Tag Archives: Garden

Mostly Acquilegias

Mr Two Flowers

It’s June! I think I feel a flowery post coming on. There may be many flowery posts, we will see what happens.  At the moment the acquilegias are all blooming and despite the fact that I know that originally we only had red and black Barlow double acquilegias in the garden…

Black acquillgia

… we are getting all sorts of variations and random loveliness and in my fantasies one day we will have rainbow ones…

red acquilegia

The one that stopped me in my tracks was the first photo on the post which I have been looking at because it has two different shaped flowers of different shades on the same stem. Maybe this is a common enough event, but every year new acquilegias come up and it is a never ending surprise to see what the criss-crossing of pollen produces.

Pinky ones!

Last autumn we pulled up the cardoons that have dominated the small fish shaped flower bed near where we sit.

A poppy for Ardys

The plants were seven years old and had rotted and split and were looking very straggly. Without them dominating the bed, which wasn’t very big, we get to see the poppies having fun, the big frilly red one and the orange one and a whole host of yellow and orange visitors, all set off by the black acqueligia which have always been hidden from view under the huge cardoons.

Blue acquilegia

I love the surprise flowers and as Brian is not so good at remembering to buy flowers for (the house, well me actually)  today he went out and took me photos instead. OK that’s not strictly true,  I begged, some would say demanded,  I have no shame. And I don’t know why he has that big camera if not for taking fuzzy background closeups of flowers for so I can decorate the blog with them. I am sure you agree?

Rosebud for Zeb Bakes

Brian came back with a clutch of images, none of them showed that the two flowers (first photo) were on the same stem, so I sent him back again. He suggested I borrowed his camera but it is too heavy and I can’t use it. Excuses, excuses.  But look here are all the flowers I got today, complete with fuzzy backgrounds. Nice eh? He brought me a rosebud too.

Visiting PoppyI am also trying out a batch resize programme to see if they will stay sharper on transit to the blog. I seem to lose sharpness by the time they get to you. What do you reckon? Or does anyone have any secret tips on making photos look good on the blog? I think these look sharper than usual, but I am going cross-eyed staring at them, so lets just publish and be damned.

PS Zeb is howling for his tea, I messed up the first time I resized so I had to chop them all out of the post and redo it, so if it is even more incoherent than usual, blame technology and my impatience. Life is short. xx

All photos copyright Brian Kent 2013 (aka Mr Zeb Bakes) 

Robin Redbreast Again

Robin Copyright Zeb Bakes

29th May 2013

The English Robin or Robin Redbreast as she was known when I was a child was probably the first bird I ever learnt to recognise. Small and plump, bright eyed and endlessly curious about the world of humans, the little robin is part of the fabric of the suburban garden life of so many of us in the cities and towns of England. We never get huge gangs of them, as they are very territorial but we nearly always have one or two in residence, checking out what we do, looking in the windows and engaging in our lives.  They squabble and fight, quite badly sometimes and build nests in open fronted boxes and raise their speckly children happily there.

This is the one who you saw sitting on the whirly clothes dryer in the Back Door post. I have stretched my little camera to its macro zoom limits to take these so you can see her more clearly. (If you click on the image I think you might get to see it bigger, I have tried to link to where it is stored on WordPress) .  She sits on the corner of the dryer most mornings, looking down at the grass, and then whizzes down to pick up worms and grubs. Once she has a beakful she heads off over the fence to my left where I suspect she has her nest.

Brian is convinced that she bobs her head at him to tell him the feeder is empty and needs filling and I think he is right, these are the same birds who ask for you to spray the hose for them on hot days so they can take a shower. What adaptive mechanism is at work where a little bird can figure out how to get a human’s attention like that?  Currently we are putting out fat balls, finely chopped peanuts, husked sunflower seeds, and assorted fine seed.


The bluetits are nesting and raising their babies, I can hear them cheeping in their box on the garage wall. The blackbirds too are on the hunt for food;  there are jackdaws off to the side in the neighbours’ chimneys. Greenfinches and goldfinches fly through from time to time; they dance in the tops of the silver birches trilling away, offering glimpses of their delicate feathers and making me catch my breath when I track them down.

Even when it has rained all day and the geraniums are collapsed on the path, resembling a  damp poodle’s top knot, sodden with water and formless, I console myself for our everchanging and unpredictable weather, because rain means insects hatching, and worms wriggling; all good quality high protein fresh food for the growing birds.

Borrowed Flowers

Psst.. wanna see some American Robin eggs and babies, head over to Ardys and take a peek!

The view from the Back Door – a challenge

Cecilia @ thekitchensgarden has a wonderful blog with a readership she calls the Fellowship. Her latest post is a beautifully simple challenge and anyone can join in whether or not you have a blog. Read about ‘What I see from my Back Porch’ and maybe have a go.

I just dashed outside and luckily the sun is out and took these two shots to join in:

Looking down the path towards the back and a most attractive shot of the washing line, complete with resident robin,  I am afraid I have edited out the underpants!

From the Back Door - Zeb Bakes

Robin on the line