Posts Tagged ‘mallow’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, who is on a choir visit to the Netherlands.  In between singing , they were taken to see a parachute drop, part of the 75th anniversary Operation Market Garden commemorations in this area of The Netherlands.


Our dry weather continued  today but it was rather misty when Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the Moorland Feeders after breakfast.

laverock hide road mist

I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler for Sandy who is on holiday in Bulgaria and quite apart from the gloomy weather, there were hardly any birds about so we didn’t hang around after I had topped up the birdseed.

Instead, we drove back through the town and up the hill onto the Langholm moor to see if there were any swirling misty pictures to be taken.  There weren’t.

The clouds were just sitting on the tops of the hills, spoiling the view.

ewes valley misty hilltops

Even the tops of the turbines were hidden.

wind turbines in low cloud

We pottered back down the hill, putting the charge back into our car’s battery as we went and got home in time for coffee.

In the dam behind the house, birds were drinking and bathing.

starling and greenfinch

After coffee, I had a walk round the garden.

A grey headed blackbird was supervising affairs.

grey headed blackbird

Clematis, mallow and cosmos are still providing us with some rich colour…

three deep red flowers

…and red admiral butterflies could be seen on many different flowers.

three red admiral butterflies

We haven’t had any really cold mornings yet so there are still roses doing their best.

princess margareta rose

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with how healthy the whole of this new rose plant is looking.

new rose

She puts it down to good soil preparation and wishes that she had the time and energy to treat the whole garden so well.

She moved some nerines and was worried that they might not survive in their new location but they have not just survived, they are flourishing.

good nerine

As is the fuchsia on the back wall of the house.  It has had  a couple of very poor years but after an inauspicious start to the summer, it has produced a lot of late flowers and is looking better than it has done for some time.

back wall fuchsia

Not bad for a very old plant that has been largely left to its own devices over the years.

back wall fuchsia blossom

Once again, the garden was full of butterflies in spite of the cloudy conditions.

A peacock stuck out its tongue for me.

peacock butterfly panel

And there were at least three small tortoiseshells about in varying conditions.

small tortoiseshell butterfly panel

Our visit to the garden was cut short by the need to go up to the town. Mrs Tootlepedal’s trip was to visit the bank which comes in a van for 45 minutes each week, and mine was to visit the health centre for a routine vitamin top up.

After lunch we went off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda and her parents, and we were very shocked to find that our train was on time.

We  bought a new card game on our way to their house, and it turned out that Matilda has learned a new game herself as well.  She beat me at both of them.  I must remember never to play Matilda at cards for money when she grows up.

There was a stunning evening sky as we caught the bus back to the station after another delicious meal cooked by Alistair, but it was beyond the capacity of my phone camera to do it justice.  Instead I took a picture of the impressive array of cranes which are massed at the end of Princes Street for the rebuilding of the St James Centre.


Our train home was also on time but the drive back to Langholm from Lockerbie was slowed by some foggy patches along the way.  This is not unexpected at this time of year but it was very unwelcome all the same.

Still, we got home safely.

The flying bird of the day, a fluffy young sparrow, is lying flat out on our neighbour Betty’s garage roof.  Flying is a tiring business.

plump young sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my former colleague Ada and comes as a reminder of the Tour de France.  She tells me that she was sipping coffee in a cafe at the bottom of the mountain when her husband had this picture taken at the top of the Col du Tourmalet.  Hats off to him.


I didn’t think of cycling in the morning here as it was a grey and drizzly day, and as it wasn’t a day for gardening either, we went off in the car to top up our supplies.

My requirement was for sunflower hearts for the birds as the siskins and sparrows have nearly finished my current stock.  Mrs Tootlepedal was after a little colour for the garden as her Sweet Williams are almost all over now.  Luckily we could combine both needs in a short circular tour and we were back home in time for lunch.

I filled the feeder with the last of the old seed and a sparrow took a very dim view of my camera’s intrusion on his meal.

staring sparrow

It was soon joined by more sparrows and the new seed will obviously be needed soon.

three sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal bought three boxes of flowers, begonias and dianthus, to plant out and left them out until she is ready to stick them in.

new flowers

She was busy in the garden after lunch and I lent a hand where I could and took the occasional picture too.

Another zinnia has come out.


…and a new set of privet flowers have appeared.


The first mallow has appeared.


I took pictures throughout the afternoon of various clematis and you can see that the rain stopped and things dried out as the day progressed.

four clematis

Some flowers seem to retain raindrops longer than others.   I took this poppy at the same time as the mallow above.

spotted poppy

As well as feeding the birds, I gave Zoe a top up feed too.

car with nosebag

There weren’t any tortoiseshell or peacock butterflies about but the garden had plenty of insects buzzing around.

two insects

And a rather scruffy blackbird hopped around while Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the hope of picking up a disturbed worm or two.

spotty blackbird

I went to sit on our new bench for a rest at one point and liked the picture made by a triple shoot of the verbena behind it.

three verbenas

Mrs Tootlepedal cleared some space in a border and planted out a new rose which she had bought in the morning.  This is part of her policy to get some less heavy headed roses into the garden.

two new roses

I was surprised to find runner bean flowers of two different colours on the vegetable garden fence but Mrs Tootlepedal told me that she had bought a mixed bag of beans so that explained it.

two beans

The weather gradually improved as the day went on and I took the opportunity to top up my monthly mileage with another twenty miles round my Canonbie circuit.  There was quite a brisk wind and my legs were less keen on the whole topping up  business than I was so I had to work quite hard to get round and mostly kept my camera in my back pocket…

…but I did wonder what the tall tree had said to its friend to make it feel quite so crushed.

distant trees

My legs could have done with a rest but there is rain in the forecast for every day in the week ahead so I thought that I was well advised to take advantage of this dry spell.

I looked for butterflies when I got back but only saw a single white butterfly on the buddleias.  It is a problem of taking pictures with a pocket camera that it sometimes thinks that I am more interested in focussing on the leaves in the background than the glaringly obvious subject of the photo dead centre in the foreground.

out of focus butterfly

A couple of our main crop potato plants looked a bit unwell, so although it was too early, I dug the plants up.  The potatoes seemed sound enough and we had some with lamb mince for our tea.  They had a very acceptable taste.

main potatoes

It was not the most exciting day of the summer but the temperature remained at a perfect level (around 20°C, 70°F) and the rain was very light so we should count ourselves lucky.  All the same, there is no doubt that there is a slight feeling in the air that it is not that long till Christmas now.  Summers fairly whistle by these days.

One of the sparrows is the flying bird of the day.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture is a bit belated as Venetia has been back from Madeira for some time but I found that I had overlooked this picture she took of a slightly strange statue in Funchal, possibly Madeira’s answer to King Knut.

madeira King Knut

There was a lot of excitement here today as enormous machines threatened the well being of our new bridge…

digging out the dam 2

…but negotiated the narrow gap beside the bridge successfully in the end.

The tractor and trailer were there to collect the mud that was being scraped away from the banks of the dam by a skilled digger  operator…

digging out the dam

…as the dam was being cleared of years of neglect.

Our bit of the dam was untouched as it has been well looked after by Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Kenny who has done a power of work to keep it clean and clear.

I crossed over the bridge while the tractor was at work and went to the monthly producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre where I was able to procure five different sorts of cheese together with some fish and meat.

Back home again, I did some watering and some weeding.  It is becoming apparent to me how much weeding Mrs Tootlepedal does as she goes about the garden.  I have to be careful as I can’t always tell the difference between a weed and a valuable plant  but I am pulling up the weeds I recognise.

I did find time to take a picture or two.

The clematis at the front door is not showy but it persistent and new flowers keep coming out.

front door clematis

I promised you phlocks of flox and here they are.

white phloxpink phloxpurple phlox

They will add some welcome colour to the garden.

Not that there isn’t some colour there already.  New poppies keep popping up…


…and the tropaeolum is running riot in the yew.


For sheer numbers of flowers, the spirea are probably in the lead at the moment both in very dense clusters on one bush…

spirea 1

…and slightly more spread out on another.

spirea 2

I took some wider shots as well.

This is the bottom arch in the fence between the veg garden and the middle lawn

bottom arch

You can see white philadelphus, pink Sweet Williams and purple foxglove through the arch…and just a glimpse of the Oooh La la clematis on the right.

The Common Riding rose grows over the arch and on the fence behind the drying green.

rose excelsa

This is the fence seen from the lawn side.  The first white rose is Goldfinch and the one further along is Bobbie James.

bench area

It was very warm again so I had a quiet morning and after lunch, I watched a bit of the first stage of the Tour de France.

Inspired by this, I got out my new bike and set off down the main road to the south.  My belief was that most of the world would be watching football on the telly and so the roads might be pretty quiet.

My faith was not misplaced.

brampton road….and after twenty quiet and flat miles, my new bike had a rest on a well used bench..

newtown bench

…while I had a drink of water and a date or two.

I found of shot of the fairly speedy bike at the same bench in 2013.

bike at Newtown

It was December and the sun was shining then too

It was quite windy which was a bonus as it kept me relatively cool but it did make bicycling a bit of a battle and for one reason or another, possibly the heat, my legs gave out on the way home and I had to settle for a slow ride back with a rest break to enjoy the bridge at Longtown on the way.

Longtown bridge

Even with soggy legs, I enjoyed the ride and I had enough energy left to do some more watering and pick some peas and beans  for my tea.

I had hoped to get home without finding out the score in the big football match but a helpful fellow having a smoke outside the pub in Smithfield told me that England were two nil up as I went past and a cheery gang of drinkers outside the pub on my way back indicated that they had held on to win.

Everyone is pleasantly surprised.

The flower of the day is a rose mallow, new to the garden this year and a very striking plant.

rose mallow

It offers an optical conundrum: are the green bits in front of or behind the petals?


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