Posts Tagged ‘rodgersia’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair, and shows his daughter Matilda in the nice new dress which her Granny has made for her.

Matilda in Mrs T's dress

No prizes for guessing the theme of the performance.

We had much better weather today which was very welcome, but it turned out that I had lost a filling from my sore tooth so I had a quiet morning entertaining Dropscone to coffee while Mrs Tootlepedal went to off to Hawick on business.  Our local duke is selling the Langholm moor and there is interest in a community buy out for at least some of the land and Mrs Tootlepedal was meeting an expert in community land matters.

Dropscone had brought treacle scones so I was happy to stay at home and eat them (carefully).  Following his golf buggy accident, it turns out that Dropscone has broken three ribs so he was taking things quietly too and trying not to laugh too much.

Before he came, I had walked round the garden to see what was going on and I couldn’t ignore Mrs Tootlepedal’s Sweet Williams which are strategically placed all round the place.

four sweet william

They are all pretty peppy but this is the peppiest.

vivid sweet willieam

The bees are still very busy on the chives which must provide an endless stock of pollen for them.

three bees on chives

Away from the flower garden, I was interested to see the first flowers on the potatoes…

first potato flowers 2019

…and some promising looking beans.

beans flowers

After Dropscone left, with a little rhubarb to speed him on his way,  I settled down for a rest and the crossword, keeping my free hand on the remote lead for the camera on its tripod at the window.

Siskins were about, eating messily and scattering good seed on the ground.

siskin chewing

Sometimes they waited in the wings…

siskin waiting in wings

…and sometimes they got impatient…

siskins squabbling nf

…but the sparrows paid them no heed.

siskin and sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Hawick, full of good advice, and I made some soup for lunch.

After lunch, I sieved the last of the compost from Bin C and put the residue into Bin D.  Then, as I was in full composting mode, I turned the contents of Bin A ,which was full, into Bin B, which was empty.  The opposite is now the case…

empty bin A

…although a morsel of green waste found its way into Bin A later on.

When I was finished, I had a look around and found the the sunnier day had opened out an anemone which had been shut up against the rain and cold for the last few days.

anemone open

A bee was trying to cheer up a melancholy thistle.

melancholy thistle and friend

A Rodgersia has come out in the back border.


And the roses were appreciating the dry, warmer weather as much as we were.

three happy roses

Men are coming to replace our aged and decrepit electricity pole next week so I helped Mrs Tootlepedal move a rose which had been growing up the stay wire for the pole.  We stuck a temporary pole in the flower bed, untied the stem from the stay and bent it back and tied it to the new pole.

rebent rose elec pole

We hope that there will be a new stay to tie it back onto when the pole work is finished.

The red peonies are almost over but the white and pink ones are still refusing to show themselves, perhaps as baffled by the odd weather as we are, but there are signs of hope.

potential peony

I had a last check on the lupins and found another busy bee there…

bee on lupin

…and then went off to the dentist.

My usual dentist doesn’t work on a Friday so I was seen by the other dentist in our surgery, a very nice lady whom I had not met before.  I had been able to get an emergency appointment and I was hoping that she would give me a temporary filling for my tooth until I could see my regular man.

Things didn’t quite turn out like that though.  She peered at my tooth and whistled gently in a concerned sort of way, and then suggested that I might like her to extract it.   She had such a kindly manner that I agreed and before I knew it, I was a tooth short.  Modern dentistry means that tooth extraction is a painless and relatively swift affair but even modern dentistry can’t stop your face hurting as the anaesthetic wears off so I spent the next few hours being very quiet.

Things are still a bit sore as I write this in the evening but I am hoping that all will be well by tomorrow morning and I will be able to get out on my fully serviced bike for a ride.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, rushing to get into the frame on time.  It nearly made it.

young flying sparrow rushing in

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Fleetwood.  The port for the town is on the south side of the river Wyre estuary and can be reached by the ferry which can be seen in his picture.


It was the longest day today and the weather was fine and frequently sunny so a good bicycle ride should have been on the menu.  A very brisk wind and the total absence of any get up and go persuaded me that a short walk round the garden would be a good alternative to a long bike ride.

There was plenty to keep me interested.

The sawfly caterpillars were still to be found on the Solomon’s seal.

sawfly caterpillars

And the light was right to take a picture of the Rodgersia flowers, which are a tricky subject.


There are plenty of flowers about in the garden but it is not a time of year when there are great swathes of colour.  The daffodils, tulips and azaleas are all gone.  All the same, green is a colour and it has many shades.

front lawn june 2018

middle lawnfern

There is a patch of bright colour.

orange hawkweed

There was a bee or two interested in the orange hawkweed.

bee on orange hawkweed

I finished my walk round the garden in good time to get the coffee on for a visit from Dropscone.  It was not Friday so there were no treacle scones but he brought an enormous pile of drop scones instead.  We managed to get through them (with some help from Mrs Tootlepedal) with no trouble at all.

While we were eating and chatting, a large rook appeared outside the window.


They are impressive birds.

Dropscone went off with some rhubarb and on his way home, he passed an auction taking place at a local building  firm which has just gone into liquidation.  Many vans were clustered round the entry to the works, eager to pick up a bargain.

Langholm has lost many jobs over recent years and it was an irony that on the same day as this auction, the town appeared in the pages of a national newspaper  under a headline saying that it was reckoned to be the best market town in Scotland as a place to live.  You may be able to find the article here.

After coffee, I went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I am trying to take advantage of the good weather to get the grass short enough so that mowing it takes no time at all and the cuttings don’t have to be collected.

Then  I went back in for a sit down and some bird watching.

The feeder is keeping busy.

goldfinches quarrelling

flying goldfinch and siskin

But my favourite moment was looking up and seeing a goldfinch attached to the feeder pole by its beak.

goldfinch and pole

After another walk round, this time to the back of the house to look at the potentillas there…


..I sieved some compost for Mrs Tootlepdal’s soil improvement programme and was just tidying up when the phone rang.

It was Scott, the minister, who was out on a bike run.  His gear changing mechanism had failed and he was hoping that we could come and rescue him.  He was able to describe the signpost at the road junction where he was marooned and it was apparent that he was in some deep back country in the wilds of North Cumbria.  I pinned down where he was on my map and  Mrs Tootlepedal offered to act as navigator and do the map reading to get us to the spot.

It was a beautiful day to be out rescuing and the drive was a great pleasure in itself, including this wonderful view over the Solway plain…

view from shawhill

… to which my camera completely fails to do justice.

We found Scott and put him and his bike in the back of the Kangoo and drove home.  His gear failure had been so abrupt that he had been pitched off his bike but luckily he had landed on a soft verge.  Not so luckily, the verge had been full of nettles.  He was very cheerful, all things considered.

We had a late lunch when we got back and Mrs Tootlepedal went back out into the garden.  I considered a bike ride but it was still very windy and my get up and go had still not made an appearance so I mowed the front lawn instead and did quite a lot of wandering about and muttering.

I did my muttering with camera in hand of course.  The pinks are at their best.


The first calendula has made an appearance.


And some delightful small campanulas have arrived as well.


Keeping to my good resolution, I tried not to take too many pictures and went inside and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I have another nine weeks still to put in so this will test my resolution to the full.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a delicious pizza for our tea and I followed that up with some more stewed gooseberries.  My thinning doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on the overloaded gooseberry bush so it is lucky that I like stewed gooseberries a lot.

I hope to make better use of some good weather and long daylight tomorrow.

The flower of the day is a moss rose in the evening light.

moss rose





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Today’s guest picture is another from our older son’s visit to Anstruther and shows that he took his friends with him.

Tony's dogs

Another of the regular Moorland bird feeders was away on holiday today so I had a second opportunity this week to act as a fill-in feeder filler so I went up after breakfast to do my duty.  If the weather is good, which it was today, the duty is also a pleasure as it gives me a chance to sit in the hide and watch the birds.  We are not feeding birds in the garden at present so it is an extra pleasure to do a little bird watching from the comfort of the hide.

I had a good variety of birds to watch today.  There was a host of siskins….


…but only one greenfinch and tree sparrow that I could  see.

tree sparrow and greenfinch

Either a jay paid several visits of several jays paid one visit each but one way or the other, there were plenty of opportunities for jay watching.  (I was hoping to get a shot of jay walking but alas, no.)


There were a very few blue and great tits about…

blue tit great tit

…but I didn’t see a coal tit today at all.

My chief entertainment came from some very obliging woodpeckers who came up close to the hide and stayed nice and still and sometimes even ‘watched the birdie’.

My Lumix was on its best behaviour after having refused to work at all and it came in handy.  (It knows that I have ordered a new camera. Too late now.)

greater spotted woodpecker

The one in the bottom left corner was the first arrival.  The other three pictures are all of another bird which arrived twenty minutes later.

After our recent warm weather, it was a lot cooler today and I began to feel a little chilly and left the woodpeckers to it and came home.

I had a cup of coffee, did the crossword and then went out into the garden to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to and to take a picture or two while I was out there.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out new flowers and I looked at some old friends.

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

A Rodgersia and a Spirea had a competition to see which could pack most flowers into the smallest space.

Rodgersia and Spirea

I think that the Rodgersia won

At lunchtime, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre which was putting on a show for children and I had some potato soup and cheese to get my strength up and went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and then sieved some compost.

There was a lot of buzzing so I paused from time to time to look at the cotoneaster and the astrantia which are still attracting a lot of interest.


Mrs Tootlepedal came back and got straight down to some more planting and tidying and I lent a hand and did some dead heading and tidying of my own.   I even did some weeding on the middle lawn.   The large amount of grass and flower pollen floating about at the moment is not helping my breathing so any work I do is done at a very gentle pace with regular visits indoors for a little rest.  Mrs Tootlepedal on the other hand just carries on regardless.  She is a human dynamo in the garden.

She notices things too and called my attention to a red admiral butterfly sunning itself on a path.

red admiral butterfly

Like the woodpeckers earlier in the day, it sat very still for its portrait.

red admiral butterfly

I love the little torches it has sticking out of its head.

I took a last set of flower pictures….

melancholy thistle

Melancholy thistle, Martagon Lily and just about the last pale blue Iris Siberica

…and then we went off shopping to stock up on food and supplies.  By great fortune, our food shopping managed to include some scones and clotted cream.  We are not quite certain how this happened but we managed to get rid of them when we got home by eating them with the recently made strawberry jam.  We haven’t had a cream tea for ages so this was a real treat.

I was considering an evening cycle ride in the hope that the wind, which had been boisterous all day, would have died down by then but the fresh wind persisted so I went for a walk instead.

It was a lovely evening as long as you could keep out of the wind.  I chose a sheltered route and enjoyed my stroll a great deal.

I divided my attention between things that were close….

slow worms at Pool Corner

A heap of slow worms at Pool Corner

yellow wild flower

I would welcome a suggestion as to what this pretty flower might be called

….things that were a bit further away…

A sandpiper on the Esk

A sandpiper on the Esk

Stables on the Stubholm

Stables on the Stubholm (Arty shot)

….something that was quite far away…

The round house seen from Easton's Walk

The round house seen from Easton’s Walk

…and some views.

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

Stubholm and Whita Hill

Stubholm House and Whita Hill

It was a much better choice than battering into a strong wind on my bike and getting depressed.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had her tea and was back out in the garden trimming hedges when I got home.

In a vain effort to improve my brain power, I had fish cakes for tea.  It hasn’t helped my typing.  I could get the blog done in half the time of i didn’t have to correct eevry other wird.

The flying bird of the day is the jay seen from a distance……

flying jay

…and I normally would have been quite happy to finish a post with it it but it is outshone today, in my view, by a relaxed greater spotted woodpecker.

greater spotted woodpecker








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Today’s picture shows Mick, a very nice man who came and fitted a dish to our chimney  and two Freesat boxes to our and the B&B TVs just in time for us to watch the Tour de France on ITV4.  We couldn’t get ITV4 through our old aerial so this was a novelty and we had a very eventful stage to watch.


I was up and away before eight o’clock in the morning to take advantage of the best weather and I had completed the 28 miles Tour de Chapelknowe by ten which was a good start to the day.  I noticed Dropscone also finishing an early ride but in the opposite direction as I came back into town.

The buttercups in the fields I passed show no sign of going over yet.  They are spectacular.


After a quick cup of coffee, I went up to fill the Moorland feeders and enjoyed forty minutes of being entertained by the woodpeckers.


They have taken to searching through the mixed seed to find these cylindrical titbits.


This one was very busy dashing to and fro to feed a young one.

There was a good deal of flying about and I tried to get a good aerial picture but they were either going away from me…

flying woodpecker

..or simple flying too fast.


They are easier to catch when they have been glued to a tree.


When I got back to Langholm, it was my turn to watch over the photo exhibition for a couple of hours.  Sandy dropped in to have a chat and then went off to photograph the nesting swallows.

When I was relieved of my duties, I came home and mowed both the lawns.  They have responded well enough to treatment to merit a picture.


The golden box balls need clipping as you can see.

It was soon time to go back to the photo exhibition for the last time and take down the pictures.  We had had more than 100 visitors over the two weeks and the comments had been very heartening but we will have to see what we can do to arouse more interest if we try again next year.

During the afternoon, I was able to admire the roses which are starting to make a show.


My walk round the garden was accompanied by the continuous buzzing of bees and other insects.

hawkweed and comfrey

Hawkweed and comfrey were popular bee destinations.


The astrantia attracted a different clientèle

A large clump of geraniums couldn’t fail to catch the eye.


I was a bit sniffy when Mrs Tootlepedal brought this rodgersia to my attention and thought that it was dull.  Closer inspection reveals that it is a very pretty flower.


The eryngiums give triple value by looking good before they come out…


…as well as looking splendid when they are fully out and dramatic when the are over, as I hope to show in time.

Mrs Tootlepedal accompanied on one of my strolls and we nearly trod on this fluffy siskin which munched away at the seed on the ground without paying us any attention to us at all.


Other siskins were more energetic…


It is hard to see what is going on here.

A very young sparrow managed to find a spare perch.


We had a B&B cyclist who arrived feeling quite puffed out having bicycled from Dunbar into the wind all day.  He reckoned that he had done about 10o miles.  I would have been more than puffed.

After an early tea, we set out for the Langholm Parish Church and the second of our two performances with the Langholm Sings.  There were a lot of competing events on the town tonight and we were pleased to draw an audience of over 60 who seemed to enjoy the concert.  The church is considerable larger than Kirkandrews where we sang yesterday so it was slightly less satisfactory for us to sing in, as we didn’t get the same feedback as we sang but the audience seemed to think that we had made a good sound.  We are taking a break until September after this effort.

Although I have enjoyed taking part both in the photo exhibition and the concerts, it will be a bit of a relief to have no commitments for a while at least.

The flying bird of the day is two graceful siskins, one flying and one nearly flying.







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Today’s picture is another from my son’s recent visit to America.  They had a plan to visit famous landmarks but they think that they might have been able to get a little closer to this one if they had gone round the other side.


We had a warm and pleasant summer’s day today and after last year, it was more than welcome.  Even if it rains for the rest of the summer, we have done better already this year than in the whole of the last summer.  The garden is looking colourful, the grass is growing, the bees are buzzing, the fruit is appearing on trees and bushes.  Dropscone is up and about.  Everything is good.

After breakfast, I went up to check on the photo exhibition and found fellow archivist Nancy giving the pictures the once over.

photo exhibition

Although we have a couple of gaps on the wall where we are waiting for a late exhibitor to arrive, the walls are well covered and there are about 75 pictures to view which should be enough for anyone.  There is a good variety of subjects and styles too.  The room acts as a tourist incarnation point which explains the table covered in brochures.

I returned home in time to make coffee for Dropscone who arrived on his bike complete with a set of treacle scones.  He has got some stiffness in his shoulder and a sore hip but is very cheerful under the circumstances.  He is wondering whether he might even try to play golf tomorrow.

After we left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I put a netting cage round the strawberries.  This was none too soon as there is a tinge of redness to be seen on some of the fruit.  They are looking really healthy and I just hope that we get to eat them before the slugs destroy them.

I took a moment to mow the front lawn, which is now looking reasonable and Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that she has put some blood, fish and bone on the new bit of the middle lawn which was looking a bit peaky.

I also took a few pictures.

I have been waiting for this plant to burst into flower….


It’s a Rodgersia

…but Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is it in flower so I took its picture.  Not one of the blooms that is going to live in my memory.  Just behind it is a guelder rose.

guelder rose

The yellow azalea is reaching the end of is glory but still has picture or two left in it.


As a jackdaw flew overhead, I thought that I would try to see how quick my new lens could focus….


Not bad for an early attempt.  The bird wasn’t gliding but flying quite fast so the outlook is promising.

Mrs Tootlepedal was struck by the number of young frogs in the pond as she passed by.


As I may have remarked before, I don’t think that we have ever had so many at this time of year.

There was just time to catch a siskin being shouted at…


…before it was time for lunch and my weekly turn in the tourist information point at the Kilngreen.  The better weather is bringing a few tourists out and I have already met more than in the whole of last summer, though it was disappointing that my first two customers were only wanting to know which was the best road out of town.

I had taken my camera and the teleconverter with me to give them a try and in a quiet moment, I took two pictures to show what a fine summer’s day it was.

sheep on the Castleholm

Sheep resting in the shade on the Castleholm across the Ewes Water

blossom on the top of castle hill

Hawthorn (may) blossom on the flanks of Castle Hill.

When I finished, I cycled up to see of the nuthatches were still at their nest but as I expected, they seemed to have gone.  I cycled home and sieved a little compost to cheer myself up.

A young teacher, who is a member of both the community choir and the Langholm Church choir came for tea.  She is nearing the end of her year in the primary school in Langholm and has been amazed at how much there is to do in the town.  She has thrown herself enthusiastically into  the life of the town and will be missed when she goes.  She wonders if her new job London will offer her so many opportunities for entertainment.

In a sign of how good the weather has been, Mrs Tootlepedal set up the sprinkler in the vegetable garden.  I took a look at the blackbirds’ second attempt to raise a family.

blackbird nest

Going well so far.

There are plenty of young sparrows about too.


This one is old enough to feed itself.

In the evening, two of the recorder players came to our house in Langholm and we were joined by Susan and we had an enjoyable evening of quartets ancient and modern.  It was nice not to have to go to Carlisle to play for once.  One of them was my friend Sue who gave me the sour dough starter and under her supervision, I purchased a banneton online.  It is a basket used for shaping the bread dough while it rises.  I am now hoping for artistic as well as tasty loaves.  She also gave us some home made dried tomatoes in oil which she is experimenting with.  They have been dried in the oven rather than sun dried as even in a good year, you could wait a long time for the sun to dry your tomatoes round here.

The prize for the showiest flower of the day goes to this flag iris which is now fully out.  They don’t last long but they are splendid while they do last.

flag iris

A genuine flying bird was on hand as well.  It was a goldfinch taken at 200mm with the new lens.  I’ll have to work on the settings so that I can get the whole bird in focus but it does show that the lens will do what I need, which is lucky.






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