Flowers and my garden

I am really beginning to feel that Spring is coming.

Last time I showed you a portrait of some forget-me-nots, forget-me-notsone of my favourite flowers.

But when I went out later into the back garden, I realised that the forget-me-nots were happy colonising odd locations like here in this crevice forget-me-nots in creviceor growing in the wall. forget-me-nots in wall

I also noticed that the pulmonaria (also know as lungwort), that I had pulled up rather ruthlessly last year because I thought it was swamping the snowdrops, had managed to survive. pulmonaria

I was very happy to hear the hum of bees as they went about their work of collecting nectar and when I went out the front to photograph the flowers on the rosemary I managed to get a couple of opportunist shots. Just point at a distance and hope. Working at this resolution gives lots of opportunity and these next two photograph are using just the original pixels. Not quite in focus but usable I thought. bee on rosemary

and another sort of bee. another bee on rosemary

Of course we have had a fairly wet time in recent months and the paving has suffered. However I tried a little bit of cleaning with a scrubbing brush and water and you can see here the difference that it can make. clean and dirty pavingA large area to clean up though. It will have to wait till I am feeling a bit more energetic.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and her flower photographs (Find the latest here). Just click on the tag below the post: ‘floral friday’ to find more, or use this LINK

And so I have been trying to make similar myself. I think my style is a little different to hers but I hope you like them.

First the lithodora: another of my favourites. lithodora

And the pulmonaria pulmonaria

And a daffodil. daffodil

There were just two left, relatively small flowers on very tall stems.

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We had more snow!!!

I had to go out to Eastleigh on Saturday because my washing-up bowl had a crack in the bottom and the one I had purchased from John Lewis, although ostensibly the same size, in fact had a smaller base and my everyday plates wouldn’t lie flat in it. I had brought the previous one from Robert Dyas and now the nearest Robert Dyas was in Eastleigh.

As I set out on the bus there were a few white specks flying through the air but I didn’t expect them to amount to much, however by the time I came out of the Swan Centre clutching my new bowl the air was full of large swirling flakes of snow. I didn’t try to take any photographs at this point but the next morning when I looked out the snow was thick on the ground. Maybe not as thick as the last time and it looked more powdery. snow on stepsAlthough I am over my cold sensitivity, for now, I decided that I would not try to make a snow something both because the snow didn’t look as if it would work very well and because I decided that maybe my health suggested getting that cold was still not a good idea!

My Lenten Roses were back under cover! Lenten Roses under snowand out the front there was a trail of footprints and tyre tracks in the road. footprints and tyre tracksEach cars was covered in a blanket of snow. cars covered in showLater in the morning I stopped and talked to a woman who was trying to remove what was a very thick blanket of snow from her car, in order to go out.

These first few photographs were taken with my camera but later I decided that I would see if I could catch a bus and get to church. On the way I saw lots of trees embellished with snow, just has I had coming back from Eastleigh. I tried to take a few photographs of the trees I found on my way after I got off the bus but the difference between eyes and the camera is that eyes can ignore the background but the camera doesn’t. I did take a photograph, though, of this interesting grid pattern snowy gridand a nearby pub. snowy pubOn the way back I did manage to get a few photographs of trees and snow without a distracting background on the wide area of grass and trees in the middle of the Road known as The Avenue. Though had I stopped in the parks I could have got much better ones.snow on treesNot sure my phone got the focus quite right for this one!

snow on treea bit better perhaps!

I had to go the hospital early this morning, I couldn’t get a taxi but luckily the ground was not too icy so I walked. Waiting at the bus stop to come home I took this photograph. tree, snow and ivyThe snow is receding.

I did some gardening! and snow!!

Last weekend I noticed that the fuchsia in the pot in the front was already putting out shoots. So knowing that once I’d had my next infusion I would have to keep in the warm I decided that I had better do some pruning.

I also have a Mrs Popple fuchsia in the back garden that I have shown you before in flower. And you can see it in the front of this picture And here it is pruned. I think last year I pruned it back even more because it does grow so big, but it was cold in the garden and I didn’t want to kill it so I was cautious.

I was also cautious with the one in the pot at the front. This is a variegated one: grown from a cutting take from the one in my younger daughter’s garden. Smaller flowers and I think you can just see what the leaves are like.

Apart from the need to prune them every year, hardy fuchsias are very easy plants and flower for ages over the Summer and early Autumn.

Snow!!

We don’t often get snow in Southampton but we were promised it for Thursday (today) and when I woke up there it was.

All these photographs have been taken from indoors in the warm.

Not maybe yet enough to make a snowman (unfortunately I won’t be going out to do so even if we get more. 😦  ) snowy garden

The daffodils and crocus I photographed last week are suffering. daffodils and crocus in the snowThe Lenten Roses even more as far as I could see. Maybe even dead. I couldn’t bear to photograph them.

And here is the pruned fuchsia now. pruned fuchsia in the snow

No worse for the snow as far as one can see.

One a week Photo Challenge – Nature

Ah! how to encapsulate nature in one photograph?

View of fields and mountain
If you click on the photo you can see a bigger version which shows the beauty even more clearly

Of course one cannot, but instead of giving you a collection of photographs that show different aspects of nature, I will share just this one photograph that seemed to me at the time to encapsulate the true beauty of nature as found in Britain. In this case in Wales, near Tywyn.

I took it when I was on my second holiday in the area when out on a walk.

Quick garden post!

I couldn’t resist giving you a quick update on changes in the garden.

The wallflowers that I planted to keep the cats off the place where I am going to plant a daphne have come into flower and make a colourful show!            WallflowersThe pansies that equally were planted to keep a spot for some lavender are flowering again though I can see the slugs are having a field day! Pansies and forget-me-notsThe forget-me-nots that I love are flourishing.

The apple tree not only is coming into leaf but has blossom. apple blossomI know I must not let the tree produce apples this year but I will enjoy the blossom.

And finally: the clematis that I showed you in an earlier post (taken last September)clematis last Septemberalready has lots of new buds. clematis buds

Garden update

The weather has been fairly wet lately but last Thursday it was bright and sunny and going out into the garden I realised that just everything was springing into life. So I went out and did some necessary pruning and took a few photographs.

Last Autumn I planted a clematis on the right hand side of the garden. It is called Diana’s Delight and as with all the clematis I planted, shouldn’t get much bigger than a couple of metres.0553-clematisI have just pruned it as they say you should and hope to get an even better showing this year.

Before Christmas I planted an apple tree. I bought it mail order as I couldn’t find what I wanted at the local garden centre and it had more branches than I expected but it looks good and sturdy. It is a self-fertile Cox on M27 rooting stock. The same as I had before.

I took this photograph in February after I had pruned it. 0553-apple-treeAnother photograph I took in February was of the Lenten rose I had just planted. 0553-helleboresYou can also see the two Christmas roses I had planted before Christmas that were now dying off.

These are on the left side of the garden in the shady bed. 0553-shady-bedYou can see that the Lenten rose now has more flowers.

At the far end are a couple of clematis I planted before Christmas. I have put eggshells round (as I do) to discourage slugs from having a nibble! One of these should be grapefruit scented. I wait in hope! The bare patch next to them is where I should have lily of the valley later.

In the forefront are snowdrops and pulmonaria. 0553-snowdrops-and-pulmonariaWhen I lowered the height of the bed I replanted all the snowdrop bulbs I found and replanted any pulmonaria seedlings I found around the garden. (They do seem to seed themselves, even at quite a distance away!)

However with using up the earth I removed from the bed elsewhere, I see that I have a couple of snowdrops show up under the apple tree. 0553-snow-drop-under-apple-treeThe right hand, sunny, side of the garden is beautifully colourful now. 0553-sunny-bedsHere is a closer look at the herb bed. 0553-herb-bedYou can see the rosemary and thyme in the middle and now I have crocus and daffodils. The touch of red on the left is the remains of some winter pansies I put in to avoid having a bare patch where some lavender will be planted.

The best looking crocus are in the other small island bed though. 0553-crocusThere are lots of other things as well.

This is a photo I took when the sun was really bright. 0553-small-bedOn the right you can see the garlic and one of the three Christophe alliums that I am very fond of. 0553-garlic-and-aliumGarlic is about my only culinary crop because it is so easy. Mind you I just take a few cloves out of the fridge and they don’t grow very big.

In the foreground above you can see my patio rose: Dream Lover. It should be bee friendly and scented!0553-patio-roseThe spikes and the slate are to discourage cats from doing you know what!

The middle bed at the back is the least interesting to look at, at this time of year but this is the sedum that I reduced and replanted. 0553-transplanted-sedumI also replanted the primroses that someone gave me last autumn. 0553-primrosesMaybe I should have put them in the other way round. The flowers don’t want to look at me!

And underneath the fuchsia I found that there was still one of the Springtime cyclamen I planted a few years ago. 0553-spring-cyclamen

I hope you enjoyed a little Springtime peak at my garden. I must go out soon and buy the lavender and a daphne I want, as they become available.

 

Photo Challenge – Autumn

I looked around and decided that the Autumn colours are not at their best yet and so I decided that instead of taking a new photograph (and how can you capture Autumn in just one photograph anyway) that I would create a gallery of some of the Autumn photographs I have used on my blog previously.

If you click you will get to see each photograph full size. Not all the same as they come from different posts. Note the Gallery does not work in the WordPress Reader you have to go to my blog!

Old Sarum adventure

Maybe not as much of an adventure as some but I have sort of got used to titling my walks this way.

Some time ago I had downloaded a pdf of a BBC ‘Norman walk’, being the only one within easy reach, and so I printed this out and took it, an Ordnance Survey extract map I had printed out and my trusty Silva compass, all of which I used,Map etc.and took the X7 bus to Salisbury.

As soon as we got into Wiltshire we passed through a village decorated with dummies dressed up in all sorts of amusing poses. It was very hard to get any photos from the bus so I was pleased to at least get this one.Dressed dummyI hadn’t checked to see if I could get a bus to Old Sarum (which you can) and had decided to walk. So in the end I chose to start with points 5 and 4 on the BBC map as they could be on the way and then move on to the start of the walk.

This however was not such a good idea as you can’t always find things if you aren’t following  instructions!

I turned off by this lovely thatched cottage,Thatched cottagelooking for ‘The Parliament Tree’ or at least the plaque where it once stood and proceeded up a woodland path.Turned down pathafter a bit it narrowed.Path narrowsHere is a view through the right hand side at one point.Path side viewso you can see the open ground and houses beyond.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the wild rose that leaned across to the path.Wild roseThe weather forecast had been for sun early and then cloud but as you can see the sun was almost too bright for photographs and it turned out a warm sunny day. The sort of weather you expect in June!

I couldn’t work out where I could expect to see the plaque I mentioned so I proceeded on to Old Sarum.

As instructed I climbed onto the inner rampart and walked along it.Inner rampartYou can see what a beautiful day it was.

I reached the site of the original cathedral and came across this.Undercroft?I wasn’t sure what it was, an undercroft perhaps.

Here you can see the layout of the cathedral as not much is left standing.Old cathedral layoutThere were lots of small pits in the ground,Rabbit made holes?A sign of rabbits I thought!

I proceeded round the outer part of the ditch that surrounded the royal castle.

It was hard to get a photograph that gave an idea of it’s depth but I think the shadow of the trees help here.DitchNow the BBC walk didn’t involve any expense but I decided that I would pay and visit the inner castle part of the site for two reasons.

The first because on my previous visit with a friend, we had walked there along the river, a very pretty walk, but by the time we arrived she said she was tired and was worried if we would get back in time for something she had to do, so we didn’t stay very long.

The second reason was because on that visit I had seen that they sold some attractive silver rings.

Here is the bridge over the ditch that leads to the royal castle ruins.Entrance bridgeNow I bought the ring to the left in the picture below in St David’s when I was twenty-two and I wore it most of the time until a few years ago when my knuckles got too big. I wanted to get another silver ring, maybe a celtic cut-out design but not one with a break in the pattern where it was joined in a circle.

When I had been here before they had such a ring but I didn’t have time to look at it and wasn’t sure if I could really afford it. This time they didn’t have the same ring but I found this one (on the right). It was about two third the width of the ring I had seen and about two thirds the price, both of which were a good idea so I bought it. It was just the right size so obviously this was meant to be!Silver ringsI don’t want to bore you but I will share a few of the photographs I took round the castle area.

There is the well and believe it or not people had slipped coins down the side. Don’t know if anyone could collect them up.Well

Here is a long view of the main ruins.Long view of Old Sarum ruinsand this is the banked chalk path that runs along the edge (just at the top of the steps you can see in the photo above).Chalk pathFrom here I took a distant view of Salisbury cathedral using the maximum digital zoom of my camera which obviously doesn’t give you the best picture but gave me more than I could see with my eyes!Salisbury cathedralI walked along the path as far as the most solid of the flint walls. Obviously, originally these would have been faced with smooth stone.

I couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the flints.Wall flintsI thought this was a bit like an animal face.Interesting flintI also found there were plants growing in the walls.Plant in wallFrom here I could get another view of the layout of the old cathedral.Cathedral layout from castleI decided to make another try at finding the Parliament Elm plaque by following the given instructions.

I almost missed the sign that said “Stratford sub-Castle 1/2 mile.”Almost hidden signBut found the first gate First gateand saw a rabbit! unfortunately he saw me first but here is proof!Rabbit droppingsand then the second gate,Second gateand finally the plaque.Parliment elm plaqueI decided not to try to find points 6 and 7 of the planned walk as the walk did seem to be mainly an exercise in imagination and so I then went back the way I came photographing the flowers in a couple of gardens as I went.

Two sorts of poppies: ordinary and californian plus some wheat!PoppiesThen one of my favourites ever since I grew them as a child: Love-in-the-mist.Love-in-the-mistSince I now knew where I was and was no longer afraid of getting lost I decided to finish the day by walking along the river Avon.River Avonand took a last view of Salisbury cathedral.Cathedral spire from riverI got to the bus stop just as the last bus of the day to Southampton was leaving! I hadn’t realised that the later buses only went halfway, so I was lucky. Must plan better next time.

I hope you enjoy joining me on my walk. I realise that writing and sharing these posts is almost as good as being able to have company on the walk itself.

Rockstone Place Park

On Sunday I decided to pop out and take a few photographs. I was partly thinking of something that I could use for Monochrome Madness (you will need to look next week to see what I took) but I also thought I might share some photographs of a nearby mini park, only a few minutes walk from where I live.

The weather is cold for May and the afternoon was not very sunny. Though the sun did come out at one point while I was there.SunshineThere is a plaque on the wall.Park name plaque(When I first came to Southampton this area was being used as a car park.)

There is another plaque too.Lubor Velecky plaqueI remember meeting an oldish man called Lubor many years ago, I wonder if that was him. I think his surname was Velecky!

Here is a view of the park as I entered it.View from startOn the right I saw what I took to be a sort of mock orange.Mock orange seenThis is a close up of the flowers.Mock orange flowersThere were also a lot of white rugosa roses.White rugosa roseI tried to photograph what I thought was a helleboreHelleborebut decided it wasn’t very interesting so I tried to put the camera where I could photograph the inside of one of the larger flowers, only to find when I came home that I had photographed a lot of greenfly! Look away now if you don’t like the sight of greenfly.GreenflyI recognised this as euphorbiaEuphorbiathe flowers are so strange.Euphorbia flowersBut I really don’t know what this isBlue flowersThe flowers remind me a little bit of forget-me-nots. Do you know its name?Blue flower close-upAnother thing I don’t recognise is this tree.Unknown treeHere are a couple of fallen blossoms.Fallen tree flowersDo you know what tree it is?

I liked the fancy paving.PavingLooking closer, in places I could see lichen and liverwortLichen & liverwortand moss.MossAt the far end was a mesh of trees.Mesh of treesHere is the view from this end looking back. End view looking backSouthampton Council are a bit stuck for cash these days like everyone else and I don’t know if they give any time to upkeep the park.

Here you can see the only brightly coloured flowers I found – some wall flowers – but you can also see the invasive brambles.Wallflowers & brambleand here among the roses some sycamore tree seedlings.Roses & sycamoreThey were all over the place and are hard to get rid of once they are established.

I hope you enjoyed our wander round the park. You can see how little it is but nonetheless a welcome patch of green among the surrounding buildings.

Tywyn holidays

(I am posting this because Wild Daffodil. posted about her walk on Ynyslas Beach and I told her that nearby Tywyn was also a good base for a holiday.)

Just a little introduction to why I chose Tywyn for a holiday then photographs of different things we saw.) Tywyn beachFor my daughter’s tenth birthday I bought her a box set of five books. I bought them because they promised adventure and mentioned King Arthur. We were both great fans of King Arthur.

A number of years ago my daughter mentioned these books and how they were among her favourites and said that I ought to read them. So I did.

I borrowed them from the library at first and then bought my own copies and have re-read them a few times.

Susan Cooper booksI was so enraptured by the descriptions of the different places that occured in the books that I sugested to my daughter that she and the rest of her family might like to come to Tywyn with me for a week’s holiday.

The fourth and fifth books are set in the surrounding area and I had found a lovely house backing onto the promenade that could be booked for holidays.Tywyn promenadeWe went there in the Spring Bank Holiday 2009 half-term when my granddaughter was almost six.

I went back on my own the following year in September.

One of the places mention in the book is Bird Rock (in Welsh Craig yr Aderyn). The birds in question being cormorants. It is the only inland nesting site for cormorants in Europe.Bird rockand here is a view from the top.View from Bird rockAs you can see it was not a very good day for photographs. Also I was using my son’s Sony bridge camera in the days when he was trying to persuade me to move from film to digital.

The following year I walked all the way there from Tywyn. The coutryside was so beautiful.Countryside near TywynAnother place that occurs in the book is Carn March Arthur.This is an impression in a rock supposedly the imprint of the hoof of King Arthur’s horse.Carn march Arthur sign with LouisaHere is the stone in question.Carn march ArthurNearby there is an echo that also appears in the book. I found this when I returned the following year but it is not especially photogenic.

Near the echo is the Bearded Lake (Llyn Barfog in Welsh). Out of which King Arthur pulled the avanc in the legend.Bearded lakeThis a composite picture of the whole lake. (I think you can just see the join).

One of the reasons for going back in September the next year is that the lake is called bearded because of the water lilies that you can see then but not in the Spring.Bearded lake in AutumnA really beautiful spot (again mentioned in the book) is Tal-y-llyn. (The name of the lake.)Family at Tal-y-llynAs you can see we are all photographer’s.

While we were there we also decided to climb Cader Idris. In the event because of my grandaughter’s short legs slowing us down and threated thunderstorms that afternoon we only got about half-way throught the route but about two thirds of the way up.

Just before we climbed the last little bit to where we had lunch before we returned is Llyn Cau.Llyn CauAnd here is another picture again to show the whole lake. (The join is even more obvious this time I am afraid.)Llyn Cau composite pictureHere is the last steep climb with my granddaughter sitting patiently till we had finished taking photographsLouisa waitingand the view from the highest point we reached.Cader Idris lunchtime viewWe also went for a trip to the Dolgoch Falls on the Talyllyn Railway.Dolgoch stationAnd the engine.Dolgoch engineI found it impossible to do the falls justice in my photographs.Dolgoch falls They just go on and on.

There were some beautiful sunsets while we were there and though the photographs I took are not exceptional I here is a gallery of a few of them.

And a couple of the photographs I took on the beach the next year.
A bird on a rockBird on postand some seaweed.SeaweedMountains and sea close together what could be better!