Sunday, 19 May 2013

More garden pictures

Spring flowers are dying down now and the garden is looking very green and the foliage of the summer flowers is taking over.  Several shrubs are now flowering. 

This first one a clematis which I have now had for about 3 years and it is spreading well.  I think it clematis Montana Elizabeth.

This is a close up. 

This next picture is a shrub called Exochorda, the Bride. We visited Westonbirt Arboretum once in the spring and there was an enormous one of these which was so beautiful.  We visited their garden centre and bought one. It is nowhere as big as the one they have but it is growing well. 

 and a close up

There has been a Rhododedron at the bottom of the garden since we moved into the house 18 years ago and it has never really flowered very well.  This year it has excelled and looks really lovely.

and a close up

This next one is Berberis Thunbergii, and I had to look that one up and I never remember its name.

the close up looks much better

There is another berberis which after doing a search on the internet, I think might be Berberis Vulgaris Munich. (don't quote me on that.)  The flowers are similar to the other one but the leave are green. 

The final one is a small cherry tree which has also been here for many years and never seems to grow although it does flower every year.  The cherries are very small and the birds eat them all.

I just love the shape of this little tree and the blossom looks so delicate.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Wild flowers in the garden.

Just a few of the many wild flowers in my garden. 

I have quite a big patch of Bugle by the steps going down the garden.  Noticed today that there are 2 lady's smock (cuckoo flower) growing in it. The one in the centre which is very pale pink but looks white here.  Had some a few years ago but they disappeared so a seed must have survived or been brought in by a bird or the wind.  Love to see these as they are the food for the larvae of the orange tip and green-veined white butterflies.  I like to grow wild flowers especially for the wildlife.  All these spring flowers provide nectar for the bees and other insects to feed on. You can also see primroses and dandelions in this patch.  Must admit though that the dandelions are a bit of a nuisance however colourful they look in the lawn.

I have several patches of stinging nettles like this one. They provide food for many caterpillars, including the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell as well as many species of moths.

Ransoms or wild garlic. Spreads like crazy and seeded all in the lawn but the mower shifts it and it soon disappears when it finishes flowering, until the following spring that is.  Very pungent garlic smell when crushed

One of my favourites, the English bluebell.  Such a lovely  shade of blue and a lovely scent.  Looks better in a shady woodland, where it carpets the ground, but hopefully mine will spread eventually. 

Wild strawberries and forget-me-nots.   These also attract the insects and the birds eat the ripened fruit if i don't eat it first.  They are a bit sour though. 

 Lily of the valley.  These have spread a lot over the past few years but look so pretty

Cowslips are one of my favourites too. I bought this plant a few years ago and thought it would seed itself and spread but not done much yet.  

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Wetland Walk

Lovely day so decided on a walk at Newport Wetlands.  Hadn't been for a long time and thought the spring flowers would be putting on a show.  Sadly I was a bit early for that. 

 The Wetlands was developed as a home for the birds who were displaced with the development of Cardiff Bay a few years ago.  As far as I can see nobody told the birds and I see very few there.   But I really do like walking there especially on a sunny day like today.  

 It is built next to Uskmouth power station so my photographs today are mainly of that as there were not many flowers to see.  It is a coal fired power station and here you can see the big pile of fuel waiting to be converted into electricity.  

It occupies quite a big area with several large buildings. 

As you can see there are a large number of big pylons. To carry the power to wherever it has to go. 

After walking past the power station the path join the Wales Coastal Path.  

The coastline here is the Severn Estuary and on  the opposite side of the estuary you can see the Somerset coast and the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm.  Difficult to see them here but if you click on the photo to enlarge it you will. 

 Across the water you can see the Somerset coast and also here the rubbish that has washed up with the tide. 

Don't know what this is but probably some old fencing that has been exposed as the water levels have changed over the years.

I did see a few flowers and butterflies. 

 Saw a big patch of lady's smock by the power station and several butterflies but none of them stayed still long enough for me to photograph them. I saw small tortoiseshell, red admiral, small white and peacock. Did manage to snap this small tortoiseshell on a dandelion. 

Coltsfoot seed heads

Don't know what this blossom is but it looks very pretty.

The East Usk Lighthouse looks out over the estuary.

View of the power station  from the bird hide at the end of the lagoon.

The path through the woods

In the distance there are 2 wind turbines, much cleaner electricity than that produced at the power station. In the foreground is the reserve's visitor centre.

If the birds do ever find their way here they shouldn't have any problem finding their way home again.

 I did eventually see some birds.  A family of coots in the pond by the visitor centre. There were 2 adults and 2 cootlets.  This is the best photo I could get with only 2 of them in it. 

This sculpture of bull rushes is near the entrance to the reserve.  Couldn't see any information about who made it. 

I checked a map when I got home and noted that I had walked 6 kilometers. No wonder I was tired!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

South Paw Poppy

Received free sample of Go Cat in the post this morning. I think Poppy likes it.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Safeya's Hungry Caterpillar birthday party

Doesn't time fly? Can't believe my youngest granddaughter Safeya is one year old already.  We went to Birmingham last Saturday for a family party.  It was held in the conservatory at  King's Heath Park Victorian Tea Room.
We had lots of lovely sandwiches and cake. Also fresh warm scones with jam and cream.  A lovely 3 tier cake stand full gluten free goodies was also provided for one of our group who is gluten intolerant.

The wife of one of my son 's work colleagues made a wonderful hungry caterpillar cake 

And a plate of sandwiches in the shape of a caterpillar was supplied for the children. 

Safeya was a bit bewildered by it all but Jasmine soon came to the rescue

Party hats on

It is always nice to get together and chat but the boys preferred to be outside playing football. 

Time to blow out the candle.  Jasmine and Zachariah were more than happy to help.

Safeya and Zachariah with mum and dad and cousin Jasmine

All my lovely grandchildren, Jakob, Stuart, Safeya, Jasmine and Zachariah  

We decided to walk around the park after the party was finished but it was so cold that we soon decided it was time to leave. 

 Jasmine is a budding gymnast and thought she would try the beam, of course Zachariah had to try too.

The children's playground was very tempting too and not just for the youngsters. 

Back to eldest son Darius' place to warm up.

A guitar lesson for Zachariah from Uncle  Sam

A lesson in Lego building for Safeya from big brother

Hello dolly

A fun game of Gub, whatever that is!

A final burst of energy out in the garden

I think we all enjoyed the day.