Blog Header

Blog Header

Friday, 30 March 2012

March flowers

When I started this blog in December it was a novelty to still have many plants flowering, due to the mild weather. The same flowers continued blooming through January until a harsh cold snap killed them off in early February, but by that month early flowering bulbs and plants had started to flower. In a normal year I wouldn't be able to post flower photos 12 months of the year and it will be interesting to see if anything is still flowering here come November - I hope I can make this 12 month personal challenge! We're on to the easy bit from now on though.....

March - the month of tulips, daffodils and early fruit blossom, but I've already shown the blossom! Click on any photo to enlarge to see them properly.

(with a hint of peach blossom in the distance on the left)

I don't always intentionally take photos of insects!

Inside a red tulip

Armeria juniperifolia in my alpine trough (and a bee!)


Various interesting coloured daffodils are opening up now that the more traditional yellow ones are going over.

Oh look! Another bug!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Here comes summer

Was spring that season which started last week then I blinked and missed it? Now summer seems to have arrived, even without a swallow yet showing itself to confirm it. The photos I took at the end of last week, of swelling pink buds on my peach trees, are already obsolete as the trees are in full bloom all of a sudden. I've had to take more photos and will post them here now before more blossom opens up, as everything is happening so fast in the garden due to the warm summery weather!

Beautiful peach blossom

Weeping willow coming to life

In a few day's time my pond will be looking like the header photograph! I love this time of year with the white haze of the catkins and just a glimpse of green willow leaves emerging.

Willow catkins

So much yellow everywhere, although I'm a bit sad that my daffodils have not been very good this year. Many were in bud early and were frosted in February - others have obviously been in the ground for too long and are blind. I'll need to dig some up and replant them to rejuvenate them, which won't be fun!

Forsythia, with spindly peach behind,
both in front of the silhouette of an old cherry tree

Japonica, or flowering quince. It's a messy old shrub,
but looks fabulous for a couple of months each year.

Every time I photograph a Euphorbia, there's an interesting insect on it! This little spider is tiny.

And this little bug is only about 1mm long

Some bugs I don't even notice with the naked eye,
like this little thing on a Dandelion

In the woodland the sycamore carpet has been emerging for a while now. I wonder how many tens of thousands, or more, emerge each year, yet only a few make it to year 2?

Thousands of seedlings emerging

If they are lucky, they will survive to year 2

I wonder what their chances are of becoming a mature tree? It must be more than one in a million, seeing how many seedlings emerge around here each year!

Mature Sycamore

Great excitement yesterday as I discovered a blue tit taking an interest in one of the nest boxes we put up over 7 years ago. I'd always assumed that as no bird had appeared to have used them it was because we had enough habitat in the garden for them. Indeed I've seen blue tits flitting in and out of a hole in the oldest oak tree; I watch them going in and out of the nest under the roof tiles which is used every year - yet I'm happy about them using the box we put up! Mr or Mrs blue tit was pecking away inside the box yesterday then kept poking its head out 'the window' - think they were doing a bit of renovation work to the old des res!

'Our' chiffchaffs and blackcaps are back from their winter sojourns in warmer lands and singing away and we are now just awaiting the arrival of the swallows, to make our spring complete. Or do I mean summer?! 

STOP PRESS: Guess what I've just seen! Yup, first swallow :-)))))

Sunday, 25 March 2012

San Sebastian Sunday

Is it coincidence that my two other favourite, scenic cities by the sea, begin with the letter S? I've always adored Sydney and San Francisco what with their vast scenic harbours, amazing bridges, skyscrapers and famous landmarks such as the Opera House and Alcatraz Island. However there's a little gem in the Spanish Basque country which we discovered a couple of years ago and went back to visit last October. It doesn't have the skyscrapers, bridges, huge harbour or any manmade world famous landmarks and is tiny in comparison with the other two cities. But it makes up for it with its own natural landscape of bays, hills and beautiful sandy beaches, with a perfectly placed little island right in the middle. 

I'm not going into any history, discussing the Basque culture or doing a travelog here, other than mentioning that the city is also known as Donostia, its Basque name, but of course that doesn't work for this challenge. Today my photos are purely about scenic, seaside, San Sebastian, in Spain, on a sunny day. So much alliteration possible with the letter S! It's the last day of the challenge, its Sunday so let's just take it easy and do a virtual stroll around this incredible city.

I've taken the liberty of showing a fantastic photo which gives an overview of the most scenic part of the city, something that will make more sense of my own photos which follow (oh and some credit to my OH as well, as he took some of the photos too!).

Photo Credit: Keta, from Wikipedia Commons
From Mt Igueldo looking across La Concha Bay towards Mt Urgull, with the island
of Santa Clara in the middle of the bay

On the ocean side of Mt Urgull

From Monte Urgull looking across La Concha bay towards Monte Igueldo

Santa Clara island

Looking towards the city and the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains

Looking down over the old part of the city

Right at the top is a statue of Christ

And a little park, with Redstarts flitting about in the trees

Down the bottom again, in the Old Town, looking back up where we'd just walked and the statue

The City Hall, formerly a casino

Again, from the front

I know I've posted this photo before but this is where it belongs, in San Sebastian which is famous for its pintxos (tapas)!

This is the last of my 7 posts for the 7 day blogging challenge I've been taking part in. It's been great fun to do, if a bit time consuming, so I'm going to take a little break from blogging for a few days! I have been enjoying looking at the blogs of the other people who are doing this challenge as they are often very different from the kind of blogs I normally look at, so it has been quite eye opening to move out of the gardening/smallholding/cooking/crafting type of blogworld that I normally inhabit. It's been great to connect with many new people all over the world and I hope we continue to stay in touch via our blogs or on Google+. You're a great bunch!

Last but not least this blog challenge is all down to Jenson Taylor who took the initiative to organise this challenge on Google+ after an initial discussion on the Blogger Circle. His blog is well worth a look at if you are interested in slightly-techie-but-even-I-can-sort-of-understand-it tutorials for enhancing your usage of Facebook, Google+, Blogger, You Tube etc. Thanks Jenson.