"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 25 May 2020

"This and That" Again!!!

The weeks continue to merge into each other and most of the time I haven't a clue what day of the week it is as I am sure everyone is finding!

Cat's Ear in the garden. I am still hoping some of the Fox and Cubs seeds I collected last year and planted near the "no mow zone" will grow. In fact, I've had to ask B when he mows the lawn in future not to chop the flower stalks otherwise I will never know! I may have thrown a few seeds in the wild flower area too so will keep looking there.

I've never been 100% sure of the id of this wild flower found everywhere in the garden but I think it is Wood Avens

I have never seen so many buttercups in the wild flower "meadow" as there are growing this year. Yellow Rattle is slowly spreading and does seem to be suppressing the couch grass slowly but surely. I would post a photo but unfortunately the ones I have taken just don't do it justice.

Yellow Rattle

Cranesbill sp.

So many plants and shrubs seem to be flowering in profusion this year - here the Rhododendron is covered in flowers.

I spent ages yesterday watching bumble bees collecting pollen and nectar. There were so many of them and several species - Tree, White-Tailed, Buff-Tailed, Common Carder, Early and Red-tailed bumble bees. Photography, however, was not very successful!

I've forgotten the name of this shrub!

Pyracantha is beginning to flower.

News is not very promising sadly on the Blue Tit nest. The eggs started to hatch on the 17th May and after a few days there were we think 7 chicks. However, there has been no sign of a male bird helping with the feeding. As a consequence the female spends a lot of time still "incubating" them only occasionally going for food. The chicks are therefore not developing very quickly and two have already died. Yesterday Blackbirds were making a lot of fuss half way up the garden and today I found 3 nestlings dead on the lawn which is sad. I am not sure what predated them as I would have thought a Magpie or Crow would have taken all the dead young. Perhaps it was a cat or squirrel?

Herbs and lavenders have

now been planted out. I just need to try and get a basil plant from a supermarket as the National Herb Centre when I ordered the herbs were out of stock.

We have sage and marjoram planted in the patio wall and sage is starting to flower.

The only butterflies I have seen recently in the garden are Speckled Woods plus the occasional "white" flitting through but too distant to identify. A distant shot of the former!

Recent Reading

I really enjoyed the next Cooper and Fry book.

I bought this book second hand due to the purchase of the caravan in Herefordshire (site is still shut and we still haven't been since we bought it!). Also Worcestershire, or parts of it anyway, is close enough to visit for the day from home if ever life becomes normal again. It is a very interesting book with lots of ideas of places to visit although it did seem to go a bit overboard on places to eat and stay!! But for £2 it was a good buy and has given me ideas (one day!) of many new places to visit.

I also enjoyed the next Joanna Piercy novel. These books are easy to get into and just what is required at the present time! The ending, however, came as a complete surprise!

Back to the garden and I have seen Leaf Cutter Bees and a few Mason Bees around the Bee Hotels although I am still not sure if the filled holes in this one are last year's or this?

E and I continue to bake from Mary Berry's "Fast Cakes" book - E made Walnut and Coffee Traybake which was delicious and I made the Cherry and Nut crisps - also tasty.

I put the moth trap out again last weekend but it was very very windy and I didn't trap much - just one Light Brown Apple and 5 Heart and Darts (I think!). Not having used the moth trap much in recent years my id skills are very rusty - in fact, at first I thought these were Shuttle-Shaped Dart!!!!!!!

A few pages from the Journal - I've rather given up on the drawings!

As restrictions have been lifted slightly at the weekend I took the car for a run round local country lanes - it was so good to see some countryside if only for a short while and sadly cow parsley and hawthorn now seem to have finished but we did see elderflower, buttercups, foxgloves and red campion flowering. A walk wasn't possible as it began to rain :( But I have identified a few places where we could walk in the future as D is on holiday for two weeks soon. Just a few photos from Maxstoke Priory.



I do apologise if the post is a bit the same as the previous ones!!!

I hope everyone is staying safe and well and please take care of yourselves.

*D Photos taken by my son with the Canon SX50HS bridge camera

Rest of photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Friday, 15 May 2020

Another Week

As I am sure everyone else is experiencing the days continue to merge into one. Each much the same as the day before! With the slight relaxation in the lockdown it appears it is now possible to drive somewhere and go for a walk. I really am hoping to do this soon - not to a park or anywhere there might be a lot of people but to a quiet country lane somewhere. To be honest, although B and D go for a local walk most days, I have only been in the garden and once or twice taken the car for a short run to make sure the batter doesn't go flat, so it will be very strange to actually go a little further field.

So for now it is more from the garden and house.

Sowthistle growing in a pot - I am not sure if this is prickly or smooth sowthistle. However, its days may be numbered as it is in the plantpot I need to clear to plant herbs!


Fly - Green Bottle?? - on Azalea flowers. More bees are appearing but it is not easy to get a photo that is not blurred!

Green Shieldbug

Caddis Fly after being released from the moth trap last week - I haven't put the trap out again as temperatures overnight have been low.

B re-potted the Christmas Tree last year and it is now putting out lots of lovely new growth.

Meadow Buttercup

The Red Campion border - it looks more impressive in real life than it does in a photo.

Honeysuckle is in bud - I usually miss this as it tends to flower when we are on our June holiday which won't be happening this year!

I am SO hoping this Cardoon will flower this year.

Red Valerian

E made these little iced fairy cakes - luckily I already had the little unicorn decorations in the cupboard.

I've made a couple of Picnic Fruit Loaves. I did have a slight mishap with one as when I opened the oven after 45 minutes to cover the top with foil to stop them burning one of the tins (which is a weird shape and only has a small base) had fallen sideways and half the mixture had fallen to the bottom of the oven! I have to admit I scooped it up and put it back in the tin! It did taste a bit dry but was edible!

I think nurseries may be starting to open but I didn't know this last week when I ordered some herbs and lavenders from the National Herb Centre. They arrived on Wednesday and will be planted out hopefully this weekend.

A tiny posy of flowers I picked from the garden.

I am still continuing with the little journal but not drawing every day!!

I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Take care everyone.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330

Saturday, 9 May 2020

More of "This and That" !!!

Another post about reading, baking and garden wildlife etc!

Recent Reading

This book has been in the "To Be Read Pile" for ages. To be honest I thought it was about geology whereas it is more about the geography of the British Isles but I did enjoy it and there is a fun quiz to do at the end.

Treated myself to this for the Kindle and loved it. This series has just got better and better although there is a bit of a gap in years between the last book and this one.

Garden Wildlife and Flowers

Perennial Cornflower

Two varieties of Cranesbill Geranium are now flowering. The first blue one is much loved by bees and the second one flowers all summer. In fact, I might try deadheading the blue one once the flowers have finished in the hope it will flower some more.

London Pride

Lily of the Valley - sorry rubbish photo but that border is overgrown with brambles and I couldn't get any closer


More and more Red Campion flowers are appearing in the border where it has self-seeded.

Rhododendron - we just have the one. I must admit I am not overkeen on them but the flowers are pretty and the bees seem to enjoy them.

Rowan is in flower

Aquilegias/Columbine/Granny's Bonnet have self seeded in the front garden.

Blossom in the wooded area - I can't get close enough to id as the path into the "wood" is covered in brambles and nettles at the moment!

Whitebeam in flower

Ribwort Plantain

Tellima grandiflora or Fringe Cups. Sorry Dean I had forgotten we had this in the garden when I saw your photo. I spotted this at Brueton Park on a public footpath some years ago and someone very kindly identified it for me and even gave me a plant. So thank you Tony if you ever visit the blog.

Climbing Hydrangea coming into flower on the patio - E thinks robins are nesting there.


Holly Berries!

Star of Bethlehem

The kettle you can see in the arch was once used by robins as a nesting site. In those days the arch was completely covered in "Mile a Minute". To be honest I rather liked it but B thought it had got out of control and replaced it with a clematis which is only just starting to grow!

I put out the moth trap on Thursday evening - min temp 11.1 but there was a Full Moon and no moths were caught just a Caddis Fly.

New species for the garden include - Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata), Tree and Early Bumble Bees and Leaf Cutter Bee.

There are 8 Blue Tit eggs and the female is still incubating - they may hatch in a week or so. Fingers crossed!

One lone Nasturtium seedling

and Sweet Pea seedlings are appearing.

No sign of the sunflowers or wall pennywort germinating and sadly we lost all the rose cuttings we took from my mum's garden last autumn even though a couple did have shoots. Perhaps we should have put them outside rather than in the porch. B has kept one that looked more alive than the rest so one can but hope.


Mushroom Curry for tea and

E made some Chewy Almond Flapjacks from Mary Berry's Fast Cakes book

Thanks again to Sarah - the flour has arrived from Shipton Mill.


I've been knitting a little owl and finally finished sewing it up yesterday.

Rainbow last night

A few more pages from the little journal. Warning if you don't like spiders don't go past the first two photos or look at the last photo in the blog post.

I found this spider in the moth trap when I was putting it back together - I think it may be Steatoda bipunctuata sometimes called The Rabbit Hutch Spider - common in animal pens, sheds and garages. There were some cocoony type things nearby (eggs or young??) so I put the spider and the cocoons together near the greenhouse.

I hope everyone is coping with the "stay at home" rule and you are all safe and well. Take care everyone.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera