Friday, July 23, 2021

Five Things in the Garden

Friday again already.  I seem to have spent the last week drifiting along in a dream like state.  The heat having slowed me down to almost a standstill.  Sleep deprivation hasn't helped.  I have managed to read a few books (when I wasn't falling asleep over them) and I did struggle through ironing early one morning.  Today is slightly cooler, rain is expected over the weekend and we and the garden are ready for it. 

Anyway, here are five things from the garden.

1.  A New Shed has been installed.

Not by me I just watched the worker from under the shade of the gazebo.  It took three or four days from start to finish.  the hardest part was laying the concrete floor.

 2.  A Water Lily has appeared

I spotted it this morning, the photo above I took around 9a.m.
By 11.30a.m. it had opened up its petals.  Earlier this year we had to take quite a large chunk of the lily out of the pond as it had taken over.  Several pieces were saved in buckets of water and they are now happily ensconsed in their new home in a friend's ponds.  I hope they will develop flowers too.

3.  Pink Roses

They have been wonderful this year.  They seem to like this hot weather.  I've been dead heading them every so often.  This rose bush was here when we moved in over twenty years ago and has been moved several times.  I've no idea what variety it is.

4.  Garden Fruit and berries

Time for Gooseberries, the Strawberries have all but finished and the plums need to grow and ripen.  Time to make a gooseberry crumble.
Berries on the Amelanchier tree, the birds love them especially the wood pigeons and blackbirds.  The wood pigeons fly onto the tree and then there is a great deal of wing flapping as the branches sway up and down under their weight.

5.  Other flowers in the garden.

Take care.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

RSPB Coombes Valley

One morning last week we visited nearby Coombes Valley nature reserve which is managed by the RSPB. It was already getting quite warm when we arrived.  We walked first in the meadow to see if we could spot orchids.

We saw quite a few of the same type.

Lots of buttercups and daisies too.

There were lots of butterflies and moths but, as usual, they wouldn't settle for very long.  When they did stop to rest they closed their wings.

We returned to the car and took our flasks of coffee to sit in the picnic area under the trees.

Refreshed we then set out to walk along one of the routes around the reserve.

Not many birds spotted, Robins, Chaffinch and Dunnock, a Buzzard was heard mewling high in the sky.
We spent a lovely couple of hours just enjoying being in the fresh air.  The car park and toilet facilities were open, as was the small picnic area but the Visitor Centre was closed.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Little Surprises

Lots of little surprises over the last week have kept us smiling.

In the garden four different types of poppy have emerged from their tightly furled heads.

I somehow thought they would all be red ones.

The one above is in the same pot as the purple one.  The other red one appeared amongst the potatoes.  All self seeded.

On the bird feeders a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared.  The first time we've ever seen one in the garden.

What a thrill.  The feeders have been busy with adult birds and their fledglings, especially sparrows, starlings, blue tits, blackbirds and collard doves.  We had to go out and buy more fat balls because they seem to be eating two a day at the moment. Such voracious appetites.


The strawberries have been so succesful this year that we have had to find a variety of ways to use them.

Including making strawberry cordial, strawberry preserve and strawberry and rhubarb jam.  The surprise here is that the strawberry jam set properly as it is a particularly difficult one to get just right.  We've had jam before that hasn't set firmly enough and also a damson jam that almost had to be sliced it was so solid.

The cordial was lovely to drink with iced water in the warm weather.

This morning these two little badges came in the post from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust as a thank you for being members for ten years.  How lovely.  I'll pin mine to my sun hat.  Last week we visited RSPB Coombes Valley. I'll be back with photos later in the week.


Hues of purples and blues, always a lovely surprise.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

At Biddulph Grange

It's well over a year since we visited Biddulph Grange, it must have been towards the end of 2019,  as I remember we sat in a very cold 'make do' tea room for a warm cup of coffee.  Things have changed over the last year.  The cafe has been moved into what was the shop and there is far more seating both there and outside along the terraces.  The 'porta-loos' near the entrance have gone and there are now permanent ones at the back of the shop, again near the entrance, plants sales and kitchen garden.    The people on the reception were lovely and welcoming and had plenty of advice about where things were situated and about the long and short walks and one way system.

On our way out of the cafe we saw the resident black and white cat waiting at the 'private staff only door' - perhaps it wanted elevenses too.  No photo as I was carrying coffee to take outside.  We sat overlooking the gardens where the volunteers were hard at work, pruning, cutting and tidying.

After coffee we set out on the long walk.  Everything was well planned out and the few visitors we came across were all politely keeping to the left hand side instructions and standing back for people in the one place along the Wellingtonia Walk where the one way path doubled back on itself.  It was a pleasant visit and we felt very relaxed afterwards.

Below are some images of the morning's walk.


All was very lush and green although the tall tree tops were slightly misty in the hazy sunlight. 

It's raining here today, it's quite harsh rain and flowers have been dashed, there are petals everywhere.  The stoic male blackbird is digging worms from the lawn to fill the open beaks of his second brood who follow him around the garden, mouths open.  All for now.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Into July

 It's July already and days are racing by

The garden is needing more water although we did have a very wet Monday, Tuesday was back to warm and sunny weather which was great for butterflies.  I'm pleased to say that when we walked over the fields the air was full of them, joyfully flittering and spiralling in twos and threes over the tall grasses.  We must have seen at least thirty of them as we walked, I lost count so it may have been more. They were mostly small brownish ones,  perhaps Speckled Woods and Gatekeepers plus the occasional small tortoiseshell and a Cinnabar moth or two.  You just can't miss the bright red as they flutter by.  There were also lots of little silvery moths that disappeared when they landed on a blade of grass and jumping grasshoppers. Paul always says 'just listen to the grasshoppers' but of course, I can't hear them,  all I can hear is the hissing in my ears from the Tinnitus. 
There are no photos as I didn't have a camera (the photo above was taken with my old camera before it packed up on me.) I doub't I'd have got many images anyway as they all moved around so quickly hardly settling at all. It was just such a joy to see them.

Since then I've had a new camera.  it's a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80.  It was a reduced end of stock one.  I'm learning how to use it. It's quite complicated. I will get there. The photo above was taken with it - and the ones below.

Of course we had to visit somewhere interesting so I could play with the camera.  A sunny morning, a garden walk and coffee and cake.  What could be better?