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Posts Tagged ‘wild flowers’

Today’s guest picture is another from a splendid set that my brother sent me after his visit to Shugborough Hall near Stafford a week ago.

shugborough bridge

We awoke to find it was still raining after a night of rain and a check on the scientific rain gauge showed two centimetres had fallen.  This is a fair amount of rain for us and it is an indication of how dry things have been that the garden wasn’t awash with puddles.

It was too wet for gardening though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and then watched the birds for a while.

A rather anxious looking sparrow appeared first.

worried sparrow

It was probably right to be anxious as there was quite a lot of demand for a seat at the table.

chaffinch incoming

incoming sparrow

flying chaffinch

I was pleased to see a blue tit among the sparrows and chaffinches. The sunflower seeds are too big for a blue tit to chew whole so they usually take one off and trap it under their feet on a handy tree nearby while they peck at them….but sometimes they just drop them.

bluetit dropping seed

The rain soon eased off but it was still pretty wet and when I put the camera away, I stayed inside and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

This took me up to lunchtime and after lunch, I nearly succumbed to the temptation of watching more of the European Championships on the telly but I managed to pull myself together in the nick of time and put on my cycling gear.

I was punished for saying there weren’t many insects about by being bitten by a horsefly when I had stopped for a breather on my bike ride but there are still not many of them in the garden.

I took this one by accident when I was shooting the dahlia of the day while wasting time before cycling…

dahlia

..and zoomed in for a closer look.

hoverfly

There are still geraniums about although they haven’t been at their best this year.

geranium

A close look at a rose mallow revealed a very fluffy interior.

rose mallow

The second flowering of the orange hawkweed goes from strength to strength.

orange hawkweed august

In the end, I stopped looking at flowers in my cycling gear and actually got on my bike.

It was an odd sort of day.  It looked very autumnal, gloomy and  grey and overcast but it felt rather summery with the temperature at a very pleasant 20°C so I  went off wearing shorts but with a rain jacket packed just in case.

After the overnight rain, I checked on the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse and was not surprised to find quite a bit of water splashing over the rocks.

Wauchope cascade

There were a lot of wild flowers growing near the river, some familiar…

wauchope wild flowers

…and one which was quite new to me.  I have no idea what it is.

white wild flower

When I stopped after ten miles to admire the view…gair road

…and have a drink and a nibble of guava jelly, I found that my lost water bottle was back on my bike again.

two water bottles

I had had a reasonable idea of where I had lost it on my previous ride and wondered whether it would be visible today.  It was just resting quietly in the grassy verge on top of Callister.  I took it home with me and though it will have to go in the bin, at least I haven’t left litter beside the road.

There is a stretch of this striking grass beside the road near Springkell and considering how full the seed heads are, I am surprised that I don’t see more of it about.

seedy grass

I saw a bright yellow flower in the verge at one point and wondered what it was.  A closer look makes me think that it is a bird’s foot trefoil but it has come rather late in the season if that is what it is.

trefoil

The weather gods played an amusing game with me over the last ten miles of the trip.  They sent down enough light rain to make me think about stopping and putting my rain jacket on and then, just as I was about to stop, the rain stopped.  And then, of course, a mile or so later, it started again.  This went on for some time and they only got fed up when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stop even if it rained quite hard  (which it did for a few minutes) and they went off to annoy someone else.

I managed 35 miles at a modest pace and got home in time to have a walk round the garden before tea.

There were pale pink sweet peas to be seen today.

pink sweet peas

I picked a plum from the plum tree (a good place to look for a plum)…

first plum

…and went inside for a shower.  The plum will need to ripen for a day before it is ready to eat.

With more rain forecast for every day next week, I am glad to have got some miles in this weekend.  I still have plenty of archiving work to do so perhaps it will be a case of every cloud having a silver lining, a statement with which I do not agree in general.

I was spoiled for choice as far as flying birds went but the poor light didn’t let me get a very good picture.

flying sparrow

 

 

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Today’s picture is another from Anne’s visit to Elgin and shows what is left of Elgin Cathedral which was founded in the 13th century.

Elgin Cathedral

We had another pleasantly warm day with a cooling breeze, only spoiled by the complete absence of any rain.  These are not words that have appeared on the blog before!

Mrs Tootlepedal and I found time to visit the garden after breakfast.

I was happy to see the first dahlia flower of the year as I had been tasked with keeping the potential dahlias healthy while Mrs Tootlepedal was away.

first dahlia 2018

A new clematis, lurking in a philadelphus shrub has arrived as well.

clematis

While the dahlias and clematis are coming, the delphiniums are going.

philadelphus

They have stood up very well this year but the colour is fading fast.

I may not have thinned the plums quite as well as I should have.

plum cluster

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with the variety of calendula she chose this year as it has a brownish outside which makes the flowers look interesting both as they develop and fade.

calendula

Combined with the bright red poppies, calendulas surround the new bench with colour.

new bench with flowers

We have had a lot of bee visitors in the garden lately…

bee on knapweed

…and these brightly coloured bumble bees have been very busy on the stachys, making the best of the last of the flowers.

bee on stachys

My bumble bee knowledge is rather vague but these visitors may be common carder bees.

We didn’t have too long to enjoy the garden as it was the day that the cornet visits the church for a special service and the choir was going to have to be at its best with a large congregation expected.

We arrived in time for a warm up and were soon joined by the cornet and a good number of followers.  We were assisted by several additonal singers who had come specially for this service and it was a pleasure to sing in a well balanced and strong choir.  We sang the Hallelujah Chorus again and it went as well as we could hope.

We had a moment for a little gardening and a light lunch when we got back before it was time to take our singing clothes off and put our cycling clothes on.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been tempted by the offer of a cream tea at the Waterbeck village hall, ten miles away.

The joy of the potential cream tea was slightly modified by the cooling breeze which from a  cycling point of view was in fact a brisk head wind and the prospect of cycling up and over Callister Hill on the way.   However Mrs Tootlepedal was strong and both these obstacles were surmounted and we had a very good tea at Waterbeck which gave us strength for the return journey.  Although we had to go over Callister again, at least the wind was helping us this time.

I had my camera in my back pocket and stopped on the outward journey when Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out an orchid.

orchid

It shows how useful it is to have another pair of eyes on a ride as I had passed the orchid several times on recent rides without noticing it.

As we left the hall after our tea, I noticed a gathering of future suppliers of cream for teas.

Waterbeck cows

I had read an article in a newspaper recently about the use of recycled plastic in road surfacing so I was interested to see this sign on a farm road.  It looks like a good use for recycled plastic…

P1120576

..and according to the company’s website, it might even reduce the number of potholes if our council decided to use it on the public roads.

I stopped to take a view as we cycled up Callister on the way home and Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to put the hammer down and leave me for dead.

Mrs T on Callister

This was the view I was looking at.

Winterhope view

She did stop and wait for me further up the hill and I had time to look at wild flowers.

callister flowers

As we got nearer Langholm, the clouds broke up a little and it became a perfect day for a pedal.

wauchope schoolhouse road

There is another cream tea opportunity at Waterbeck next Sunday (they are raising funds for their church) and I hope that the weather will be kind enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal out again.

There was time for a little watering and garden wandering when we got back.

buddleia

The first buddleia flowers are out and I hope that they will bring some coloured butterflies into the garden.  We have lots of white butterflies but peacocks, red admirals and small tortoiseshells are more photogenic.

The first runner beans of the season were included in our evening meal and not content with my cream tea, I had strawberries and cream for my pudding.

Then the day ended quietly with some sofa sitting in front of the sporting highlights of the day on the telly.

I didn’t manage to find a flying bird of the day so a standing collared dove will have to do.

collared dove

Perhaps I should have gone for a bright flower of the day instead.

bright flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  It shows the Houses of Parliament which is nominally the seat of our government.  Sadly, we are currently not being governed at all.

View from Lambeth Bridge

In a shocking challenge to the established order, it rained today…

wet poppy

…but as it only rained for about five minutes and not very hard at that, it didn’t make any difference and I still had to potter about watering anything I thought might benefit from it.

I also managed some weeding and a little strimming of the paths in the vegeatble garden and I edged the middle lawn.

It was cloudy and definitely a bit cooler than it has been so that was very welcome.  Encouraged by this, I got my bike out after coffee and the crossword and set out to see how my legs were feeling.

They were feeling fine so I did a 32 mile circle of familiar roads at a gentle pace (I was trying hard but the pace was gentle), keeping an eye out for anything interesting.  Once again, I found that if I stopped and looked around, there was usually something to look at.

My first stop was not far from the town.

orchid

There are orchids and red soldier beetles all over the place.

red soldier beetles

I stopped about 2o miles further on to check out a verge.

wild flowers 1

There was a good variety of flowers to be seen.

On my next stop, about 4 miles from home, there was an even greater variety.

There were all these…

wild flowers 3wild flowers 2wild flowers 4

…and many more.

wild flowers 5

Looking at the hedges and verges certainly keeps me occupied while I am pedalling along….and give me a good excuse for stops for a breather.

The light wind and cooler temperature made for very agreeable cycling conditions and I had worked up an appetite for a sardine, lettuce and potato salad for a late lunch when I got home.

I watched the bird feeder while I was in the kitchen.

Two sparrows posed artistically for me.

sparrows

An interesting time trial in the Tour de France gave me a good excuse for a rest after lunch and then a visit from Mike Tinker caused me to stir my stumps and get back out into the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a lovely afternoon.

I mixed a little more watering with some flower watching.

The new iris is adding to its charm…

lily

…and the tall sunflowers are reaching ever higher into the sky.

sunflower

The calendulas don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

calendula 1

…and have a nice assortment of styles.

calendula 2

Then I had to go in and have a shower and get ready for my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  As I hadn’t done any practice for a fortnight, I couldn’t complain too much about his lack of practice.  He has just started his first job so I suppose he has other things to think about at the moment.

I picked some peas and beans for my tea and enjoyed them with some fish cakes and then I had a selection from the cheese board to round off the meal.

One last expedition to the garden for watering followed, where I noticed that a leycesteria has flowered underneath the apple tree….

leycesteria

…checked out another of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new nicotianas…

nicotiana

…and discussed the political situation with a couple of blackbirds.

blackbirds

The flying bird of the day picture is provided by the aerial ballet department.

flying siskin and 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 comes from my sister Mary.  I walked past the canal at Paddington on my way home from Marlow without taking a picture so she sent me this one taken further along the canal a few days earlier.  I don’t think that she sampled the rum.

canal

In the end, a combination of the heat, an appointment and things to do persuaded me to put off going to see Matilda for a week.  I had planned for a very leisurely day but I kept pottering about for pretty well the whole time and it was just as well that I didn’t try to fit in a  trip to Edinburgh as well.

I had to do quite a lot of dead heading and some watering too and as this involves carrying heavy watering cans about  (we have been asked not to use garden hoses until it rains again), it also involved quite a bit of resting between trips.  I used the breaks to take some pictures of bees.

I was spoiled for choice.

bee visiting red poppy

Every colour was in demand.

bee visiting blue allium

And every size and sort of flower.

bee visiting foxglove

A new pale astrantia has come out and the bees like it as much as the darker ones.

bee on astrantia

The poppies had benefited from the dead heading and replacements had arrived.

poppy

My appointment was to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up at the health centre and that passed as painlessly as it always does.  Young people won’t realise what a wonderful improvement there has been in needle technology.  Getting injections of any sort when I was a boy was a nightmare and I still have enough needlephobia not to be able to watch an injection when I get one or see one on the telly but actually having an injection nowadays is a breeze and the nurse and I chatted happily about golf while the procedure was performed.

I had a light lunch when I got back and then went out to do some more watering and picture taking.

I think that these are the famous doddering dillies that were on sale at the Church fete.

doddering dillies

They are very pretty but because they dodder about in the lightest breeze, they are not easy to photograph.

There are several sunflowers out in the garden…

small sunflower

…and this is one of the small ones.  I will need a step ladder to take a picture of one of the tall ones.  They are miles above my head now.

We saw a fine example of the Common Riding rose (Excelsa) at the Hampton Court Flower Show but I think that ours is looking every bit as good.

CR rose

CR rose close

Although it only has one flower at the moment, I like one of the new roses that Mrs Tootlepedal planted this year.

Fru Dagmar Hustrup rose

It is called Fru Dagmar Hastrup and I think it is very charming.  Mrs Tootlepedal wishes it was a bit more robust.

I went inside to work on the computer to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon and then Mike arrived and I went round to have a cup of tea in his shady garden.  Alison provided the tea and an excellent ginger biscuit and I was so perked up by this that after finishing my computer work and potting out some plants for Mrs Tootlepedal, I went out for a short cycle ride in the relative cool of the evening.

It was a perfect cycling evening and I wished that I had been able to get out for a longer ride.

View from wauchope school brae

I saw a big bunch of bright yellow flowers in the verge so I stopped for a look.  They looked a bit like crosswort at first but it was something different.

yellow verge flowers

I took a close up as best I could while holding up my bike….

yellow wild flower close

…and a shot of a single plant.

yellow wild flower whole

Any help with identification would be welcome.  (My wildflower expert, Mike says that it is Lady’s Bedstraw)

There was plenty of purple around too in the form of thistles….

thistles

…and the first rosebay willowherb of the summer.

rosebay willowherb

I only went twelve miles as it was past my tea time already but I hadn’t quite finished the day yet.

When I got home, I mowed the front lawn.  There will be those who think that it is folly to mow a lawn when the weather is so dry and they may be right but it was a light cut and it made the lawn look better.

front lawn dry

Two beautiful roses lurk behind the box balls at the far end of the lawn but most of the colour was right behind me as I took the picture so I turned round.

colourful corner

On the other side of the garden a new flower has come out.

new red flower

As I am trying to improve the rust content in my diet, I had a good meal of liver with peas, beans, spinach, turnips and potatoes from the garden.

The flying bird of the day is sensibly resting.

blackbird

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She was in Glasgow on business a day or two ago and took this shot of a bridge across the River Clyde. (Actually the bridge was too wide for her camera and she sent me two pictures which my photo editor has stitched together.)

glasgow bridge

We had another fine day here with the temperature topping 30°C yet again.  I was content to leave my bike in the garage and have coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone rather than doing anything more energetic.

I did mow the greenhouse grass and look round the garden before coffee though so I wasn’t entirely idle.

It was Mrs Tootlepedal who got me out into the garden with  cries of, “Look at the swifts!”

They were swooping through the garden and climbing over the roof at the very last moment in a great display of aerial skill.  They are too quick for my camera to focus on them when they are close so I had to catch them higher up to get a picture at all.

swifts

Watching the swifts is one of the delights of summer.

The sunny weather is bringing everything on.

delphiniums

Delphiniums developing

blue allium

The little blue alliums have finally come out properly

alstroemeria

Alstroemeria joining in

ginger syllabub rose

The ginger syllabub rose looking plumptious

runner bean flower

The runner beans are starting to flower

 

The treacle scones were well up to standard and the coffee, a blend of Old Brown Java and Ethiopian, went down well with them.  Dropscone had been playing golf at Innerleithen yesterday and had found it a bit too hot for comfort but he had survived.

Mrs Tootlepedal saw an unfamiliar bird on the feeder and i took a picture for a closer look.

young greenfinch

The speckled breast means that it is a young greenfinch, I think.

After lunch, no soup just a salad, Mike Tinker appeared with the promise of great excitement if I took him to a certain spot.  I drove him down, parked the car and went for a stroll.  As we walked along, he suddenly said, “There it is.”

This is what was there.

bird's nest orchid 3

It is a bird’s nest orchid.  This is not a common plant and it is hard to spot as it isn’t green at all.  Mike told me why and I found this paragraph on the internet to describe it:

Completely lacking chlorophyll, it looks more like a dead or decaying plant, and is entirely saprophytic which means it parasitizes other plants for nourishment, although the word myco-heterotrophs is now known to be technically more correct, since the plants actually parasitise fungi which are feeding on nearby plants, rather than on nearby plants directly.

I learn something every day.

The seed heads of the plant may still be seen a year after the flowers and there were some nearby.

bird's nest orchid 2

Because it likes deep shade, not needing any light for chlorophyll, it was a bit hard to get a good shot of it and I had thoughtfully brought a bit of green card with me to help get a clearer background.

bird's nest orchid

Mike has told me where another set of these orchids may be found and I am going to have a walk there soon to see if I can find one by myself, without needing expert help.  I am not overconfident about my chances.

While we were out, we walked a bit further and Mike was able to point out some wild flowers for me to enjoy.

golden rod

Golden rod

hairy tare

The improbably named Hairy Tare

figwort

I spotted this Figwort.  I had seen some on our fern walk./  Mike had to tell me what it was called though.

woundwort

I thought that this was a nettle but Mike tells me that it is Woundwort

We walked along the banks of the Byreburn and hidden among all the greenery, we could see the ruins of an old house.

old byreburn house

Finally we found a bench, handily provided for old age pensioners to have a rest on a very hot afternoon…

fairy loup track

…and we enjoyed the view for a while before walking back to the car.

Walking with Mike was once more both a pleasure and an education.

We had a cup of tea when we got back and then Mike went home and Mrs Tootlepedal and I went into the vegetable garden to consider whether we could find anything  to eat there.

We could.

home veg

There were peas, beans and the first potatoes and we had these with some added turnip and spinach for our tea.

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to visit her mother for the next two and bit weeks so I will have to do some serious vegetable eating in her absence if we are to avoid a glut and subsequent waste.  Mind you, if it doesn’t rain soon, maybe everything will dry up and the crop will be rather sparse.

The hot weather has brought the rambler rose out earlier than usual…

rambler rose

 

…and we are worried that the flowers will be over before it is time to make the Common Riding Crown…

Langholm Common Riding Crown

Some of our roses were in the crown last year.

…at the end of July.

I was pleased that after a couple of idle days, I managed to get organised enough to put another week of the newspaper index in the Archive Group’s database.

I am going down to London with Mrs Tootlepedal tomorrow but only for a few days.  We are just hoping that the garden will survive both the dry weather and my unassisted care when I get back and  Mrs Tootlepedal is still away.

Rather than cart cameras and computers about in the hot weather, I am going to rely on my phone for pictures and posting while I am away so I have got my fingers crossed that I can remember how to do it….and that I remember to take my phone with me.

The flying bird of the day is a bee visiting one of the poppies.  (Well it is flying, even if it isn’t a bird.)

bee and poppy

 

 

 

 

 

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I do have a guest picture today as my sister Mary sent me this shot of a herd of art loving geese rushing to see Christo’s work in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park 21.06.18 008

While we were having our last spell of good weather a few weeks ago in late spring after a miserable few months, nobody dared to say that it was too hot.  Now we are having another spell of good weather and mid summer day has passed so I can confidently say about today that for me, it was too hot.

Still, it was a lovely day so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to arrange an exhibition of her embroidery group’s work in the Welcome to Langholm space and I took a walk round the garden.

On one side of the garden, roses were glowing…

two roses

…the day lily was gleaming…

day lily

…and my favourite iris was shining.

iris

On the other side of the garden, there were sparkling roses, Ginger Syllabub and Goldfinch…

two roses (2)

…and lots of bees on the cotoneaster.

bee on cotoneaster

The lupins were badly battered by the wind and rain and Mrs Tootlepedal cleared the main shoots away.  Now, the smaller side shoots have come into their own.

lupin

I put my camera down and picked up a mower and mowed the drying green and then welcomed Sandy in for a cup of coffee.

I haven’t seen him for a bit as he has been building a shed in his garden with the help of a friend so it was good to catch up with him.  He was busy again in the afternoon so when we had finished coffee, we put on sensible headgear and went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill, hoping that there would be a breeze to take the edge of the heat.

We were looking for orchids.

The down side of good weather is pollen and there was plenty of evidence of grass seeds as we went up the track to the hill.

grass with seeds

We enjoyed the cool avenue of trees just before the track goes on to the open hill….

gate onto hill

…and the views once we got onto the hill were compensation for the effort of getting there.

view fromMeikleholm Hill

And there was a light breeze.

Sadly, views were all we got as there were very few varieties of wild flower to be seen and only one or two scruffy orchids.  There was plenty of tormentil, buttercup and hawkbit which the sheep must not like.  The sheep had grazed off all the rest.

Still, the views made the walk well worth while for its own sake…

View from Hunters Gate

…and we will have to find orchids elsewhere.

As we came back down the hill, I really liked this little tree with a big view…

little tree with big view

…and well protected from the sheep by bracken, a foxglove poked its head up to give a little colour.

foxglove on Meikleholm Hill

We saw more colour on the walk down the track past Holmwood than we did on the whole of the hill.

herb robert and cornflower

rose beside track

It was a good walk but warm work and I was happy to get back into the cool of the house.

I did consider a bike ride after lunch but felt  that the walk, short as it was, was probably enough exercise for the hot day so I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

After that, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her exhibition work and needed some supervision in the garden so I sat in the shade while she shifted and levelled some paving stones. I stopped supervising and did a little compost sieving but as it was about 30°C in the sun, we didn’t stay out too long and were happy to pause and have a cup of tea with Dr Tinker who appeared wearing a very sensible hat.

Then my flue pupil Luke came and we continued to make steady progress.  He has left school now and has just got a job but I hope that he will continue to come and play.

Next,  it was time to start watering the middle lawn and the vegetable garden and that took some time and completed our activity for the day.

I was going out to move the hose at one point when a strident shrieking from over head told me that swifts were about.  There has been a lot of talk about how scarce swifts are this year so I was happy to see a small flock swooping about over the house.

swifts

While I had the camera in my hand, I looked at our Scotch rose…

Scotch rose

…which always turns out to have a little black fly or two on it when I try to take a picture.

Nearby, the very first flowers on the delphiniums appeared today.  I hope that  they don’t get damaged by strong winds as often happens.  Mrs Tootlepedal has tried to get them in  more sheltered places this year.

delphinium

The flower of the day is a blue allium.  They have been sitting outside promising to come out but not actually coming for what seems like weeks.  One got knocked over by the recent winds and has found living indoors in a vase is more to its taste.  They are small flowers, about the size of a ping pong ball.

blue allium

 

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