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Posts Tagged ‘geum’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba.  Her Christmas cactus responded to a programme of benign neglect indoors over the winter by bursting into flower when it was put outside for the summer.

christmas cactus

Perhaps unsurprisingly my hopes of waking up with no pain after yesterday’s tooth extraction were not realised and far from cycling around in a free and easy way, I spent the day rather quietly at home.  This was disappointing as it is the weekend of the Muckletoon Adventure Festival in Langholm and the town is full of mountain bikers and runners dashing up and down our hill.  I would have liked to have been out and about taking pictures.

As it was, I was confined to the garden but some reasonable weather meant that there were things of interest even there.

The bees buzzed around again and this one was visiting the perennial wallflower.

bee on wallflower

Roses showed their faces and I liked this combination of rosa complicata and philadelphus in a corner of the garden.

roses and philadelphus

Almost all the azaleas flowers are gone but one or two remain and they have been joined by honeysuckle, pinks and orange hawkweed (with both fox and cubs).

azalea, honeysuckle, pink,hawkweed

In the vegetable garden there is now a sea of mustard.

mustard fiekd

It is in a bed which is likely to get a bit of a thumping when the new electricity pole is put in next week so Mrs Tootlepedal has just let it grow, which it has done with great enthusiasm (or keenness).

The warmer weather has made us very excited by the peonies which definitely look as though they are going to flower properly.

two near peonies

I mowed the front lawn and gave it a good feed of buck-u-uppo which it badly needs.  The long spell of cool weather has not encouraged the rather sparse grass to grow much so I am pinning my hopes on a spell of warmer weather which we are promised.

After this brief burst of exercise, I retired indoors and spent most of the rest of the day resting and looking out of the window.

The birds did their best to keep me entertained.

Goldfinches looked sideways…

goldfinch looking sideways

,..and sparrows look downwards.

sparrow looking down

A sparrow tried to out stare an incoming siskin…

siskin looming

…while a siskin resorted to shouting when it was threatened.

siskin staring at siksin

Goldfinches demonstrated aerial combat skills…

goldfinch aerial combat

…while a siskin relied on the old fashioned method of putting the boot in when approached by a goldfinch.

siskin and 2 goldfinches

A siskin threatened a redpoll as some light rain started later on in the afternoon…

rain at the new feeder

…but the redpoll was more than equal to the challenge and munched away placidly when it had seen the siskin off.

redpoll nf

The rain got heavier but did nothing to cool tempers down.

siskins sparring nf

…and a brisk traffic to and from the feeder continued all afternoon.

goldfinch going nf

The rain stopped and a blackbird posed for me on the feeder pole.

blackbird posing nf

I had another walk round the garden and was very pleased to see that the ‘butter and sugar’ iris had come out while I had been sitting inside.

butter and sugar iris

The geums have quite enjoyed the cool weather and although it is a little faded round the edges, the deep colour of this one was outstanding.

deep red geum

I had a close look at the argyranthemums in the chimney pot…

argyranthemum centre

…and went back inside.

All this means that after a very promising start to the cycling month when I did 100 miles in the first week of June, I have only managed 10 miles since.  Some settled weather is required if I am to improve matters but it looks as though that might be in short supply.

If I can’t get out for a walk or a bike ride, I will have to start thinking of going for a drive to get some scenic views to add a bit of variety to the daily posts (and our lives).

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch cruising through the raindrops.

flying goldfinch

Note:  I will need to do something about the reflections in the window when I am looking at the re-positioned feeder.  The view of the birds is good but the streaky lines down some of the pictures is not satisfactory.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who knows that I like a neat lawn.  She found this one near a well known large house.

Buck house gardens

It was one of those days when it might have rained at any time and there was evidence that it had rained…

rain on hosta

…but in the end, it kept reasonably dry until the late afternoon and I was able to wander round the garden after breakfast looking to see what was going on.

There was the familiar:  the purple stemmed cow parsley is going from strength to strength…

purple cow parsley

…and there was the fresh: the nectaroscordum has started to flower.

nectaroscordum

There was old: the pulsatilla seed heads  are having fun…

pulsatilla

…and there was new: a fourth geum has joined in with the others…

four geums

…and a second astrantia has arrived as well.

pale astrantia

There was plenty of bright colour but sadly a rose had come out and been knocked about by a rain shower before I had a chance to get a good shot of it.

four reds

There were a good number of bumble bees about…

bee on allium

…and the alliums were on their visiting list.

I like the geometry of the alliums….

bees eye view of allium

…and of the sweet rocket too.

sweet rocket head

I was still pottering around the garden when a guest arrived for a garden tour and a cup of coffee.  Sue has recently come to live in Langholm and while she was searching online for information about the town, she happened upon my blog and has since become a regular reader.  It was very nice of her to take the time to come and visit us and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a good chat with her.

She lives on the edge of town and has many interesting visitors to her garden.  She has invited us up to see woodpeckers, nuthatches and squirrels so I hope to take up her offer soon.

When  she left, I mowed the middle lawn and then took some time to watch our own birds.  Just the usual suspects were about…

three birds

…though I was pleased to see a chaffinch.  They are normally our most common visitor but they have almost entirely disappeared from our garden lately for some unknown reason.

chaffinch and siskin

After lunch, I went up to the town to keep an appointment but as the person whom I was supposed to meet wasn’t there, I came home again and set to work with Mrs Tootlepedal on some lawn improvement.

The front edge of the middle lawn has lifted up over time and Mrs Tootlepedal wanted it lowered so it looked better and was easier to step off.  This involved raising the turfs, removing soil from underneath and replacing the turfs.

A straightforward task which we approached methodically.  First cut the turfs…

lawn renovation 1

…then remove them and lay them on the drive in the right order…

lawn renovation 2

…then shoogle and level the soil underneath, removing quite a lot of earth and three  buckets of stones…

lawn renovation 3

…before raking the soil flat and putting some compost in…

lawn renovation 4

…and then the turfs that have been removed are sliced to a uniform thinness using a turf box and a knife and replaced in position….

lawn renovation 5

…until it starts to pour with rain and we have to break off and have a cup of tea.

As it was then the tome when my flute pupil Luke came, I left Mrs Tootlepedal replacing the last of the turfs between showers and when Luke left, I helped her to finish off the task. Then we gave the replaced lawn a thorough watering and generally tidied up a bit.

lawn renovation 6

As well as the three buckets of stones, we had removed about two wheelbarrow loads of soil so although it may not look much in the photos, we made quite a difference.  Everything will take a few days to settle, but we were very pleased with the result of the afternoon’s work. The lawn will never be bowling green flat but it is much more level than it was.

Luke has been practicing so the lesson went well too.

Tomorrow will tell whether a couple of hours of vigorous bending and stretching was a good idea.  At the moment, all is well.

The flying bird of the day is one of our sparrows.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture shows a feature of the Sheffield Peace Gardens. They were seen by Bruce on a recent stay in the city.

sheffield peace garden

Today started very oddly when I woke up realising that I had just had a good night’s sleep.  This was so unusual that it took me until Dropscone arrived with Friday treacle scones for coffee to recover.

The scones were very good though and by the time that Dropscone left, I was back on an even keel and able to appreciate that the geums had started to flower in the garden.

geums in garden

They are droopy flowers and I had to resort to the mirror to get a good look at one from underneath.

When I went back, I looked out of the window and saw that the jackdaws were back in search of nesting material.  They have discovered where Mrs Tootlepedal has buried the rest of the woollen mulch round a rose and they were busy digging it up, under the supervision of a senior member of the group.

jackdaws panel

At the feeder, goldfinches and siskins were in charge again and a lonely chaffinch appeared.  I thought that it looked a bit wistful.

lonely chaffinch

Since the chaffinches have been the most regular customers of the feeder all winter, they must feel a bit put out by these spring interlopers, much as loyal insurance company customers feel put out when they discover that new customers are getting preferential rates offered to them.

Not that the goldfinches look happy about their end of the bargain either.

goldfinches stamping

I made some bacon and lentil soup for lunch, ate a bowlful and then got my bike out.  It was quite a lot colder than my last outing and I had leggings and a waterproof jacket on as I faced a light north wind.

I had worked quite hard last time I went out and my feet had been painful afterwards so I took things very easily today, stopping frequently to admire the view…

road to burnfoot

There were fifty shades of green

…to take in the passing bluebell woods,…

bluebells on benty road

…and to record some of the many wild flowers which have started to appear in the road side verges.

wild flowers on benty road

I crossed the Esk by the Bentpath Bridge…

river esk from benty bridge

…and admired the assistance that someone had given to nature on the other side of the bridge.

flowers at benty bridge

Then I cycled up the far bank of the river, noticing more wild flowers…

wildflowers near benty

…and finding that some work by foresters in felling trees had made it much easier to spot the old suspension bridge that allowed residents on the west bank of the river a shorter walk to the church in times gone by.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 1

I wouldn’t be inclined to walk over it now.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 2

A little further on, I noticed what I thought was a tree in full flower by a gate…

pink tree westerhall

…but a closer look showed that the colour came from buds and the flowers are not out yet.  It should be spectacular when it blooms.

It wasn’t hard to spot wild flowers as the banks were covered with them..

bank of wild flowers

…and fields were full of them.

meadow of wild flowers

When  I came to the furthest point of my short ride, I had to cross the Esk again, this time using the Enzieholm Bridge, which looks modest enough when you cross it…

enzieholm bridge from above

…but turns out to be a pretty substantial bridge when you look at it from the waterside.

enzieholm bridge from below

The wind was behind me now (good route planning for once), and I didn’t stop so much on the way home, though I did like these fine copper beeches…

copper beeches beside esk

…and yet more wild flowers…

wildflowers benty may

…which I passed before I got back to Bentpath village, where I took the obligatory picture of the church and bridge.

westerkirk church may

I did the last five or six miles with only one more stop.  This was to take a look back at the Gates of Eden…

gates if eden May

…before cascading back down the hill into Langholm, very cheerful after such an enjoyable and leisurely fifteen miles.  (The pedalling took me an hour and twenty minutes and I added another twenty five minutes to the trip by stopping to take so many pictures.)

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in…

FOUR GARDEN FLOWERS

…to find Mrs Tootlepedal, after a busy morning, sitting quietly over her embroidery.

Although the day was still quite cool for the time of year, when the sun came out it seemed pleasantly warm and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to have a short sit out on the new bench until the sun went in again.

Then the sun came out again and I was thinking of going for a short walk but as soon as I put my walking shoes on, the sun went in and a few drops of rain fell.

I abandoned the idea of a walk and cooked a feta cheese, tomato and potato bake for our tea instead.   It was followed by some sticky toffee pudding.  It is hard to have to eat all of the sticky toffee pudding ourselves instead of sharing it with Matilda and her family but we are being brave about it.

One of the thieving jackdaws is the flying bird of the day.  It wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

flying jackdaw making off

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Gavin who is over on the east coast on a walking holiday.  He passed this little memento of the war near Craster.

craster war hut

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day embroidering in Hawick so I had a quiet day to myself.

It was another dry day so I had the opportunity to look at flowers in the garden though the brisk wind meant that I had to try to find the ones that were in a bit of shelter.

I didn’t have to look far to find some good colour.

rose

peony

sweet william

Mrs Tootlepedal introduced two Gauras into the garden this year, one white and one red.  The white one fell victim to the strong winds but the red one has survived.

gaura

The campanulas are getting a bit battered by the persistent breezes but some are keeping their heads up.

campanula

And the Martagon lily has got its dancing shoes on.

martagon lily

After a wander about, I went inside to drink, coffee, read the papers, do the crossword and keep an eye on the birds.

The blackbirds have been very busy and look as though they are starting another brood even though there are several developing young birds about.   I like the way that they go black from back to front as they grow up.

young blackbird

The feeder was busy with sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches and siskins all competing for a place on a perch…

busy feeder

…leading to some unfortunate outbreaks of hooliganism.

stamping siskin

In the case, the chaffinch shrugged off the siskin and kept her place at the feeder.

After a good lunch of sardine and lettuce sandwiches, I got myself organised and went out for a cycle ride. The wind was gusty so I settled for a gentle 30 mile circuit and was happy to be blown home so that the return journey uphill was considerably faster than the outward journey downhill.

Did I mention that everything is growing?

springfield road

There was only just room for the road between these lush verges near Gretna Green and I had to stop a little further on to let a rush of traffic go by.

pony trap

I stopped for a drink and half a banana after twenty miles and admired the ferns beside the road.

fernfern

I am trying not to take too many pictures but when I got home, the sun came out and so did my camera.

I am cycling slowly but consistently as my trip today was within half an hour

Mrs Tootlepedal’s orange geums are lasting well….

geum

…and the melancholy thistle looked positively cheerful today.

melancholy thistle

Rosa Wren, probably my favourite rose in the garden has produced its first flower…

rosa wren

…and the giant ornamental clover has come out too.

giant clover

I like to see the perennial nasturtium so I was pleased to see that it has survived the severe clipping that the yew it lives on got last year and has come back fighting.

tropaeolum

Mrs Tootlepedal was back from Hawick when I got back from cycling and she was soon hard at work in the garden while I mowed the front lawn and put the sprinkler on the middle lawn.  There is no rain in the forecast for the next ten days and with the temperature set to rise, I want to avoid the lawns drying out.

Following the doctors’ advice to get more iron into my diet, we had liver for tea for the second time in a few days.  As I am eating plenty of greens as well, I will so full of metal that I will be liable to set of security scanners just by walking past them soon.

We had a sporting evening watching bits of football and rugby matches on the telly.

There is not just one flying chaffinch of the day today but three of them.

flying chaffinches

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Highland correspondent Jennifer and shows her lovely garden, proving that they have had good weather up there too.

IMG_0168

After the brief interlude with rain here, we are back to dry, warm weather.  New flowers are appearing in the garden.

euphorbia, wiegela, philadelphus

The new euphorbia in full flow, the weigela and the first philadelphus

It was cloudy today but warm enough for me to go out for a bicycle ride exposing my knees to the grateful public.  From a cycling point of view, the fact that it was cloudy was a bonus as it meant I didn’t get cooked as I pedalled but from a photographic point of view,  it meant my eyes were more often turned to the verges than the views.

There was plenty to see in the verges.

The umbellifers are out in force and no plant is so reliable in my experience at attracting insects for photo opportunities.

insects on umbelliferhoverfly on umbellifer

The grasses are also at their peak in many and various forms.

grasses

grasses (2)

I cycled down to Gretna and then took the service road beside the new motorway.  The road makers have given the new road very decorative bankings.

motorway daisies

There was red and white clover all along the way.

clovers

And I saw my first hedge rose today.

hedge rose

The hawthorns are beginning to go over and fading to a delicate pink as they go.  This one was at the bridge over the river Lyne near Longtown.

hawthorn

There is no shortage of food for sheep or cattle.

sheep in meadow

And no shortage of wild flowers  for me to enjoy.  This is the old A7, now by-passed by the Auchenrivock diversion.

Old A7 verge

Not long before I got back to Langholm, I stopped at Hollows Tower for a cup of coffee and a Tunnock’s Tea Cake at their new little ground floor cafe.  The tower celebrates the Armstrong reiving family…

 

Hollows Tower

…so I was relieved that no one stole my bicycle while I was drinking my coffee.  I prudently parked it round the back.

When I got home, after a very enjoyable 50 mile excursion into the flatlands of England, I had enough energy left to mow the front lawn and take a few pictures in the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a pleasure to be out in the garden with leisure to sit down from time to time and enjoy the views.

My eye was drawn towards pink.

Fru Dagmar Hustrup rose

Fru Dagmar Hastrup, new in the garden this year,

aquilegia

A pink aquilegia which Mrs Tootlepdal likes

astrantia

And the wonderful astrantia, a whole garden in a single plant

Newly out was this excellent iris….

iris with lining

…and Mrs Tootlepedal’s geum garden is a riot of colour.

geums

I took a moment to check on the birds.  Sparrows are coming to the feeder in style.

landing sparrow

And we still have redpolls, though not quite as bright red as before.

redpolls

Later on, Mrs Tootlepedal was doing some weeding when she saw this frog.

frog in garden

She thinks that the frogs in the garden may well account for her slug free hostas.

My flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  Rather to my surprise, it turns out that he has been coming to play for so many years that he has now finally left school.  Time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some lemon curd ice cream from a recipe card that she had come across and we ate it for our pudding after a second go at the slow cooked beef stew. This came with a side order of fresh spinach from the garden and we had an excellent meal to round off a  very enjoyable day.

I made an effort at a flying bird of the day and caught a sparrow checking to see who was about.

flying sparrow

Those interested may see more detail on the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see that it was a very flat route.

garmin route 4 June 2018

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who enjoyed the view at Buttermere on her recent flying visit to the Lake District.

buttermere

Our fine weather continued unabated today and there were gardening and cycling opportunities as a result.  Mrs Tootlepedal seized the gardening opportunities with both hands (and a trowel)  while I rather let the cycling chances slip through my fingers.

I still had a mysteriously croaky throat when I woke up so I was happy to try to soothe it with coffee and treacle scones.  The scones were accompanied by Dropscone and came with additional agreeable conversation.

I went up to the town before coffee to replenish my stock of coffee beans and was pleased to find that a local shop had been able to source a good quantity of organic beans from Sumatra and Ethiopia.  We tried the Sumatran beans today and they were very good…though we failed to detect the overtones of apricot promised by the blurb on the packet..

When Dropscone departed, I wandered round the garden, an easy thing to do on a sunny spring morning.

The blackbird, who has been very busy feeding demanding young, was looking a bit tired, I thought….

blackbird

…and had paused for a moment before diving into the compost heap looking for worms.

The alliums are finally coming out and one or two are getting near having the perfect globe…

allium

….with all that goes with it.

allium closer

The brilliant azaleas, both red….

azalea red

…and yellow….

azalea yellow

…caught the eyes of our neighbours Liz and Ken, the pig transporters, when they stopped to exchange a few words over the garden hedge.

Liz and ken

The delights of the geums….

 

geum

…bergenia…

bergenia

…and astrantia were harder to see from the road.

astrantia

I did a little work and sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepedal’s planting out needs.

Mostly though, I took things easy and only got my new bike out well after lunch.  The new bike is a delight to ride and I had an enjoyable hour and a half pottering round the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

Yesterday, I took pictures of both cows and trees and to save time today, I took a picture featuring both subjects in the same shot.

cows and tree

Nearer home, I stopped to look at some ‘Jack in the Hedge’…

Jack in the hedge

…although it was actually alongside a wall and not in a hedge at all.

I had a cup of tea sitting on the new bench with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got back but it was hard not to jump up and take more pictures.

Tulips get some added colour as the flowers mature.

tulip

The rhododendrons just get brighter.

rhododendrons

The first pink tinged flowers have appeared on the white potentilla in the garden.

potentilla

The clematis at the back door is heavy with buds and a few flowers are giving a hint of what is to come.

clematis

And the bees were busy visiting the dicentra again.

bee on dicentra

After an early burst of visits from honey bees when it was still pretty cold, there have been hardly any in the garden during the good weather.  We must have had some blossom available when there was not much elsewhere but presumably, the bees are spoiled for choice now.   As you can see from the bumble bee in the picture above, there is plenty of pollen available here.

We are going on holiday for a week beside the sea with Matilda from tomorrow so patient readers will get a break from incessant garden flowers for a while.  There may be sand castles and sea birds instead.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a good time renewing our acquaintance with some pieces which we haven’t played for some years.  It was hard work but worthwhile as the pieces were good.

Mike and Alison are kindly going to look after the greenhouse and keep an eye on the vegetable garden while we are away and Liz is going to fill the bird feeder so all should be well at Wauchope Cottage.  Whether there are any blog posts will depend on the wi-fi in our holiday cottage.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch with a background of the very last of the daffodils..

flying goldfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an old bridge with more arches than water.  It came from my brother Andrew.  He tells me that it is the Segovia bridge in Madrid, over the river Manzanares. Completed in 1584, it is the oldest bridge in the city – the architect was ‎Juan de Herrera

bridge

The over night rain had stopped by the morning and I was able to get out for a standard twenty mile pedal down to Canonbie and back.  I hope that this will be the last on my slow bike for some time.

I wasn’t going to stop but my legs had other ideas so you can thank them for this view of bluebells in a roadside wood…

bluebells

…and the first look at some wild geums and a marigold which was playing host to a lot of insects.

geum and marigold

I had a choice between a chilly early start and a warmer windier later one and chose the windier option which resulted in a very slow bike ride indeed.  Still, I was pleased to get again as it meant that my hand is not suffering because of cycling.  I don’t know what set it off last week but I hope that it doesn’t do it again.

When I got home, I found that our friends Bob and Nancy were helping to reduce Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mountain by taking some of it away to their allotment.  That is what friends are for.

I went upstairs and looked out of the window.

front lawn may

The daffodils have almost disappeared and we are relying on tulips for colour until the azaleas and alliums come out.

middle lawn may

I took this picture of the veg garden before cycling.  It is looking well organised.

veg garden may

More is getting planted out in it every day.

The tulips are holding up well…

tulips

…though the very earliest to come out are now over.

Other things are coming along nicely.

lilac and solomons seal

It is nearly lilac blossom time.

Some flowers are so small that the camera finds it hard to pick them out.  This is berberis and rosemary.

small flowers

There was plenty of evidence of yesterday’s rain.

P1090843

I had a few moments to watch the birds.  This sunny moment was before breakfast.

GOLDFINCHES

After my cycling, siskins arrived in force.

flying siskin

busy feeder

I had to refill the feeder before we went to Edinburgh.

After lunch, we set off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It rained on us as we drove across but the sun shone for our train journey and our stay in the city.

Matilda was in good form and came out to play in the garden.  Alistair had mowed the pocket handkerchief sized lawn just as we arrived and Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to smarten up the edges while I played with Matilda and her mother Clare and snipped away at protruding meadow grasses with some shears.  Both the gardening and the playing were most enjoyable in the warm sunshine and we looked back down on the lawn as we went in for tea with some satisfaction.

Al's lawn

Apart from Matilda being offended when I remarked that she was a small person  (“I am not small.  I am four!”), the visit went well and Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked back to Waverley Station in beautiful early evening sunshine.

Arthurs seat

I hadn’t noticed before that the architect of the Scottish parliament building had intentionally or unintentionally echoed the line of the Salisbury Crags with his roof.

salisbury crag and parliament

Mrs Tootlepedal’s wildlife detector was working well and she spotted this rabbit in the gardens beside the road.

edinburgh rabbit

I like the way that this old churchyard has survived in a valuable piece of real estate…

Edinburgh graveyard

…but as in all the cities we visit, the cranes were very busy.  These ones were a few yards up the road.

Edinburgh cranes

Our journey home was smooth and uneventful and as a mark of the passing of the months, we got home in the remains of daylight for the first time this year.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

 

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