Buggy things first as there are not too many of them at this time of year. My OH brought this in for me to have a look at. He found it on an old plastic chopping board which was out in the barn around his work bench. I don't know who might have made it, but I'm guessing a solitary wasp? Any ideas? It's about 2cm wide, and I was very pleased that my new toy made a good show of photographing it.....
Yup I've joined the 21st century and changed my ancient but very cute clamshell mobile phone, which was from before the days of even cameras on phones, for a smartphone! Talk about shock to the system. Now I don't use mobiles much at all, and my real reason for wanting one was so that I could take snaps of things whilst out and about (not that I go out and about very much) and upload instantly to social media. Or take photos of the cats looking cute and share on facebook without having to get up off the sofa. And I was feeling really left out that I could not join Instagram just because I didn't have a smartphone. I still don't think that's fair, even though it seems like all the world and his dog have smartphones already, so there's nobody else but me feeling left out.
What was great about the deal I got was that it only cost me about €17 because we had so many supermarket fidelity points saved, that cashed in came to €150! So I don't feel guilty now for spending on something which isn't totally necessary.
I hadn't been in the mood for taking photos lately but I had to try this phone camera out, didn't I? It's so hard to use though - it has a fair few semi manual settings which can be used (it stays on f2.2) but it's hard to do all that with your finger when you are not used to it. And to tap on the screen to take the photo whilst trying to hold it steady, and point at the thing you want to shoot, and keep it in focus - my god, how do you guys do it? The image stabilisation must be great in this camera as it did a good job I reckon, as I was waving it about all over the place! I have edited some of these photos a little bit but mostly crops, contrast etc. It's not bad for an 8MP camera. Oh and I discovered quite by accident that it even has a zoom. Good grief, modern technology is amazing!
Here you can see where I've been attacking the ivy at the base of the trees, and a black cat wanting to be in the picture.
I was really surprised to see the Mirabelle plums already blooming a couple of weeks ago!! They are normally in blossom mid to late February.
I'm still in hack, slash and burn mode in the garden. I'm not out of the woods yet (hoho) and I don't have much desire to do many of the garden jobs that need doing, but I am happily going out in the afternoons, in most weather, to attack brambles and ivy. I'm sure a therapist would have a field day with that, but it all needs doing anyway and it's better than staying indoors doing nothing. I tried taking a photo of them both, plus whippy saplings, but they don't show up much. This is just the other side of the 'beach' area of the pond but you can't see it from here, because of the undergrowth.
I am enjoying liberating tree bark, however if it is not covered in ivy it is covered in lichen! :-)
Guess what's finally finished flowering? Yup those nasturtiums are going into the compost bins now - yet the calendula and borage are still alive, albeit the frost killed off their flowers. The plant that surprised me though is feverfew, as it doesn't seem to have been phased by the frosts at all and the flowers don't look any different.
Also wanting to flower in the jungle is a self seeded PSB! That'll be eaten soon.
I had to show you Keith's carrots. Because he is a bit heavy handed when sowing seeds (well he has big hands) and they didn't get thinned much, they have come out all sizes as they were growing so close together. It makes it more fun when digging them up though. There is a bit of root fly damage now but not too much.
Up against the house wall here is the new heuchera bed which was all I had the energy to deal with in the autumn. It's the bit with all the snowdrops in it. We pruned back the huge old yucca and I dug out tons of weeds and replanted loads of snowdrops and some early narcissus bulbs in betweeen the new heucheras. Two of the heucheras have even sent up flower stems which is just more of the odd weather craziness! Piles of snow dumped on parts of the USA whilst Rennes airport recorded almost 17C/62.6F the other day. Mad. But I'll take this over the snow.
The other bed is a work in progress as it had been taken over by creeping things, both weeds and 'real' plants. I have a couple of new purple heucheras to go in there along with other things which will be replanted.
The hedge guy has been and I wonder if he noticed my asparagus bed..... luckily there are none shooting yet, because it certainly needs some tlc.
Harry wanted to help...
Just a pic to show how the ivy has spread even up the house end of the garden.
Oh and Bertie wanted to have his pic taken (he didn't really, he was busy grooming himself, but I got lucky and snapped at just the right moment when he looked up as I called him).
There is no hope for me now! :-)
If any of you are on Instagram you can find me there, follow me and I'll follow you back, although I've only posted two photos so far, so my home page or whatever you call it doesn't look very interesting. Yet.....