Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who thought that this picture of the fernery at York on a rainy day might interest me after my fern walk with Mike a few  days ago.  He was right.  It interested Mike too.

fernery York

We had another cool and windy day here, with occasional heavy showers.  I had to go up to the Moorland Feeders as a fill in feeder filler for Sandy, who is sunning himself by the beach somewhere far to the south (lucky chap).

There were not many birds about so I enjoyed some of the tree features…

laverock hide trees

..until a few birds turned up.



Maybe the very brisk wind which you can see ruffling this siskin’s feathers had put the birds off…

blowy siskin

…but it certainly put me off and as Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t seen anything interesting in the raptor line as she scanned the hillside, we went home…

…where it soon started raining.

busy feeder in the rain

However, it is April so the showers were intermittent and I got out into the garden from time to time.

The tulips are punctuating the daffodils with spots of colour…

tulips and affodils

…and standing alone too.

red tulips

In the pond many tadpoles and snails are to be seen.

tadpole and snail in pond

Mrs Tootlepedal has been trying to find out where the pond is leaking as it has been losing water whenever it stops raining lately.  She has done some serious detective work and today, she added some practical digging and stone shifting and she thinks that she has cracked the problem.

I took pictures of euphorbia and muscari to show the contrast mixture of  rain and sun we had today…

euphorbia and muscari

…for which a couple of tulips provided corroborative evidence.

tulips with rain drops

I found my daffodil of the day….


…and then went upstairs to take a couple of general views of the garden.  Here is the front  lawn and its surrounding beds…

view of front lawn

..and here is the middle lawn with a glimpse of the vegetable garden to the right.

view of garden

It doesn’t look bad considering the miserable spring  we have had so far.

The blackbirds still seem to be busy nesting and the female had come out for a break.


I made some soup for lunch and then we set off (through an horrendously heavy shower) for Lockerbie (where it wasn’t raining) to catch the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda and her parents.

I like to stretch my legs on the platform after the drive over and before catching the train and I always enjoy the infinite geometry of railway lines.

Lockerbie station

Our  trip to Edinburgh went well.  We caught a glimpse of the alternative grandparents and then turned some dough which Matilda had made with her other granny into bread rolls, enjoyed some football cards  and had a very tasty meal of home made pizza  before setting off to come home.

By this time the weather had cleared up and we decided to walk back to the station.  On the way, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted both some fine lichen…

Edinburgh lichen

…and a grey squirrel…

edinburgh squirrel

…while my eyes turned to the flag flying at Holyroodhouse with Arthur’s Seat behind it…

Arthurs Seat and Holyrood House

…and a selection of buildings which we passed as we walked along.

Views from Regent road Edinburgh

We were a bit alarmed to find that the incoming train from Manchester, which we catch on its way back south, hadn’t even arrived at the station by the time that we due to leave and I expected a long delay.  Mercifully and very surprisingly, the train drew in some four minutes after it was due to leave and left only three minutes later!  In the end we were only eight minutes late getting home.  What a relief.

And the pond hadn’t lost any water so it looks as though Mrs Tootlepedal has cracked the problem.

The flying bird of the day showed off the strength of the wind very well.

flying chaffinch



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Today’s guest picture shows a very fine bridge over the River Ouse near which my brother Andrew had a cup of coffee recently.

Bridge over Ouse

We were blessed with another day of unrelenting sunshine but, in the morning at least, it came with a bearable temperature and very light winds so when I went out on my bike after coffee, it was a perfect day for pedalling.

I had cleaned and oiled my chain before I started so it was happy and I had chosen a fairly flat and unchallenging route so I was happy but sadly, the only dissenting members at the party were my legs which for some unknown reason were on a go slow.  There is no arguing with legs when they are in this sort of mood so I calmed my expectations down and pedalled gently about the countryside for thirty miles humming cheerfully to myself.


There was a lot to see.

Before and after my ride, I had strolls round the garden.

Wren and poppy

dahlias and cosmos

Flowers grown from seed flourishing in light or shade


The butterflies were back

After  a shower, some lunch and a bit of gardening, I went off for a walk with Sandy.  By this time it had got very warm so it was lucky that we had chosen a short walk by the river as if we had gone any further, we might have melted.

We parked at Hollows Tower….

Hollows Tower

…and walked down through the fields to the Esk, stopping on the way to record anything that caught our eyes.

Sandy at Hollows

Sandy has an unfair advantage. He can crouch down…and then get up again.

I was looking at seeds and fruits…

bramble, acorn and winged seeds

The first blackberry of the year up here.

..and wild flowers.

wild flowers

The river was looking very peaceful…

River Esk

..and in the distance we could see a heron perched on a caul.


The caul provides water for a mill stream that powers the Archimedes screw which has appeared on the blog before.

On the far bank of the river we could see strata of rock. perhaps 300 millions years old, making me think of just how recently human beings have arrived on the scene.

River Esk strata

We walked down the river to look at the sluice gate for the mill stream…

sluice gate at hollows

…and have a closer look at the caul.

caul at Hollows

The sluice is on the left of the river as we look.

We did think of going on down to look at the bridge at Hollows but by this time we were nearly roasted so we pottered back to the car and drove home.

I had a last look round the garden when I got in.

lily, anemone, cornflower and marigold

Mrs Tootlepedal had dug up one of our main crop Hungarian potatoes and the crop looked to be slug free which is always a relief.


The onions are drying in the greenhouse.


A blackbird caught the evening sun…


..and above our heads, a butterfly got some late warmth on the roof tiles of the house.

butterfly on roof

During the day, I mowed the front lawn and having looked at the front and middle lawns, I think that this might be the one day of the year when they look quite good.

The lawn seasons starts in about February when the lawn master walks around sucking his teeth and saying, “Oooh, the moss is very bad this year, there’s no hope.”  Preliminary work, scarifying, fertilising and if necessary a little weed killing starts in April or May and then a programme of regular mowing is put into practice while the lawn master walks around saying, “Oooh, it’s not looking very good.”

Then one day in August, it looks like this.

middle lawn

front lawn

And the lawn master is happy.

And then of course it is all downhill again.  Worm casts, rain, cold, moss, moss and more moss and then the lawn master walks round saying, “Oooh this looks bad”….and the whole thing starts again for another year.  But today makes it all worthwhile.

The flower of the day is a poppy at its its poppymost.



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Today’s guest picture comes from America and was sent to me by Barbara, who was one of three family members who came to Langholm last month on a dreadfully wet day to look for the gravestones of two ancestors.  We met at the Archive Centre.

Archive Centre

The weather here was a good deal better than that today and in spite of a brisk wind, it seemed too good a chance to miss so after breakfast (and with the minimum amount of time wasting), I got the fairly speedy bike out  and went for a pedal.

There has been any amount of loose gravel put on the back roads in our area recently so it was quite hard to find a route which didn’t involve pedalling through some of it.  In the end, I chose the nearest section and pedalled slowly for the first mile and half out of town until I was clear of it.

It was quite chilly when I set out but the weather cheered up as I went along and the wind kindly blew me home so I have had far worse rides than this.

I stopped just before Lockerbie to take a picture which sums up the country along the Lockerbie road for me….hilly but scenic.

Lockerbie road

The clouds were beginning to break up and shortly after leaving Lockerbie on the Dalton road, the sun came out.  I was in the rolling green country of Annandale by this time.

Dalton road

There are wide open views on every side.


A pheasant in the foreground and Burnswark Hill on the skyline.

I crossed the River Annan twice and it was obvious that it had rained more in the west last night than it had in Langholm as the river level was quite high and the water quite brown.

River Annan

I would have crossed it by this bridge at Hoddom but the road to Ecclefechan was another victim of the dreaded gravellers so I turned back, crossed the river at Brydekirk and went home by way of Eaglesfield and Gretna.

I stopped at the Old Toll House at Gretna for a plate of their excellent egg and chips and thus fuelled up, and with the brisk breeze solidly behind me, I cruised home up the main road.

Those interested in learning more about the route can click on the map.

Garmin 20 May 16

This was the first lengthy ride of the month and I would have been happy to extend it a bit but I didn’t want to get myself too tired with a concert coming up in the evening.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I arrived and I had a walk round before I went off for a bath.

Following my daughter’s request, I avoided taking close ups of individual flowers today and have tried to show a bit of context.  We need a good week or two before things get a bit more colourful though.  Almost all the ‘bulby’ plants have gone now, snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, grape hyacinths and tulips and we are waiting for alliums, azaleas, hostas, astrantias, rhododendrons and geraniums and others too numerous to name.


The two beds of newly planted tulips beside the front door are still going strong


Our tiny pond (with a wooden heron keeping guard)

Azalea corner

The azaleas in this corner were badly affected by a late frost


This bush survived and will look great fairly soon.

Back path

The back path

There are some nice patches of foliage meanwhile.

middle lawn border

The vegetables and fruit are lurking behind the metal fence.

Apart from the tulips at the front door, there are two clumps left which have starred as individuals on these pages before.

yellow tulips

pink tulips

The lawn is in terrible condition but I am working on it.

We had a full day and after tea we went off to Newcastleton to sing in a concert in the church there with our Langholm choir.

The church at Newcastleton is well lit and warm and it makes a good venue for a concert.  In addition they have an excellent keyboard which we used.

Illness led to one or two absences both from the choir and from our intended visiting  soloists.  On top of that, our regular pianist was unavailable so that our conductor was playing and conducting simultaneously for some numbers.  We had several unaccompanied songs which helped though and we sang three more to a pre-recorded accompaniment which our pianist had prepared earlier. We hadn’t been able to practise these though.

Under these circumstances, disaster would not have been too surprising but, all in all, things went very well and the the tenors even hit the right opening note in the unaccompanied madrigal, much to everyone’s astonishment.

The audience  (more people in the audience than in the choir) responded very warmly to our efforts, the soloists gave of their best and the varied programme suited the occasion very well so we all went off happily looking forward to doing the whole thing again next Wednesday in a different church in a different country.

In the absence of any flying birds, my friend Bruce sent me this picture of two sparrows at his patriotic nesting box, dad on the roof and mum keeping an eye out.




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