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Posts Tagged ‘garden flowers’

I am short of guest pictures and have had to fall back on another of the admittedly excellent pictures that my sister Mary took on her visit to the Lake District.

The next day I embarked on a fairly steep climb up from the lake

I had an enjoyable but unremarkable day today.

The weather remained good and it was a little cooler which was welcome.

I went for a 22 mile cycle ride in the morning and the wind was sufficiently noticeable to blow me  down the five miles back from the top of Callister into the town at an average of 22 mph.  This was most enjoyable as I didn’t even have to try very hard.

I stopped on the way out to look at a few things but as my Lumix refused to open at all today, once again I was reliant of my phone and several pictures, including one of a splendid orchid which had escaped the attention of Genghis, the grass cutter, didn’t come out.

These were the ones that did.

wild flowers

wild flowers

The insect in the bottom left frame was on one head of an umbellifer.  There was quite a mixed crowd on another of the heads.

umbellifer with insects

The 22 miles got me up to 300 miles for the month after a very slow start because of the high winds in the first week.  I might have derived a bit more satisfaction from this if our next door neighbour Ken, a man of my own age and the same weight, had not done 300 miles in the last three days while travelling back to Langholm from the south.   I bow to him.

I took a quick walk round the garden when I got back.

ginger syllabub

The Ginger Syllabub triggers a reflex action in my shutter finger as I walk past

rosa goldfinch

There is hardly any space on the Rosa Goldfinch for more flowers.

foxglove and lily

There are foxgloves and lilies all over the garden

allium and astrantia with insects

Plenty of insect action

philadelphus

A phlourishing philadelphus

There were no less than three blackbirds under the strawberry netting but they made themselves scarce in an apologetic manner when we approached and they had left a good number of berries for us to pick.

strawberries

We put them in a handy box and took them off with us to Edinburgh in the afternoon as a gift to Matilda and her parents.

Mrs Tootlepedal took the bus from the station to Matilda Mansions but I walked just so that I could enjoy this view on my way.

Arthurs Seat

I often take pictures of this view but then when you get a view like this, why not?

We had an enjoyable afternoon with Matilda, full of dancing, singing, snap and pelmanism and with an added jigsaw this week.

The train home was punctual and comfortable and as it was still light as we drove home from Lockerbie, the whole visit was a treat.

It is late and I am a little tired so that is all there is to say about the day.

I have ordered a new Lumix.  I hope the zoom lens lasts longer this time.

 

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Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

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My sister Mary may have been walking in the Lake District but my brother Andrew has been drinking coffee in Bridlington.  Here is his view as he sipped.

Bridlington

We woke up to another morning of glum weather, cold and windy and with as much rain as we could possibly want….

puddle

…if not a little more.

This let me put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and since it was the last week of 1895, it was a good moment as it is always cheering to start on a new year.

The rain continued until, like yesterday, it eased off in the afternoon for long enough to let me get out for a little walk again

I started by walking round the garden.

candelabra primula

The candelabra primula seemed unaffected by the two days of rain

sweet william

The sweet william looked a little more downcast

aquilegia

And the aquilegia looked washed out

I left the garden and headed down to the river to see where all the rain had gone.

Langholm Bridge

It was water under the bridge.

Suspension Bridge

The river was well up but far from full.  It is very brown with the peat that is washed out from the land.

I walked on past the Kilngreen where a small group were keen to point that even ducks didn’t think that this was good weather.

mallards

The ice cream van was at it station in the middle of an empty car park with a faint drizzle in the air, the epitome of optimism.  Naturally I bought myself a small cone and enjoyed it as I walked over the Sawmill Brig…

Ewes

A touch of colour on the bank of the Ewes Water

…and onto the Lodge Walks.

Passing one of the recently felled tree stumps, I thought that I saw a curious fungus or lichen but closer inspection revealed that it was  a small crowd of snails.

snails

One posed for me.

snail

I know nothing about snails (there’s a surprise) and some research shows me that this might be Cepaea sylvatica but as always, I am prepared to be enlightened by knowledgeable readers.

There are some fine rhododendrons along the Lodge walks and they brought a bit more brightness to a grey day.

rhododendrons

As well as being pretty damp, it was also quite windy and I had a hard time taking plant life pictures but there was a lot to tempt me into trying.

Some above my head….

tree seeds

…some beside my feet…

grasses

…and some half way in between.

nettles

I stood on the Duchess Bridge and looked downstream.  At this time of year, the river here runs through a canyon of green.

River Esk

The nuthatches have left the nest at the bridge so there was nothing to detain me there and I walked on home, happy to have found a dry moment in the day.

The honeysuckle in the hedge facing the road gave me a warm welcome…

honeysuckle

…and after a quick look at a knapweed…

knapweed

…I went in for a cup of tea and a Jaffa cake.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spent a busy couple of hours helping in the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar while I was out enjoying my walk and in the evening, I went back there in the rain for a very well attended meeting about our local newspaper, The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser.  This is the same newspaper which the Archive Group members have been indexing since its first publication in 1848.  It has recently been threatened with closure by its latest owners, a Carlisle newspaper group.

In response, a group of concerned local people, with the financial support of local charitable trusts and some individuals have raised enough money to achieve a community buyout and the paper is now owned by a community company based in Langholm.    It has a business plan and a lot of local support so we all hope that the new venture is successful and that the E&L, as it is always known, will continue for many years to come.

The first issue of the new ownership was published today and I am happy to say that it has a picture of Skippers Bridge in it which I took a week or so ago so I really feel part of this grand venture.

This was the picture.

Skippers Bridge

 

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Today’s guest picture shows Great Malvern as seen from the top of a hill.  Needless to say it was my brother who had nipped up the hill to take the picture.  He likes a hill.

Great Malvern

I am posting very early today as Mrs Tootlepedal and I are catching a train to Glasgow to hear Verdi’s Requiem performed by one of our Carlisle conductor’s other choirs.  It should be a treat but thanks to railway line closures for maintenance work, we won’t be back home until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

It was a sporadically rainy day today and very grey so not a great day for taking pictures, cycling or doing anything useful in the garden.

The garden is enjoying the warmer wetter weather.

azalea and potentilla

Azalea and potentilla

hosta

Another flourishing hosta

Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a walnut flower from the ground.

walnut flower

Mrs Tootlepedal had an Embroiderers’s Guild meeting and I went for a walk in the hope of seeing something interesting.

I saw quite a lot of interesting things, like swallows glued to a wall…

swallows

…and a grey wagtail flitting along the river and a tree creeper living up to its name…

wagtail  and tree creeper

…and a few ducklings…

ducklings

…and a very busy nuthatch coming and going to its nest…

nuthatch

…and going and coming…

nuthatch

…but the light was so poor that it wasn’t taking any pictures of them.

I looked at trees instead.

Lodge Walks

The Lodge Walks

There were all sorts of things dangling off them.

tree

tree

tree

tree

So that kept me happy.

I noticed a few more things as I walked round the Scholars’ Field.

scholar's field

And a very fine honeysuckle flower in our hedge when I got home.

honeysuckle

The flower of the day is a standard rhododendron which I met on the Lodge Walks.

rhododendron

If we get up to Glasgow and back safely, I will report on the concert tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary and shows Mr Grumpy’s London cousin trying (successfully) to outdo a work of art in the background in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park. Mr G's cousin trying to compete with artistic installation

There were touches of frost to be seen when I got up.  However, it was cheerfully sunny and the day got warmer as it went on.  It might have been a good day for cycling but I had arranged to go with my recorder playing friend Sue to a “playing day” organised by the Roxburgh branch of the Society of Recorder players in Denholm, about 30 miles north of Langholm.

Sue arrived very promptly after breakfast and kindly offered to do the driving, an offer which I was glad to accept as I have done enough driving lately.

The playing was conducted by Helen Hooker, an accomplished player, teacher and conductor and she provided us with an excellent selection of music from Schmeltzer to Moon River by way of Bach and Steve Marshall.  As well as providing good music, Helen offered us some very sound advice as how to play the pieces which, as far as I possibly could, I followed.

Both Sue and I enjoyed the playing and we took advantage of the fine weather to go for a walk along the River Teviot during the lunch break.

It is very useful for me to have a keen wild flower enthusiast to walk ahead of me and spot the wild flowers.

Sue

She goes to wild flower courses and knows what she is talking about.

I am sure that I saw many more flowers today than I would have done if I had been walking by myself.

Here is a selection of what we passed.

wildflowers

Pretty little flowers

wildflowers

Bigger showy ones

dead nettle

Fantastically furry ones

wildflower

Some were under development

There were some mysteries.

dandelion and yellow flower

At first we thought the flower on the left in the panel above was just another dandelion but a closer look showed that it clearly wasn’t.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it might be a garden escape.  The dandelions were in great form.

The most mysterious plant of the day was one that covered a woodland floor at one point.  I took several pictures of it.

white flower

The flower stalks were triangular and tall so that the flower heads bent over.  There seemed to be several flowers in turn on each stalk, leaving behind the shiny yellow spheres which you can see in the bottom right panel.  The foliage in the bottom left panel is from another plant.

I would be more than happy to have my store of information increased by any knowledgeable reader who recognises this flower.

As well as flowers, we were able to watch a pair of goosanders scoot up stream under the eagle eye of a buzzard…..

P1110407

…while we sat on a bench and ate our packed lunches.  There were oyster catchers heckling the buzzard and delightful views as well…

River Teviot

…so the time passed quickly and we had to return to the village hall at a brisk pace.

I had enough time for a river view on the way…

River Teviot

…and a glance at Minto Hill.

minto hill

The bridge at Denholm is fine….

Denholm Bridge

…and it was a pleasure to walk across it twice.

We passed a neat thatched cottage in the village….

Denholm

…though Sue remarked that it had a fashionable ‘green’ roof and we were nearly brained by some enormous catkins….

Denholm catkin

…as we went back to the hall.

The afternoon session was as good as the morning had been so we were very well satisfied with our day as we drove home.

And did I mention that we saw some excellent lichen too on our walk?

lichen

Denholm is a great place for this yellow lichen and the hedge plants are covered with it.  I was hoping to show Sue some script lichen but there was none to be seen and the best that I could do was this.

tree lichen

When I got home, I had a quick look round the garden…

azalea, tulip and primula

…where it looked as though the flowers had been enjoying the sunshine.

tulips

Mrs Tootlepedal’s mixed bed of tulips is developing.

I saw the first potentilla flowers on the plants along the dam at the back of the house…

potentilla

…and these will be the first of many as they stay in flower for months.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy in the garden while we were tootling but she had enough energy left to cook a meal of mutton chops for tea and that rounded off a day which was firmly entered in large letters, underlined, on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

I just had enough time before I sat down to eat to look out of the kitchen window.

flying goldfinch and chaffinch

Note: I discovered during the day that Helen Hooker is not just a very good recorder player and teacher but a fanatically keen and expert photographer who has been posting pictures every day for many years.   You can see the record of her journey to Scotland here.

It is well worth a visit.

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was at the sea side in Morecambe yesterday.  He was lucky enough to find the sea at home.

MorecambeThe forecasters promised us a coolish day with light winds and no rain and they got it exactly right.  There was a light frost when we woke up which caused the tulips to hang their heads in distress but didn’t appear to actually finish any plants off completely.

The chill meant that I was in no hurry to get out on my bicycle and in the end, I waited until eleven o’clock before the temperature crept up to 7.5°C and then I went out.

The sun was out and it shone on the siskins…

siskin

One wisely leaving before being awarded the order of the boot from another

…who were in a rather factious mood…

siskins

More evasive action

…but for all its cheerful brightness, it wasn’t doing much to heat the day up.

For a change, I decided to leave the town following the road up the Esk  rather than my usual route up the Wauchope.  This does involve a couple of quite sharp but short climbs as soon as you leave the town and as I am not supposed to cycle up too many steep hills with my new tin knee, I use this route sparingly.

I took it very gently though and arrived at Eskdalemuir in good order.

Bridge over the Esk

The bridge over the Esk there is guarded by many power lines and poles

I could hardly hear myself think because of the insistent baa-ing of sheep and lambs in the field beside the river.

Eskdalemuir lambs

The thrifty people who built the church at Eskdalemuir in the early nineteenth century didn’t waste any money on frivolous ornamentation.

Eskdalemuir church

I was in expansive mood though and popped into the cafe at the Eskdalemuir Hub in the old school for a cup of coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.  This gave me enough strength to head out over the hills to Lockerbie.  The route elevation….

garmin route 18 April 2017 elevation

…shows that the first part of my journey was quite hilly and annoyingly having climbed up a long hill to get to 900 feet before Eskdalemuir, it immediately drops sharply before leaving me with another climb of 400 feet or more to get back to 950 feet, the highest point of the trip.  These are not like Tour de France climbs but then I am not like a Tour de France climber and they were quite steep enough for me.

Once over the undulating plateau between Eskdalemuir and Boreland, there is some welcome down hill and the rest of the journey bobbed up and down over very gentle country.

Not all of our handsome stone bridges have survived modern traffic and this one over the Dryfe Water…

Dryfe Water bridge

…was so battered by a passing lorry that they gave up and put in a metal trough.

Once I was through Lockerbie, I was on the old main road south, now bypassed by a new motorway.  This is quite a dull road but it was brightened up a lot in places by a fringe of dandelions.

dandelions verge

It has a useful cycle lane on each side of the road.

I stopped to eat an egg roll near Eaglesfield and was reminded that this has been a busy place for many years.  In the foreground is a bridge over the Carlisle to Glasgow motorway and the flat topped hill in the background….

motorway and roman camp

…..was home not just to  a Roman camp but an Iron Age fort as well.

I didn’t stop for many pictures as the day had become quite dull and I needed to keep my mind on my cycling rather than looking for wild flowers in the verge.

In the end, I needed to go through the town for a mile and then back again to ring up exactly 60 miles on the computer as I swung into our drive.

I had enough energy left to walk round the garden and check that the frost hadn’t done too much damage.

hellebore, dicentra and dogwood

It hadn’t.

tulip, lamium and wallflower

One of the Euphorbias deserved a picture all to itself I thought.

euphorbia

There is no frost in the forecast for the next few days so perhaps we have escaped very lightly.

I filled up the feeders and in no time the siskins were back, taking every perch at both of  the feeders but behaving very sedately this time.

siskins

It was the goldfinches that had taken on the role of hooligans…

goldfinch kicking siskin

…though the siskins were not going quietly into the night.

goldfinch facing up to siskin

I was pleased to see a couple of redpolls keeping calm amongst the mayhem.

redpolls

I had time for a shower and then we welcomed my younger brother and oldest sister to the house.  They are spending a few days in the Lake District and came up to have a meal with us in the Douglas Hotel.  The meal and the conversation were both very good value and the evening was a great delight.

We arranged to see them again in the south in July and September.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

goldfinch

Those interested can find details of my cycle ride by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 18 April 2017

It was a pity that the sun didn’t last for very long.

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Today’s guest  photograph comes from Dropscone who is on holiday in Skye.  He managed to take a rather clever picture of himself taking a picture of a rainbow.

Dropscone

After yesterday’s dull, drizzly day following a good forecast, we had a sunny, bright day today following a very gloomy forecast of frequent showers.  The general forecasts remain pretty sound but the detailed local forecasts are sometimes rather ropey.

Still, we were very grateful for a good day.

I took a couple of pictures of the effects of yesterday’s rain…

lupin and pulsatilla

A lupin holding a watery diamond and a battered pulsatilla

…and set off to cycle round my 20 mile Canonbie circle.   Although the temperature was in single figures and the sun wasn’t out, the lack of wind made it feel quite pleasant for cycling and I went round at a good speed. Since I wasn’t having to battle the breeze, I was much more in the mood to stop and take pictures so I paused for a primrose, waited for a wood anemone, dawdled for a dandelion and ran out of alliteration for a bluebell.

primrose, wood anemone, dandelion, bluebell

The dandelions and anemones were out in force near Canonbie.

anemones and dandelions

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to show that the trees are getting a welcome green tinge.

Hollows Bridge

By the time that I got home, the sun had come out so I mowed the middle and front lawns and took a lot of flower pictures.

violet, bergenia, pulmonaria and fritillary

Dog tooth violet, bergenia, pulmonaria and fritillary

berberis, wallflower, hellebore and tulip

berberis, wallflower, hellebore and tulip

tulip waving goodbye

Tulip dead heading will shortly be required

There were quite a few bees to be heard and I was very pleased to see some of them at work on the plum tree….

tulip waving goodbye

…though the forecast of a frost tonight might be too much for the blossoms.

I think that the tadpoles are far enough on to survive a cold night.

chaffinches

It was such a nice spring day by this time, although still not as warm as it should be on a sunny day in April, that I went into the house and took three shots of the garden from upstairs windows.

The front beds, the front lawn and the pond (on the right)

The front beds, the front lawn and the pond (on the right)

The plum tree, the middle lawn and the biggest flower beds

The plum tree, the middle lawn and the biggest flower beds (and a glimpse pf the gardener).

The vegetable garden and the compost bins

The vegetable garden and the compost bins

This doesn’t show the beds along the front of the house and the small area to the right of the greenhouse.

The birds were pleased when I filled the feeders before I went cycling and by the time that I got back they had got the level well down again.

chaffinches

We wanted to do some shopping at Gretna so we took advantage of the continuing sunshine by packing the bikes into the car after lunch and going for a cycle ride before we did the shopping.

The advantage of cycling from Gretna from Mrs Tootlepedal’s point of view in particular is that the roads are mostly flat but this didn’t mean that we had a dull outing.

Todhills horses

Bridge of trees at Todhills

Mrs Tootlepedal passing under an arch of trees

We went south from Gretna and cycled round a 12 mile loop that took us through Rockliffe.  After passing through the village, we took advantage of a rough track to cycle down to the bank of the river Eden.  We were able to look back at the church where we took a walk a week or so ago.

Rockcliffe church

Which ever way we looked, up or down the river, the view was delightful.

River Eden

Up river

River Eden

Down river

And the bank itself was covered with a lovely little wood.

Rockcliffe wood

We were a bit alarmed by some very black clouds ahead of us as we cycled back to Gretna but they passed over to the north before we got back to the car and we enjoyed an excellent cycle ride.

The 12 miles had given us an appetite so a cup of coffee and a cake was necessary before we completed some satisfactory shopping.  (Slippers were the main thing on the list but quality prunes came into it too.)

We got home to find that the rain shower had missed Langholm as well.  This was lucky as we had had washing hanging out.  I had to fill the feeders again as they were quite empty by this time.

chaffinches

Cycling and shopping had taken up most of the afternoon and it wasn’t long before it was time for our evening meal and then I went out to play trios with Mike and Isabel.

We haven’t played for some weeks as Mike and Isabel have been busy on church matters over the Lent period and it was very good to get back to playing again.  The time off hadn’t got too much rust into the works so we enjoyed our playing a lot.

Sometimes, I can just push the shutter button in the nick of time to catch a flying bird and today was one of those times.

chaffinches

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