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Posts Tagged ‘hosta’

Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.

poppies

Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.

poppies

Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.

Whita

There was plenty more to see on the way.

fruit

Fruits

flowers

Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.

swallows

I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

dahlias

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled

poppies

And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…

heather

…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.

yarrow

I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.

sloes

The crop looks very good but a closer look…

sloes

…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….

hosta

water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…

rowan

…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…

heron

…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet

Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.

fungus

The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.

insect

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba, is entitled “Alcatraz on the Assiniboine” and shows the lengths she has to go to keep the deer off her vegetables.  It makes Mrs Tootlepedal’s anti-sparrow pea fortress look a little small.

deer fence for veg

I was woken several times during the night by rain pounding on our Velux windows and was not surprised to see two large puddles on the lawns when I got up.  It was still raining after breakfast when I walked up to the Welcome to Langholm office to do my tour of duty.

As usual, I settled down to do some Archive Group work on the computer when I got in but unusually, I was constantly interrupted by people coming in to buy DVDs and booklets.  Mike Tinker also came in to look at the Camera Club exhibition and Archive Group treasurer Nancy dropped into to compare grandparenting fun over the Common Riding so I was not short of things to do and people to talk to.  I will finish off the Archive Group work later.

It had stopped raining shortly after I had got to the Welcome to Langholm office and with one or two brief exceptions, it stayed dry for the rest of the day without ever looking as though it might not rain at any time.

I had a walk round the garden when I got back but the very brisk wind made taking pictures hard.  Once again, it was pleasing to see that the miserable weather had not discouraged the bees from visiting.

bees on poppies

I like to think that some of the local honey that I bought at the producers’ market may have come from our garden.  There are other hives about though so it may not be true.

Thanks to the chilly weather, the garden is at a bit of a standstill at the moment, though a few dahlias are battling the elements.

Dahlias

A new and blue hosta has come to join the others.

hosta

I had lunch and decided to risk a heavy shower and go for a cycle ride.  In the event, the roads were running with water in places but it stayed dry.  It was blowing very briskly so I did one of my valley bottom hugging three lap runs to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back to get my twenty miles in.

It was hard work going uphill and against the wind.  Even on the flat in the more exposed sections, I was struggling to go at 10 mph. Conversely of course, the trip back down was a breeze!

My eye was caught on the way up the hill by a very pretty pink flower in the verge.

yarrow

I think it is yarrow and I found it hard to say whether the white flower next to it was the same plant or not.

yarrow

Nearby, there was some interesting lichen….

lichen

…which deserved a closer look.

lichen

You can’t get anything much more interesting than that, I am sure you will agree.

Although the river level in the Esk was not as high as I thought that it might have been after the heavy rain overnight, there was plenty of water flowing over one of my favourite cascades on the Wauchope.

Wauchope cascadeWauchope cascadeWauchope cascade

The power of the water, even in a small river like the Wauchope, is awesome.  I took good care not to get too close to the edge of the bank.

My bicycle was glad of a moment’s rest in the battle against the breeze.

Bloch field gate with bike

The field has been mowed for silage

As I came to Langholm for the last time, I whizzed past my South African correspondent, Tom, who was pedalling up the hill in the opposite direction with his niece.

I have fitted my new wing mirror to the bike….

wing mirror

It is held on by a velcro strap

…but it might need refitting as it was fine at low speeds going up hill but when I was going at speed back down the hill over the bumpy road, it dropped out of position a lot.  (If you have straight handlebars, getting one that fits into the bar end is the best solution.)

Almost as soon as I had got home, I went out again.  This time I was picking up Sandy in the car.  It was the first time that I have been to his new house.  It is very neat and well decorated but he has a few things still to come before it is completely done.

He has an interesting shed in his garden.

Sandy's shed

A piece of living history: ideal for a bicycle and a lawn mower.

Our plan was to drive a little bit up the road and pick wild raspberries.  As a plan, it worked out very well and we did just what we had meant to do.

My haul looked like this….

Sandy's shed

…almost exactly a pound of fruit and it quickly became three small pots of wild raspberry jam.  They will not last long.

As well as the raspberries, which were unusually good in quality, we saw a butterfly and it is doing duty as the flying bird of the day today.  It flew off soon after I took this picture.

ringlet butterfly

 

 

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Today’s picture from our London Trip shows the sign for a long forgotten shop on Brixton Road.  By coincidence, the American senator, Bernie Sanders, a diamond geezer if ever there was one,  spoke in front of a crowd of 5000 people at a Brixton venue nearby only last month.

Sanders in Brixton

I have been doing a bit of washing of clothes lately and as some of my readers will know, this leads to ironing and so I started the day with the ironing board in play.  I am not a skilful iron handler and I never cease to be amazed (and put out) by how much more easy it is to iron a crease into a garment than it is to iron it out again.  It just doesn’t seem right.  Still, it is a great lesson for life – careful preparation is almost always better than just breenging in regardless.  I am going to learn that lesson one day…..but not yet.

I had just got the board folded and the evidence of rather rumpled clothes tucked away upstairs when first Dropscone and then Sandy arrived to share a pot of coffee.  Because it will be a busy day for all of us tomorrow, Dropscone kindly brought forward the traditional Friday treacle scones and we ate them on a Thursday instead.

It was a wet and fairly miserable morning outside and it got a lot worse and fairly bucketed down when I went off to do some shopping for Matilda and her parents (and her other grandparents too) who are visiting me over the Common Riding.  We seem to be in the middle of a spell of occasional sunshine and many really heavy showers.  It doesn’t make for restful days.

Some of the flowers are looking a bit depressed…

poppy

…and who can blame them.

I can blame the sparrows though for pecking holes in my lawn.

sparrow holes in lawn

A water lily seemed quite at home, sheltering from the elements under a leaf in the pond.

water lily

The dampness hadn’t discouraged the bees though and there were quite a few about as soon as it actually stopped raining.

bee on lambs ear

In the afternoon, when it had stopped raining for a bit, I had a visit from my friend Gavin, with his daughter, my Newcastle correspondent and her two children.  Leo was hoping to see a frog in the pond but there was not a frog to be seen and a few tadpoles were scant consolation.  Hannah helped me pick some peas and kindly only ate enough of them to leave me a few for tea.

When they had gone, I picked some beans….

P1010220

… and admired the other fruit in the garden, some for me….

Charles Ross apple

Charles Ross apple

….and some for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

I noticed that once Leo had left, a frog appeared.

frog

…but by the time that Matilda arrived, it had gone again.

While I waited for Matilda to arrive, I looked around the garden while it was dry.

The privet blossom is falling like snow but there is still masses to come.

privet

And it still looks very curious when you see it lying on the ground.

privet

Rather than dwell on the depressed poppies, I looked at the ever cheerful phlox….

phlox

…and a very flowery hosta.

hosta

Hostas are mostly grown for their foliage but they pack a lovely flower too.

hosta

During the day, an emissary of the Crown builder turned up to pick a few of our rambler roses….

rambler roses

…and I shall feel proud when I see them in the Crown as it is carried through the streets tomorrow.  I shall take a picture of it, weather permitting.  The forecast is not very good for the morning but things look better for the afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Al and Clare arrived with Matilda on schedule.  The garden was too soggy to play in so we had a pleasant time indoors with a construction set which lets you build marble runs.  Al and I let Matilda play with it too from time to time.

After tea, while Matilda got ready for her bath, I nipped up to the Market Place to hear a snatch of the Town Band’s open air concert.

Langholm Town Band summer fair 2107

Henry, who trained and accompanied our choir last night, can be seen blowing fit to bust on the trombone on the extreme right of the picture.  He is a talented chap.

We had a very quiet evening in as the strange surroundings kept Matilda awake long after she should have been fast asleep but I sneaked out to see the Flute Band lead a procession through the streets.

flute band 2017

They were followed by the biggest procession I have seen on Summer Fair night, it nearly filled the whole of Caroline Street.

flute band 2017

The flautists will wake us up tomorrow morning at 5 o’clock to announce the starting of the Common Riding, Langholm’s great day.

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Today’s  guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew on a recent visit to Birmingham.  It is a city of many canals.

Birmingham canal

I had slept very badly and was enjoying a much needed lie in and snooze when the phone rang twice.  My mild irritation was assuaged when I discovered that it was Dropscone offering to bring round the traditional Friday treacle scones at coffee time.  This galvanised me enough to get me out of bed and, after a light breakfast, out into the garden to survey the damage to the delphiniums.

It was considerable.

damaged delphiniums

The wind and the rain had been too much for them.

Mrs Tootlepedal got busy with the secateurs…..

damaged delphiniums

…but the flowers were not discarded and by the end of the day they were brightening up the kitchen…

damaged delphiniums

…assisted by some surplus Bobbie James, Philadelphus and Sweet William.

It makes washing up a whole new experience.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was wielding the snippers, I was doing some snapping.

It is best to take pictures of the roses in the morning…..

roses

Clockwise from top left: Crown Princess Margareta, Ginger Syllabub, Lilian Austin and the Wren

…because if you leave it until the afternoon or evening, they tend to get covered in little flies.

Queen of Denmark

The Queen of Denmark suffering from lèse-majesté

After yesterday’s wind and rain, there was even a drop of golden sun today….

bee on geranium

…but only a drop or two.  It didn’t last.

I like to peer closely at a Lamb’s Ear….

Lamb's ear

…just because they seem so much more like textiles than plants.

I had to peer very closely to find the lily that is hidden behind the dogwood and the tree peony.  It is doing well in its hideaway, protected from the unkind elements.

lily

Dropscone arrived on schedule and we enjoyed scones from the Old Town of Langholm and coffee from Peru.  Kings and princes can only gawp in envy at our good fortune.

After Dropscone departed, I mowed the greenhouse grass and had another walk round the garden.

There are a few clematis on the go at the moment…

clematis

This one is against the wall beside the front door

…but there are more to come.

I walked out of the garden and had a look at the colour along the back wall of the house.

back wall

These are all growing on a narrow strip of poor soil between the back of the house and the dam.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been out having coffee with ex work colleagues and when she came back we had lunch and then, while she went out to work in the garden, I got into my cycling clothes and gave my fairly speedy bike a thorough wash and brush up.

The result was a very silent ride when I went out for the 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.

The smooth running of the bike may explain the cheerful nature of my pedalling which got me round the route in a record time for this year so far.   Once again, the direction of the brisk wind was such that it kindly blew me down to the bottom of Canonbie at an average of 16 mph and then didn’t hurt me too much on the way back.

I only stopped once as there was always a threat of rain in the air but I did find a good place to stop at.  It was rich in interest.

There were these….

orchid, trefoil, plantain and daisy

…and these…

umbelifer, campion, rattle and clover

…and these too…

insects, flies, soldier beetles

…all within a couple of paces of where I stopped the bike.

And those were by no means all that I could have photographed.

When I got back, things were going so well that I mowed the middle and front lawns to complete my happiness.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still busy trimming hedges and planting out even more poppies so I had another walk round with the camera.

Two more clematis caught my eye…

clematis

…along with the dancing feet of the honeysuckle…

honeysuckle

…the wild gestures of the Christmas Tree…

Christmas tree

…the first hosta flowers…

hosta

…and a pretty well perfect iris.

iris

I retired indoors for a shower and took the opportunity to lean out of an upstairs window and use the panorama function of the camera to get a general view of the garden.

garden panorama June 17

Click on the picture for an enlarged version.

To round off a good day, Mike and Alison came round in the evening.  They have been on holiday in Wales and they like to browse the many bookshops there.  Alison had discovered no less than three second hand pieces of music for us to play.  They are by Nicholas Chedeville (1705-1782), Nicola Matteis, (c 1675) and Marin Marais (1656-1728) all published 50 or 60 years ago.  They are approachable pieces but they all have plenty of problems requiring serious practice for both of us so we won’t be short of something to do when the long winter evenings begin to draw in.

The forecast for tomorrow is good so I hope to start July as I have finished June, with a an enjoyable bike ride and the chance to take a few pictures.

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Today’s guest picture shows one of the two diesel locomotives that together pulled Dropscone and his daughter Susan to Scarborough on a railway special to celebrate her birthday.  They didn’t have ideal weather for a seaside outing.

diesel loco

We had another pleasant morning and it was further brightened by the arrival of Dropscone bearing traditional Friday treacle scones.

I had enough time for a good look round the garden before he came.  The combination of the Japanese azalea and sweet woodruff is delightful even with the azalea not fully in bloom.

sweet woodruff

New flowers are turning up all the time.  This is Veronica…

veronica

…and these are two other white flowers which I haven’t had the time to identify yet.

white flowers

The tulips are going over but they are going out in style…

yellow tulip

red tulip

…and there are still a (very) few lonesome daffodils to be found here and there.

late daffodil

I like an aquilegia and this one caught my eye today.

aquilegia

The garden is well ordered but if you get the right view, it can look quite satisfyingly wild too.

garden in May

When Dropscone came, I got the full story of his trip to Scarborough with Susan.  In spite of some rainy weather, they had enjoyed the outing, although the fact that the weather in Langholm had been very nice in their absence was a little hard to bear.

I cheered him up with some rhubarb and he went off intent on shopping and golf.

I looked at the forecast when he left and it offered heavy rain by four o’clock so I had a quick lunch, got my fairly speedy bike out and got ready to go for a ride.  My saddle has been making creaking noises recently so I took it off and cleaned and greased the fittings.  This is always a risky business because it is hard to ensure that you put a saddle back in exactly the same position that it was in before.

I set off to see whether I had managed this trick.  It turned out that it was fractionally different but as it now seems to be in a better position when I cycle uphill, I may leave it for a while and see how comfortable it is on a longer ride.

It didn’t get much of a test today because I stopped after 23 miles.  I had intended to go a bit further but I felt good when I started and pedalled harder than I meant to so I stopped before I got too tired.

I only took one photo opportunity as I was busy pedalling.

bull and calves

A bull pretending to be a bush and two of his progeny

The short ride gave me the opportunity to mow the drying green and have a chat over the back fence with a neighbour who has just come back from America.  He said that the temperature had been in the 80s there and he was finding our 50s a little chilly.

I sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepedal who was planting out a couple of rows of carrots and then had another wander round the garden.  I found another newcomer.

lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

allium

A set of alliums with a decided aversion to growing up straight like a good allium should

The hostas are beginning to put on a show.  I like this variegated variety.

hosta

We went in and had a cup of tea and then I put some time into practising both playing and singing.  I wish our conductor wouldn’t make us learn songs off by heart.  It is more trouble than it is worth for me, though I must say that when I do finally get the tenor part of a song confidently off by heart, it does feel like a genuine achievement.

I have always relied on being able to sight read music reasonably well and have never developed a musical memory as I should have.  However, this is a lesson too late to be learned now.

I should say that it rained exactly at four o’clock so the forecast was bang on time today.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had an enjoyable time playing pieces that we know well (but haven’t had to learn by heart).

No flying birds today but some crouching sparrows, house and hedge, on the ground beside the fat ball feeder.

sparrows

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is on an elephant hunt in Sheffield.

Sheffield elephant

We had another lovely day today, with wall to wall sunshine accompanied by gentle temperatures ideal for those who don’t do too well in the heat.  The only fly in the ointment was a brisk and bullying wind  which put any thoughts of cycling out of my mind.

I was quite happy about this in one way, as it let me sample the traditional Friday treacle scone couriered in by Dropscone on his bike while taking a short break from his incessant golfing activity.  He joined me for coffee while we disposed of the scones. They were very good.

When he left, I went out into the garden and enjoyed the sight of butterflies hanging on to wildly waving buddleias for dear life.

peacock and red admiral butterflies

I was amazed that they had the strength to hold on.

After the usual dead heading, I set about compost Bin D with a view to sieving as much of it as I could over today and tomorrow because the constant activity of Attila the Gardener over the past weeks has meant that Bin A is full to overflowing and a transfer process needs to be put into motion very soon.

Luckily, the compost is in good condition and sieves well so I made good progress both before and after lunch.  Our robin took a close interest in the garden activities.

robin

Mrs Tootlepedal dug up a couple of potato plants and the robin took advantage of this…

robin

…checking to see if we had any objection to worm hunting.

After I had done enough sieving, I had a wander round the garden clipping off all the hosta flowers which are now over, leaving just a set of new white ones under the plum tree.

hosta

The plums are looking very good and supplying us with a steady stream of ripe fruit to eat….

plums and golden syllabub rose

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has been cosseting the Golden Syllabub rose with good results.

At the other end of the garden the curiously named lobelia is also doing very well.

lobelia siphilitica

The warm sunshine had encouraged enough grass to grow to make it worth mowing the front and middle lawns for the second day running.  Mrs Tootlepedal was impressed by the amount of grass that came off as she thought that perhaps I was wasting my time. Regular mowing works wonders though and both the lawns are looking good.

We sat for a while on a bench in the garden, enjoying the sunshine and feeling that life wasn’t too bad at all and then after a cup of tea and a biscuit, I went off for a short walk.

I took a familiar route down by the river and enjoyed the large number of wagtails that were flitting about over the water or standing on rocks on the shore.

wagtails

I crossed the Town Bridge and came upon bigger birds flying along the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen.

herring gull

A herring gull going

Black headed gull

A black headed gull arriving

I looked in vain for any oyster catchers but they seem to have moved on, probably fed up by being harassed by paparazzi.

I walked over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks, keeping an eye out for fungus.  One of the conifers that is being felled had many fungi growing in its cracks and crevices.

fungus on Lodge Walks conifer

I think that perhaps the number of trees that blew over in last winter’s gales have made the estate keep a close eye on the health of their woodlands.  The Lodge Walks are much used by both cars and walkers and although only the Sawmill Bridge got slightly damaged by falling trees last winter, there might easily have been a worse outcome.

Felled tree on castleholm

In the picture above you can see the remains of another felled tree on the Castleholm but there are also several little fenced enclosures where new trees have been planted to replace the ones that are gone.  The enclosure will protect the trees from grazing sheep.

As I strolled on, I stopped to take pictures of the three different heads on a single umbellifer…

umbellifer

…a selection of berries….

snowberry and hawthorn

…and another set of aged fungus high in a tree.

fungus at the Lodge

It was a beautiful evening and the wind had begun to calm down a bit so it was a great pleasure to be out and about.

View from the Lodge

At one stage, I thought that the path I was following was covered by a thick carpet of fallen leaves.  This seemed strange as the trees round about still had leaves on them but a close look revealed that they were not leaves at all but probably the wings of lime trees carrying the seeds to the ground.

lime tree wings

I got home to be greeted by a trio of starlings sitting on the wires above the garden.

starlings

Considering that they were within a few feet of each other and I stood in the same place to take all three pictures, it is odd how different the sky looks in each portrait.

Mrs Tootlepedal made good use of the plum tree’s bounty for tea and we enjoyed a pudding of baked plums on toast, glazed with sugar and butter, made in the oven and topped off with some custard.  Delicious.

In the evening, we were joined by Mike and Alison and Alison and I enjoyed ourselves playing flute and keyboard pieces in a somewhat haphazard but always enjoyable manner.

The flower of the day is a very fine small fuchsia which Mrs Tootlepedal bought for me at the Gardener’s World show in Birmingham earlier this summer…

Fuchsia

…and the flying bird is a black headed gull.

black headed gull

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