Autumn walks ( damp)

Most days for the past couple of weeks have included rain. There has been misty, drizzle and down pour varieties . The outcome has been very damp walking. The lakes are high and the river is running fast. The light has been mainly dull but there are some bright colours in the changing leaves and berries.

There have been plenty of slugs and snails taking full advantage of the damp weather and my ducks who live in our garden have been enjoying the rain so much they seem to rain bathe !

The colours are gradually changing and looking lovely especially in the early morning or the evening sun.

The garden still has some colour but it feels as now is time to prepare for winter and trim and set for next year. It has been a fantastic year of gardening. Time to plan for 2021.

A couple of days ago a goldfinch flew into the french windows. It looked dead but after a warm up and ten minutes sitting in my hand happily flew off with its flock. An amazing close encounter with a beautiful tiny creature.

Hoping for less rain in the coming weeks to spend more time out exploring as Autumn move on.

Amazing acorns

There are so many acorns this year, more than I can ever remember. The trees are heavy with them and they look like bunches of grapes from a distance.

There are so many acorns that a trip to Delapre Abbey in Northampton was full of crunch ever time we walked under the trees. There are carpets of acorns on the ground.

Autumn is taking hold with a cool start to the day and blue skies full of colourful leaves and fruits.

A trip around the globe ( at Kew)

A visit to Kew Gardens is a world tour of plants . We started at the temperate house and moved on to the steamy palm house. The princess of Wales house moves through arid zones and back into lush vegetation.

The areas outside the glasshouses are full of brilliant discoveries . I found my favourite Indian bean tree

The Alpine house sits in a huge rockery area and is an interesting shape and full of beautiful colourful and delicate flowers.

The cacti are fascinating in the Princess of Wales glasshouse.

We visited the hive sculpture for the first time. This is based on bees and their hive and has lights and sound. The sound is generated by the movements of bees in a real hive. This was brilliant , at night it glows. I would love to visit again and see this.

We had a full day at Kew but really only scratched the surface . It has largest plant collection in the world. Here is a selection of discoveries . We will be visiting again soon.

A wander at the lake and meadow

Yesterday the weather was cool and wet, the rain was heavy and lasted throughout the day. Sunday was better and we did have a walk across the meadow along the lakes in Rushden.

There were very few damselflies and dragonflies today, normally we see large numbers. The weather was cool and changeable and this may have been why. The number of insects generally seems lower this year on this walk. we made a point of looking closely to discover insects today. Rewarded with beetles and bees as well as cinnabar moth caterpillars.

The teasels were a magnet to bees and they were great to watch as they moved across the dusty pink flowers .

There were a few butterflies flitting about especially around the brambles. Gatekeepers and speckled woods and one peacock butterfly .

The swans were resting and preening with their cygnets which are large now. They were in a family group behind some trees in the lake. Hard to photograph through the growth.

Ducks were swimming in groups with their large ducklings and plenty of coots and grebes and diving cormorants. There seem to be far fewer fish when looking down into the lake from the boardwalk this summer.

The highland cattle are grazing on the meadow area and are always lovely to see. This short walk always has lots to discover .

July has been all about the garden.

It has been a while since I posted on here. It has been a month of back to school, back to work and happily more normal. I have spent lots of time in the garden enjoying the greenhouse and growing simply hundreds of flowers and veg. We are now eating veg and enjoying the flowers.

The vegetables have been great, we have eaten plenty of courgettes, yellow tomatoes and french beans as well as broccoli and handfuls if strawberries for weeks. The garden is so full of plants it is a paradise for bees, hoverflies and butterflies as well as the dreaded slugs and snails !!!

We have also been out an about at the lake as the paths have been reopened and also down to the Forest of Dean which was full of flowers and wildlife.

As the summer moves on I am hoping to be out more exploring and preparing for issue three of the magazine in September and will be posting more regularly here. The garden is changing as new flowers emerge and others finish. I’ve collected the seed from calendulas and I’m enjoying watching the cleome open up.

Just loving gardening 😀

River Nene Ramble

We have had a lovely evening walk along the banks of the River Nene. Always on the look out for otters but none tonight . We did see plenty of wildlife on this walk. The river was looking lazy and beautiful in this very warm and still night.

Walking across the meadows at the edge of the river the grasses are tall and full of electric blue damselflies settling down for the night. They are hard to see in the photo but there are hundreds of them.

As we walked across the meadow something caught my eye. It was a tiny toad making it’s way through the grass. I expect there were lots of them if we had spent time looking.

This meadow was completely different a couple of days ago in the wind. The grasses were swishing and swaying in the wind and looked amazing.

At the end of this walk we spotted these bright cinnabar moth caterpillars.

A lovely walk with lots to see .

Tales of the riverbank

The Great Ouse snakes around Bedfordshire near our house with some impressive bends. It regularly floods in the winter and lots of villages have pavements on stilts. It is a magical view looking along the tree lined river, full of flowers and reeds with kingfishers and evidence of otters.

A stroll along the riverbank is full of interest, dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies to name a few. There are caterpillars, snails, beetles and spiders all in the narrow strip between the river and the field.

We are walking regularly here and it is interesting to come at different times and weather conditions. In the sun there are clouds of damselflies. In the evening they are hidden away resting.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars have hatched on the nettles and are getting bigger fast.

Each time we go an Egret is always fishing or sitting in a tree and each time it flies off as we arrive.

The fields to the left of the river are varied and mainly meadow with some butterflies in them.

A lovely place to explore, keeping up our search for otters here 😀

Damselfly sleep

We have had a late evening walk along the banks of the Great Ouse in Bedfordshire. There were clouds of flies but no damsel or dragonflies. I wondered where they all were as the day before we had walked at this spot in the sun and they were flying in their hundreds.

I noticed a damsel fly in the field edge stationary with its wings in an open position . It was motionless and at rest.

From this moment in I started to notice that in the grass stalks and plants along the river there were large numbers of damselflies resting.

We had come out for this late walk in the hope of seeing otters. We did find evidence of otters , spraint and broken freshwater mussels near by but no otters in sight!

This was a good evening walk and hopefully one of these evenings we will see the elusive otter!

Damselfly Day

Monday was a really warm day with amazing blue skies so a walk by the river Great Ouse seemed like a good plan. We were not disappointed. The river flows under an ancient pack horse bridge and then snakes it’s way along the edge of fields and woodland. The path follows the river on it’s journey .

As we walked along the insects were busy especially the damselflies and the dragonflies. There were large numbers of the banded demoiselle. They were flitting about across the river, along it’s banks and into the field edges. They were also mating.

There were also a large number of dragonflies patrolling the river. The large Emperor dragonflies were flying down the river and occasionally fighting over territory. This Broad bodied chaser perched for some time close to the bank where we had a sit down and was fantastic to watch.

There were also a large number of mayflies often hidden hanging under leaves or on grass stalks.

This is the common mayfly also known as the Green Drake Mayfly. There are actually 51 species of mayfly in the UK which I didn’t realise.These flies are the adult stage and they often hatch out from the river simultaneously. They do not live long as an adult some species only a matter of hours. In this time they will mate and lay eggs.

Fishing flies are made from feathers and are made to look like mayflies as they are a favourite food off brown trout and salmon.

This river was quite fast flowing in places and varied in depth , some parts seeming quite deep and with steeper banks. a kingfisher flew past in a flash and we found otter spraint. There were plenty of Lily pads and flowers as well fish swimming in the shallows by where we were sitting.It was a busy beautiful habitat and a real pleasure to be part of.

The Emperor dragonfly