Tree Following, April 2016 – Liz’s Serviceberry

Here’s my lovely serviceberry now in full bloom here in Lexington, Kentucky.

Liz's Serviceberry, Apr'16 - 1

In an old edition of the Smoky Mountain News, dated 10th April 2013,  there is an interesting article by George Ellison titled Serviceberry is a recurring harbinger of spring. It is full of useful information which I commend to anyone wanting to know more about these wonderful trees.

Liz's Serviceberry, Apr'16 - 2

In tune with springtime Mr Ellison informs us that a common name for this tree used along the Eastern seaboard is shadbush or shadblow.  This is because the shad migrate from the ocean to the inland waterways to swim upstream for their annual spawning when the trees are in bloom.

This picture is looking up through the branches at the blossom, and here’s Charlie sniffling around nearby when he supposed to be in the car.

Liz's Serviceberry, Apr'16 - 3

And a couple of weeks ago I saw this pair of mallards waddling around underneath it.

A pair of mallards

My usual thanks to Mike for letting me guest post.  He tells me that the young oak tree that he’s following has hardly changed since last month so he won’t be doing a post this month. Please have a look at Pat/Squirrelbasket’s Tree Following post for details of what this is all about.

Have a good weekend!

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Plot and home

Both Friday and yesterday morning a butterfly fluttered past me whilst I was pottering. I’m fairly sure that they were small tortoiseshells, which hibernate over the winter then become active again from March onwards.

At home early yesterday evening I caught a fleeting glimpse of a wren out front at home. It’s been a long time since I last saw one, or heard, one of these distinctive little birds.

Vinca by the log pile


I dug up some vinca major that I mentioned in this post and replanted it along one side of the the log pile. I’m pleased with this area now but still thinking about what flowers to grow around it.




I often see Harley when I’m walking to or from the plot but don’t always get to say hello.

He’s an amiable eight year old Labrador which his owner got from the Dogs Trust London (Harefield) last August since when he’s made plenty of friends on his daily walks.



Cosmos 'Velouette'As I mentioned in Thursday’s post I sowed some seeds in pots and trays and the first one, a cosmos Velouette,  appeared yesterday. I never cease to be delighted, and relieved, when they appear.


Lastly here’s another picture of those lovely white narcissus Thalia.

White narcissus 'Thalia'

Have a good week!

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Even more soggy

Following last weekend’s very wet and windy weather I went to the allotments on Tuesday morning to look round to see if all was okay.  Thankfully my plot was, but several others are badly waterlogged. A couple of the greenhouses had lost some glass and various plastic items had got blown all over the place.

There was more rain late Tuesday afternoon and early evening making it all even more soggy.  Thankfully the forecast is for calmer, drier and sunnier weather through to at least mid next week by which time I hope to have resumed planting and sowing.

Not surprisingly the yellow daffodils took a battering and are now past their best but these white ones in a container are looking good, as is the blackthorn blossom.

White daffodils  Blackthorn blossom

At home I’ve started sowing seeds in pots and trays. So far I’ve sown tomatoes, sunflowers and cosmos with lots more to do.  I’ll go into more detail once they’ve germinated and started growing.

Have a good weekend!

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The Newton Ecology Park

Newton Ecology Park

On Friday morning instead of going directly to the allotments I turned off about a 100 yards before the site gates and took a leisurely walk through the Newton Ecology Park.

The light green area is the allotment site, being separated from here by a stream and fence.



The pond area


A little way up the path I turned right and went to look at the pond.  I went to the end of the decking but couldn’t see any grey herons, mallard ducks or moorhens that I’ve occasionally seen before.



The wet meadow

The only birds that I could see as I looked across the wet meadow were lots of crows, both on the ground and up in the trees over on the right along the fence.




Looking back across the dry meadow shows the impressive line of white willows.

White willows

Two features in the park include this rather uninspiring concrete tree stump sculpture and a circle of stones.

Not an old tree trunk  A circle of stones

Alongside the path is this rather odd looking tree.

An odd looking tree

The old healing garden


And further along is the old healing garden, which is now a wildflower area.



I don’t walk through here very often but was surprised to see that it was relatively clear of graffiti and rubbish.  Reaching the exit I turned left to the nearby allotment site gates. There was no one around as I walked down the site to my plot, where I spent a pleasant few hours just pottering in the sunshine.

Happy gardening, and have a good week!

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Planting and sowing

On Monday I sowed a row of broad bean Karmazyn seeds. They only grow about knee high which makes them ideal for my rather exposed plot.  The beans are pink, the flavour of which is highly rated and young ones can be eaten raw in salads.   I’ll be sowing a second row in a months time.

I’ve had mixed success growing broad beans and hope that this year will be better than last year when they got so badly infested with blackfly that I had to pull them up and add to the compost heap.

On Tuesday I planted the first early potatoes Red Duke of York, and half the onion sets Red Baron and Sturon.  When I looked round yesterday I wasn’t surprised to find that birds had pulled up a couple of the onions which I replanted.

Purple crocusIt was good to see that a few more purple crocuses have flowered.


It looks like being sunny tomorrow but typically the rest of the long weekend looks like being mostly wet and windy.  If it is then I will probably do some plotting at home sowing flower and tomato seeds in pots to start off on the windowsill.

Happy Easter!

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I’ve always said

After a frosty start Thursday was a gloriously sunny, and reasonably warm, day but otherwise the week was mostly chilly and overcast.

I did some plot pottering earlier in the week but I’ve not been there the last couple of days. The coming week looks set to remain mostly dry, overcast and getting slightly warmer.

I’ve still not planted or sown anything either on the plot or in pots for the windowsills at home where I feel that the light levels are still too low.

It’s the spring equinox today and Easter next weekend, which is not generally noted for having good weather,  when the clocks go forward an hour.  Hopefully the weather will then get sunnier and warmer.

Needless to say I’ve been doing plenty of armchair gardening and sofa flying enjoying reading a good book whilst drinking a cup of tea and eating a digestive biscuit or two.

Here’s another wonderful picture by Stephen Darbishire, one of my favourite painters.

Picture by Stephen Darbishire

I’ve always said that if there is reincarnation then I’d like to come back as a well fed and looked after cat.

Have a good week!

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Old and new


I’m always pleased when the rhubarb starts appearing again as it is now doing.  I cover mine with a couple of inches of compost and wood chippings in the autumn to keep the ground a bit warmer over the winter.  In recent weeks I kept finding that some animal, probably a fox, had been digging where it is.   I’m not that fussed about rhubarb but eat it either just stewed with a sprinkling of demerara sugar or in a crumble.




On Sunday I saw plot neighbour Fran who asked if I wanted some sedum plants that she no longer wanted.  I said yes and dug them up and transplanted them on Monday. As they were only small I grouped them together so that they’ll hopefully form a nice big clump.  In return I gave her some cosmos and climbing French bean seeds.


Daffodils, Mar'16 - 4



Here’s another daffodil picture taken from a less familiar angle.


Happy gardening, and have a good weekend!

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