Sunday, 30 June 2013

Wild flower meadows of Kingcombe

These fields at Kingcombe were farmed by generations of the same family using traditional methods. In 1987 this land was put up for auction. Much of it was bought by Dorset Wildlife Trust and others who were keen to preserve it and carry on farming without pesticides and ripping out hedgerows.

 The meadows were so rich with flowers (there are over 400 ) and insects it was difficult to know what to photograph!

 These were  among some of my favourites - orchids,buttercups, huge dandelion type seed heads and ragged robin.

A flagship meadow in each county has been identified to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation. It is hoped these Coronation Meadows will help to restore and preserve this habitat for many generations to come. It is fitting, that one of the meadows at Kingcombe was chosen for Dorset's meadow. Are there any Coronation Meadows near you too?

We only managed to get one photo of an insect- a yellow shell moth. Does anyone have any tips on how to photograph butterflies or insects they just move to fast for me?

 The River Hooke flows through parts of the nature reserve.

As we drove along the winding lanes homeward bound we came across an obstruction on the road. A mother partridge and her 10 little ones were taking a stroll along the road. She obviously hadn't taught them the green cross code yet! I had to get out of the car and try and shoo them into the hedge to allow us to pass.

 A wonderful day out full of flowers, wildlife and sunshine!

Welcome to my new followers Caroline at Scraps of us, Clare at Self sewn, Deborah at Simply Miss Luella, and Ivana at Oblak, thank for for joining me.

Val in Portgual has lost all her followers so if you previously followed her or haven't visited her before do pop by and say hello

Hope everyone had a great weekend, I am off now to catch up with all your news!
Sarah x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Let the roses and geranuims take centre stage.

Our garden sometimes seems like a stage - when one flower's performance is ending there is another in the wings ready to take it's place. At this very moment it is the turn of the roses and geranuims.

 I love roses and we have quite a number in our garden....
From top to bottom right-left Roseraie de L'Hay, Constance Spry,Nevada,Francine Austin, Buds of Constance Spry and Blue Moon.

The last two mornings we have enjoyed a coffee in the garden before work.The garden was laden with the scent of roses and I loved the way the light was shining on this Johnson Blue geranium.  Gone are those stressed mornings when we were organising (nagging)  the children to get to school on time!

We also love geraniums and have quite a selection. They are such easy plants to look after. If you don't have green fingers they are a good plant to try and they also provide good ground cover.

From top to bottom right to left-  Geranium psilostemon, Geranuim magnificum,  Geranuim Nodosum, Geranium Snow White, Geranium Wargrave Pink, Geranium Johnson's Blue, Geranium Sanguineum, Geranium Ballerina, Geranuim Macrorrhizum.

Down by the pond the Nevada rose bush is full of blooms.

 I had to share this plant thalictrum with you too, it has such beautiful purple frothy clusters of small flowers.

I was given a niger feeder and seeds for my birthday in February.  We were hoping to attract some different species of birds, it took a while, but to our delight we now have some visiting gold finches.

What is your favourite plant flowering in June? I have set up a header at the top to show my favourite monthly flower. I will have a trouble picking just one flower for this month!

Welcome to my new follower Julie at Dragon Fly Gems, thank you all the comments that you have left me. I do appreciate it and I always enjoy reading them.

Sarah x

Sunday, 23 June 2013

From blue to grey

This weekend our son and his girlfriend came to stay with us. We were hoping the weather would be as good as when these photos were taken a few weeks ago, unfortunately it was the opposite! So rather than show you lots of grey skies and sea, I will start with the sunnier pictures!

  This is Church Ope Cove in Portland where many of you may have shared a virtual cup of tea with us, back in the Autumn here. This time we are only viewing it from a distance.

Instead we are walking along part of the old railway line, which gives us glorious views of the sea and glimpses of distant views of white cliffs.

  This is small section of Portland breakwater, the majority of which was built by convicts using over 5 million tons of stone from the stone quarries of Portland. Can you see (close to where I live) King George III on his horse. This was sculptured into the chalk in 1808.

It is almost difficult to imagine that this path was once a busy railway line transporting stone down to the sea to be loaded on boats. Nature has now taken this landscape back over.

Back to this weekend and the grey skies and cold wind on Chesil beach.

It's such a contrast to the sunnier pictures above!

  I wouldn't have wanted to be out in this boat, would you? One of the reasons I love living by the sea is that the views constantly change, with the light and the tides. It might have been cold but it can still be exhilarating looking at the waves if you looking it from the shore.

Did the sun shine for you this weekend ?
Sarah x

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The sound of silence

It is still possible to find some places where you can get away from it all and no longer hear the hum of traffic. You are surrounded by silence with only the occasional bird singing and cockerel crowing. Chaldron Herring is one of those places, situated in a hidden valley, a short distance from the sea. It can have hardly changed in the last 100 years.

Many of the old cottages still have traditional thatched roofs.

And beyond the gate beautiful gardens.

Parts of the church date back to 15th century.

Sadly the village school is no longer open, but the building is now used as the village hall. The school bell at the top of the building reminds us of it's past use.

There are no shops here either, just a telephone box and post box.

It still has a good pub though, which is where we ended up !

Do you have any special places you visit to find some tranquility too?
Sarah x

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Building up an appetite

I always find a good walk helps build up an appetite, especially if I am planning more than a snack at lunchtime. A while ago our lovely children gave us a joint voucher for a meal out. We decided to use it on Friday lunchtime and so a walk on a beach beforehand seemed  a good idea.

 Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite as I hoped. It was so cold that in the event we had only a short walk along the beach at Mudeford Quay and Avon beach. Our ears were still hurting ten minutes after we had returned to the car!

The meal was at the Kings Arms Hotel at Christchurch, about an hour and a half's drive from home. We had  a 3 course meal, which was designed to only use food produced locally and within a distance of 15 miles away.

It was delicious and we really enjoyed it. However, when we came to pay we couldn't found the voucher! I can occasionally be a bit absent minded and someone (me) had taken it out of my handbag and left it in the car! All was well after it had been recovered -which turned out to be fortunate as we then took a path that left us into Ducking Stool Lane where we discovered a ducking stool over the river.

Ducking stools were used in medieval times specifically to extract confessions out of women. It must have been a dreadful experience being immersed in the water until a confession was obtained. I had read about this happening for those accused of witchcraft and prostitution, but didn't realise it could also be used for bad tempered or nagging wives (it didn't mention absent minded ones -phew!)

Moving hastily on, we visited the "Red House Museum", which has free entry. It was originally built as a workhouse - where life would have been so hard for the occupants. Today it is a lovely setting showing the archaeology, social and domestic history of Christchurch. The garden was very beautiful and peaceful too as we had it to ourselves.

On the way home I noticed this display at Boscombe Chine Gardens and we just had to stop for a quick look. The borders were filled with alliums, lupins and foxgloves, it was an amazing sight. The park won an award last year for the best large park in the South and South East of England and it is easy to see why. Isn't it a glorious sight?

There were so many pictures  I wanted to show you, that I had to make collages in this post. When I first started using my blog I used Mosaic Maker, but after recommendations from Rosemary and Val I tried Pic Monkey and I prefer it, as it is easier to position the photos, both are free to use. So if you haven't tried them, do give them a go.

Thank you for all your lovely comments, they mean so much to me and welcome to my new follower Sharon.

Hope you had a good weekend whatever the weather!
Sarah x

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s (or Ann’s) lace is an alternative name for cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) in the British Isles, and the common name of wild carrot (Daucus carota) in North America and is one of my favourite wildflowers that flowers from April to June. So I apologise in advance for sharing my passion of this beautiful weed before it disappears for another year.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has washed her lace
(She chose a summer's day)
And hung it in a grassy place
To whiten, if it may.

                                                Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has left it there, 

And slept the dewy night; 
Then waked, to find the sunshine fair, 
And all the meadows white.

 There seems to be various stories why these two plants are called Queen Anne's lace, some say it is because it has been named after Queen Anne (1574 to 1619) who was married to James I and was an expert lace maker. She challenged her ladies in waiting to produce a piece of lace as beautiful as the flower. Other stories say the flower reminded people of Queen Anne's lace head dress. Both these stories conjure up such lovely images.

Old Granary building supported by staddle stones surrounded by Queen's Anne lace.

The sun has disappeared the last few days and we are back to rain, let's hope we will see some more of summer again soon!
Sarah x

Sunday, 9 June 2013

There once was a ugly duckling ...

The story of the "Ugly duckling" by Hans Christian Anderson always touched me as a child. I felt sorry for the ugly duckling when he was teased and went sadly off on his own, but was glad when he turned into a beautiful swan. Maybe he ended up somewhere as beautiful as this.

This is Abbotsbury Swannery, there has been a swannery here since 1040, when swans were breed by monks for lavish banquets. The swans still live here today and are no longer eaten. They are free to come and go - there are about 800 swans that live along the Fleet Lagoon here. In May and June you can walk through the colony of nesting Mute swans. There are usually about 100 breeding birds, producing 500 eggs!

The swans are fed twice a day on wheat grains and seeing so many swans together is quite a sight. They are much more tolerant of people, compared with other swans you may encounter.

With so many swans to feed they asked for volunteers to help feed them, and I had to offer to help! ( I am the closest one in the picture.)

 The eggs are quite large, about four inches long, we weren't lucky enough to see any cygnets emerging from the egg.

There were however lots of cute cygnets to see.

What was your favourite fairy tales? I also liked the "Elves and the shoemaker" - the ladybird book of this was wonderful and "Three billy goats Gruff". It's amazing how these stories have passed through the generations. I re-looked at some of the stories from Hans Christian Anderson and enjoyed reading some of this stories again, so many focus on nature see here.

Welcome to my new followers Willie and Effie's Sweet Home Design thank you for joining me.
Sarah x


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