The Wedding Favours

Back in 2015 we were invited to a wedding. It was in late March, and in spite of inclement weather, it was a happy, friendly occasion, with dancing which went on on until well into the night.

The tables for the main meal after the marriage ceremony had been beautifully designed by the bride, and the usual wedding favours – a small gift for each guest as part of the table settings – were the most unusual we’d come across.

A box of gladioli bulbs was there for each guest, along with an indivual “thank you” message. We took our bulbs home, planted them and forgot about them until the summer, when tall green stalks with elongated buds started to appear. Our gladioli were coming up and started to open out.

They’ve appeared each year so far – now in their 5th season – and we’re always pleased to see them as we forget what delicate colours these particular bulbs have. Every year I photograph them and gently tease the groom’s mum with the pics as hers come up, but don’t flower. And I gather that the bride’s don’t flower either…..all I can say is that the secret of our success with these is total neglect!

 

Buff tailed bumble bee

It’s good to see there are bees in the garden. There are plenty of nectar sources; among these are the pale pink blossoms on the blackberry vine which wends its way along the wall under the kitchen window. Already the petals are dropping as the fruits begin to form.

Bees go for purple flowers and we have quite a lot of these. The lavender, which they are strongly attracted to, is just coming into flower.

As a child I was scared to pass lavender bushes smothered in bees. Now I’ll happily lose time watching the bees at work on them, trying to ID them – usually not doing particularly well so I have to go indoors to refer to the bee chart we have on the wall.

Maybe I need a bee ID book…? (birthday present hint!).

 

Waterlilies

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The first waterlilies of the season have just opened to a rousing fanfare from me of “They’re here! The first this year.”

Our pond is always a source of interest and delight and has been even more so during these lockdown weeks, when we’ve had more time to appreciate our outdoor space and sit soaking up the sunshine and ambience in the garden. We are lucky, I know that.

Birdsong has become more audible with less traffic and almost no flights from and into Manchester airport, so empty skies have brought louder birdsong. The resident blackbird on our patch sits on nearby roof- and tree-tops singing beautifully, interspersing his song with a 4-note signature which he repeats quite often – and I reply, giving him something to cock his head to one side over and briefly ponder on before he’s off on the next riff of fabulous sounds.

But back to the waterlilies, which are a joy to behold and observe as they bud, then open and often attract visiting hoverflies, which alight on their petals.

Yellow

When we need a bit of brightness and sunshine, yellow is quite likely to be the colour we go for – maybe for clothes, paint to freshen up a room or as an accessory to an outfit.

It’s cheerful, bright, positive, clean, clear and is associated with the warmth of the sun.

I’ve heard it described as a “contact colour”. It attracts, is not forbidding and is the opposite of gloomy and dull (although muddy sulphurous yellows have a certain dark dinginess to them).

Main picture – Golden Anniversay rose in our garden (yes, I’ve been married that long!). Then clockwise – cowslip, evening primrose, dahlia-like flower in the Dordogne with carpenter bee, clouded yellow butterfly on scabious, unidentified wild flower in Texas (not the Yellow rose of Texas!) and flowering cactus in Texas.

 

 

There’s life in the old log yet

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This stump of a freshly felled tree in Anderton Nature Park caught my eye when walking there yesterday. It’s quite sad to see the remains of what must have been quite a large tree – maybe it had become diseased, maybe it was getting dangerous. We did hear the branch of a nearby tree creaking loudly and a bit alarmingly in the wind, as though it might have been loosening, ready to break off. We moved on sharpish!

The path took us through a wood full of past-their-best bluebells. Most of them were shrivelling and going to seed, but a few of the fresher and younger ones still looked magnificent. Right now the ground under the trees is carpeted with ramsens in full bloom, looking like soft white feathers.

The tree stump was surrounded by ramsens, and along with the ferns growing there they formed a wreath of green life, an appropriate memorial for a felled tree.