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Posts Tagged ‘geranium’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She was hit in the eye by this burst of colour on her morning walk to Kenwood House.

Kenwood colour

After breakfast, I cycled up to the town to do some business including paying in a handsome cheque kindly sent to me by the government.  This was a refund for the very expensive road tax which I had paid on our old car.  One of the benefits of the little white zingy thingy is that it is tax free to put on the road, part of the inducements to go electric.  These benefits will doubtless disappear when more people start buying electric cars but judging by the published figures on the rate of sales, I should be safe for a while yet.

Then  I drove off into England for the third day running, this time to see my singing teacher Mary.  My ambition is to be able to sing a simple song more or less in tune and in a pleasant manner so she has her work cut out on both fronts.  However, she is a first rate teacher and I came away feeling that with work, I might be able to achieve my goal.

An added bonus was being able to watch a small flock of lapwings flying around in the field opposite her house after the lesson.

It was another fine day so when I got home, I took a walk round the garden in the hope that more azaleas would have come out.  They are very reluctant.

not out azalea

This one has been covered with  promising buds for ages but it is still strangely reluctant to burst into flower.  Our warmer weather is set to continue for a day or two so I am keeping my hopes up.

When I went in, I found that Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer and chief data miner for our local newspaper index, had brought round the sheets which will mean when they have been entered into the database that we have reached 1900.  Three cheers to all involved.

It was soon time for lunch and after I had eaten my soup and cheese and done the crossword, the downside of the little white thingy came into play.  The crucial word here is “white” and some pointed remarks from Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to the fact that a white car shows the dirt.  For many years now I have avoided washing our car because in my view, it just encourages more dirt, but even I could see that the new car is going to require regular washing.  Ah well, nothing in the world is quite perfect.

After I had washed to car, the middle lawn called to me.  The moss eating mixture which I applied a few weeks ago seems to have had an effect but there was still a very mossy patch in the middle of the lawn so I got out the scarifier and gave the whole lawn a going over.  When I had collected the moss with the mower, the lawn looked quite potential…

scarified lawn

…though my assistant thought that there was still work to be done.

scarifying assistant

…and to be fair, there is still quite a bit of moss about.

As you can see from the lawn picture, we are between colour at the moment with the tulips and daffodils past but there is a lot of green about…

green garden May

…and there are spots of colour here and there.

The sweet rocket is coming out…

sweet rocket

…the tree peony is very nearly out…

tree peony flower nearly out

…and the Japanese azalea is doing its best too.

japanese azalea

The cow parsley in the back border is beginning to look really impressive…

rampant cow parsley

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has a purple stemmed variety in another bed.

purple stemmed cow parsley

I went round to the back of the house, to check what flowers could be seen along the dam…

flowers along dam may

…and found daisies, potentilla and the first of the aquilegia, one of my favourite flowers.

I came back into the garden and found that the white polemonium…

white polemonium

…had been joined by a blue variety…

blue polemonium

…and the first geraniums have arrived too.

cranesbill

I took a view from an upstairs window which showed that only two of the five azaleas in the bed along the road have come out…

azaleas in sun

…and then went off for another short and gentle therapeutic pedal on the slow bike.

I passed the bluebells on the hill again without walking up to visit them this time.

bluebells on hill

When I had been down in England in the morning, I had noticed that quite a few hawthorns had come out and I was interested to see if ours were out too.  They weren’t….

hawthorn not out

…but they are going to make a good show when they do arrive.

Although most of our trees are now green, the alders along the river sides are still waiting to join in, as this picture of the Glencorf Burn shows.

leafless alders glencorf burn

Normally, if I have a good bike ride, as I did yesterday, I would try to go further the next day but as I had my sensible head on today, I went slightly less far than I did yesterday and my ankle thanked me for it.  I was very happy to find my sensible head as often it is well hidden away.

I didn’t have much to time watch the birds today but I liked the concentration shown by this pigeon…

concentrating pigeon

…and checked out the usual customers on the feeder.

redpoll, siskin, goldfinch

My flute pupil Luke came in the early evening and I was able to use a tip which I had picked up from my singing lesson to help him get over an awkward corner in one of our pieces.

I also introduced him to Scott Joplin as a change from baroque sonatas.

As the sun sank after a full day’s work, I resisted the temptation to take a sunset picture as I already had too many for the post and so all that is left now is the flying bird of the day.  Or rather, in today’s case, the fleeing bird of the day.

fleeing siskins

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Today’s guest picture comes from an outing near Derby undertaken by my brother Andrew.  He went visit the Abbey at Darley Abbey and found that all that remains of it is a public house called “The Abbey”

Darley Abbey

If yesterday was a dull and gloomy day, today was a duller and gloomier day.  It was warm for the time of year though and that made the drizzle that came and went even more annoying.

I got up early (for me) and made a venison stew for the slow cooker before we went off to sing in the church choir.  The choir was rather short of numbers and with several unison hymns and no anthem, it made for a gentle reintroduction to singing for me.

When we got back, the rain stopped for a while and we got busy in the garden.

I took a picture or two but everything was far too wet and the day was far too dark for anything to photograph well.

wallflower

wet white geranium

tall sunflower

A new smaller flower has replaced the big head that we cut off the very tall sunflower.  It is even taller though.

The first gardening task was to pick a up a large number of windfalls from one of the espalier apples.  I should have thinned them out earlier and they are overcrowded so a lot of them had fallen off in unison.  I gave some to one neighbour and then went across to wish our neighbour Liz a happy birthday and ask if she would like some apples too.

She came across to fetch some and while she was there, she gave us a helping hand in the next task which was the removal of our ancient blackcurrant bush.  Mrs Tootlepedal is going to remodel that end of the vegetable garden.

Liz likes nothing better than to give an axe a hefty swing so with her on the axe and Mrs Tootlepedal on the pick, we soon got it shifted.  I worked the spade and did some heaving.

At that stage, it started to rain quite heavily so we left the garden.

We sorted out our potatoes for storage and Mrs Tootlepedal did some work on the new garage doors prior to them being painted.  Fortunately the cycling Tour of Britain has started and this gave us a perfect excuse to watch the telly and ignore the weather.

I did occasionally look out of the window at the birds and was pleased to see some interest in the big sunflower head.

birrd on sunflower

The sparrows were as boisterous as ever…

sparrows (2)

..with regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.

stamping on sparrow

A jackdaw took a very dim view of this behaviour.

jackdaw brooding

Whenever the drizzle took a rest, I kept looking out into the garden to see if it was dry enough for a walk but by the time I had thought about going out, it had generally started to rain again.

I did spot a brooding presence in our rowan tree.

bird on rowan

I made some alleged ciabatta in the bread machine (we have yet to try it out) and that was about the most exciting thing of the day.

After we had eaten venison stew for our tea, we went off to a church choir practice.  Our organist and choirmaster is trialling some Sunday evening practices to see how that suits choir members.  Once again it was only a small turnout but the practice was both useful and enjoyable.

The forecast is looking a bit gloomy so I may have to sort out my wet weather cycling gear if I want to get some September miles in.

The flying bird of the day is not one of my best.

sparrows

 

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Today’s guest picture once again shows what our son Tony comes across when he walks his dogs at his new house.

Tony's seal

It was yet another miserably drizzly and windy morning when we got up but it was still comfortably warm in the garden.  I am afraid that I was one of those  purveyors of fake news a day or two ago when I said that the scientific rain gauge was showing three inches of rain for the week.  I had got carried away and it was really only showing two inches.  However, by this evening, it really was showing three inches and I have emptied it out and will try to remember to check it (accurately) every Saturday from now on.

Mrs Tootlepedal is busy with creating a blackout blind for an upstairs room and as this involves a patchwork layer  she was quite happy to spend the morning sewing.  I had an interesting crossword and a cup of coffee and I can spend a lot of time, when needed, in solving one and drinking the other.

The forecast had suggested that things might be better in the later part of the afternoon and this turned out to be true so I had a walk round the garden…

plums

There are plums ripening on the plum tree and getting ready to be eaten inside but there are other interested parties in the matter of eating plums…

wasps on plums

…which means that I will have to be careful in reaching up to pick the fruit.

There are still some campanulas left, rather battered but with enough pollen to still attract a bee.

campanulas

We would sit out in the evening and enjoy the sweet smell of the nicotianas if the weather was a bit better.

nicotiana

The French marigolds somehow make it very difficult for me to take a picture which shows just what a treat they are to look at but this was one of my slightly better efforts.

French marigold bunch

I like the devil may care attitude of rudbeckias to their petals.  No military precision there.

big rudbeckia

Mrs Tootlepedal’s scheme to surround the top end of the front lawn with a band of yellow provided by crocosmias is coming along well…

lawn and yellow crocosmia

…and some of the more traditional colour can be seen next to the greenhouse.

two crocosmia

The end of the middle lawn should be a sea of white cosmos and we are hoping that the weather will be kind enough to let them all flower soon.  There are plenty of buds waiting to burst.

white cosmos

Mrs Tootlepedal has a bright red geranium already in place and she has now planted out the economically priced one which she bought in Dumfries.

gernaiums

The dahlias are doing well.

four dahlias

The strong winds of the morning had eased off and although the clouds were still looming, it was not raining so I got my bike out and set off round the 20 mile Canonbie  circuit with the option of turning tail if it started to rain or the wind got too strong.

By the time I had got three miles out of town, there was even a hint of blue sky about…

view from Bloch

…though the view behind me wasn’t very encouraging….

view of Bloch road

…and the sight of house martins (I think) on the telephone wires beside the road spoke of autumn.

martin

However, I was lucky and the roads dried out and the rain stayed away.  With the wind still quite brisk…

blowy tree

…it was good that it was in the most friendly direction possible, being only directly in my face for about five of the twenty miles.  By the time that the ride was over, the wind had dropped a lot so I had a much more enjoyable experience than I had expected.  I even got to stop on the way and chat to a man who has an Archimedes screw.

I picked some raspberries and sweet peas when I got back and we had the raspberries on a meringue base with some whipped cream for afters at our evening meal.

After bragging about how many birds there were in the garden yesterday, I got a well deserved comeuppance when none appeared today at all.  This might have been because of the wind or possibly because I thought I saw a sparrowhawk fly through the garden in the morning but for what ever reason, there is no perching bird today, let along a flying one.

A vivid nasturtium is the flower of the day instead.

nasturtium

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from a splendid set that my brother sent me after his visit to Shugborough Hall near Stafford a week ago.

shugborough bridge

We awoke to find it was still raining after a night of rain and a check on the scientific rain gauge showed two centimetres had fallen.  This is a fair amount of rain for us and it is an indication of how dry things have been that the garden wasn’t awash with puddles.

It was too wet for gardening though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and then watched the birds for a while.

A rather anxious looking sparrow appeared first.

worried sparrow

It was probably right to be anxious as there was quite a lot of demand for a seat at the table.

chaffinch incoming

incoming sparrow

flying chaffinch

I was pleased to see a blue tit among the sparrows and chaffinches. The sunflower seeds are too big for a blue tit to chew whole so they usually take one off and trap it under their feet on a handy tree nearby while they peck at them….but sometimes they just drop them.

bluetit dropping seed

The rain soon eased off but it was still pretty wet and when I put the camera away, I stayed inside and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

This took me up to lunchtime and after lunch, I nearly succumbed to the temptation of watching more of the European Championships on the telly but I managed to pull myself together in the nick of time and put on my cycling gear.

I was punished for saying there weren’t many insects about by being bitten by a horsefly when I had stopped for a breather on my bike ride but there are still not many of them in the garden.

I took this one by accident when I was shooting the dahlia of the day while wasting time before cycling…

dahlia

..and zoomed in for a closer look.

hoverfly

There are still geraniums about although they haven’t been at their best this year.

geranium

A close look at a rose mallow revealed a very fluffy interior.

rose mallow

The second flowering of the orange hawkweed goes from strength to strength.

orange hawkweed august

In the end, I stopped looking at flowers in my cycling gear and actually got on my bike.

It was an odd sort of day.  It looked very autumnal, gloomy and  grey and overcast but it felt rather summery with the temperature at a very pleasant 20°C so I  went off wearing shorts but with a rain jacket packed just in case.

After the overnight rain, I checked on the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse and was not surprised to find quite a bit of water splashing over the rocks.

Wauchope cascade

There were a lot of wild flowers growing near the river, some familiar…

wauchope wild flowers

…and one which was quite new to me.  I have no idea what it is.

white wild flower

When I stopped after ten miles to admire the view…gair road

…and have a drink and a nibble of guava jelly, I found that my lost water bottle was back on my bike again.

two water bottles

I had had a reasonable idea of where I had lost it on my previous ride and wondered whether it would be visible today.  It was just resting quietly in the grassy verge on top of Callister.  I took it home with me and though it will have to go in the bin, at least I haven’t left litter beside the road.

There is a stretch of this striking grass beside the road near Springkell and considering how full the seed heads are, I am surprised that I don’t see more of it about.

seedy grass

I saw a bright yellow flower in the verge at one point and wondered what it was.  A closer look makes me think that it is a bird’s foot trefoil but it has come rather late in the season if that is what it is.

trefoil

The weather gods played an amusing game with me over the last ten miles of the trip.  They sent down enough light rain to make me think about stopping and putting my rain jacket on and then, just as I was about to stop, the rain stopped.  And then, of course, a mile or so later, it started again.  This went on for some time and they only got fed up when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stop even if it rained quite hard  (which it did for a few minutes) and they went off to annoy someone else.

I managed 35 miles at a modest pace and got home in time to have a walk round the garden before tea.

There were pale pink sweet peas to be seen today.

pink sweet peas

I picked a plum from the plum tree (a good place to look for a plum)…

first plum

…and went inside for a shower.  The plum will need to ripen for a day before it is ready to eat.

With more rain forecast for every day next week, I am glad to have got some miles in this weekend.  I still have plenty of archiving work to do so perhaps it will be a case of every cloud having a silver lining, a statement with which I do not agree in general.

I was spoiled for choice as far as flying birds went but the poor light didn’t let me get a very good picture.

flying sparrow

 

 

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You may think that I have been going on too much about the lack of rain but today’s guest picture of one of our town bowling greens is worth a thousand words.  It was taken by our friend Bruce.

New town bowling green drought

It was pleasantly cool at breakfast time but even with the sky covered in high clouds, there was no sign of any rain so I pottered about watering, weeding and dead heading.

I even went as far as mowing the drying green and the greenhouse grass to make things look a little tidier.  I am trying my best to keep the garden in a state where Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t actually burst into tears when she comes homes and sees it.

There is plenty to enjoy at the moment.  The bees were very busy today.

bees

The roses are still the pick of the crop but I focussed on blue.

cornflower

geranium

delphiniums

The delphiniums have never looked better and I had a closer peer at them.

delphinium closer

It almost looked as though they were peering back at me from under their eyelashes.

It was cool enough in the house for me to spend an hour putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group’s database.  I have slipped behind schedule and all the time the data miners are piling up more work.  Must try harder.

After lunch, I gave up the chance to lounge about watching the Tour de France and went for a bike ride instead.

I varied my route and took the main road out of the town to the north.  I hoped that the traffic would not be too bad and it turned out that my hope was justified and I had a very peaceful ride considering that the A7 is a trunk road.  The benefit of riding up a main road is that the maintenance is carried out by a national government agency and not our local council.  As it is government policy to starve local councils of money and keep it all for themselves, this means that main roads tend not to have any potholes.  The road contractors have been hard at work recently doing some resurfacing so for much of the ride, the going was extremely good.

The views aren’t bad either.

Ewes valley

The skies were cloudy but the wind was light and at 20°C, conditions were near perfect for pedalling.

The hills ought to be at their greenest just now but they too are feeling the drought.The dark green patches are bracken.

top of ewes valley

There is a lot of meadowsweet around and I liked this pool of plants nearly smothering a wall at Mosspaul.

meadowsweet at Mosspaul

I left the main road for a very small diversion to Carlenrig where Johnnie Armstrong met his end.  He was either a great local hero or a notorious gangster, depending on your point of view.  A rather gloomy notice board is to be found…

johnnie armstrong

…where a stone marks the spot.

johnnie armstrong grave
Nearby is a little church…

Carlenrig church

I took another little side road for about a mile and came to an attractive ford…

ford

…with an alternative bridge if the ford is running too high.

ford footbridge

I didn’t cross the ford or bridge and turned for home down the main road back along the flat bottomed Ewes valley…

looking down ewes valley

…and by this time, the skies had cleared a little and it was another beautiful day.

I took the picture above while I was beside an interestingly named farmhouse.

Unthank

Unlike the farm, I was very thankful for the good weather and the light breeze that blew me home.

It was a most enjoyable 30 mile outing.

I got back in time to do a little more watering and gooseberry picking before it was the moment for tea.

I watched the birds as I prepared my meal.

siskin, greenfinch and chaffinch

The scruffy blue tit was back again.

blue tit and siskin

And I noticed that one of the siskin visitors had been ringed.

ringed siskin

If no birds arrived at the feeder, I looked at poppies instead.

poppies

After tea, I managed to get the best of both worlds by watching the end of the Tour stage on the evening highlights programme and then wasted an hour watching the second half of the France/Belgium semi final in the world cup.   There was plenty of skill on show but not as much excitement as I would have liked.

The flying bird of the day is a traditional chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows Puffin Island off Anglesey.   My brother took the picture on a visit to Anglesey in May.

Puffin Island

We were offered a bright and breezy morning and I took the opportunity to gird up my loins and get out on the fairly speedy bike for the first time in October.  Because it was breezy, because there was always the possibility of rain and because I couldn’t think of anything else, I did three repetitions of the nine mile round trip to Cleughfoot and back.

My internet acquaintance known to me as Quercus pointed out recently that cycling on a familiar route could be considered recycling so I suppose that cycling three times on a familiar route might even be rererecycling.

I had my camera in my back pocket but a brisk wind in my face inclines me to keep my head down and not notice anything and whizzing along when the wind is behind means that I have passed anything interesting before I have registered it.

I did stop, because I had to, at my turning point and couldn’t avoid noticing a brilliant display of haws on a hawthorn…

haws

…and I did notice, because I was specially looking out for them, a really fine crop of healthy sloes on the Cleughfoot road.

sloes

I don’t think that I have ever seen such a good crop before.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden when I got back.  She had just moved a delightful orange flowered potentilla with a view to finding a place where it will not be as crowded as it was this year.

Potentilla

I gave it a good watering in and then went to look at the poppies.  They are still very good value…

shirley poppies

…though the rather cold air seemed to have discouraged any bees from visiting today.

My favourite poppy of the day was floating above the pond.

poppy

The colours are just as they came out of the camera.  I have not improved them in any way.  Indeed, I think that it might be impossible to improve on such a lovely flower.

The dahlias were worth a look too.

dahlia

You can see that hoverflies seem to be more weatherproof than honey bees.

We went in for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went back out to do more gardening while I finished the crossword.   I then went out to cut back the blackcurrant bush and when I had shredded the clippings, I went to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was doing.

lawn shifting

She was cutting, shifting and stamping bits of turf at the end of the middle lawn as part of her new project for better beds, better paths, better space and better everything in this area next year.

It is a task that needs a lot of supervision so I selflessly took on the role.

Soon a round corner had become square….

new middle lawn

…and a curved edge had become straight.

new middle lawn

It will all look very neat and tidy by next spring.

(Notice that indispensable tool of the gardener, a piece of string, in action here.)

After the lawn work was finished, I sieved a bucket of compost but finding it a bit soggy after the recent rain, I stopped and wandered round taking pictures.

That great gardener Christopher Lloyd is very dismissive of Leycesteria in his garden shrub guide but I like it a lot even though it is invasive.

Leycesteria

We have two sorts of jasmine on the go at the moment.  Winter jasmine and jasmine officinale.

jasmine

The very last of the geraniums are looking pretty.

geranium

A late daisy.

daisy

And the sweet rocket has produced a second flowering.

sweet rocket

It was chilly working in the garden and there were one or two feeble efforts at rain over lunchtime but the relatively mild nights are keeping the supply of flowers going in a very satisfactory way.

We were quite ready for a cup of tea by the time that everything was cleared away.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre for a screening of La Bohème but as Puccini’s music generally leaves me cold, I stayed at home and did the washing up.

While the lawn works were going on, there were several sightings of the gardener’s friend….

earthworm

…and we were not the only ones interested.

blackbird

Robin

In spite of these two handsome birds, the flying bird of the day is not a bird at all but the sole big bumble bee that I saw today.  It was really getting stuck into the dahlia pollen.

búmble bee

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Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s visit to Knightshayes.  There were animals everywhere.

knightshayes

Yesterday had left my legs feeling rather elderly so I was quite pleased to spend most of the morning sitting quietly in the Welcome to Langholm office.

I took a picture of the two roses beside the path from the front lawn before I went up to the town.

Lilian Austin

Lilian Austin

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren

I was working away at the Langholm Archive Group newspaper index, largely untroubled by having to welcome any visitors in the office. The only downside of this quiet spell was that it was extremely warm so just sitting there felt like quite hard work.  It did give my legs a break though so I mustn’t grumble.

I spent the afternoon pottering about in the garden watching Mrs Tootlepedal work.  I sieved a bucket or two of compost and was pleased to find that it was in good condition.  It has been so warm that I set the sprinkler onto both the front and the middle lawn.

In between times, I tried to turn the bright sunlight into a photographic bonus rather than a hindrance.  The roses drew me to them.

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren at lunch time

golden syllabub

A young Golden Syllabub

golden syllabub

And a grown up

We have been visited by royalty.

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

She leads a complex inner life

Things caught my eye as I passed them…

allium

geranium

…on my way between roses.

A new clematis has joined the party.

clematis

The butter and sugar iris is doing well…

butter and sugar iris

…which Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased about this as she transplanted them and that is always a risky business.

The Rosa Complicata is bursting with flowers.

Rosa complicata

The new petunia is in the greenhouse waiting for a home…

petunia

…and you can probably see why it attracted Mrs Tootlepedal’s attention.

The peonies are in various states of dress and  undress.

peony

peony

The white ones offer bees every chance of a profitable visit.

In the evening, Luke came for his flute lesson and we battled away in the heat without making much progress but as always, it was enjoyable to play a duet with him. He had been playing for the old folk yesterday and told me that his performance had been received well.

I was hoping to go for a pedal in the evening again but couldn’t summon up the energy as it was still pretty warm and my legs, when consulted,  were against unnecessary exercise.  They are much improved after a day of rest though.

The flying bird of the day is a bee which is definitely not flying any more as it has fallen victim to a spider lurking among the astrantia.

spider and bee

 

 

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