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Posts Tagged ‘nasturtium’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He is taking an interest in wildlife now that he has moved to the country from the city and recently spotted and identified a yellowhammer.

yellowhammer

We had another grey and gloomy morning here and the memories of the fine summer months are slipping ever faster into oblivion as winter looms up ahead.

I didn’t have time to sit and mope however as we went off after breakfast to sing in the church choir.  It was a day when the hymns all seemed to have innumerable verses and since the service was followed by a choir practice, both Mrs Tootlepedal and myself felt the need for a quiet sit down when we got home.

I filled the bird feeder and looked out of the winter while I made coffee.

Goldfinches were very much to the fore today….

busy feeder oct 18

…and sparrows and chaffinches  had to look sharp if they wanted a seat at the table.

goldfinch threatening chaffinch

After a coffee and a rest, the weather looked settled enough to risk a stroll so I snapped one of the flourishing nasturtiums at the front door…

yellow nasturtium oct

…and set off round Gaskell’s Walk to see what I could see.  The light was subdued.

I saw the larches at Pool Corner beginning to change colour.

larches turning

I saw a fine beech hedge which has been allowed to get a bit out of hand

big beech hedge

The walls were topped with droplet bespangled mosses.

moss with dropletsThe trees on the bank above the river have adopted a variety of angles.

gaskell's Walk with leaning trees

Brambles provided a splash of red.

red bramble leaf

There was one last sloe on the bush at Stubholm.

last sloe

The trees in the park are still colourful but the poplars beside the Esk in the background are over.

 

Park colour

I like looking at the park wall.

park wall lichen panel

I didn’t linger as long as I would have liked on my walk as it started to rain but it had stopped again by the time that I got home and I had enough time for a very short walk round the garden.

Not dead yet.

late poppy

very late delphinium

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle to do a bit of shopping and sing with our Carlisle choir.

Our new conductor is a relentless ball of energy and keeps us hard at work.  She likes a crisp pace and after a hard singing morning, I had pretty well ground to a halt by the end of the session but in spite of that, it had been a very enjoyable day’s singing and my throat stood up to the work pretty well.  I think that my recent singing lesson has had a mildly beneficial effect on my technique but I am hoping to get a couple more lessons soon as there is plenty of scope for improvement yet.

Of course the weather had greatly improved as soon as we got inside the practice room and it was a lovely evening as we drove home.   The clocks go back next week so this will be the last time that we come home from our Carlisle choir in daylight for some months and even today, it was pretty well dark by the time that we got home.

To celebrate the arrival of the flock of goldfinches, the flying bird of the day is a double goldfinch helping.

flying goldfinch 1

Another open and shut case.

flying goldfinch 2

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who was beside the sea when he took it but not in East Wemyss.  He is having a break at Puerto Pollensa in Majorca.

Mallorca

I said goodbye to my sister Susan after breakfast this morning, thanking her for the hospitality which had made my brief trip south such a pleasure and made my way to Euston Station to catch the train to Carlisle.

Owing to a predisposition to train fever, I arrived a little early and had to spend some time sitting in the waiting room at Euston.

Euston Station

There are worse places to wait for a train on a sunny morning.

The train rain smoothly and punctually and arrived in time to connect with the bus back to Langholm.  It was good to be back home again but the weather was not at all welcoming, with very heavy clouds and 40 mph winds.  There was no chance of a quick pedal and even a walk was not inviting.

Autumn colour has moved forward while I was away and I took a picture of the poplars beside the church as I went over the suspension bridge.

Poplars at the church

I did get out into the garden to see what was left but the poor light and strong winds made taking pictures tricky so I settled for flowers that were either well sheltered or very sturdy.

I saw an article in the Gardeners’ World magazine saying that nerines were the thing to grow.  Mrs Tootlepedal is way ahead of them.

nerines

When the fuchsias were moved, this one escaped the upheaval and has been secretly growing in the old spot.

fuchsia survivor

Calendulas seem impervious to the weather.

calendula

And the ornamental strawberries continue to flower.  The first one appeared on the blog on May 17th this year so they have been working hard.  I wonder if they will make it to November and clock up half a year in flower.

ornamental strawberry

The sedum is looking good but its chance of attracting butterflies may have gone for this year.

sedum

Many nasturtiums have turned up their toes but the ones against the house wall are still doing well.

nasturtium by gas meter

A rudbeckia was very tired and needed a sit down on the bench.

resting flower

We have some autumn colour of our own in the garden.

autumn colour in the garden

And one benefit of the hot summer and the recent strong winds is that walnuts are not hard to find.  This is just part of the crop so far this year and it is easily the best crop that we have ever had.

100 walnuts

I put some bird food out but there were few takers, just a couple of jackdaws, one seen here perching among the last of the plum tree leaves…

jackdaw in october in tree

…and one looking rather diffident about pecking the fatballs.

jackdaw in octoberat fatballs

A lone chaffinch is the perching bird of the day.

chaffinch

The forecast is good for tomorrow so I am hoping for some better pictures.

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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 Venetia’s visit to Kew.  As well as dragons, she saw this interesting creature.  It is called Gnomus (but I don’t gnow why).

kew creature

The joiners having finished their work, the painter came today and the front of the house is on its way to looking well cared for.  A spanner was cast into the smooth running of the refurbishment when the painter discovered a wasps’ nest in one of the dormers that he was about to paint.

We did consider shinning up two ladders on to the roof in the quiet of the twilight and doing what needed to be done but due consideration of the age of the potential ladder climbers led us to calling out an expert from Carlisle who will come tomorrow.

While the painter was painting, I was wandering around the garden and my attention was directed to this flower….

cosmos

…by Mrs Tootlepedal.  It may not look much but if all goes well it is just the first of dozens and dozens of cosmos which will brighten the August garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal also pointed out that there are in fact five zinnias.  Here is the fifth columnist.

fifth zinnia

The verbascum flowers have nearly climbed to the top of their spires…

verbascum spike

…and I will miss them when they are gone.

moth mullein flower

New dahlias are appearing at the rate of one a day and this was today’s arrival.

dahlia

It was a beautiful day, sunny nearly all day but oddly enough, not too hot.

Almost as cheerful as the sunshine was a clump of nasturtiums…

nasturtiums

…and another bright sunflower.

cheerful sunflower

The sunflowers are being a bit contrary and instead of turning their faces to the sun and our garden, they are mostly turning their backs on us and peering over our neighbour’s fence.

There were more white butterflies all over the place.

white butterfly on flower

And bees too.

bumble bees

I went in for coffee and then did a little shopping.

When I got back, I took the opportunity to mow both the middle and front lawns which are confounding me by growing more grass and if anything, getting greener in spite of the lack of meaningful rain.  We are getting a light dew in the morning which may be helping.

And of course, I had another look round when I had finished.

The melancholy thistle shouldn’t be lonely next year.

melancholy thistle seed ead

And the hostas were playing host to yet more bees.

bee on hosta

The new buddleia had attracted a butterfly but sadly it was just another white one.

white butterfly on buddleia

I made some green soup for lunch with courgettes, spinach and broad beans (with a good quantity of garlic too) and it turned out very well.  I am determined to eat as much of our own veg as I can this year.

After lunch, we were detained by a very exciting stage of the Tour de France and then, inspired by the heroes of the Pyrenees, I put on my cycling gear…

…but not until I had had another walk round the garden.

This time there was a peacock butterfly on the buddleia….

peacock butterfly

…but it stuck to sunning itself on a leaf and wouldn’t come onto a flower.

I turned my attention to a very decorative dicentra which Mrs Tootlepedal recently purchased in Dumfries.

dicentra

In the end, I got my bike out and went round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  It was still sunny but still not too hot and with a light wind, conditions were delightful.

Kerr

It was quite late on the day and we had some singing to do at the Common Riding Concert so I didn’t stop too often but I couldn’t resist being looked down upon by two cows.

cows on a hill

When I got back, the verbascum was showing that even when it has finished flowering, it will still be catching the evening sunlight and adding interest to the back bed.

verbascum in evening

We went off to sing a couple of songs for the finale of the concert in the Buccleuch Centre. As our church organist Henry had arranged the programme, it was not surprising that he had found a place for his choir in it.  A good number of members turned up and we sang well.

That will be our last choir singing until the next sessions start in September.  It was a good way to finish.

No flying bird of the day today as the painter proved a deterrent to visiting the feeder.  A flying visit from the sparrowhawk may not have encouraged the small birds either.

As a result, I have turned to flowers of the day and these are they:

cornflower and calendula

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to Mrs Tootlepedal who passed it on to me.  It shows her brother and his wife (and several family members) roughing it on their holiday on Tresco in the isles of Scilly.

tresco

We can’t run to palm trees in Langholm but we did have another lovely summer day in Langholm and the temperature had got up to 25°C (77°F) before midday.

I did a little gardening after breakfast but I couldn’t spend long because it was soon time to go to church. Our little choir (18 strong) sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah for the anthem today and it went off not too badly.  It was more a rehearsal than anything else as we are singing it again next week at the Common Riding service when the church will be a great deal fuller.  The choir should be a bit larger too.  Our organist and choir master had been among among the riders on the Benty ride-out yesterday but managed to play very well in spite of some aching muscles.

When I got home, I prepared a beef and mushroom stew for the slow cooker and then spent an enjoyable time showing the daughter-in-law of one of our neighbours round Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden.  She has just started a small vegetable garden herself and was impressed by the amount of work that Mrs Tootlepedal puts into her garden.

I did some more gardening when she had left and then retired from the heat for lunch and Tour de France viewing.

After the cycling was over, I didn’t succumb to the temptation to watch more than a bit of Wimbledon or the World Cup final and went out to both water and photograph some flowers.

The zinnia is unfolding more tubes into petals…

zinnia

…but the beautiful moss roses are folding up and I think that these may be the last two flowers of the summer.

moss roses

In spite of some constructive neglect, the nasturtiums at the front door are producing more flowers every day…

nasturtium

…and the clematis beside them is doing the same.

clematis

I watered them both today so they will probably die now.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s stock of miniature nicotiana are continuing to provide some bright colours in pale pink….

pink nicotiana

…lime green…

green nicotiana

…and shocking red.

red nicotiana

The wind had risen a lot during the day as the pressure fell steadily on the barometer but I felt that another day with no cycling would be a bad thing and got my new bike out.

The wind was strong, 16 mph base with gusts of well over 20 mph, but it kept me cool even if it slowed me down a lot.  I took 12 more minutes to go round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit than I did last Thursday.  If I had been in a race with myself, I would have been more than two miles behind.

I stopped to admire the view back towards Langholm from Chapelhill…

view of whita from tarcoon road

All the clouds behind Whita Hill had passed over the town without depositing a drop of rain on us as they passed.

I rather liked the subdued light.

tarcoon road trees

As I approached Canonbie, I nodded at a couple of old friends.

black cowbrown cow

…and stopped to take a picture of one of the many banks of fireweed that are lining  our roads just now.

rosebay willowherb

This weed is one of those photographic oddities where the camera and I see things in a very different shade.  To me it is pink or even red but to the camera is is much more purple.

When I got home, I set the tripod up in the kitchen to keep an eye on the birds and a greenfinch kept an eye on me in return.

greenfinch

We are getting regular visits from greenfinches which is very encouraging.  In recent years, they have been subject to a deadly disease and numbers dropped a lot so it is good to see healthy looking birds back on the feeder.

greenfinches

Once home, I set about eating the stew and doing more watering (not at the same time).  The forecast claims that there is a 75% chance of noticeable rain tonight.  I would be much obliged if this turns out to be true but I am not holding my breath.

The flying bird picture of the day shows that even if they are flapping their wings furiously, siskins keep their heads very still as they approach the feeder.

flying siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Tom in South Africa.  He thought that we might need a touch of snow to cool us down.

south african winter

I have had a long day and I am pretty tired so although I am back at my computer, this post will be another brief one as I need an early night.

I left London by train and thanks to a fire along the side of the track ahead of us which held us up a bit, my train managed to get in after the bus to Langholm had departed and I had a hot and unwanted forty minutes to kill in Carlisle before the next one came.

I finally got home about five and had time to walk round the garden to do some watering, pick some peas and beans and gooseberries, dig up a potato and of course, take a picture or two.

I cooked the peas and beans and potatoes and had them for my tea and then went off to a choir practice at the church.  I thoroughly enjoyed this and feel that my voice may be recovering a bit.

I got back home and did some more watering.  We have been asked to try to avoid using garden hoses during the dry spell so there is going to be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with watering cans until it rains.   The current forecast says that this is unlikely to be in the next ten days at least.

I had  stewed the gooseberries earlier and I ate them after choir practice.

The garden has survived our absence surprisingly well, perhaps because our friend Mike has kindly been doing some watering while we have been away.

Here is the evidence.

nasturtiums

Nasturtiums in a shady spot by the front door

rose Wren

The Wren, showing the dead heading is needed…

rose wren bunch

….but unbothered by the eager dead header, it has produced a fine bunch of flowers.

poppies tired

The poppies have come and gone while I have been away.   I dead headed them and hope for fresh flowers soon.

moss roses

The moss roses are in excellent shape

stachys

And I don’t think that  I have ever seen the stachys looking better.

delphiniums

The delphiniums are less tall (on purpose) than last year and are standing up well.

rambler rose

The Common Riding rose is looking very charming but it is a lot earlier than usual

calendula

Marigolds are coming out in various parts of the garden

special grandma rose

Special Grandma is a fitting tribute to both the gardener and her mother, two special grandmas.

small sunflower

The sunflowers in the vegetable garden have come out while we have been away.

dutvh iris

This Dutch iris couldn’t look any better if it tried.

red poppy

One poppy didn’t need dead heading

I am due to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda tomorrow but that might depend on the heat.

No flying bird of the day today but I was pleased to see that we still have blackbirds in the garden.

blackbird

 

 

Mrs Tootlepedal is staying with her mother for a week or two.  Both the garden and I will miss her.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows one of the greens on the golf course he was visiting last week in Spain.  Tough conditions out there.

golf course

We had far from Spanish weather here today.  It had rained heavily over night and it was still raining heavily when we got up.  It continued to rain all morning and only stopped in the middle of the afternoon.

Under these circumstances, I was very fortunate to have the company of both Dropscone and Sandy for coffee.  An additional bonus was the treacle scones that Dropscone provided for the occasion.   Dropscone has been on holiday in Spain and Sandy in Portugal and they had both enjoyed excellent weather so the rain was a bit of a shock to their systems but they were bearing up bravely.

I put on some stout waterproof clothing after they had left and walked down to see how much of the rain had got into the rivers.

Wauchope and turtle

The Wauchope was flowing freely and the turtle in the Esk was learning how to swim.

Waterside birds were to be seen in spite of the rain.

gull and dipper

The dipper was very busy but taking care not to be washed away and the gull was standing very still on its rather precarious rock perch.

I looked down the River Esk from the suspension bridge.

River esk

To say that our weather is changeable at the moment is a bit of an understatement.

I didn’t stay out long and went home and did the crossword.

Once the rain had eased off to a drizzle after lunch, I went out for a second look.  The water had risen but we were far from a big flood…

Esk and turtle

…although the turtle’s need for swimming lessons seemed pressing.

I took the opportunity to visit a large crop of fungus on the bank of the Wauchope by the church wall.

fungus beside church

They are related to a tree that had to be felled because it had become dangerous.

Nearby, seven goosanders were resting on the bank of the Esk.  I couldn’t get them all in one shot so I settled for these three…

goosanders

…and this one which had gone for a swim.

goosander

I had a look up the Wauchope from the Park Bridge…

Wauchope in flood

…and then went home again and did some work on songs for both my choirs.  I was concentrating hard on the music and was surprised when I turned to the window and saw that the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  I shot out into the garden.

Crown princess margareta

Crown Princess Margareta is getting special care from the gardener and we hope that it will do really well next year.

Nasturtiums

A splash of colour against the wall of the house

poppy

A battered poppy doing its best

A young blackbird was taking advantage of the sunshine to have a bath in our pond…

blackbird

…watched from on high by a starling.

starling

I tried to contact Sandy with a view to going for a walk but when he didn’t reply (I found out later that he was busy at the Archive Centre), I went off by myself.

The sun went in almost as soon as I started out.

I visited the riverside.  Just where the dam comes out into the Esk, I came across a dipper busy in the long grass beside the Esk.

dipper

I walked along to the Town Bridge and once again marvelled at the sound construction which has let it withstand this sort of pressure…

Langholm Bridge in flood

… since 1775.

I looked back down river from the bridge…

River esk in Autumn

…and then walked over the bridge and onto the Kilngreen.

The Esk and the Ewes looked quite full when I got down to their level…

Esk and Ewes

…but they were safely contained within their banks.

As I walked towards the Sawmill Brig, a heron flew past me and when I was on the bridge, I could see another dipper on the rocks below.

Heron and dipper

By the this time, the clouds had come back but I walked on, hoping that all the rain that was in the clouds had already been discharged.

I walked up the Lodge Walks and enjoyed the trees lining the walks and those on the Castleholm and lower slopes of the hill beyond the river.

Lodge walks

Meikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill trees

I crossed the raging river by the Duchess Bridge…

Duchess bridge in Autumn

…and got home without seeing a drop of rain.

In the evening, I went out to a Langholm Sings choir practice and enjoyed myself more than I thought that I would when I found that the songs were a bit easier to get right than I had feared.  The “getting right” is still more potential than actual but then that is what practices are for.

I am hoping that the recent progression of rainy, sunny, rainy days will lead to tomorrow being sunny.  It would be only fair.

 

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