Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mostly Flora and Fauna (with some running and crochet for good measure)

Catching up on crochet

Now all my baby knitting and crochet is out of the way (except for the cuddle cocoon) I thought I'd better get back to my crochet club project.

So yesterday evening we sat outside and I lost myself in crochet whilst Mike read a book.  The birds provided our music and various other garden visitors kept us amused.

Running streak update (with a sweety)

I can hardly believe it but I'm nearly halfway through my 111 running challenge.  Yesterday was day 50 and so far I've run 325.85 miles just during those days.  I must look up my total for the year to date as it must be a bit higher than usual - since I started running marathons 8 years ago my annual total has been around 1500 miles each year so it will be interesting to see if it's more or less this year.

I'm still feeling OK (touch wood!) and at the weekend it will change from a minimum of 5.5 miles a day to 5.6 miles a day as I'll be 56.

So why is there a photo of a sweety in my hand?

The other day I took a run up to the beautiful gardens of Great Dixter.  Not to see the gardens but just because it's a nice cross-country route up a hill and back down again.

Whilst I was there I decided to have a mooch around their plant nursery to see if there was anything of interest, which there usually is.  As we are now in the main tourist season there were coach loads of people milling around and I did get some strange looks because of my attire - doesn't everybody walk around in a charity vest and lycra shorts?!!!!

Anyway, I heard someone say "Alzheimer's, can you take my father with you?" and I turned round to see a middle-aged man and an elderly gentleman who must have been his father.  We spoke for a few moments and the elderly gentleman was very placid and smiley, although he didn't speak at all.  Finally I shook hands with his son/carer and I touched his father gently on his arm to say good-bye whereupon he reached into his pocket and gave me a sweety.  I was so touched by this simple little gesture and I really had to fight back the tears.

Wildlife in the garden

We've had lots of sunshine over the last few days and so I have been up with the lark and spending as much time as possible in the garden.  Everything is growing so quickly and it's a joy so potter around amidst the wildlife.

Baby bunny by the garage
Mrs Duck with Titch and Quackers (anyone else remember them?)
I disturbed this lovely spider when I was digging and she held her egg sack so tightly I just had to help her find a new hidey-hole
This spider's web in the grass sparkled in the early morning sunlight
Look at the colours on this beautiful Demoiselle in the grass by the pond

Flora in close-up

At the moment I am obsessed with looking into the centre of flowers in the garden and am increasingly excited by the beautiful shapes and patterns I find therein.  Here are a few of the beauties I've spotted:

Pink Hawthorn
White Hawthorn - I love the smell of this but some people hate it.    There are 2 chemicals involved; Amygdalin (which smell of marzipan) attracts the bees but the other smells like rotting flesh (I can't remember what that's called) to attract flies to help in pollination
Very similar to Hawthorn flowers aren't they, but this is the blossom of an Acer (see the leaves below) but I don't know which one it is.

Some form of Acer.  We have several of these trees growing near one of the ponds so it may be an introduced variety rather than an English native tree such as Acer Campestre which you find in many hedgerows
Allium schoenoprasum (aka Chives)
Allium Globemaster has a massive pompom made up of these beautiful star-shaped flowers
Vibrant poppy with papery petals
A bit out of focus, but this is what the top of the seedpod looks like when the petals have dropped
Laurus Nobilis (aka Bay)
A magnificent species tree peony (it has beautiful seed pods later in the year too)
The speckly flowers of Saxifraga 'Southside Seedling' ( I have several different plants which must have hybridised as each bears different flowers)

Well done to anyone who knows what this one is (it's the inside of Nectaroscordum Siculum aka the ornamental onion) whose flowers hang down so you don't really see much of the inside
The fluffy seedheads of the dandelion whose seeds are dispersed by the wind
Pulsatilla (aka the Pasque flower), one of our native wildflowers
Beautiful seedheads of the Pulsatilla
Inside a tulip flower

Last but not least here's a little vase of flowers I pruned from a variegated weigela that I was prettifying before I took it to a plant sale in aid of our village church.  They were just too pretty to throw straight onto the compost heap!

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