Posts Tagged garden

Spring has….sprung?

Hello All,

By the fact that I was voluntarily cleaning in the house and my room the other day, I can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Spring is here. The days are warmer(ish) and people are already complaining of hay fever, so there must be something in it. Here, in West Wales, things started to sprout then got beaten back a little by random frost and “blast of icy air” as the forecasters put it. Brass monkeys, more like. However, today, I had to take off a layer to drive without feeling uncomfortable.

Cycling still goes well and I was even joined by a few friends and colleagues from work who also hope to do the 50 mile tour, as do I. Now, I hate to blow my own trumpet but (toot toot) I was struggling to go as slow as they were! Maybe they were all hung over but the slowest had a full carbon bike…something wrong there. If it was my size, I’d do a swap. Maybe I was trying harder as other people were about? Perhaps it was the energy drink I was consuming that tasted like gritty, stale Fruit Shoot (other juice drinks are available)? Only the day will tell. If anyone wants to come and chant or something…feel free. Should be fun.

Anyway, seeing I am at a loose end for my training (I try not to do 2 days in succession, so I shall be out tomorrow) I thought I’d pop on a few springy Spring pictures to cheer us all up after Mr Bee made us all smile recently. Living in Wales, there is just no way that I can get away without showing the national flower, seeing it is a Spring bloomer…

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Now, the eagle eyed will notice that these shots are slightly older than Spring but there is a mix of a couple of old pictures of some gorgeous flowers I took late Spring last year as well. This is of the weed called dandelion, a very good-looking weed at that, something that is truly a harbinger of warmer weather. Now, did you know that the name comes from the French “dent de lion” or “lions tooth” which refers to the shape in the leaves, nothing to do with the flower or anything? In some countries, it’s referred to in terms which are not glowing (insert rude names associated with weeing here) due to the fact that the roots can be used as a medicine and are very diuretic. Amazingly, I also found an article that says that these “weeds” actually produce rubber when cut, but the quality varies massively. Even so, apparently Continental Tyres are working on a tyre using blends of rubber from normal sources and….dandelions. No joke, read about it here.

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I have memories of breezy warm days where all the little parachutes (seeds) filled the air, as there were just at the right stage and floated away on a puff of wind. Scourge of many gardeners, I’m sure. However, now that you know what you do, respect the dandelion, they could be part of your car wheel soon!

To less interesting but no less impressive plants in the garden now, beginning to bud and sprout into fantastic colours now the sun is a little stronger..

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This picture gave me a bit of a headache in post-processing. I usually do nothing to the images I take bar reduce the size and add my name to them. I might crop them a little from time to time too. But this one, this one I had to reduce the red on it as it was so red. Maybe the sensor on my camera wasn’t a fan but I thought this was a nice detailed shot, could have done with Mr Bee posing in the foreground though….

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Now, another picture from the archives but a lovely stretch of river near Wolfscastle, on the way to Fishguard. I have heard many things about the wildlife in this area when I have been here such as stories of kingfishers and growling otters. I believe the lady regards the kingfishers as they are, happily, becoming more and more common and I have seen a few in the local area (Pembrokeshire) myself but the fisherman with the story of the otter that got out of the water and growled at him (presumably for daring to fish in the river), I’m not so sure. Next, he’ll be expecting me to believe they cross the rail line nearby to go to the local tea room to vary their diet!

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Last but not least, a sunset shot but with a difference. A lovely smooth coloured vista of clouds over the Preseli hills (you can just see them in the mist at the very foot of the image). Evenings like this are very nice, quite still but colourful. Some might say that this is boring but I implore you to look a bit closer, see if you can count how many shades are in the clouds. So, it’s no storm front but I’d argue that a shot like this is anything but boring.

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So, there we have it for another post…come Saturday, I shall be zipping around North Pembs on my bike so next time you hear from me I shall be complaining about something aching, but I will be better for the experience. Maybe.

Cheers for dropping in, catch you soon for more sunny shots and plant facts to bore your friends with!!

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Still it continues to blow and pour!

Hello everyone!

As I say above, still the weather is crappy in my part of the world, so I have dug out some nice pictures of the garden on sunnier days to keep you all occupied. It’s been a good six weeks since we have had proper sustained period of dry weather, let alone some sunshine. Some happenings have been quite exciting like this story about a bus driver and his possible poor decision; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-26008829.

I shan’t be unfair, there has been the odd dry day but certainly not enough to dry anything out, apart from portions of pavement or road! To be honest, I have forgotten what colour my car and bike are…I think I opted for a red car but can’t recall!

Anyway, onto the pictures as ever. We have a few clematis bushes in the garden and during the flowering season they always put on a good show. Not entirely sure if this will be stunted this year as they are all clinging to frames that are being battered by the wind and hail, but hopefully not….

The seeds head (the fluffy bits) are understandably referred to as "Old Mans Beard"

The seeds head (the fluffy bits) are understandably referred to as “Old Mans Beard”

Here we have another hoverfly on a shrub which has defied identification. It’s nice though and always comes out a lovely bushy pink colour so I shall now name it the pinky bushy bush (latin name, pinkus bushius maximus). There, I’m a scientist. Hooray! Remember, be friendly to hoverflys. When Summer does come, don’t be whacking them away thinking they’re wasps, they fight pests and ensure our gardens look good!

A hoverfly on my newly named shrub. Remember...big up the hoverfly!

A hoverfly on my newly named shrub. Remember…big up the hoverfly!

Now a vista of the suntrap corner around by the garage, with a very nicely placed bench for afternoon cups of tea. In fact, although it’s weird to think it now, the temperature gets pretty damn hot there on warm days and one of the plants (you might not be able to see it) is an olive tree! Mischief enjoys a good bask there on occasion….

Trees in leaf, blue skies and lovely small potted trees..it almost looks like a small part of the Algarve or something

Trees in leaf, blue skies and lovely small potted trees..it almost looks like a small part of the Algarve or something

Here’s another clematis, there are so many varieties I shan’t even try to look this up but out of the few we have in our garden, this is my favourite to photograph as the blooms are so large, up to the size of a saucer I’d say and the purple colour is very fetching.

A lovely deep purple clematis climbing on the garage

A lovely deep purple clematis climbing on the garage

Back to our old friend the honeysuckle. I think I mentioned it once in one of my hedgerow exploring trips but this one is tethered to the side of the garage near the purple clematis (well, it might not be now). Always good to spot butterflies when they are around on these blooms. It’s always nice to get a whiff of the flowers on a calm day too, one of those long-standing Summer memories.

Just along from the clematis, the long yellow trumpets of a climbing honeysuckle

Just along from the clematis, the long yellow trumpets of a climbing honeysuckle

Here he is again. The Mischief! he’s still not 100% after his tummy trouble of late but I honestly think (I’m no vet though) that the weather is really bringing him down like it is with everyone else. As you can see, he loves his time outside and if he is stuck in, he gets very cranky and tends to backchat and fidget a lot. Backchat I hear you ask…yes, we do talk to our cat. So what?!

Mischief hard at work measuring the length of one of our garden benches

Mischief hard at work measuring the length of one of our garden benches

As with all good things, the sunny weather comes to an end. I have a series of similar photos to this, but I chose to post this one as I recall the time I took it quite well. Spectacular it is not but I do remember that after the warmth and sun that we had been having, the even got very humid as this cloud rolled in. You know how people describe the air as close? This was one of those times, you could almost feel that the rain was just going to spontaneously appear in the air. Very weird but quite memorable.

In some stormchasing blogs I read, not sure if I'm right, but when a cloud like this moves in, I think it's called a "whales mouth"

In some stormchasing blogs I read, not sure if I’m right, but when a cloud like this moves in, I think it’s called a “whales mouth”

Well that’s your lot for this week. I have been having a look ahead as to what I’m posting next and there’s some goodies coming up, nice fair weather cirrus, sundogs, some lovely sunsets and a big dollop of asperatus as the weather properly broke over the house. As ever, I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them.

Until next time, appreciate you dropping by!

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