Meanders in May

One of the joys of being a dog owner is that you have the excuse of going out in the fresh air for a walk.Labrador and border terrier

Of course Oscar and Rosie are always ready – whatever the weather!

Even though we live in a town, we are very lucky to have access to some beautiful countryside and one of our regular dog walking routes is across The Common. Daily walks give you the opportunity to watch as each season unfolds and I decided I would like to keep a visual record of the changes throughout the year. Luckily we had some dry, sunny mornings at the weekend and so I was able to take some shots as Oscar and Rosie enjoyed their early (well, earlyish) morning walk. The ground has dried out over the last few weeks and it has been great to abandon my wellies and wear my walking boots instead; but I’m still having to wear gloves and even a hat!

The CommonThe dandelions on The Common are gradually disappearing, leaving behind their feathery clocks, in their place are buttercups and clover.

Buttercups and clover

Of course, lots of cow parsley.Cow parsley

Some of the horse chestnuts were affected by a disease last year, which was introduced into the UK by European horse chestnuts, causing brown patches on the leaves and an early drop. Thankfully they have survived! This horse chestnut tree is such a fantastic shape and stands proudly on its own.Horse chestnut tree

And the flowers look pretty impressive too! Horse chestnut flowers

Being May, there’s an abundance of blossom on the hawthorns.May blossom

There’s even space on The Common for a Sunday morning game of football.Sunday morning football

It wouldn’t be a proper walk if Oscar didn’t find a stick – the bigger the better! He loves to play fetch; he’s never been trained but obviously it’s that retriever instinct.Labrador retriever Rosie, however, loves finding abandoned tennis balls and destroying them! We won’t dwell on what natural instinct that represents!Border terrier

Well that’s it! A little roundup to show you what I’m enjoying on our daily walk. ( I might not have said that on Monday when there was a terrific hailstorm but luckily The Husband was chief dog walker on that occasion).

I know that each month there will be something new to look at and I look forward to sharing them with you as the year goes by. Will keep you posted!


Blooming Bluebells

Last week I was fortunate to have a couple of days off work so, with some spare time on my hands, I decided to take the dogs on a longer than usual walk and we headed off to our nearby woodland. This is a planned forest which is going to be the largest new forest of native species in England. It is popular with local walkers and horse riders as well as a great place to walk the dogs with plenty of space for them to run free.

I was in for a real treat. As I approached the first wood, I caught a glimpse of a blue haze through the tree trunks and realised that it was,of course, bluebell season! What a spectacle! Bluebell woods

Here in the UK, bluebells are a protected species, so no picking is allowed. They are often found in ancient woodland and flower at this time of year before the trees develop a dense canopy.Bluebell woods

The violet-blue carpet along the woodland floor is such a magnificent sight – almost magical.Bluebell woods

Bluebell woodsEven Oscar was overcome with the beauty of the bluebells!Bluebell woods

A good long walk and Oscar is ready for a home. A drink to quench his thirst and then a well deserved rest!


Beautiful Spring Flowering Tubs

When we moved into our house 21 years ago, we inherited a beautiful garden. It managed to withstand our two Jack Russels and our two growing sons – learning to ride bikes, playing football etc. Then …… we had an extension built on the house and a summerhouse erected in the garden. The garden became a building site and we lost lots of plants and shrubs, but gradually it started to recover. Our sons grew up, the Jack Russels passed away and our new family pet, Rosie – the border terrier, enjoyed sunning herself in the garden without causing any serious damage, other than occasionally attempting to dig holes. Then along came our black labrador, Oscar……

Oscar the labrador

The culprit

Looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, I know! However, he has no respect for horticulture in the garden. The lawn has been churned up with his enormous paws and he does not differentiate between the paths and flower beds. Anything of a delicate nature is trodden underfoot.

Undeterred, I returned from a garden centre last autumn, armed with bags full of bulbs and decided the way forward was to plant them in tubs in the hope that they would flourish unharmed by Oscar. The Husband had the brainwave of planting the bulbs at different levels. So early on in the year there was a lovely splash of colour from the crocuses and miniature irises.

Spring flowers

Early crocuses and irises

Then gradually my selection of daffodils began to bud.

Daffodils spring flowers

Daffodils just about to flower

Now the daffs are starting to blossom, standing proud and bold.

Spring flowers daffodils

Daffodils blooming

I have so enjoyed the little splash of colour the tubs have brought to the garden, especially when the skies have been grey. A reminder that milder weather is on the way and hopefully a glimpse of sunshine. Yes, a solution to the Oscar problem too.

Ahhh! Today we have experienced gusty winds in this area of England! What has happened to my beautiful blooms?

Daffodils in bloom

Horizontal daffodils

Daffs blown over! Well, I solved one problem this season but another one’s developed. Better luck next year!