flowers…

moor road with wildflowers

…including a large patch of orchids.

moor orchids

However, it was too wet and windy to take satisfactory pictures or see much so we didn’t stay out long and came back to the garden where I spotted a new clematis in the drizzle.

new clematis by old feeder

Although we welcomed the rain from a gardening point of view as things were a bit dry, the birds didn’t look very happy, either up above…

cross starling

…or down below.

soggy blackbird

Our fake tree of twigs nailed onto a fence post is a popular stopping off point for birds on the way to the feeder.

two siskin on fake tree in rain

The rain and the brisk wind put paid to any idea of cycling, though I did put in a few minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage just to get my legs moving.  Then I buckled down and put 90 odd pictures into a post about the trip to Beamish yesterday.   (Sandy has put some of the ones that he took on his blog too and those interested can see them here.)

All this took some time and although there was a glimpse of sun later in the evening, my day had ground to halt by then and I ate a meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal and watched Countryfile on the telly.

I hope that my back and the weather are more co-operative tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin in the queue for the feeder.

siskin in queue


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Today’s guest picture comes from former archive group member Ken.  He very kindly sent me this portrait of an unusual animal which he encountered in Newcastle.

green rhino

We had another warm (22°C at it peak), dry day today but not as hot as poor Mrs Tootlepedal is having to get used to in the deep south.   In fact, it was pleasantly cool after breakfast so I got a bit of dead heading and watering done before Dropscone arrived with the traditional Friday treacle scones.

And I took a couple of pictures, of course.

In one of those amusing japes which the horticultural gods like to play upon innocent gardeners, the poppies that Mrs Tootlepedal has carefully planted are very reluctant to come up, while the patch which seeded itself by the new bench…

poppies beside bench

….couldn’t look better.

The gardener smiles one of those inscrutable smiles.

After the excellent treacle scones had disappeared, Dropscone departed with what is very nearly the last of the rhubarb and I did a bit more watering and dead heading….and the crossword.

Mrs Tootlepedal was showing some of my pictures of the flowers to a friend yesterday and found that because I take so many close ups, it was difficult for her to convey the bigger picture…..so here are two bigger pictures.

middle lawn view

The drought is beginning to tell on the middle lawn.  The bed at the bottom right was a sea of orange hawkeed a few weeks ago.  The trouble with the long view is that the camera can’t do justice to all the greenery and the flowers at the same time.

There is a metal fence that divides the flower garden from the vegetable garden and it is home to four sorts of roses, a clematis and a honeysuckle.


The runner beans are looking promising.  I must remember to water them too.

Tucked in on the garden side of that fence is a rose that Mrs Tootlepedal had to cut back so severely that she thought that it might never bloom again.  However, the Queen of Denmark turns out to be made of tough stuff and among the surrounding leafage, a flower has appeared…

Queen of Denmark rose

…with more to come.

A second day lily has appeared.

day lily

After a lunch of a large sardine and lettuce sandwich, I got myself organised and set off for a pedal.

I waited to see how I was going before finally deciding on a route and it turned out to be a day when my legs were not in a very co-operative mood so I settled for a dull thirty mile circuit of Gair, Kirkpatrick Fleming and Glenzier.   There is a lot of dust and pollen about in our dry spell and perhaps the noticeable wind  was blowing enough about to slow me down.

Still, I took things easy and enjoyed the ride.

Gair road view

It was warm but happily for me, the sky clouded over as I pedalled along and the wind kept me comfortably cool.  I stopped for the occasional drink and tried to find a place with some wild flowers to look at as I sipped.

There was plenty of ragwort along the way…


…but this was the only one of these little white flowers that I saw.

white wild flower

There was a lot of rosebay willowherb too.

rosebay wiilowherb

And a thistle showed what a good  source of pollen it is.


Even at the slow pace I go on my bike, it is easy to pass things without seeing them.  I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any red soldier beetles this year but when I stopped to look for some orchids, I found that there were a lot of the beetles about too.

red soldier beetles

The same observation applied to the orchids.  As I was cycling  along the Canonbie bypass, I only noticed one or two but when I stopped in a handy lay-by and had a proper look, I found several within a few yards.

canonbie orchids

I’ll obviously have to cycle even more slowly (if that is possible).

In an echo of the morning scone scene, the unusually hot weather has melted the road surface in places on the back roads and I now have to watch out for sticky patches as well as potholes.

You will doubtless be interested to know that when I got home, I did some more watering.  I could easily spend the whole day watering but carrying watering cans is hard work and my arms are getting longer every day as it is.

I did have time to notice that the phlox is coming out.

white phlox

We will soon have phlocks of flox.

I picked some peas, beans and beetroot for my tea and went in.

I took too many pictures in the sunshine again today so I have packaged some up in panels.  I am test driving a new photo editor and have not yet devised a good panel macro so I apologise for the rough and ready framing.


Two self seeded poppies and one intentional poppy

calendula and cornflower

A calendula and the first cornflower bask in the morning sunshine


I could fill a whole post with rose pictures.

The flying bird of the day was resting.




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Instead of guest pictures, I am going to use some of the phone pictures from our recent trip to London for the next few days.  They are not great pictures but show some of things we saw but couldn’t put in the posts.

The Dalesman steam engine

There was steam excursion in the station at Carlisle when we went down to London

I had a very weather dependant day today.  After several days without cycling, I was keen to get a good few miles in today and the forecast yesterday was encouraging.  Sadly however, the forecast for today when I woke up was far less encouraging, promising rain by lunchtime.  As I needed to mow the lawns as well as cycle, this limited my cycling to a twenty mile trip up the main road to Mosspaul and back.

The route choice was good because the main road was closed fourteen miles north of the town and this meant that very few cars passed me and I had the road to myself for most of the time.   It was rather grey once again and the brightest thing that I saw on my trip was this thistle….


…on the final climb to Mosspaul.


This is the point where East meets West in our part of Scotland and once over the crest that you can see in the picture, all the rivers flow into the North Sea unlike ours which flow into the Solway Firth and thence into the Irish Sea.

Thanks to the wide roads and light traffic, I had a quiet and reflective ride.

When I got back, I checked on the Shirley poppies….

shirley poppies

…which looked a little more cheerful than yesterday but not much.

Then I dead headed the opium poppies which are going very well….


….cut down some of the delphiniums which are going over, enjoyed a new cornflower….


…and one of the day lilies which brightens up even the gloomiest day…

day lily

…and then mowed the middle lawn.

It was rather muggy and I needed a rest after that so I had another look round to see what was going on.

The bees on the privet were in full flow and I could hear a continuous hum as I stood nearby.  The flowers are above my head so it is hard to see the bees…

bees on privet

…and these were on the lowest flowers.

A second buddleia has come out..


…but there are still no signs of butterflies.

I looked at an astilbe….


…and then rushed to mow the front lawn just as it started to drizzle gently.  It stayed raining very lightly after I had finished the mowing so I picked some blackcurrants and then went in for lunch.

After lunch, the drizzle had slowed to about one drop a minute so I had another go at picking blackcurrants until I had enough to make a jar or two more of jelly and had a look at the clematis as I came back in.

As well as the white variety whihc has green on its petals….

white and green clematis

…I saw that one of our red ones has green colouring too.


Look closely at the one on the right and you will see that what looks like damaged petals is green colouring.

Our white and green one always flowers like that but the red one is more unusual. On researching it, I found  that it is probably a quite common problem.

I rang Sandy up and arranged to have a short walk with him while the going was good.  but before we had even got out of our respective doors, the drizzle had changed to steady rain and we retired inside.

I used the time to put in some much needed flute practice and also to sit down and enter a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  We checked on the weather again after an hour but decided that it was still too damp and gloomy for a walk so I settled down to watch the last day of the Tour.  I will be at a loss for things to do on a wet afternoon now that it has finished.

I was still hoping that the day might brighten up enough for a late walk but it stayed gloomy and so did I.  Life is definitely a lot duller when Mrs Tootlepedal is away from home.

I am trying to keep up with the vegetables while she is away and had turnip, beetroot, peas and potatoes with my evening meal of fish cakes.

The fish diet is obviously not improving my brain as I had a little panic when I checked on our house insurance by chance and found that we didn’t seem to have had a renewal notice yet even though it was due in March.  A very nice young man on the phone pointed out that 11/3/2017 meant the third of November not the eleventh of March and that doubtless a renewal notice would arrive in due course.    I blame Google for using funny dating systems on their emails.

During the day, I saw a young but ferocious looking sparrow on the lawn….

young sparrow

…and what I think must be a thrush on the hedge.


Neither of them were flying.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who has been on holiday in Wales.  I will leave readers to guess where he was.

Great Orme Tramway

After a few pleasant days, we returned to miserable rain today and it was raining steadily almost all morning.

I got out into the garden at a moment when the rain had eased a bit and took two soggy pictures just for the sake of it….


day lily

…and then we left the rain and the clouds and drove south to visit our friend Sue for lunch.

This was a good decision in many ways.

It was raining a lot less hard in Cumbria for a start and Sue’s son Oliver had made the most delicious sour dough bread in a Dutch oven to go with our lunch.

I hadn’t heard of a Dutch oven before and it turned out to be  a cast iron cooking pot with a lid which goes into a standard oven with the bread inside it.   The result was the best sour dough bread that we have ever tasted.

We had grilled chicken and salad to go with the bread and this was followed by a very good looking pudding.

strawberry sponge

There was some discussion as to whether there was enough cream and strawberries on the sponge but after extensive testing, it was declared to be perfect.

We had put our bikes in the back of the car, intending to go for a ride with Sue after lunch but as it was still raining, we decided to let the professionals do the cycling for us and we all sat in comfort while the Tour de France rolled through beautiful sunny French countryside.

The rain had stopped when we left for home and we took a scenic diversion on our way back with some fine views across the Cumbrian countryside.  Needless to say, it started raining again as we got near Langholm.

It stopped for long enough for a quick walk round the garden where I took another pair of soggy pictures to bookend this post.



If you have to put up with a rainy day in the middle of summer, then there are few better ways of spending one than in meeting friends and enjoying good food and good conversation so in spite of the weather, today goes on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

Two endnotes:

  • No flying bird today but those interested can see Sandy’s excellent pictures from our walk on Thursday by visiting his blog here.
  • Sue, whom we visited today, is the friend who bought a shipping container and put it in her garden and made it into a very classy garden room.  You can go and stay in it if you like.  You can see pictures of the container on her listing on Airbnb here


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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie along with the comment, “Guess where I am.”  It turns out that it’s not Naples….or Middlesbrough.

Annie in Paris

Wherever it was, it was a lot nicer there than it was here today.  It was raining when we got up and it is still raining, albeit in a rather half hearted way as I write this in the evening and it didn’t stop in between.

Annoyingly the first poppy in a flower bed chose this to be the day to come out…


…so I braved the rain to take a celebratory portrait.

I did go out a couple of times during the day but I was extremely well wrapped up.  Luckily it wasn’t windy so a good umbrella helped.

The dull weather helped me get some tasks that were on my ‘to do’ list onto the ‘have done’ list which was good but otherwise it was a very quiet day indoors.  The Tour de France provided some very restful viewing of attractive French countryside in the sunshine for several hours until the peace was rudely interrupted by an unexpected outbreak of excitement in the last few hundred metres of the stage.

About tea time, the rain eased off to the merest drizzle so I nipped out into the garden  to pick a few gooseberries for stewing and I took a few pictures while I was there.

Raindrops figured largely.


Ligularia with raindrops

Queen of Denmark

The Queen of Denmark with raindrops

Lamb's Ear with a big raindrop

Lamb’s Ear with a big raindrop

wet poppy

The poppy looking the worse for wear

day lily

A rainy day lily

There were flowers without raindrops…



…but not many.

I saw a bird on a wire standing on one leg…

bird on one leg

…as my neighbour Gavin passed the garden, taking advantage of the slackening in the rain to have a short walk.  He said that there wouldn’t be much for me to photograph today and I replied that there were plenty of raindrops and took one more shot of them…

lily with raindrops

…and went in and stewed the gooseberries.

It was such a gloomy and chilly day that I lit the stove.  I am going to start a campaign to bring back summer.

The flying bird of the day was another that had settled on the wire, this time using both feet.



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Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz’s recent jaunt to Spain.  She saw the point.


The morning radio was full of talk of heat waves and burning sun but when it came to our part of Scotland, low cloud and a pleasant warmth was the order of the day.  As I am not very fond of very hot weather, this was fine by me and I was able to do quite a lot of useful work in the garden after we had had coffee with Liz and Ken and mastered the art of getting Spanish pictures from her phone to mine.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to do some shopping and I turned Bin A into Bin B, edged the lawn, sawed some logs and trimmed the front hedge along the road.  I felt quite good about this and rewarded myself with a tomato and feta cheese salad for my lunch and a good sit down afterwards.

At various times during the morning I wander ed round the garden looking at flowers.  I often concentrate on single poppies and cornflowers so today, I took a more generous view.




The perennial nasturtium is going to seed…

perennial nasturtium

…but I like the little green berries as much as the flowers.

I was just enjoying a little snooze (and watching the Tour de France at the same time), when I was disturbed by the phone ringing.  It was a welcome call from my daughter who was sheltering indoors from the fierce heat in London.

I was just settling back when the phone rang again and this time it was an even more welcome call.  What could be more welcome than a call from our daughter? It was the power company ringing up about the Archive Centre electricity supply.  At last, after months of delay, a person who knew what he was talking about to talk to.  This may be connected to the fact that I had told the customer service man last week that I would go to the ombudsman if no one contacted me.

After some conversation, he wiped off the amount that they claimed we owed them, reduced our monthly payments, assured me that our meter was now telling the truth and that readings could  be successfully submitted and promised me that we could go to another supplier without penalty.  Oh frabjous day!  It has only taken since November for this happy state of affairs to come about.  Mind you, I wait for the written confirmation of all this before I open the champagne.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from Carlisle, she was quite impressed by my industry in her absence except in the matter of edging the lawn.  It turned out that although my lawn trimming looked neat enough, there was still a large fringe of grass overhanging the actual edge and this needed remedial action by an expert.  She did it quickly and efficiently.

The sun had come out by this time but it was still far from unbearably warm so we sat and had a cup of tea under the walnut tree.  I looked at the vibrant honeysuckle behind the bench and the fading euphorbia in front of me.

honeysuckle and euphorbia

I had taken a picture of the Rosa Wren in the morning and looking at the flower as we sat and sipped, I was impressed by how much a good day had brought it on.

Rosa Wren

Six hours work

But not everything had improved in the same time.  I took a picture of a new poppy in the morning and looked in vain for it in the afternoon.


Not great value. There was a breeze but not a gale.

Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to some pinks that she had been given by our older son Tony and his partner Marianne on Mother’s Day back on May 6th.  They came in a fancy little wicker basket and after keeping them for some time, Mrs Tootlepedal planted them out.  They are doing very well indeed.


That’s what I call a good present

After the tea had disappeared, I went off on the slow bike to pursue a flying bird.

I passed the oyster catchers in their favourite spot on the bank of the Esk.  They were having their tea too.

oyster catchers

I soon found an obliging gull or two by the Ewes.  Once again they came straight to the point.


I pedalled over the Saw Mill Brig, across the Castleholm and then over the Jubilee Bridge.  I have often mentioned it and I thought it deserved a portrait on such a nice evening.

Jubilee Bridge

The sides really do lean in, it is not a camera aberration.

As I had a little time in hand, I pedalled on up to Pool Corner, which was also looking quite mellow.

Pool Corner

I checked to see if the slow worms were in their warm spots.

slow worms

They are very companionable animals. Youngsters on the left and adults on the right.

The phlox was looking very fine when I returned.


It has stood up well this year.

When I got home, I heated up yesterday’s chicken in a gravy with mushrooms and peppers and it went down very well with another of our large new potatoes.  There was some gooseberry fool left for afters.

In the evening, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and we had a good time playing sonatas by Boismortier, J C Schickardt and Telemann.  There isn’t a large repertoire of pieces for flute, cello and piano so we have to play the same pieces several times over the year.  Tonight we felt that we might actually have played one or two of them better than ever before.  There may well be room for more improvement though.

The flower of the day is a day lily…

day lily

…and the flying bird is a young black headed gull.

blackheaded gull


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Today’s guest picture, sent to Mrs Tootlepedal by an ex work colleague Anne, shows a hummingbird hawkmoth in her garden. It is not a fantastic picture and you can just make out the moth visiting a flower but it was fantastic for Anne to see such a rare moth.

hummingbird hawkmoth

I was in a cycling mood again today as the forecast was good and it would have been a pity not to make use of such a fine opportunity.  A certain amount of early morning stiffness afetr yesterday’s 60 miles meant that I didn’t get off very early and as a result it was quite warm before I started.  Not wishing to boil what little brain I have left, I opted for a gentle pedal along  quiet back roads away from any long hills.

quiet back road

A typical road on my journey today.  Quiet and flat.

I was cycling through farmland for most of the journey and the views were very easy on the eye.

farmland view

One of the features of our back roads, on both sides of the border, is the occasional large tree growing in a hedge.  Here’s one in Scotland…

tree in hedge

…and here’s one in England.

tree in hedge

I had my first refreshment stop at Rigg in the shade of the village hall there.  It has a very decorative window.

Mansfield Hall

From Rigg, I headed south into England.

I passed a number of small churches during the day.  This one is at Blackford where I stopped to eat another of John’s  excellent filled rolls which were my basic fuel for the day.

Blackford Church

I was eating my roll outside the church because I had intended to enjoy a bowl of soup and a coffee inside the pub in Rockcliffe and made a special diversion to get there only to find that it was closed on a Monday.

After my roll, I crossed the A7 and reached the Longtown to Brampton road. On a whim I took another short diversion to visit Kirklinton Hall.  This was advertised on a sign as having a house and garden to visit.  The house is handsome…..

Kirklinton Hall

…undoubtedly handsome…..

Kirklinton Hall

….but a ruin and you can get into it.  The garden will perhaps look very nice in about three years.  It did have a decorative pigsty with a decorative pig (if you are a pig fancier)…


…but the best thing about it was that you could purchase a cup of tea and a slice of cake if you wished.  I wished.

I was thinking of putting a few hills into the ride on my way home from the Hall but my legs broke out into mutinous muttering -“It’s all right for him but it’s us that has to do the work.” – so I listened to them and passing a goose….


…and a charming bridge…


…I headed back to the main road to Longtown and then pedalled home through Canonbie and the bike path along the A7.

There were plenty of flowers in the verge all the way round the ride.

Delicate pink blossom near Gretna…

Near Gretna

This vibrant ragwort was growing on the banking of the M6 motorway…


These were at Hagg-on-Esk.

Wild flowers

The bike path is in need of TLC…

A7 bike path

…but I was pleased to use it as it meant that I was near the end of the ride.

I had covered 53 miles by the time that I had got home and after a day in the hot sunshine, I was pleased to get inside and have a drink of water.

I was back out again to mow the front lawn before too long and I  had a look round the garden while I was there.


Mrs Tootlepedal’s mixed packet of marigold seeds is proving to be very good value.

The day lilies continue to delight….

day lily

…and a siskin sat on the feeder quite unperturbed as I walked past.


It was soon time for Luke’s flute lesson.  When I was preparing for the lesson, my music reading software worked very well and I was able to scan the piano part in and get the computer to play an accompaniment for a Gavotte by Handel after about five minutes work.  Luke sight read his part well.

After a nourishing tea of macaroni cheese cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel to round off a good day of pedalling and tootling.

The flying bird of the day is a well fed chaffinch.





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