Posts Tagged ‘delphiniums’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran.  Unlike me, he saw a squirrel at breakfast time.

Arran squirrel

Our spell of good weather continued with a pleasantly warm and often sunny day.  At the moment we are getting some sunny days without it getting too hot for comfort and the only thing lacking to make things perfect is a few overnight showers to save the need for watering the vegetables.

I had time before going to sing in church to have a quick walk round the garden.  It was worth it.

poppy, lily, courgette

Perhaps the biggest and most flamboyant flower in the garden at the moment is in the vegetable patch but the courgette (bottom left in the panel above) looks quite at home.

We have got some very nice white foxgloves on the go among all the colour.

whiute foxglove

The hostas are covered with flowers,  They are doing well this year.

hosta with flowers

Our church organist has been elected cornet so he has been very busy attending common ridings in neighbouring towns lately, but he found time to come and play for us today and it was good to have him at the organ.

After church, there was time for another garden wander and some dead heading.  I noticed the last of our lupins…

new lupin

..and took a general view of the borders on the front lawn.

front lawn border

The front lawn is much better than it was, but it is still a bit patchy.  I did think about photoshopping the brown patches out but restrained myself.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys a bright red perlagonium which she rescued from a ‘past its best’ tray at a garden centre last year.  It has repaid her care.  I like it too, but it is so bright that it frightens the camera.

geraniums red

I went inside to have coffee and had a look at the birds.

There is a lot of blackbird activity in the garden and this looks like a growing youngster.

young blackbird

A siskin looked as though it was being distracted by an arriving sparrow from the threat from another siskin behind it.

sparrow landing

Later on, two siskins got very up close and personal.

mixed siskins

After lunch, we went off for a cycle ride.

During the ‘sit and stitch’ session at the producers’ market yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal had been reminded by one of her embroidering friends that members of the Waterbeck village hall committee serve cream teas every Sunday afternoon in July.  Waterbeck is ten miles away from Langholm so a ten mile bike ride seemed a good way to work up an appetite and the ten miles back seemed like a good way to work off the calories acquired.

We went at a leisurely pace and kept an eye out for orchids.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some on the way out and some more on the way back…

two orchids

…and in the end, she saw so many that she stopped pointing them out.

As well as wild flowers, we saw animals pondering on life…

three bulls

…and a busy sand martins’ nesting site…

sand martin nests

…though my pocket camera couldn’t capture any of the sand martins which were flitting in and out of the nest holes.

The verges have not been mown recently and are very lush with waving grasses.

waving grasses

We encountered a small stream of old cars on a group outing but I only managed to get my camera out of my pocket by the time that they had almost all passed us.  This was the last in the queue (with a modern car behind it).

old car

We arrived safely at the hall and enjoyed an excellent cup of tea, a cream and strawberry scone and a delightful plate of cakes as well.  I would have shown you the scones but they had all mysteriously disappeared in no time at all.

waterbeck cream tea table

There was a light breeze in our faces on the way home and the hills are steeper going towards Langholm than on the way out, so we didn’t rush back in spite of being well fuelled with scones and cake.  We had time to stop and look at more flowers.

The vetch and the yellow bedstraw were very striking…

four wauchope wild flowers

…but the more subdued meadowsweet and two active red soldier beetles also provided photo opportunities.

The most surprising stop of the trip was to photograph a hare on the top of Callister.  It thought that the best way of hiding from me was to stand very still in full view.

hare on Callister

More animals should adopt this scheme.

We made a judicious pause half way up the steepest hill to admire the view.

view from Callister

Mrs Tootlepedal did the trip on her shopping bike.  It is the one that has been recently serviced and now has a fully functioning ‘granny gear’ on it.   The hills gave it a good test and it passed well.

An evening meal consisting of a fry-up of liver, bacon, egg and mushroom rounded off a very satisfactory day and we sat down to watch a recording of the team time trial stage of the Tour de France after we had had one last walk round the garden.

The evening light was delightful.

poppy bobbie james delphinium philadelphus

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that one of the many Iceland poppies which spring up in the garden had developed some rather fancy petals.

ragged iceland poppy

I liked the steely gaze of the delphiniums.


According to the forecast, we have one more good day to go before the weather changes and it starts to rain for several days, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to cycle a few miles and have had so many pretty flowers to look at during this past week.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch heading up to the feeder.

chaffinch flying


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Today’s guest picture comes from my younger son, Al.  He took this picture of Mr Grumpy’s Edinburgh cousin in reflective mood in the Botanic Gardens.

edinburgh heron

It was a perfectly horrible day here, wet, windy and chilly so it was just as well that our morning was brightened by a visit from our friend Bruce who shared a cup of coffee with us while he entertained us with his description of a visit to a very grumpy back specialist.  Bruce has suffered from his back for a long time and was quite surprised to be given exercises to do fourteen times a day by this chap.  He feels that his back may well improve though as long as he doesn’t pass away from fatigue first.

The wind and the rain has taken its toll on the delphiniums and we saw the first casualties of the year today.


The Sweet Williams are more compact and are made of tougher stuff.

Sweet Williams

It wasn’t a day to be cycling or outside in the garden at all so we were quite pleased to be going to Edinburgh to visit Matilda rather than just sitting indoors looking out at the rain.

We were less pleased to find out that our train was late yet again.  I seem to have spent a lot of my life staring hopefully down the track from the platform at Lockerbie Station.

Lockerbie Station

Not the most scenic view

However, we got to Edinburgh in the end and spent a very cheery afternoon with Matilda and her parents.

I asked Matilda if I could take her picture and she gave the matter some serious consideration…


…before kindly giving me the big “cheese”


She then settled down to making biscuits with granny…..


…before beating me all ends up at Pelmanism and snap.

We enjoyed an excellent meal (a cheese flan provided by Mrs Tootlepedal) before going back in the persistent rain to catch our train home.

This was on time and I was happy to find that it had stopped raining by the time that we got to Lockerbie so the drive home was by no means such a puddle filled adventure as I had feared.

A better forecast for tomorrow.  Fingers are crossed.






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Today’s picture shows the Market Place in Langholm.  The bunting is in preparation for Langholm’s Great Day.

Market Place

In marked contrast to our recent weather, we had another fine day today and I got up early and went up to the moorland feeder station because Cat Barlow had told me that she would be ringing birds early in the morning.  Sandy came up too but there was no sign of Cat so we hung about looking at  birds while we waited.  There were several woodpeckers about, bickering with each other.


This one came nearest to us.

After a while, it became obvious that Cat wasn’t coming so we went home and had a cup of tea and a slice of toast.  I put my mobile phone on charge and it popped up with a message from Cat saying that she wasn’t coming which explained her absence.  She said that she would be up later as she was having a lie in after getting home for  a late night because she had been ringing gannets.  She leads a varied life.  I cancelled a planned pedal with Drop and waited for her call to go up.

Meantime, Sandy went home and I took a stroll round the garden.

Rambler rose

The rambler rose along the new fence is doing well.

icelandic poppy

The Icelandic poppies continue to provide splashes of vivid colour. They never seem to stop flowering.


There is blue everywhere

Turks Cap Lily

Mrs Toot is very fond of these lilies and they pop up all over the garden.


The lawns are criss crossed by scurrying blackbirds on important business.


Goldfinches are more common again after a short absence.

I am not showing so many bird pictures from the garden just now because there is nothing really new, nevertheless the feeder is usually pretty busy.

busy feeder

My supply of seed goes down alarmingly quickly.

About 11 o’clock, Sandy and I decided to go back up to the feeder to see if Cat was there.  She wasn’t so we filled up the feeders and lurked about for a while.  I saw this bird…

young robin

…which was new to me.  I thought that it might be something exciting but Cat and Alison Tinker both told me that it is a young robin.  I learn something every day.

I am pretty certain that this is a young great tit because the black stripe doesn’t go very far down its front.

great tit

At this stage, I got a text from Cat saying that she would be starting ringing at one o’clock so we went home again.  Sandy took my new digital voice recorder away as he was going to a conversation meeting during the afternoon.  I had a quick lunch and went back to find Cat and a friend busy rigging her nets.  It had got a bit windy and the sun was out and both these things make the nets easy for the birds to see so Cat didn’t expect a great catch.  A loud squawk announced the arrival of a young woodpecker but otherwise few birds hit the nets.

The woodpecker was charming, except when biting Cat on the finger.


Cat’s skill in releasing the birds from the netting and gently handling them during the ringing is a joy to watch but my joints were nagging a bit and the catch had no novelties to photograph so I made my way home after a while.  I intend to go back again tomorrow morning when she will be ringing again.

Once home, the garden called and I gave the middle lawn a quick mow.  Mowing little and often, every day if possible, is the principle of transcendental lawn care (TLC). Time spent on lawn care is time well spent.

Mrs Toot was able to pick the first sweet peas of the season.  It was a bit of a problem as the sweet peas have been grown in strong netting to stop the birds chewing them to bits as they grow.

Sweet peas

They are grown for cutting.

I spent some time dead heading roses and was pleased that these white roses looked not too bad after clearing off the dead and soggy ones.

white roses

Looking about, I was struck once again at how Mrs Toot sprinkles her favourite flowers all round the garden rather than having banks of them in one place.  Here is a scattering of delphiniums.


There are many others around the garden.

During the day I had finished clipping the two front box hedges and Mrs Toot had done one at right angles and I thought that the result looked quite neat.

Box hedges

Box hedges are a pleasure to clip. The chicken still needs a trim.

There are plenty of hedges left to do so there is no danger of getting bored.

New yellow flowers have been spotted…


They are called alstroemeria (but of course, you knew that).

After a lot of standing around through the day, I thought that my legs needed stretching so I got the slow bike out and pedalled the three miles up the road to Wauchope School.

Wauchope school

Long since closed as a school and now a private house

I passed some shorn sheep on my way which were showing the reason for the their gathering which I had witnessed yesterday.

shorn sheep

Luckily the wind was tempered for them and it was quite warm.

Sandy brought the recorder back with some recordings of conversations among Langholm’s senior citizens which had been going on.  We are going to experiment with transcribing some of these to see how they come out.  He told me in passing that a photograph of his from our recent exhibition had won a prize in a local photographic shop’s competition.  It will now be entered in a national competition.  I was impressed.  It was a jolly good photo so it deserved to win a prize.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came and while Mrs Toot and Mike enjoyed a glass of wine, Alison and I enjoyed playing good music as well as we could (fairly well tonight).

Today’s flying bird is this rather scruffy greenfinch.








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