Both our cars are covered in mud all the time; they are in a worse state now than in the photo! Most of our lane is inches deep in sloppy mud and it is hardly worth our while to wash the cars.
This year has been crazily busy so far and there has been no time for even a short walk since the new year. At last, I have managed to catch-up with all my blog reading, I’ve sorted out all my bank statements and receipts and have got rid of large amounts of paper. I have even spent a little time in the garden weeding and tidying-up the flowerbeds; there has been very little cold weather and the weeds have grown and grown!
Rosemary ( Rosmarinus ‘Miss Jessup’s Upright’) in flower in January
Witch Hazel; the stems covered in lichen.
Snowdrops. These and the crocus above grow under the crabapple tree. It has got somewhat weedy there in recent years!
I have taken a Morning Prayer service at church and attended a meeting with others in our Benefice who take church services.
Plough Sunday Service 12th January. Richard took this service very nicely. Much of the congregation is made up of members of ‘Old Glory’ the Molly Men and their friends and supporters
The decorated plough; the star of the Plough Sunday service.
Most of my time has been spent in the car, taking Elinor to the station on her university days, taking Mum to her many hospital appointments, taking myself to hospital and doctor’s appointments, dental appointments, eye clinic appointments and grocery shopping trips. Mum has had both her cataracts removed and such a load has been lifted from her and my shoulders! She has so much more sight than we thought and the fear that she may not be able to look after herself and live alone as she wishes has receded for a while. She is approaching her 90th birthday and though she tires easily and is somewhat twisted and stooping because of arthritis, she is still able to cook and look after herself. Richard and I had to visit her the week before last to repair her hedge and fence, damaged by the first of our storms. Mum hadn’t been able to do any gardening for some months because she couldn’t see, and the garden has become overgrown with brambles and nettles, thistles and other unwelcome weeds. I had done a few jobs for her and so had Richard but the weeds had taken over and the fence that broke in the storm was covered in enormous brambles.
A rather beautiful female Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus ) who observed me taking her photo
This coming week I only have three appointments to keep and none for Mum except for taking her to church on Ash Wednesday. I’m at the hospital all day on Tuesday having eye pressure tests, I have a hygienist appointment at the dentist on Wednesday and a hair appointment in Norwich on Thursday. Housework has been a bit hit-and-miss lately and I hope to be able to catch-up with all my chores at home very soon.
This is just a short post to let you know what has been happening. My next post will probably be about one of our days out last year, or even the year before that! I have plenty of old photos but hardly any new ones!
A selection of photos of plants and flowers seen in May, this year. Please click on any of these images to enlarge them.
A flowerbed on the south side of the house
The temperatures began to improve during May and the leaves on the fig tree (on the right of the photo) began to come out. The perennial plants also put on a lot of growth and flowers appeared.
Astrantia have interesting flowers
The Montana clematis continued to produce plenty of highly scented flowers from where it grows on the trellis next to the garden shed.
‘Canary Bird’ rose
Such a lovely yellow rose!
When we had the garden room built last year I had to move many of my plants out of the way. They ended up here on the edge of one of the vegetable beds.
These are wonderful pale lilac iris. I failed to get a decent photo of them.
Another attempt to catch the beauty of this iridescent flower.
A couple of days later more iris had appeared in the bed near the house.
I might move this iris away from the purple and blue ones in the autumn. It is an interesting colour but is a little overwhelmed by its neighbours.
It was a good year for iris.
Euphorbia. This is a small perennial sub-shrub with interesting colours in its leaves and bracts.
All around our garden are hybrids, like this one, between the wild cowslip and garden polyanthas and primulas. This plant decided to grow in a gravelly area next to a drain and one of the water butts.
Richard has a Californian Lilac in his shrubbery. It was glorious this year! The bees loved it and I think there are a few in this photo.
Gooseberry. If you look carefully you will see many tiny gooseberries. Unfortunately we didn’t protect the bush from the birds and we got no berries at all. One day they were all there and the next they weren’t. We have never needed to cover the bush before.
The welsh onion in the herb garden went crazy this year!
As well as the plants I have in flower and vegetable beds, there are the wild ones that I love to find.
Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia )
This is a minute-flowered speedwell I find in the lawn and in the grass path round the pond. It forms patches of flowers as the stems lie flat along the ground and send out roots from nodes. The flower stems are upright.
Country people think it very bad luck to bring hawthorn blossom indoors and woe betide you if you destroy a hawthorn!
Goat Willow ( Salix caprea) with its fluffy seeds.
The wood of the Goat Willow is very soft and used to be made into clothes pegs, rake teeth and hatchet handles.
Horse Chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum) blossom
Horse Chestnuts were introduced to Britain from the Balkans in the 16th century. ‘Conkers’ weren’t played with the fruit of the tree until the 18th century. Before that, the game was played with cobnuts from Hazel trees or with snail shells. The name ‘conkers’ derives from ‘conqueror’.
I am not very good at identifying sedges, reeds, rushes and grasses but I think this might be Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca).
Ribwort Plantain ( Plantago lanceolata)
I wonder if children still play the old games with Ribwort. In one of the games, the stalk is held between the thumb and forefinger and the bottom of the stalk is wrapped round the flower-head in a loop. When the loop is tugged sharply the flower-head is ‘fired’ and often travels a long way. I read that a form of ‘conkers’ can be played with Ribwort by keeping the flowerhead on its long stem and using it to attempt to knock a rival’s flower-head off. A couple of local names for Ribwort are ‘fighting cocks’ and ‘kemps’ from the Anglo-Saxon ‘cempa‘ meaning ‘a warrior’.
Spindle (Euonymous europaeus )
The wood of spindle is very hard and dense and pale coloured and from ancient times was used for making spindles. The wood is also known as skewerwood and pegwood and also makes high quality charcoal. The tree has an unpleasant smell if bruised and the fruit is an emetic. In olden days, the leaves and seeds were powdered and this powder was dusted onto the skin of children and animals to drive away lice.
This was the view from our front door on the 1st of April. The rather untidy Blackthorn trees growing on the verge on the other side of our hedge looked like they were snow-covered; the blossom was so plentiful.
A mining bee nest-tunnel
Just over a week after I took the photo of the Blackthorn I was finding bee nests all over the garden. Some were plain ones like the photo above….
Mining bee Nest -burrows
…and these ones.
Mining bee nest-burrow
But this one (the burrow is in the shadow of one of the seed-pods) has been decorated with twigs, bits of wood, stone and seed-pods! I wonder if this is just by chance or if not, were these to make it easier to find or, is the bee just more of an individual, more artistic than most other bees? I have found other nest-burrows seemingly marked with twigs and stones.
Wild Cherry ( Prunus avium)
This is one of our wild cherry trees just coming into blossom in the middle of April. The house on the left of the photo is that of our next-door neighbours and this long thin strip of land, in-between their garden and our leylandii hedge on the right, belongs to us and is where the former owners of our house used to park their combine harvester, so we are told. We have planted a few trees on this strip of land; you can see a couple of hollies and another cherry has decided to grow here too.
Wild cherry blossom from one of our other cherry trees.
The first Pasque Flower
The same plant a week or so later
The flowerbed on the south side of the house. As you can see, it is very stony.
Amelanchier in flower
Marsh Marigold or King-cup ( Caltha palustris) next to the pond
The same plant a week later
I have posted photos of this lichen-covered tree-trunk before
A closer look at the different lichens
Abandoned goose nest on the island
For the first time since we have lived here we had no nesting geese on the island on our pond. They built a nest and I am sure they began laying an egg each day prior to incubation but something happened and the nest was abandoned. The water level in the pond was very low and it would have been easy for a fox to cross the water and get to the nest. There has always been danger from mink and otters but up til now the geese have coped with them. A fox is different and much bigger. This is only a guess – there may have been other reasons; I don’t know.
Cuckooflower/Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis ) next to the pond
New Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum ) leaves and flower buds
We have a couple of spindly Damson or Bullace (Prunus domestica ssp. insititia ) trees growing in the scrubby area near our pond. This is a photo of the blossom and new leaves.
Pear blossom. We recently pruned and topped our pear tree as it was getting enormous. We should still get quite a lot of fruit this year, if all goes well.
Lesser Celandine ( Ficaria verna) and Ground-ivy ( Glechoma hederacea)
The Montana clematis flowered at the end of the month
A drake Mallard swimming on the pond.
I have a few more April photos I would like to share but I will save them for a separate post.
Not having posted anything for over two months I have a number of photographs of things I’ve seen on my travels or in the garden. This post will be a selection of these photos.
View from my kitchen window
This photo was taken with my phone early one March morning. You can see the maple leaf sticker on the glass which works well at preventing birds from crashing into the window and injuring themselves. Just outside the window is my witch-hazel which is planted in a large pot and also a Japanese flowering-cherry tree tied to canes, in a different pot. We keep both trees up close to the front of the house to protect them from wind damage. On the other side of our drive you can see the first of the daffodils in flower along the edge of the ditch. What really excited me was the sight of a leveret, a young hare ( lepus europaeus), crouched in the grass. Richard had had a sight of this young animal in the garden a couple of days before this and I was so pleased to see it for myself.
I took this picture with my smaller camera from the utility room window and you can see how damp with dew everything was, including the leveret. It stayed with us for a few days, hardly ever moving from its ‘form’, the nest in the grass it had made for itself.
The leveret’s form
Cherry-plum tree (Prunus cerasifera )covered in blossom
When this tree first grew I assumed it was an early-flowering blackthorn tree as they can look very similar. However, a few years ago I happened to see some of its fruit before the birds ate it all and realised my mistake.
A year and a half ago I was trying to get rid of Common Nettle and Black Bryony in a flowerbed full of primulas and hellebores. The only way to deal with them was to remove the plants I wanted before tackling the ones I didn’t. I planted some of the primulas at the edge of a bed Richard grows dahlias in. This March I was pleased to see that my treasured silver-laced primula had survived the move and two winters. I still haven’t finished working on that weedy bed! The Primula has a pretty silver edge to its petals.
Early Dog-violet ( Viola reichenbachiana )
We have these early violets growing in the grass round our pond.
Our large pond in March. The water-level is very low due to insufficient rainfall for a year.
The front hedge and ditch
A week or two on from when the photo of the leveret was taken and the daffodils are all coming out.
I love these little Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’!
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari ), Bugle (Ajuga reptans ), Variegated Lesser Periwinkle(Vinca minor ) and Spindle (Euonymous ) ‘Emerald n Gold’.
This is a very narrow bed alongside the rear of the garage next to the back door. All the flowers are blue and two of the plants have variegated yellow and green leaves. However, just to prove that nothing goes exactly to plan, the bed also contains a red-berried Firethorn ( Pyracantha) which has creamy white flowers; this plant was here when we moved here and the birds and bees love it.
We attended church here in March and I thought it looked lovely in the sunshine.
Primroses (Primula vulgaris )
That same day I walked round the garden and then out onto the verge next to the lane beyond our hedge and found these primroses in flower. Garden primulas are able to flower at any time of the year as long as it isn’t too hot or too cold. Wild primroses, however, have their season and late March is the best time to see them round here.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa )
There is a tangle of Blackthorn on the verge and it was just coming into flower. You can see our garden over the other side of the hedge.
Here is the Blackthorn on the verge.
It is a very untidy tree with suckers but it has blossom like snow and the fruit (sloes) in the autumn are used for flavouring gin, among other things.
Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis )
We have this rather insignificant plant growing under all our hedges and in amongst the trees near the large pond. It is often a sign of old woodland and won’t tolerate being disturbed; it fades away. The male and female flowers are on separate plants.
The daffodils at the end of March
Daisy (Bellis perennis )
Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna )
Here is this sunshiny little flower peeping out from inbetween Common Nettles and Ground Elder in the ditch.
These were the highlights of March this year. I hope to begin an April post as soon as I have published this one. Whether I’ll be able to finish it and publish it in the next day or so only time will tell!
The daffodils this spring were marvellous! We had a few warm days at the beginning of April that brought the flowers forward and then from Easter onwards the weather was decidedly chilly. Very dry but chilly and with very little sunshine.
The white daffodils look just like butterflies when a breeze catches them! Most of these flowers are scented as well.
The blossom on the fruit trees was good this spring.
Wild Cherry blossom
Weeping Crabtree blossom
Crabtree ‘Harry Baker’
‘Harry Baker’ blossom
Pear ‘Concorde’ blossom
Other trees with blossom looked wonderful this spring too.
The Blackthorn at the end of our drive
The Pussy Willow was covered in fuzzy flowers
I took photos of some of the plants in the garden.
The Spirea in Richard’s new shrub border was very bright and beautiful.
A pretty primula had planted itself in one of the ditches that surround our garden
We have a number of orange and red cowslips that grow here and there about the garden. I have started to gather them into one place so they don’t get mowed before they set seed.
The King-cups on the bank of the pond looked cheerful.
Primroses and Anemone blanda
The clematis flowered at the end of the month and filled the garden with scent.
Last autumn I ordered some tulips and planted them in large tubs. I was glad I did when I saw the damage the deer had wreaked on those planted in the borders! I covered the tubs in wire mesh and left them at the back of the house to over-winter. I had no mouse, vole or deer damage at all!
These lovely tulips look more like peonies! Because of the cool spring they were in flower for nearly a month.
This is a male Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus). There were a number of these flying in the garden at the end of April.
A sunset seen from the back of the house
This post has taken me weeks to write because I have been so busy and tired! I thought about abandoning it a couple of times because of its lateness but decided to post it after all and I hope you will forebear with me.
My choice of music is ‘Schmetterling’ (Butterfly) by Grieg, one of his Lyric Pieces.
We weren’t very adventurous this spring, staying close to home and taking things easy, so there wasn’t too much to blog about.
A visit to St Michael’s church on the first mild spring day in March
We admired the ‘Narnia’ lamp post by the gate.
We were unable to tell the time as the sun failed to shine.
The peaceful churchyard.
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris ) The flowers are in the centre of the bloom and have no petals. The 5 – 8 petal-like sepals are bright shiny yellow.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) It was very sluggish and was still in the grass outside the church when we came out again.
A pair of Greylags (Anser anser) took up residence in our garden as they usually do each spring
We enjoy their company.
They constructed a nest on the island in the middle of the big pond but after ten days it was abandoned. Feathers were spread everywhere. We don’t know what happened but we suspect an otter or an American mink was to blame.
The abandoned nest.
After we lost our summerhouse in the storm earlier this year we spent some time clearing the area behind it and discovered this tree with the deformed trunk. What could have caused this?
We enjoy seeing all the birds that visit our garden including the Pied Wagtails (Motacilla alba). Not a good shot as the bird hurried into the dappled shade just as I took its picture.
A sunset seen from the back of the house.
On a visit to our church at Rumburgh we saw this Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) resting in the shade of a gravestone.
Primroses (Primula vulgaris) in the churchyard
I love the informality of our country churchyards and I like to see the wild flowers there. The wild flowers are just as much God’s work as any garden flower or exotic bloom. They have a haven in our churchyards and should be safe from herbicides.
Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Richard on his way to church
Meanwhile, back in my garden…..
My Pieris with its new leaves of red and its little white bell flowers
I have been growing these hyacinth bulblets on in shallow tubs and they are now ready for planting out in the garden to flower next spring.
Scented narcissi and pink aubretia
Elinor gave me some more aubretia, a mauve variety, as a gift on Mothering Sunday
Lathyrus and scilla
Pasque flowers. These began flowering just a couple of days after Easter Sunday.
I had a large patch of these red saxifrage but the deer scraped most of them up. I’m hoping they will spread again.
I managed to find a number of flowers to photograph in my garden this March.
We have areas in our garden that are left wild. This is one of the many violets that bloomed in March. I think this is an Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana )
Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna ). Not only are the flowers so shiny and buttercup-yellow but the leaves are interesting too. They are patterned and blotchy with different shades of green and then there is the strange black line down the centre of the leaf looking like it was drawn carelessly with a felt pen.
This is all that was left of some of my favourite tulips after a Muntjac deer came visiting. I wasn’t too happy about this. I can see a grape hyacinth bulb that was dug up as well.
I am very fond of Scillas and this was a patch of them as they were beginning to flower.
This is a pea – Lathyrus ‘Spring Beauty’ just as it too, began to flower.
Our Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera ) always looks good against a blue sky. Cherry Plum are the first of the flowering trees to have blossom in the spring.
Cherry Plum blossom
Pots of ‘Tete a Tete’ miniature daffodils and just a few pale blue crocus.
Sweet Violets (Viola odorata ) growing under the Crabapple tree.
The first of the garden daffodils to flower. It isn’t easy to see in this photo but the trumpets are a darker orange colour. I think they might be ‘Jetfire’ daffodils.
A large clump of Primroses ( Primula vulgaris) growing in the verge at the front of the house.
Primrose flower. This is a pin-eye flower, with the pinhead-like stigma in the centre of the flower and the stamens hidden below.
I arranged to visit Alice in Sheffield on Thursday 23rd February, spend the night in a hotel and return home again the following day. What I hadn’t expected when I bought the train tickets and booked the hotel room was a visit from ‘Doris’ that day too. For those who don’t know who ‘Doris’ is (or who might have forgotten), ‘Doris’ was a storm that caused some disruption here. Fortunately, my journey went ahead with no problems other than a speed restriction. Alice met me at the station and we decided to have lunch together before I went to my hotel. We nearly got blown off our feet on the way to the café, the door of which kept blowing open while we ate, but we weren’t inconvenienced too much by this. I spent a lovely afternoon with Alice either chatting in my hotel room, drinking tea in another coffee shop or buying books.
While I was enjoying myself, Richard and Elinor were having quite an unpleasant time at home. The power went off at about 2 pm and in the garden a few of our belongings started flying through the air despite Richard having tried to make them safe before the storm began.
I wonder if any of you remember how pleased we were when we got our new summerhouse last year? Here is a photo of it.
Our summerhouse when it was new last February.
The summerhouse after the storm this February.
The wind ripped the roof off and the rest of the building just broke apart. A number of trees in the area were blown over and roads were blocked. When I got back to Norwich the following afternoon Richard was a little delayed when collecting me from the station by having to make detours to avoid blocked roads. The power was still off when I got home and the house was cold. Richard and Elinor had coped very well using the gas hob to cook meals and heat water for hot drinks and washing up. They had sat together the evening before in front of the gas fire listening to the battery-powered radio by candlelight. We often get power-cuts living where we do, though not as many as we used to do before the power company changed the cables and started regular cutting-back of tree branches that are too close to the cables. Having said that, we have had six power-cuts of at least an hour this year already. We keep a supply of candles and lamps ready and have torches in all the bedrooms and in the kitchen, utility room and garage. We have a portable gas heater as well as the gas fire and gas hob. We can also use the caravan which has a large battery and a gas supply.
Fortunately, the power came back on later that day. I was very grateful for it as we were expecting my cousin Beverley and her partner Jeremy to visit the following day for an evening meal. I didn’t have the time to prepare all the things I had hoped to, but at least the house was warm and the evening was great fun!
We have been able to claim for a new summerhouse on our insurance and our replacement arrived on Monday of this week. We got an identical summerhouse which had to be put where the old one was which is a little worrying, knowing how quickly it succumbed to the storm-force winds. Richard will bolt it to the concrete base and try to make it somewhat sturdier. We will see what we can do. We lost our old incinerator during the storm and wondered how far it had travelled, but once Richard had taken photos of the wreck and started to clear up the glass and the panels he found it squashed as flat as a pancake underneath one of the sections. I am grateful neither Richard nor Elinor got squashed under it!
Here is our new summerhouse. Spot the difference!
Our new internal doors were due to be fitted that week in February but the storm put paid to that, and, because of storm damage the carpenter had to deal with, we didn’t get the doors until nearly a fortnight later. We are very pleased with them. They look good, they are more sound-proof than the old ones and the doors downstairs are now glazed and let much needed light into the hall. The sliding door to the en-suite WC has been replaced with a better one and the sliding door to the downstairs shower-room has been replaced with an ordinary door which is so much nicer. We will now employ a painter and decorator to decorate the hall, stairs and landing and to paint all twelve doors (we replaced the airing cupboard door too).
Richard and I have attended a Lay-led Worship Training Course at a church in Beccles. To enable us to keep our churches open, the way forward is for us, the members of the church to take the services ourselves if there is no priest to lead us. This will be very useful to us when our Rector retires in the summer. The four-part course was interesting and well-attended and it gave us the opportunity to meet people from other churches in the Deanery. Our Deanery is made up of a number of benefices from Halesworth, Bungay, Beccles, Southwold and the villages in-between.
We have carried on with the usual round of duties and chores; hospital visits, blood tests, appointments with opticians, hairdressers, acupuncturists and chiropractors; housework, gardening, shopping. We have all had bad colds. I continue to take my mother to church once a fortnight and join Richard at church in our benefice when I can.
Richard went to visit his brother Chris in Manchester for a few days recently and had a very pleasant time. On his return we took part in two quizzes. Last year we had been in a team that had won the quiz held in the village of Walpole. Part of the ‘prize’ was the honour of composing and presenting the following year’s quiz and Richard offered to take it on. The time for the quiz duly arrived and he did a fantastic job as Quizmaster (I was his assistant) and he was presented with a bottle of wine as a thank-you gift. The following night we were at the village of St James taking part in the quiz to raise funds for the Harleston Choral Society. A meal was included in the fees – very good it was, too – and the questions appealed to me more than usual as there were more music ones and fewer sport! Our team managed to win again.
We celebrated Mothering Sunday on the 26th of March and it was our church at Rumburgh’s turn to hold the service. I helped make a few posies to present to the mothers or for people to give to their mothers or take to graves. Though we have no flowers in church during Lent I was asked to provide some flowers to put in the porch.
The flowers in the porch. Looking at this little work of art, you may be surprised to know I am not a flower-arranger 😉 The flowers are lovely in spite of my ministrations. As you can see, the porch is in urgent need of work. If nothing is done soon, the porch will collapse and we won’t be able to use the church.
The church was a little disorganised because we are having a tower screen fitted at the moment and there was dust everywhere. We have been saving for years for this improvement! We put everyone as near the front of the church as possible (well away from the building works) sitting in the choir stalls, which was very pleasant. Richard our Rector chose lots of good hymns and his sermon was amusing and instructive. I brought my mother to our church for a change and took her back home afterwards. I couldn’t ask her to lunch because I had no time to prepare a midday meal but she came for an evening meal instead.
This is the new tower screen. You can see the framework for the glass which has yet to be put in. There will be a glazed door at the bottom of the screen.
We will now be able to see and watch the bell-ringers as they ring before our services.
I will end this rather wordy post with some photos of the flowers in our garden starting with my favourite iris reticulata that bloomed for too short a time in February.
Mahonia with a bumblebee
My music selection is ‘Handle With Care’ by the Traveling Wilburys.
This is the view from our spare bedroom window. We had had a few days of snow showers but nothing had settled until we woke on the Sunday morning to this. Up until a few years ago we got snow every winter, sometimes a lot of snow; but not now.
Homersfield church is dedicated to St Mary
Richard and I went to church together that Sunday.
Here he is, looking very Russian!
Homersfield church is beautifully situated on a bluff above the River Waveney with its water meadows and marshes. My favourite approach to it is up a track through woodland.
The churchyard. Beyond the trees the land drops away steeply.
Homersfield churchyard looking towards the woodland where we park our car.
The woodland with snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
The snow had all gone by the end of the day and the beginning of the following week was mild and sunny.
Richard and I went out for a short walk down the lane. He can’t walk too far as yet so we weren’t able to do our usual circuit route but it was good to be out together.
We have been listening to bird-scaring cannons going off at intervals every day, from dawn til dusk since the middle of autumn. Wood pigeons do considerable damage to leafy crops such as oil-seed rape.
Bare trees and a see-through hedge
Further up the lane was the sheltered bank of a ditch on which I found a number of tiny plants. They had begun flowering in the milder weather we had had that week.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) plants
Primrose. This is a ‘thrum-eyed’ primrose flower. If you look at the centre of the flower you see its long stamens, the short stigma is hidden below. A ‘pin-eyed’ primrose has a long stigma visible and its short stamens are concealed. I will see if I can find a ‘pin-eye’ flower so you can compare the two.
Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)
Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum)
An oak tree in a hedgerow. A dead branch has broken and is dangling from the tree. You cannot see it in this photo but a single track road runs this side of the hedge.
The signpost at the end of the lane
We stood for a while and looked across the fields; we tried to walk a little further towards the village of St James but Richard soon knew he would be too tired if he went any further. We turned for home.
Our muddy lane
Our muddy lane
Our muddy lane
For many months of the year our lane is covered with a thick layer of mud. Our cars are perpetually filthy and walking is a messy business!
Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) on our pond.
I know it is spring once I start to see pairs of Mallards on our pond! We have also been visited by our Graylag geese friends and yet again we realise we have failed to clear the the willow and bramble scrub off the island they like to nest on.
I was pleased that my Cymbidium orchids flowered from Christmas until just a week ago.
They had produced seven spikes of flowers altogether, which is the best ever!
Here is a slideshow of the flowers in bloom in my garden during February.
My music choice is ‘Laudate Dominum’ by Mozart and sung by Emma Kirkby. I have been fortunate to have heard Emma Kirkby sing on two occasions, in recitals held at the church in my mother’s village.
We had stormy weather like this all through last summer!
Many beautiful cloudscapes
…and a lot of misty evenings!
Richard grew Gazanias in pots last summer. They did very well especially towards the end of summer when the weather improved.
I discovered this rather chewed iris on the bank of the big pond in our garden. We don’t have any other irises like this. I wonder where it came from?
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
I saw this damselfly on a lilypad on the big pond. I zoomed my camera as far as it would go and then cropped the shot which explains the poor quality of the photo. I needed to ID this damselfly which is a new one for our garden.
In 2014 I discovered a Bee Orchid in our garden and was very excited. I looked for it again in 2015 but it didn’t re-appear. Last summer I looked again at the place where I had found the orchid and was again disappointed. However, a few days later I found four bee orchid plants about 2 metres away from the original plant. I have already seen a few leaf rosettes this winter so I know that the orchids have survived.
This may be a Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus vestalis) on white Allium
A Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis)
Common Spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
When we moved into our house we discovered one of these orchids growing close to the house. I moved it to a safer place and since then it has done well and the plant has spread all over the garden. I often find seedlings in a tub or flower pot where they seem very happy and grow enormous like the one in the photo.
Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii on Escallonia ‘Apple Blossom’
Five-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena trifolii) on White Clover (Trifolium repens)
Five-spot Burnet on White Clover
House-leek in flower
Large Skipper butterfly (Ochlodes sylvanus) on Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’.
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Black Medick (Medicago lupulina)
Hoverfly Volucella pellucens
The same hoverfly next to a tiny micro-moth
Branched Bur-reed (Sparganium erectum)
I have now caught up with all the photos taken in and near my garden last year. I have photographs from a few outings we did that I would like to share with you and then I can concentrate on this year!
Here is my music selection – Chris Rea’s ‘Heaven’ – one of my most favourite songs!
Moments from a Norfolk Country Cottage. The furred & feathered & the worn and weathered. A Druid Herbalist with a Passion for Cats, Vintage, Dogs, Interiors, Nature, Hens, Organic Veggie Food, Plants & Trees & a Kinship with The Earth.