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Posts Tagged ‘orchids’

Today’s guest picture is another from my Australian correspondent Stephen’s visit to North Queensland.  He found this beautiful butterfly in the butterfly house in Kuranda.

Kuranda butterfly

We were going to Edinburgh in the afternoon and the forecast suggested rain in mid morning, so I knew that if I wanted a short cycle ride, I would have to be prompt.  Greatly to my own surprise, I was quite prompt and enjoyed another 14 mile ride taking in both sides of the town.

The wind was in my face again as I cycled up to Callister and I managed 10 mph for the first five miles.  With the wind and slope behind me, I speeded up to an average of 20 mph for the return journey.  For the last four miles, out and back of the north end of the town, I produced a steady 15 mph average.

The mathematically unwary might assume that if you do five miles at 10 mph and five miles at 20 mph and and add another four miles at 15 mph, then your average for the trip should be 15 mph.  Sadly for ageing cyclists, it is not the distance but the time that counts and as I had spent much more time at 10 mph than I had at 20, my final average was only 14 mph.  It is considering stuff like this that keeps me occupied as I pedal.

Still I managed to stop for a picture or two.  The orchids are still out…

orchids

…and there is a spot where the yarrow is unusually pink…

pink yarrow

…so I am grateful that the verges on the Wauchope road have still not been mowed.

The sun was shining when I set out but by the time that I got to my most northerly point, it had retreated up the valley…

sunlight up ewes

…so I was pleased top get home before the rain started.

In fact, the rain held off for long enough for me to mow the middle and front lawns when I got home which was a bonus and the rain came later in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a sticky toffee pudding to take with us to Edinburgh and then we dug up another potato. The crop of the early potatoes is outstanding this year…

big potatoe crop

…and we took half of this lot up to Edinburgh with us too.

I had time between the mowing and the potatoes to walk round the garden.

The nasturtiums at the front door are coming along nicely…

nasturtiums front wall

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has a purplish bed which is doing well too.

purple bed

This clematis is lurking around just behind the purple bed.

purple clematis

Day lilies keep coming…

day lily

…and the privet is in full swing with the strong smell complemented by the loud buzzing of bees.

privet in flower

I am still trying to get a good picture of this large ornamental clover which has been out for some time but it keeps defeating me.

fancy clover

One day the light will be right.

All round the garden, Iceland poppies can be found.

iceland poppy frills

We had a light lunch and then set off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It was almost on time but just late enough to allow me to take a picture of this ivy leafed toadflax which is growing out of the side of the bridge over the railway line at the station.

lockerbie station wild flower

There is still building going on around the site of Matilda’s new house in Edinburgh and a temporary path has been constructed to take visitors round the edge of the site along a disused railway.  The railway banking is full of wild flowers and I liked this thistle the best.

edinburgh thistle

Matilda had had a hard day dancing so we had a relaxing time and didn’t go to the park.  I taught her to play spillikins with plastic straws and she enjoyed several games with both me and Mrs Tootlepedal.  We played ‘Edinburgh Rules’ which allow quite a lot of leeway to old and young participants alike.  This was lucky as I found that keeping a steady hand is hard work these days.

Matilda, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did some lawn care work on Matilda’s lawn and during the work, a small bolt fell out of the clippers that I was using.  The grass was long and when we settled down to look for it Mrs Tootlepedal commented that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  She was right of course but, needless to say, she still found it.

During the afternoon, Alistair, Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda made fairy cakes and then Alistair cooked us a delicious pasta alla Genovese (which included some of our potatoes) and after we had eaten it and the sticky toffee pudding, it was time for us to go home.

I had no opportunity to catch a flying bird today, so a sleeping bee on a poppy is the flying bird of the day today.

poppy and bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran.  Unlike me, he saw a squirrel at breakfast time.

Arran squirrel

Our spell of good weather continued with a pleasantly warm and often sunny day.  At the moment we are getting some sunny days without it getting too hot for comfort and the only thing lacking to make things perfect is a few overnight showers to save the need for watering the vegetables.

I had time before going to sing in church to have a quick walk round the garden.  It was worth it.

poppy, lily, courgette

Perhaps the biggest and most flamboyant flower in the garden at the moment is in the vegetable patch but the courgette (bottom left in the panel above) looks quite at home.

We have got some very nice white foxgloves on the go among all the colour.

whiute foxglove

The hostas are covered with flowers,  They are doing well this year.

hosta with flowers

Our church organist has been elected cornet so he has been very busy attending common ridings in neighbouring towns lately, but he found time to come and play for us today and it was good to have him at the organ.

After church, there was time for another garden wander and some dead heading.  I noticed the last of our lupins…

new lupin

..and took a general view of the borders on the front lawn.

front lawn border

The front lawn is much better than it was, but it is still a bit patchy.  I did think about photoshopping the brown patches out but restrained myself.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys a bright red perlagonium which she rescued from a ‘past its best’ tray at a garden centre last year.  It has repaid her care.  I like it too, but it is so bright that it frightens the camera.

geraniums red

I went inside to have coffee and had a look at the birds.

There is a lot of blackbird activity in the garden and this looks like a growing youngster.

young blackbird

A siskin looked as though it was being distracted by an arriving sparrow from the threat from another siskin behind it.

sparrow landing

Later on, two siskins got very up close and personal.

mixed siskins

After lunch, we went off for a cycle ride.

During the ‘sit and stitch’ session at the producers’ market yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal had been reminded by one of her embroidering friends that members of the Waterbeck village hall committee serve cream teas every Sunday afternoon in July.  Waterbeck is ten miles away from Langholm so a ten mile bike ride seemed a good way to work up an appetite and the ten miles back seemed like a good way to work off the calories acquired.

We went at a leisurely pace and kept an eye out for orchids.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some on the way out and some more on the way back…

two orchids

…and in the end, she saw so many that she stopped pointing them out.

As well as wild flowers, we saw animals pondering on life…

three bulls

…and a busy sand martins’ nesting site…

sand martin nests

…though my pocket camera couldn’t capture any of the sand martins which were flitting in and out of the nest holes.

The verges have not been mown recently and are very lush with waving grasses.

waving grasses

We encountered a small stream of old cars on a group outing but I only managed to get my camera out of my pocket by the time that they had almost all passed us.  This was the last in the queue (with a modern car behind it).

old car

We arrived safely at the hall and enjoyed an excellent cup of tea, a cream and strawberry scone and a delightful plate of cakes as well.  I would have shown you the scones but they had all mysteriously disappeared in no time at all.

waterbeck cream tea table

There was a light breeze in our faces on the way home and the hills are steeper going towards Langholm than on the way out, so we didn’t rush back in spite of being well fuelled with scones and cake.  We had time to stop and look at more flowers.

The vetch and the yellow bedstraw were very striking…

four wauchope wild flowers

…but the more subdued meadowsweet and two active red soldier beetles also provided photo opportunities.

The most surprising stop of the trip was to photograph a hare on the top of Callister.  It thought that the best way of hiding from me was to stand very still in full view.

hare on Callister

More animals should adopt this scheme.

We made a judicious pause half way up the steepest hill to admire the view.

view from Callister

Mrs Tootlepedal did the trip on her shopping bike.  It is the one that has been recently serviced and now has a fully functioning ‘granny gear’ on it.   The hills gave it a good test and it passed well.

An evening meal consisting of a fry-up of liver, bacon, egg and mushroom rounded off a very satisfactory day and we sat down to watch a recording of the team time trial stage of the Tour de France after we had had one last walk round the garden.

The evening light was delightful.

poppy bobbie james delphinium philadelphus

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that one of the many Iceland poppies which spring up in the garden had developed some rather fancy petals.

ragged iceland poppy

I liked the steely gaze of the delphiniums.

delphinium

According to the forecast, we have one more good day to go before the weather changes and it starts to rain for several days, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to cycle a few miles and have had so many pretty flowers to look at during this past week.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch heading up to the feeder.

chaffinch flying

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s Highland holiday.  He has sent me a lot of good pictures but this one gets my seal of approval.

Tonys highland seal

We had another fine day and I had hoped to get some useful cycling in, but a sore back when I got up put paid to any expansive ideas.  As it happened, it was just as well that I was at home as the power company men turned up to put up a new fence.  The old one had been knocked down when they replaced one of the poles in our garden.

They turned out to be as handy with hammer and saw as they were with big poles and the new fence was soon in place.

new fence

While they worked, I hobbled round the garden doing some weeding, dead heading and snapping.

There was a lot to look at.

I was pleased to see a red admiral butterfly…

red admiral butterfly

…though I would be even more pleased to see more than one.

Poppies and an anemone caught the eye….

poppies and anemone

…and Bobbie James has come out to join  Goldfinch on the fence between the middle lawn and the vegetable garden.

bobbie James and goldfinch roses

I picked some sweet peas and thought that this one was the pick of the bunch.

sweet pea

Mrs Tootlepedal’s new Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica (to give it its Sunday name) proves to be a very interesting plant with a lot going on.

salvia turkestanica

And as always, the astrantias attracted me….

astrantia

…and a great number of wasps as well.

wasp on astrantia

We haven’t found out where the wasps’ nest is yet and just hope that it isn’t in some hole in the roof.

Looking up at the walnut tree, I could see that we should have walnuts to eat again this year.

walnuts July

After the power company men left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did some watering in the vegetable garden and then I mowed the front lawn , and then it was time for lunch.

Mrs Tootlepedal had Moorland business to attend to after lunch and went off to collect more signatures of interest in the possible purchase while I watched the birds.

A goldfinch took poorly to being menaced by a greenfinch…

goldfinch and greenfinch

….but was fast asleep a moment later to the possibility of getting a rude awakening from a sparrow.

sparrow kicking goldfinch

I got a message from Mrs Tootlepedal that she had forgotten something so I was galvanised into action. I got my cycling gear on, delivered the item and then kept cycling southwards.

I took the main road out of town and stopped to admire the substantial field of daisies on one side of the road…

daisies on new A7

…and two orchids on the other.

orchids at Auchenrivock diversion

I didn’t stop again for a while, as a kindly wind was blowing me down the hill to the end of the Canonbie bypass and I was going too fast to notice much as I passed.

The way back was a slower business altogether, uphill and with an unhelpful wind so I was happy to stop to note hedges thick with honeysuckle and privet…

honeysuckle and privet in hedge

…and a field of interested bullocks.

a load of bullocks

I usually do this route in the opposite direction so I am often whizzing down this hill without looking.

kerr wood road

Today I had time to look and the inclination to take a breather.

kerr wood road wood flowers

The wind helped me along the last three miles and I arrived home after 20 miles in a cheerful frame of mind, considering how sore my back had been when I got up in the morning.

I had a wander round the garden….

foxglove trumpets

…before Mrs Tootlepedal came home and then I went to have a shower.

That concluded the business of the day apart from rather gloomily watching England’s ladies not quite being up to the task of winning their semi final in the world cup in spite of the USA kindly offering them some chances to do so.  The better team won.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow with its eyes on the prize.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from former archive group member Ken.  He very kindly sent me this portrait of an unusual animal which he encountered in Newcastle.

green rhino

We had another warm (22°C at it peak), dry day today but not as hot as poor Mrs Tootlepedal is having to get used to in the deep south.   In fact, it was pleasantly cool after breakfast so I got a bit of dead heading and watering done before Dropscone arrived with the traditional Friday treacle scones.

And I took a couple of pictures, of course.

In one of those amusing japes which the horticultural gods like to play upon innocent gardeners, the poppies that Mrs Tootlepedal has carefully planted are very reluctant to come up, while the patch which seeded itself by the new bench…

poppies beside bench

….couldn’t look better.

The gardener smiles one of those inscrutable smiles.

After the excellent treacle scones had disappeared, Dropscone departed with what is very nearly the last of the rhubarb and I did a bit more watering and dead heading….and the crossword.

Mrs Tootlepedal was showing some of my pictures of the flowers to a friend yesterday and found that because I take so many close ups, it was difficult for her to convey the bigger picture…..so here are two bigger pictures.

middle lawn view

The drought is beginning to tell on the middle lawn.  The bed at the bottom right was a sea of orange hawkeed a few weeks ago.  The trouble with the long view is that the camera can’t do justice to all the greenery and the flowers at the same time.

There is a metal fence that divides the flower garden from the vegetable garden and it is home to four sorts of roses, a clematis and a honeysuckle.

fence

The runner beans are looking promising.  I must remember to water them too.

Tucked in on the garden side of that fence is a rose that Mrs Tootlepedal had to cut back so severely that she thought that it might never bloom again.  However, the Queen of Denmark turns out to be made of tough stuff and among the surrounding leafage, a flower has appeared…

Queen of Denmark rose

…with more to come.

A second day lily has appeared.

day lily

After a lunch of a large sardine and lettuce sandwich, I got myself organised and set off for a pedal.

I waited to see how I was going before finally deciding on a route and it turned out to be a day when my legs were not in a very co-operative mood so I settled for a dull thirty mile circuit of Gair, Kirkpatrick Fleming and Glenzier.   There is a lot of dust and pollen about in our dry spell and perhaps the noticeable wind  was blowing enough about to slow me down.

Still, I took things easy and enjoyed the ride.

Gair road view

It was warm but happily for me, the sky clouded over as I pedalled along and the wind kept me comfortably cool.  I stopped for the occasional drink and tried to find a place with some wild flowers to look at as I sipped.

There was plenty of ragwort along the way…

ragwort

…but this was the only one of these little white flowers that I saw.

white wild flower

There was a lot of rosebay willowherb too.

rosebay wiilowherb

And a thistle showed what a good  source of pollen it is.

thistle

Even at the slow pace I go on my bike, it is easy to pass things without seeing them.  I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any red soldier beetles this year but when I stopped to look for some orchids, I found that there were a lot of the beetles about too.

red soldier beetles

The same observation applied to the orchids.  As I was cycling  along the Canonbie bypass, I only noticed one or two but when I stopped in a handy lay-by and had a proper look, I found several within a few yards.

canonbie orchids

I’ll obviously have to cycle even more slowly (if that is possible).

In an echo of the morning scone scene, the unusually hot weather has melted the road surface in places on the back roads and I now have to watch out for sticky patches as well as potholes.

You will doubtless be interested to know that when I got home, I did some more watering.  I could easily spend the whole day watering but carrying watering cans is hard work and my arms are getting longer every day as it is.

I did have time to notice that the phlox is coming out.

white phlox

We will soon have phlocks of flox.

I picked some peas, beans and beetroot for my tea and went in.

I took too many pictures in the sunshine again today so I have packaged some up in panels.  I am test driving a new photo editor and have not yet devised a good panel macro so I apologise for the rough and ready framing.

poppies

Two self seeded poppies and one intentional poppy

calendula and cornflower

A calendula and the first cornflower bask in the morning sunshine

roses

I could fill a whole post with rose pictures.

The flying bird of the day was resting.

chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was kindly sent to me by expert bird ringer, Dr Cat Barlow who had met this young kingfisher with an injured beak, probably caused by inexperience and hitting the bottom while diving for prey.

Kingfisher

The calm and sunny weather of the last two days gave way to greyer and windier weather today so I was very glad to have a good excuse not to go out on my bike.  The excuse was provided by my friend Sandy who has finally moved into his new house after months of hard work getting it made ready.

As a result he was now free for a cup of coffee and I was delighted to have his company.

Before he arrived, I looked at poppies out of an upstairs window….

poppies

…and then went out to check on them more closely.  They were abuzz with white tailed bumble bees.  There were sometimes two or three in the same flower.

bumble bees on poppies

They seemed absolutely frantic so the pollen must have been extra good today.

I had time for a look at a crocosmia…

crocosmia

…before I went in.

Sandy is still busy getting things shipshape at the new residence and I was happy to volunteer to visit the Moorland Feeders and do the feeder filling for him when he went home after coffee.

I cycled up on the slow bike which gave me time to admire the views at Skippers Bridge…

Skippers Bridge

…from both sides….

Skippers Bridge

…and check on two sorts of tiny white flowers beside the road up the hill.

tiny white flowers

And I mean tiny.  The ones on the right were about 5mm across and the ones on the left were a lot smaller.

When I got to the hide, Corrie, another camera club member, was already there and I sat and chatted with him after I had filled the feeders and although there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to see, I snapped away as we chatted.

chaffinch, blue tit, great tit and coal tit

A chaffinch, a blue tit, a great tit and a coal tit

When Corrie left, a woodpecker came for a feed….

woodpecker

…and then I pedalled off home too.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I watched a bit of the Tour before going off to meet Sandy again for a prearranged walk up Meikleholm Hill.

It was greyer and windier than earlier on but it was dry and not too chilly so we weren’t complaining although the brisk wind made photographing flowers a bit tricky.

Sandy took things seriously….

Sandy snapping

…and I did my best.

Once again there was a rich tapestry of wild flowers to enjoy…

Meikleholm wild flowers

…with lots of orchids…

Meikleholm orchids

…flowers with additional soldier beetles….

red soldier beetles

…and a lot to see in general.

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

When I lifted my eyes to the hills, there were things to look at there too…

Becks farm

Becks Farm getting the silage in

Potholm Hill

The ridge of Potholm Hill showing why this is such great walking country

Castleholm

The racecourse on the Castleholm below ready for the Common Riding race meeting

And there was a bonus horse and rider as well.

Horse and rider

To round off a pleasant if short walk, there was a nice gate as we left the hill.

Meikleholm gate

I got back home in perfect time to take a loaf of bread out of the bread maker.

In the evening, Susan arrived to drive me to Carlisle for our monthly recorder group meeting and with four of us present, we  had an enjoyable evening playing music both ancient and modern.

The flying bird of the day is a small flock of sheep on the way to the Moorland Feeders.

sheep

 

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Today’s guest picture shows Justin half way up the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District  yesterday.  He was accompanying my brother Andrew to the summit and had paused to admire the view.  My brother took the picture.

Old Man of Coniston

I am going to break with habit and start today’s post with a picture that I took last night after I had posted yesterday’s offering.  Clear nights have been  a rarity lately so this view of the moon just breaking free of a layer of thin cloud was very welcome.

Moon

I have not been sleeping as well as I would like recently so it took me some time to get up and have a late breakfast this morning and Mrs Tootlepedal had long departed to sing with the church choir before I managed to get the fairly speedy bike out and set off for a traditional Sunday morning 40 mile run down the flat roads to Newtown and back.

I was very pleased to see that although Genghis the Grasscutter…

Canonbie by pass

…had slaughtered most of the orchids along the Canonbie by-pass, a few….

orchids

…had escaped his vengeful blades.

There was a westerly wind blowing with quite a bit of bite in it so I had to pay attention to my bicycling and didn’t stop to take any pictures until I paused for a breather and a banana on the bridge at Longtown on my way home.

The River Esk at Longtown

The River Esk at Longtown

When Mrs Tootlepedal and I had driven to Carlisle yesterday, we had noticed that the knapweed on the banks of Aucherivock diversion were beginning to make a show so I stopped just before I got to Langholm today to show the knapweed in action.

knapweed

Auchenrivock diversion wild flowers

Thanks to the hedges on the Brampton road sheltering me from the worst of the crosswind and the kindly wind helping me up the hill on my way home, I managed to knock a few minutes off last Sunday’s time for the same journey and averaged just under 16 mph for the trip, a very good speed for me these days.

When I got home, I took a look round the garden.

blackbird

It seemed to be full of blackbirds.

The roses were as gorgeous as ever…

roses

…and they have been joined by a buddleia…

buddleia

…which I am hoping will attract hordes of butterflies into the garden.

The poppies come and go quickly…

poppy seed head

…but I think that this new pretty little Fuchsia will last a bit longer.

Fuchsia

I went in to have a cup of tea and watch some of a very exciting stage of the Tour de France.  It got a bit too exciting and the strain of watching it got too much for me so I went back out into the garden for another look round and to pick some more blackcurrants.  I am hoping to make blackcurrant jelly if I have the patience to pick enough of them.

Mrs Tootlepedal has a red flowering potentilla which has been a bit disappointing after some early promise but it has just started to flower again.

potentilla

I hope that it continues to make progress.

The nasturtiums need no encouragement.

nasturtiums

More roses caught my eye.

roses

Lilian Austin and the revived Ginger Syllabub

I went back inside just in time to watch a most horrendous crash in the tour as the leaders whizzed down a hill.   They were going down a narrow and twisty road at 70 kph.  On my own ride earlier on I had gone down a wide and straight road at 50 kph and I thought that that was quite scary enough.  These tour cyclists are  very brave men.

I append a quote from Cycling News that gives you an idea of just how hard these fellows are.

 

“X-rays confirmed a non-displaced right clavicle fracture and a non-displaced right acetabulum fracture. Richie also suffered extensive superficial abrasions involving the right side of his body. At this stage, the injuries will not require surgery. The plan is to re-evaluate Richie tomorrow morning and confirm that he is stable enough to be transferred home.”

While the crash was dramatic and the injuries fairly serious, the team remains hopeful that Porte can be back in action before the season is over. If all things go to plan, then they say that he could be racing again by August.

The other person involved in the crash, got back on his bike and finished the race.  When he was asked if he was hurting at all, he replied that he couldn’t tell yet.

I take my hat off to them.

After the stage was over, I went back out to pick a few more blackcurrants and have a last look round the garden.

new white flowers

Two new white flowers

clematis

A clematis with a big smile

astrantia

A fly turning its back on the beautiful centre of an astrantia

bee on ligularia

A bee among the twists and turns of the ligularia

I didn’t have long to look around as it was soon time to get showered and changed, ready to go out for a meal with the ‘old man’ of the Coniston climb, my brother Andrew.  He is on a touring holiday with his wife’s nephew Justin who comes from New Zealand and he kindly took the three of us out to the Douglas Hotel for an excellent meal.    We enjoyed good food and stimulating conversation.  It was interesting to get a New Zealand perspective on our present political situation in the UK.

The non flying bird of the day is one of our resident blackbirds, taking a dim view of life this afternoon.

blackbird

Note: I wish that I had had my flying bird camera to hand during the afternoon when I saw a sparrowhawk arrive in the garden, do a handbrake turn and disappear into the middle of our neighbour’s holly tree.  A very large number of starlings made a hasty exit from the tree in short order.  It was an unusual sight as mostly the sparrowhawks swoop down and pluck their prey  off a feeder, a branch or the ground.  I have never seen one fly into the middle of a thickly leaved tree before.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was rather surprised to find a police box figuring in the entrance to the distillery at Annan.

Annan distillery

As it was Sunday and the main roads are lorry free, I thought that the traditional pedal down to Newtown on the line of Hadrians Wall and back would be just the thing.  The forecast held a slight possibility of light rain and the certainty of a noticeable wind so I wrapped up well and set off not long after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir.

Newtown is twenty miles from home and Longtown is about halfway there so I broke up the forty miles with a  stop at Longtown on the way out…..

Longtown

The archways in the buildings gave access for a cart to allotments behind the houses when they were first built.

…for a drink of water and a bite of a guava energy bar.  Then I stopped at Newtown for a banana with a second stop at Longtown on the way back  (it looked just the same so I didn’t take another picture).

My only other stops were to admire the orchids on the Canonbie by-pass on the way out….

by-pass orchids

They were not hard to spot

…and again on the other side of the road on the way back.

by-pass orchids

If orchids are what you like, the Canonbie by-pass is the place to be.

While I was taking the pictures of the orchids on the way back, I saw a lot of fluttering going on.  There were several brown butterflies flitting about.

ringlet butterflies

These are ringlet butterflies and I read that the white trim round the wings of the one on the right means that it is newly emerged.

It did try to rain on me once or twice in a half hearted way on the return journey but it got bored and stopped after a mile or so I got home dry.

The vigorous wind turned out not to be a big problem as it was mostly coming from the side and the road south of Longtown has good hedges to hide behind.  Taking my cue from Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France time trial yesterday, I achieved a negative split and came back slightly faster than I went out.  All in all, it was a very satisfactory ride as I managed an average speed above 15 mph, a very rare thing for me these days.

Alaric the Goth gardener was hard at work in the garden when I got home.  (The gardener tells me that she feels more spiritually in tune with Alaric than Attila these days and who am I to argue.)

She took a break from heaping up piles of material for the shredder and we had a walk round.

The roses are looking wonderful….

Mundi, Crown Princess Margareta and Moss roses

Crown Princess Margareta in the middle of the panel is Alaric’s current favourite.

Rosa Wren

This is Rosa Wren, my current choice…

rambler roses

…though the rambler roses may take over soon

The palest of the astrantias is looking better every day and is now taking over as the chief bee magnet.

astrantia with bee

I think that the bee must be an old friend of the blog from the way he is waving at me.

Below the astrantia, a mass of campanula is also looking attractive.

campanula

There is a clematis on the metal fence next to the vegetable garden.  I took shots from both sides of the fence.

clematis

It raises a question.  Is this two flowers from the same plant but with different numbers of petals or are there in fact two identically coloured plants growing in the same space?  Mrs Tootlepedal has no answer to the question.

I love complex flowers so I took another picture of the spirea.

spirea

After lunch, we sat down to watch the second stage of the Tour de France but as there were still 84 km to go and the broadcast is often interrupted by advertisements, we decided to record it and come back to watch it again when we could skip through the ads at lightening speed, thanks to the wonders of technology.

In the meantime, I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill to see if there were orchids there too.

There are no sheep or cattle on the hill at the moment and the result is that the hillside is a carpet of wild flowers…

Meikleholm Hill

…of many different sorts.

Meikleholm wild flowers

The hill was carpeted with tormentil, lady’s bedstraw (?) and hawkbit, in various different places…

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

…and the orchids which were there in good numbers were a bit of a sideshow.

meikleholm orchids

The spotted leaves tell me that these are marsh orchids.

I followed the flowery path round the side of the hill….

Meikleholm Hill

…meeting various objects of interest…

meikleholm fungus

…along the way.

Horse and rider meikleholm Hill

The horsewoman kindly paused to let me take her picture.

When I got to the gate at the col between Meikleholm and Timpen, I weighed up the weather, decided that it was friendly and struck out for the summit of Timpen with its fine views….

View from Timpen

The lightest fields are ones where the grass has been cut for silage.

…and obsolete trigonometrical point.

Timpen trig point

This part of the hill hill did have sheep on it so instead of wild flowers I saw bog cotton, sphagnum moss and reed tussocks.

bog cotton, moss, reed

It started to look as though it might rain so I didn’t linger and popped back down the hill as fast as good sense and a stout pair of walking poles would let me.

The Tour de France stage was worth waiting for and turned out to be more exciting than expected.

I rounded off the day with a visit to the shops where I was ambushed by a pot of clotted cream (Mrs Tootlepedal had been making scones.  It wasn’t my fault)  followed by a visit to the front lawn where I applied a generous measure of buck-u-uppo.   It has been a a generally cool summer and the grass is not growing fast enough to discourage the moss..  It was well under 60 degrees F when I was cycling in the morning.  We need a bit of heat.

The flying bird of the day is a very strange creature which Mrs Tootlepedal spotted.  It looked like a cross when it settled on a leaf but it flew all round the borders of the middle lawn before finally giving me an opportunity to shoot it.  I have no idea what it is and would welcome enlightenment.

curious creature

 

 

 

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