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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Recent photos of the garden

This post is full of photos taken in the last few days, and as my last post contained lots of text and only one photo which I hate doing, without further ado I will shut up and show you the pics! I'll just caption them first though..... :-)

Round the front whilst I was doing some supervisory gardening,
actually these photos were taken about a week ago.

Unfortunately using leaf mould as a soil conditioner meant that goosegrass seeds
in it had germinated and were swamping many plants.

Front bed.

Rosemary, Daffies, Euphorbias, and Hallie.

Aubretia starting into flower, growing through a Lavender.

A variegated Pieris.

These are from a week or so ago - Green Woodpecker at the top,
with Mr Chaffinch below, both taken through the kitchen window.

First hints of green on the willow trees.

First Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterfly of the year feeding on a dandelion.

This is when my superzoom PowerShot SX50 comes in handy!
I can still get half reasonable butterfly photos.

Forsythia, Peach blossom, Weeping Willow and Harry's bum.

Pretty in pink - Peach blossom.

Celandine and a black cat silhouette!

Hallie and Bertie accompanying me through the woodland paths.

Blossom in the woodland - a Prunus of some sort.

Not sure if it is Damson, Bullace or Blackthorn, although it doesn't have thorns.
It has never had fruit so no way to ID it that way. 

This next photo requires some explanation. We are missing a white duck and this looks like the kill zone, although I don't see any blood. What's surprising is that there is no trail of feathers, nor any body anywhere. We strongly suspect a fouine (stone marten), for several reasons. One, because one was seen a few months ago, and if you remember, we found Doris' headless corpse around the same time. My OH also found the end of a seep hose that had been around some raspberries and blackberries, out on the lawn, in two pieces. He said he couldn't remember leaving the end on the grass after removing two blackberry plants, as it looked like he'd mowed over it. However the next day the seep hose was discovered in many pieces, with tooth marks around the ends. Fouines have a tendency to chew through things like this, particularly wires and cables they can get at under cars!

We have to assume that Freckles, the last of our original ducks bought in March 2007, was ailing or died, and the opportunist fouine got her. So far we've only lost weak or sick ducks, as given the ducks never stray more than a leap from the water now, it's fairly easy for them to escape predators by swimming off on the water. It's a bit sad and a shame and I hope she didn't suffer, but as they refuse to come into the shed to safety at night, we can't do much about it. Poor old Freckles, she lasted a good old time. The last time I saw her she was bathing and splashing in the water looking happy. I think Dirk had just given her a seeing to! :-)

RIP Freckles.

Rubbish zoomed in Roe Deer photo, but we were really pleased to see two of them briefly
in the field next to the veg patch.

Expect plenty more photos, as apart from supervisory gardening, there's not a lot I can do outside at the moment except walk around to get exercise and fresh air..... and take photos! And the weather is at last warm and wonderful. :-)

26 comments:

  1. It all looks really lovely. I would love your pond. We have deer eating our raspberry leaves at the moment - good for pregnancy apprarently. Great photos.

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    1. Cheers Ian. Do you think they'll eat the flower buds too, if they stay around long enough? That would be too bad!

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  2. Oh My... So much beauty and so little time. I am saddened about Freckles though. Love You Mandy

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    1. Love you too, Virgil. Thank you, and yes it's a shame about Freckles, having been with us for 8 years. :-(

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  3. Glad to see you out and about shooting Mandy!
    Great photo's and garden update ☺
    I also hope poor Freckles didn't suffer 😞
    Keep up the blogging xx

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    1. There's no holding me back now, Chris! ;-)
      I had a look at the feathers again, and the fact that there is no blood makes me think she died before she was attacked and presumably dragged off. When one of the other white ducks got taken by something (marten or fox), there was blood amongst the feathers. So hopefully it was old age. Thanks very much, my dear. xx

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  4. Lovely photos as usual, and I am so pleased your weather has picked up (hopefully we are not far behind) Makes everything seem better.

    So sorry to hear about Freckles though. So sad when the oldies go.

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    1. Thanks Dwoman - the sunshine has brought everything on really quickly and my greengage is starting to blossom now too. I find it all happens too fast in April! You will soon be ahead of here with spring, I'm sure. Yup, bit of a shame when favourite ducks and chickens which you've had a long time go. Only two ducks left now, but as we don't get any eggs as they won't come into the shed, I don't want any more.

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  5. Lovely pictures- isn't it all looking great? Green woody and Speckled wood shots are fab :o) Sorry to hear about Freckles xx

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    1. Yup! Cheers CT. Saw first Orange Tip this afternoon and got some photos of it, so I've seen 5 different species so far. Thanks about poor old Freckles, but she managed to survive about 8.5 years, which is pretty good going! xx

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  6. Good you are out enjoying the sunshine Mandy, the last few days here in Brittany have been so sunny. Garden looks good, OH with camera around neck while weeding is dedication. Like your Green Woodpecker shot. Lake is looking good, just needs a Kingfisher :- D

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    1. Hi Ian - you're asking too much to expect a kingfisher to pose for me, lol! Certainly enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, and I've just been given the go ahead to start doing some light jobs, including in the garden, by my surgeon this morning! I will be taking it easy of course cos I'm pretty weak from inactivity, but it's better than doing nothing, and I can build up my strength slowly. Hoorah! Cheers Ian. :-)

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  7. Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog - especially pleased because I have now discovered your blog. Beautiful photos - it looks as though we may have the same camera - son and I bought a Canon SX50 to share. Having problems at the moment getting used to it as its so different from my usual camera - but I do hope I can get photos that are half as good as yours.

    Very sorry to hear about Freckles. I am pleased you feel well enough to get and enjoy the sunshine and your lovely garden.

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    1. Hello RR and thanks for visiting and I'm glad you like my photos and garden. I know what you mean about the SX50, as I have both a compact point and shoot and a DSLR, and it's like neither! It does take time getting used to it, and I despaired at first and thought the macro function was crap! But eventually I got the hang of it and it takes good macros. It's not as good as a DSLR for clarity but that's not surprising given the price difference.

      I know reading manuals is a pain but it's worth looking up some of the functions in the manual as some things are hard to figure out on your own. Don't give up cos it's a great general purpose camera that you can take out for the day which is nice and light and can both zoom in for birds, do landscapes and macros! Good luck and if you have any questions, just ask. :-)

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  8. I didn't realise that you had a gravel garden there Mandy and it reminds me a bit of Beth Chatto's gravel garden. I hope those deer stay on that side of the fence Mandy and sorry to read about poor Freckles.

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    1. LOL Rosie, I don't intentionally have a gravel garden at all, as it's just part of the driveway and parking area, but plants self seed and I liked the softened edges. The original rosemary grew big and drooped over the oak beam edging and rooted itself into the gravel/soil, and everything seems to like growing in the hard unimproved soil. Don't tell anyone but I have to weedkill here otherwise we would be hacking our way through Verbena bonariensis with a machete trying to get to the front door. :-)

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  9. Garden looking very lovely Mandy, having these few days of sun shine have made a world of difference. Sorry to hear about loosing a duck, had to just look up what a stone marten looked like, they are quite common in France it says, have you managed to photograph one, they are quite cute even though it took your duck! Celandine is doing really well this year now, have never seen as much, even in the grass verge along the side of the road. Nice to see the butterfly, more will be coming out if this weather stays warm..
    Amanda xx

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    1. Hi and thanks Amanda. Stone Martens are mostly nocturnal, although I have seen them a few times during the day. Many times I've seen them on the outside of the living room windowsill at night, looking in! Before the house was repointed they used to get inside the walls of the house and make a racket. At our previous house they'd get into the loft and hold parties at night, running about over our heads! That's scary when you don't know what it is at first......!!! But no, never got a photo of one. Talking of butterflies, I'm seeing Orange Tips now and agree that the Celandine is doing really well. It's so pretty. xx

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  10. Your place is beautiful! Considering it hasn't been tended to by you as it typically is in Spring, it looks wonderful. Keith is doing a good job. Lucky you re Butterflies! Love the green woodpecker. A stunning bird. And I'm happy you shared your deer! I assumed you must have them but can't remember you ever posting a photo. I'm always enjoying deer in our yard.

    So sorry about Freckles. Not knowing is the worst part. Feathers would have giving some closure but she had a great life, as you say.

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    1. Thank you Marianne. I love my front garden in spring as it's got the most really early flowers and all the shrubs are spring flowering. I managed to tidy some of the front garden myself before my surgery, and K finished off afterwards. I never managed much weeding but there are so many self seeded forget me nots and love in a mist that they have done a good job of smothering weeds, like ground cover plants! K just planted our potatoes yesterday, and I think he secretly enjoys being 'allowed' to do some jobs like this! :-)

      I have only ever got one very distant deer shot before - we don't see them very often and sometimes we'll see them when out in the car, so photo ops haven't come my way. Too many hunters and not enough larger wildlife any more. We've noticed the difference over our 10 years here; there are fewer and fewer interesting game animals and birds around, which is such a shame. It wasn't like there were lots of them to start with!

      It is a shame about Freckles, and actually I should have mentioned in case anyone wondered why she had a rather unusual name for a duck. When we originally had four very similar white ducks it was hard to name them until they started to develop distinguishing marks so that we could tell them apart. She started getting little black specks appearing on her bill, hence the name! :-)

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  11. Lovely scenes around the garden Mandy.
    Shame about Freckles, hell of a way to go though, died happy hopefully.

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    1. Thanks very much, Roy - and I'm glad Freckles had a good last day! :-)

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  12. It's great to see you getting about a bit more Mandy and your garden looks so lovely. I do love the blossom, especially the peach. So sad about poor Freckles.

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    1. Hi Deb and thanks. I've more blossom photos now as it's all going blossom crazy here now, but I'm having another health set back which I'll mention in my next post, which I'm in the process of doing. So frustrating! Thanks for the kind words about Freckles. xx

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