Posts Tagged ‘Star of Bethlehem’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother, who was on one of his outings.  It shows the Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye.

Old Bridge at Hereford across the Wye

We had a very pleasant day here today with lots of sunshine but with a wind just brisk enough to make me think of several reasons why going cycling might not be my best option.

It had rained overnight and the plants in the garden were holding on to some of the raindrops.

willow and pulsatilla

Willow and pulsatilla unwilling to let go

There was plenty of buzzing to be heard in the garden…


…and plenty of new flowers for the bees to visit.

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

Star of Bethlehem, tree peony and iris Siberica

After coffee, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a short trip on our bikes up the Wauchope road might be worth while and so we went off to see the bluebells that I had noticed on my bike ride yesterday.  We left our bikes by the side of the road and walked up the hill.  The view down the valley without the bluebells was very good….

Wauchope valley

…but it was even better with bluebells.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

And there was no shortage of bluebells on the hill side for us to enjoy.


Wauchope valley with bluebells


Wauchope valley with bluebells

…and along.

Wauchope valley with bluebells

I could have filled a whole post with bluebells.

There weren’t a lot of other flowers among the bluebells but there were some of these tiny yellow flowers.

yellow wild flowers

As we cycled home, I stopped for a look at some fresh hawthorn blossom…


…and an orange tip butterfly which kindly rested for a moment or two on a bluebell beside the road.

orange tip butterfly

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, chatted to blackbirds…


…who were keen to share the lawn with me, enjoyed a whole hearted tulip…


…and then went off on an outing with Sandy.

We drove up past the bluebells but the sunlight was in quite the wrong place so we drove back through the town and went to visit the Moorland Project bird hide.  When we arrived, we found that others had beaten us to it so we left the car there and walked down the road…

Rashiel road

…to the banks of the Tarras Water.

Tarras water

We crossed the bridge and walked along the bank of the river for a few hundred yards and stopped to be amazed by a forest of horsetails which Sandy spotted…


…growing in a very soggy patch beside the river.

I will have to come back and look at these again as they are interesting plants.

One of them had a friend.


We walked back up the hill to the hide and found yet again that someone else had got in before us but this time we went in too and shared the viewing windows.

There was a lot of woodpecker activity and for the first time ever, I saw a woodpecker on the ground pecking away at the grass.  Of course there were plenty of pheasants doing that too.

pheasant and woodpecker

There wasn’t a great deal of other activity so we made for home and had a cup of tea and a couple of mini Jaffa cakes with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sandy went off and I mowed the middle lawn and had a look round the garden.


Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are Alliums

The garden was alive with sparrows feeding their young…


One even sat on Mrs Tootlepedal’s bicycle handlebars

…but because the feeders are not up, it was hard to be sharp enough to catch them in the act.

I had a last look round…


…and went in to practice a few songs and look at the many, many pictures which I had taken on my outings and in the garden.  It is very hard not to take too many pictures in spring time.

I noticed that I had seen quite a lot of unfurling ferns here and there during the day…

unfurling ferns

…so I put some together.

I was feeling pretty tired by now and I let the chance of an evening bike ride slip through my fingers and settled for eating spaghetti with tomato sauce cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and having a little snooze.

It is not a good picture but I feel that a flying bee of the day is the way to end this post.  It was a flying bee sort of day.

flying bee

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our visitor, Marianne and shows the river Cramond in Edinburgh on a rare sunny day recently.

River CramondWhen I woke up this morning, the wind had dropped, the sun was out, the sky was blue.  It was a day for cycling and I managed to make good use of as much of it as I had available.  I had an early breakfast, packed a banana into my new saddle bag and set off

garmin 23 May 15I left myself a bit of latitude as to the distance but set myself a minimum of thirty miles to take advantage of the good weather.  As time went by, it became obvious that my legs and I were singing off the same hymn sheet so I increased the target to 40 miles and managed to hit the distance exactly with only the smallest extra tour of the new town on my return to Langholm.

The route was largely flat and undemanding and in a helpful way, the light wind increased slightly when it was behind me in the closing stages and helped me whistle up the final two gentle hills in good order.  I didn’t take any pictures as I was concentrating on avoiding potholes in the scenic part of the trip rather than looking at the view or searching for interesting flowers in the verges.

I had just recovered when we were visited by Sandy and his friend Christine who were on their way to enjoy some of the artists’ studios in the town.  The studios are open to visitors over the bank holiday weekend as part of the ‘Spring Fling’, a region wide arts adventure.  With luck, I may be able to visit a studio or two on Monday.

The rest of the day was reserved for the visit of my older son Tony, his partner Marianne and her children Natasha and Dylan who were on a mission to see Granny.  They arrived at lunchtime and we spent the meal and the afternoon deep in conversation.  We did take time out for a walk round the block with Granny.

Tony, marianne, Dylan and Tash with MauriMauri was in good walking form and we went further this year than we did last year.  As you can see, the day stayed very sunny and warm throughout.  As we passed our neighbour Liz’s garden, she suggested that our younger visitors might like a go on the large trampoline she has for her grandson Ben, a competition grade trampolinist, to practice on.  Rather to my surprise, they took her at her word and enjoyed a vigorous but unskilled bounce about.

After more conversation, food and garden wandering, the visiting party left in the early evening.  There were the inevitable photographs of our visitors…

Dylan and Tash

Dylan and Tash, who have turned into two remarkably self assured and grown up young people.

…and photographs of photographers too.

Marianne and Mrs Tootlepedal

Marianne and Mrs Tootlepedal check to see that the results are good.

It had been a real pleasure to see them all.

During the day, I walked round the garden several times to see if the sun had done any good.  I was surprised to see that a few tulips are still going strong.

tulipstulipsMrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the way some bedding pansies that she purchased earlier in the year have come on. They are certainly colourful.

pansiespansiesI like the Welsh and Icelandic poppies because they give us colour in the garden right through the summer.

The Welsh poppies are growing through the slats of a bench.  The Icelandic poppy is the first of the year.

The Welsh poppies are growing through the slats of a bench. The Icelandic poppy is the first of the year.

Mrs Tootlepedal likes ferns and especially the shuttlecock ferns on the right in the picture below.

fernsThings were sticking their tongues out at me.

allium and rhododendronI continue to enjoy the seemingly infinite variety of the euphorbias in the garden.  This is the latest manifestation.

euphorbiaThe sun has brought out the Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and it certainly stood out today.

Ornithogalum umbellatumThere seem to be quite a few frogs in the pond at the moment.  I don’t know whether these are new season frogs or old frogs that are too lazy to move on.

frogI spotted a hedge sparrow on a hedge.

hedge sparrowOwing to visitors’ cars in the drive and constant to-ing and fro-ing in and out of the garden, there wasn’t much opportunity to catch a flying bird.  This was the nearest I got.

sparrowSo instead of a flying bird of the day, I am offering two flying young people.


Read Full Post »