Bumblebees, Winter Sun & Crocuses

I’m very fond of bumblebees. When I discover them exhausted and dying in the garden or trapped behind windows I give them a spoonful of sugared water and, sometimes if they’re lucky, send them on their merry way. Big gentle creatures. This hairy beauty loved the crocuses in the front garden. I hope she can find her way back to her cosy nest and gets back to sleep. Dreadful weather is threatened for the week:

‘Bitterly cold temperatures and deep snow are forecast across
 the UK this week as weather blows in from Russia.’ BBC
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Fox and Shakespeare Decorations – Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

Bold as brass and striding out confidently yesterday in the sun. No wonder I don’t keep chickens.

Haddon Hall was today’s venue where we travelled for their Christmas concert given by The Royal Northern College of Music. It is such a delight seeing and hearing talented young musicians in convivial surroundings. More culture was on offer with the Shakespeare themed decorations of which I particularly liked the use made of various editions. 

The hall and surrounding countryside are of course splendid even on a dull December day.

Donna Nook Seals

This blog is intended to be about plants but browsers should excuse today’s detour to the Lincolnshire Coast and a salt marsh on which breed hundreds of grey seals on the other side of a wire fence, seconds from the Stonebridge car park. We visited the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s site yesterday. The images from Donna Nook say it all. 

Newby Hall, Butterflies and Late Dahlias, Sunday 25th September 2016

I note that some scenes from the ITV series, “Victoria” are being filmed at Newby Hall. We visited the North Yorkshire house and gardens on their last opening day before the long winter break. Situated in a prime English rural setting beside the River Ure, the house was unexpectedly delightful, a home as well as a museum. But it was the herbaceous borders we had come to see. First off, the border displays of Dahlias are a feature of the gardens though I wish they would name the individual varieties.

More on the marvellous herbaceous borders later. First is the Comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, so-called because of its white comma shape on its under wings. Here I photographed it as it fed on a cosmos flower.

This is one of those unusual stories of a once rare butterfly making a come-back. The second Peacock Butterfly is feeding on brick. Well, resting in the warmth of our splendid Autumn.

 

Belted Galloway Cattle, Barrow Wake, Gloucestershire, 9th February 2016

Turning off the main road to take in the view from Barrow Wake in Gloucestershire, we were much taken by the photogenic cattle with a white band through their middle. Introduced to the Gloucestershire hills in 2000, the Belted Galloway Cattle are a hardy breed capable of cropping the excess vegetation on the slopes throughout the year, “without additional feed or shelter!” Their hardiness is not surprising seeing as they hail from the Galloway hills of south west Scotland. I can’t imagine eating them but they are superb beef cattle though it their role in taming the wilderness that is responsible for their increasing popularity, not that one finds much wilderness in Gloucestershire. Two colours, black, brown and friendly. The Belted Galloway Cattle Society has a great deal more information and a vacancy for a secretary at the present time.