Friday, 20 February 2009

Just ‘B’ eautiful!

It’s Friday already and just where has this week gone? This morning’s challenge is to write, upload photos and post in 40 mins! Is this possible? Maybe perhaps for many bloggers but well… I do ramble on a bit. Today, I am going to be brief. Yes, I have said this before but I want to ease you into the weekend with some images from this past week. The schools were off and we were out and about….

Dundee Botanical Gardens made our hit list on Monday. I took a number of photos but just loved this image of the cotoneaster berries beside this bench. Don’t you just love the weathered look of the bench with the berries?


Ah… but it is signs of Spring we are looking for at the moment and this garden didn’t disappoint. We’ve had a few sunny and warm days and what a difference this makes to the growth of plants and the volume of bird song. We were serenaded as we walked around this garden. It was a beautiful day.



A corner in the car park saw some signs of the heavy snow fall to this garden but the scent of the plant that I opened my car door to blew that right away! I am guessing it might have been a Daphne but I’m not certain. It was just the most beautiful welcome before we even walked through the garden's entrance.


Beautiful heather bells caught my eye and the magical branches of Witch hazel which really capture my imagination. What a great name 'witch hazel' when it has such weird and wonderful flowers on its twisted branches isn’t it?



Spring flowers really are beautiful having such varied shapes of flowers from the yellow spire clusters on Mahonia to the modest nodding cup flowers of the hellebores. Blossom decorating bare branches is a sight for sore eyes after the dull days we have all had. But looking closer to the ground and here you’ll see the foliage plants are trying to get noticed too. They have rich colours complimenting the delicate ones of the blossom.


Ah… but before we shut the door on Winter and stride into the beauty that is Spring there is still plenty of Winter beauty out there too. Cardoon, Agapanthus and Hydrangea seed heads caught my eye in this garden on our walk. To me they act as both as successes from the year before and show the promise of the season to come. For the moment I still enjoy these images so I’ll just walk at a steady pace into Spring.


The birds… well they are a different matter altogether! Yes, they were signing their little hearts out as we arrived at the favourite Reserve of my daughter and I the next day. However, we weren’t gently serenaded on the short walk from the car park – it was full volume Dolby Surround Sound! So I guess they think Spring is well underway. Another clue to Spring is in the photo below although I wonder if you’d guess what’s going on?


The white arrow on the left points to the Osprey nest on the other side of the Loch. We watched the two men in the boat sail across. They were going to check out the nest ahead of the technician who was due in a few hours. Technician? Well, there is a camera up there to see the action in the nest and it gets checked out before the Ospreys return. It was fascinating to hear the men say that the birds were expected to be leaving Africa now and it would take them until March 18th (Est) to arrive at this nest. What’s more amazing is that the female has been returning here for 30 years!!

It was business as usual at the feeders with Red Squirrels popping by and the smaller birds descending on the feeders with a flurry. Even the Woodpecker joined in. Oh… and I should say I saw a Brambling for the first time. It was spotted near the quieter feeder to the side of the building. I stood ages outside with my camera hoping it would return but I never saw it again. Ah well... maybe another time. Oh... but all this excitement was quite a contrast to the geese wandering in fields along the roadside as we drove home.


We stopped briefly at the side of this very quiet back country road as I took a few snaps. I always suspected they were Greylag Geese but I didn’t know for sure when passing by the fields and driving at the same time! Yes, Greylag they were but who was the chap to their left all alone with a slightly different shape.

Well, hey... a bit of excitement with the geese after all! Looking at my books it appears that this is a Canada Goose and odd ones can join groups of Greylag. I’ll watch out for again now I know what it looks like. Another thing you need to watch out for in these quiet roads is the pheasants walking across them. The one above (taken by my daughter through an open car window) was lucky staying just along the edge but we spotted one less lucky on the road earlier.

Most times I have stopped along the side of the road to take photos of the geese they have instantly taken to the skies. However, this day, they were just wandering about the other side of the field. So now I have these photos how about if I just lift one arm up … yep they took to the sky and I got some photos of that too! ‘Isn’t that enough photos for the day?’ was the gentle request from my daughter. Yep… it was another beautiful day, the sun was shinning and it was time for Lunch!


Okay, it’s time for Lunch today and I didn’t quite make my 40 mins posting. Chatting in the real world on the phone, at my door and on the phone again well… it wasn’t going to happen! Ah… disappointingly the rain has started just as I was about to wish you a great weekend. I’m off out now on a long drive to collect my Uni daughter to bring her home for the weekend – she hasn’t been so well again. However, I am planning to take advantage of this journey looking to catch a snowdrop display at a garden on the way there!

Wishing you a great weekend in and out your garden – hope the weather is kind to you too!

All the photos above were taken between February 16th-17th, 2009.

25 comments:

Shady Gardener said...

I love what using the digital camera has done... I'm finding those often overlooked details that are simply wonderful and fascinating. I see you are doing the same thing! :-) Beautiful post.

Liz said...

Lovely photos Shirl, I'm thrilled you're seeing signs of spring at least!

There seems to be very little here so far, I have a feeling it's because we're on a hill, sadly, on the wrong side of the hill, so during winter very little light hits the garden because the sun's too low in the sky… At least that's all I can assume, because otherwise the back garden is south facing and should in theory have no problems.

Although, saying that, the hybrid bluebells are coming up already… So perhaps that theory isn't quite right??

I bought myself a second Peit Oudolf book this week, I can't wait to get my teeth into it, already it looks amazing!

I hope you have a lovely weekend too, I'm off to my nephews christening on Sunday… Not sure if I should be excited or not!

garden girl said...

Hi Shirl, well I must say I relieved when I got to the end of this post and found you didn't actually get it done in 40 minutes. I would have suspected wizardry otherwise!

So many beautiful signs of spring you captured!

The birds here are becoming much more active and more plentiful, but they still have a bit of a wait for signs of spring. We're expecting several inches of snow tonight and tomorrow morning.

I hope your rain doesn't last too long. Whatever the weather though, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

You found so many pretty things! I love the collages of plants and flower buds.

Cheryl said...

Hi Shirl.....how lovely to see so many spring flowers....they are just so beautiful....it gives such hope for the coming season.....

I love to see the dried seedheads on plants.....my cardoons look stunning at this time....they will be getting the chop soon!!

Have a great weekend......

Anna said...

It sounds as if you have certainly made the most of the half term break Shirl. What lovely weather we have had and even more appreciated after all that cold. It's lovely watching gardens coming to life again. I hope that your daughter's health improves with some tlc from her mum.

keewee said...

Our first day of spring is March 20th and it can't get here soon enough. I wandered my garden today and am happy to see so many of my spring bulbs well up out of the ground. Many of the shrubs have nice fat buds so I am excited that very soon I will be outdoors getting my hands in the dirt. I have my garden calendar marked with all the days I will be planting my vegetable seeds, and am now waiting until it is time to get the first of the seeds planted in my raised beds.

urbanextension said...

Brilliant post! Thanks for that whistle-stop tour of what you have been doing... I feel worn out! J x

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi Shirl,
Your tour was lovely, as was everything you shared. Spring is almost here, and it can't get here soon enough! Your camera is working very well;)

Pam Kersting said...

Great post Shirl and nice photos of the flowers and the birds. I have written about the Osprey in my blog this week as well! I'm lucky enough to have a pair right in my own backyard! We have lots of Canada Geese here too. Enjoy them all!

Mel said...

Awesome pics Shirl!
Love the colour of this post, it is coming back!
Besos,
Mel

Miranda Bell said...

So pleased you saw a Brambling for the first time - it's always v. exciting seeing birds for the first time... our's is still visiting at the moment and Mrs Thrush was on the bird table today again so that was a real relief :-)

Hope you're having a fun weekend - the weather here is totally glorious! Take care Miranda

shirl said...

Hi there Shady, Liz, Garden girl, Catherine, Cheryl and Anna:-)

Shady Yes, I agree, no wastage of film or cost incurred so we can snap whatever takes our fancy! There can be a stunning flower in a garden but I have to admit my eye can bypass that in favour of all sorts of other images. Yes, great to hear you do the same. Thank-you, glad you enjoyed it. Love your hosta flowers – you are right they are often overlooked in favour of the lovely lush leaves :-D

Liz – Thank-you, its reached my own garden now too. I see since you have left this message you now have some wonderful images of Spring in your recent posting. Lovely colours and photos! Ooh… I do hope you enjoy your latest Piet book… which one is it out of interest? I’m sure you will enjoy it!!! Yes, thank-you the weekend has been nice. LOL… enjoy the Christening :-D

Garden girl – LOL… yep perhaps that time frame was a bit ambitious even on a good day! I have to say though (which I would have admitted) that my photos were already cropped and the montages completed before I started. I still had to upload them though. Yes, many times in the ‘wee small hours’ I could have appreciated any wizardry help ;-) Definitely I agree, I hope you are enjoying seeing and hearing more of your birds. Oh… snow again, hope you didn’t get too much. My rain got heavier on Friday so I didn’t pop into any snowdrop gardens on my trip. Since then it has been glorious. Maybe a little breeze but a beautiful sunny morning here today. Thank-you – you too :-D

Catherine – Thank-you, I do like collecting a variety of images from visits. I also enjoy selecting, cropping and completing my montages. I’m delighted you enjoyed them :-D

Cheryl – It is isn’t it… oh yes the season is gently jogging along! Yes, the seed heads have been great haven’t they… yep I need to get out and take a closer look at my plants too. Although our season is on average a couple of weeks later than you so I’ve a bit of time yet. Thank-you… you too :-D

Anna – Yes, certainly over the few days we had. It isn’t a full half term up here in Scotland. We just had the Fri/Mon and the Tues was an in-service one (teachers only in, training etc). So, we definitely made the most of it. Yes, apart from some rain on Friday we’ve had a great week of weather too and this morning is lovely and sunny. I agree it is great to see the garden come to life again. I didn’t post for GBBD as noting had changed from my posting just before but now I can see a clear move forward into Spring in my garden too. Thanks, so do I. Unfortunately she has just been unlucky as she usually keeps good health. Realistically the whole leaving home and adjusting to a completely different lifestyle from a small town to a large city has taken its toll. Most likely tiredness has made her vulnerable to picking things up. She is loving the whole experience and her course despite this so that is great :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Keewee, Jane, Jan, Pam, Mel and Miranda :-)

Keewee – Oh… great stuff I’m not sure the exact date of our first day. Excellent! It sounds like you’ll be out enjoying your garden very soon. I’ll have to start thinking about which seeds I will sow for this year. I don’t usually plant veggies but I’ll have to consider my plan for 2009 :-D

Jane – Thank-you, glad you enjoyed it! LOL… I would never have heard myself whistle at the Reserve… no chance ;-)

Jan – So glad you enjoyed it. Yes… Spring is definitely creeping in. LOL… yes, I’m enjoying taking my camera about with me once again. I’ve been using my video camera today. I may need to edit out sound as it is quite breezy but the sun is shinning and we’ve a blue sky today :-D

Pam – Thank-you… oh great story about your Ospreys. Pity their tree had to come down. Hope they nest close by you again. What a treat that must be to see. I am guessing you are near a river/lake for them to go fishing for food to feed their chicks. I’ll be popping by to see how they get on :-D

Mel – Thank-you! Oh yes… colour is fast approaching! Have a good week :-D

Miranda – Thank-you, yes it was a treat. Yes, I want to get back over to see you your Brambling but PC time is short at the moment. Great to hear your song thrush is back again. Yes, that must be a relief. Ours comes and goes too. Yes, thanks we have had a good weekend and our weather has been lovely too. See you soon :-D

ShySongbird said...

A lovely post Shirl, what beautiful scenery you have in your area. That Loch looks stunning.
The photo of the Cotoneaster against the rustic bench reminds me of the one we have growing against the rotting woodpile which purports to be our garden shed!
Sorry to hear your daughter is not too well again, all good wishes for her speedy recovery.

Barbara said...

Spring has definitely come to Scotland, as I see when looking at your pictures full of promises and beauty. We still have "deep" winter here with snow. But I also saw them pushing up...through the snow!

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,
Great photos and a nice posting. I particularly liked the shot of the bench. There is so much colour in all of your photos. Dundee botanical gardens look great. Glad to know you had a good week.

I haven't seen a woodpecker in the garden for a while now. Have they visited your garden?

Kerri said...

Lovely, lovely images, Shirl! 4o minutes is never long enough for me to do a post :) You did very well.
I hope your daughter feels better soon.
No signs of spring here on this snowy, blowy, frigid Monday. We do have lots of birds though :)
When do you do your bird count over there? We did ours on Feb 13-16. Do you participate?

Lindab said...

You're making me ashamed of all the places in Scotland I've never visited!

I can imagine that it must be tiring for your daughter getting used to all that university has to offer - it seems so much busier/more frantic than when I was a student. Looking ahead to (hopefully!) having a student in the family next year is tiring enough.

Patsi said...

Love the garden show!
Amazing park..great pictures.
Reminds me again that I must get out more often. :(

Creative Country Mom said...

Beautiful! I think you are a bit farther along in your journey to spring than we are here. It is still grey and mud in my garden. I truely enjoyed your photos and am so glad to find your blog. Always enjoy meeting other gardners. Come visit sometime and I will have fun looking at you lovely posts.

~Brooke

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Spring indeed has begun here at long last! Yay.

I got Piet's Designing with Plants, I just need to get my new fence up - bite the bullet and phone a fence company and then I can start thinking about which plants I need.

I'm glad you had a nice weekend, the Christening was ok, the usual uncomfortable family occasions, you know how it is... At least in this case sister-in-law's family.

shirl said...

Hi again ShySongbird, Barbara, Joe, Kerri, Linda, Patsi, Brooke and Liz :-)

ShySongbird – Thank-you, I’ve another spot to share with you in my next posting. Yes, the Loch is special and to think as I child I passed it so many times going to visit my Granny and never paid attention to it then. For some reason I am drawn to capturing images of worn and old materials. Sad perhaps but true! LOL… ah yes the garden shed. I tried to avoid my rotting old one with my camera shots!! It was finally replaced last year so all I need now is a better wide angle lens for my camera and you’ll see a few more garden shots. Thank-you, my daughter had kept good help until now but I expect all the changes in her new Uni life have a lot to do with her vulnerability in picking things up. Hopefully her body will start fighting back and she’ll get fully fit again :-D

Barbara – Yes, it certainly has although in looking at blogs from England it is running into action there! Ah yes, pre blogging I had no idea the cold and snow lasted as long with you in Switzerland. Great to hear you are still seeing some signs of Spring. All your beautiful roses will be filling your garden with their wonderful perfume before you know it :-D

Joe – Hi again, thank-you! Yep, the bench was the shot of my visit. Yes, there was lots of colour but remember I was also looking for it. Wider shots (when I get a better lens) would show the colour is scattered but for me that makes it more enjoyable as I look for it! Between Edinburgh and Dundee Botanical gardens it would be Edinburgh that I would recommend however all the smaller Botanical gardens do have their own distinctive charm. Thanks, I see you had a good week at your Grandma’s house. I enjoyed seeing what caught your eye! No, I have never seen a woodpecker in my garden probably as we don’t have big enough trees to bring them in. However, I have read on other blogs that once they start regularly visiting you can loose other smaller birds. I hope you get a chance to see one again :-D

Kerri – Thank-you, no I don’t think I could realistically do even a short posting in 40 mins! Mm… can I even answer my comments in 40 mins? LOL… I liked the idea of a challenge ;-) Gosh that must have been a challenge counting all your visiting birds for you bird count. We did one here in the UK in January. Thanks, my daughter is making progress again. Hope you see some signs of progress towards Spring in your garden soon. I guess when your snow goes you may just get a surprise to see what is underneath :-D

Linda – Oh… don’t be… there is so much that I have missed too! Funnily enough yesterday I discovered a rather special place. I wanted to answer my comments first before posting on it. Yep… you are not wrong there! I have to stress she is thoroughly enjoying her Uni life but time is a huge issue fitting everything in from the social to the washing/shopping/cooking not forgetting getting the 40 mins bus ride to class and actually doing the work. We will now know what to expect when her sister goes who being six months older in going will probably fare better especially being 18 by that time! Now… did you know how many first year students get tonsillitis? Quite a few… I didn’t know how ill they could be with it either. Sorry… maybe I should stop now!

Patsi – Thank-you, so glad you enjoyed it. It was a nice visit. Ah… when the weather gets better we’ll all be out more. I have another visit ready to share with you. A most unexpected one at that! Oh… I love your Crackle pic :-D

Brooke – Thank-you! Yes, my own garden has moved along a bit since then. The crocus flowers are bobbing about in the sunny breeze today. I’m sure it would be long for the colour to start coming through in your garden. I see you are set to sow seeds. Thank-you for visiting and I’ll be by soon to browse yours. It’s great to discover new blogs :-D

Liz – Yes… so I saw! Very nice…. Ah but very nice with bells on and perhaps even a cherry on top for your choice of Piet book! That one is my favourite. Argh… yes the fence… don’t remind me… we’ll be repairing it ourselves! Maybe we could get a little creative with it! Ah yes … for you before you start planting would be a good time to get yours done. We’ll have to deal with ours before the plants start putting on too much growth! Thanks, glad the Christening was okay… I know exactly what you mean. Enjoy the rest of your week :-D

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful tour. Ilove seeing all of these signs of spring.

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa :-)

Glad you enjoyed it, spring has definitely bolted here now. I must get a posting done from my own garden soon. Yes, I agree it is great to see all the signs :-D