I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


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Balboa Park – Japanese Friendship Garden

Balboa Park in San Diego, California has many beautiful areas, museums and gardens.  Today we are going for a walk round the Japanese Friendship Garden.  The garden started just as a teahouse, built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, but now covers 12 acres of the park.

It was a beautiful day when we visited and we took a slow meander along the paths, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the pools, river and waterfalls.

p1020138

p1020140

I am, cheekily, linking this post with two other bloggers.  First with Jude’s Garden Challenge, for which I have not contributed anything for quite a while. This month she has invited us to share Urban spaces and, as this garden is in the city of San Diego, it fits the bill perfectly.  The second link is to Jo’s Monday Walk, which I haven’t taken part in for a while either.  There isn’t much description for this walk, because I didn’t want to intrude on the peace and tranquility of it with my chatter. The Japanese garden is the sort of place where you quietly think your own thoughts, perhaps sitting on a bench for a little while admiring the view, or walking in quiet contemplation along the paths.  I hope you feel calmer for your visit.

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A successful search for bluebells

It turned out that I was a bit premature in my hunt for bluebells in the woods a few weeks ago, but I went back last week and this time the display was superb.  Not only was the display of blooms wonderful, but so was the smell.  I don’t remember noticing a smell in previous years, but this time it was really quite strong.  Perhaps it’s something that happens when they are only just in bloom and as the days pass the smell reduces – I’m planning a return visit very soon, so I’ll find out.

As I was heading for the bluebells there were lots of birds flying between the trees, or hopping in the undergrowth by the side of the path.  I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to capture most of them, however I did manage to get these two.

Nearly there now

My first glimpse

bluebell wood

Then everywhere I looked there were bluebells.

Oh, and over here there were some more…

At one point I could hear an insistent tapping sound so I stopped and looked round and spotted this hole about 10 feet up a tree.  The woodpecker inside it was obviously very busy.

woodpecker hole

Heading away from the bluebells and out of the woods, I stopped to take a photo of the beautiful blue sky, and was passed by a man and his friendly dog.

The canal lock and bridge were just visible through the branches, but in a few more weeks the leaves will be out and this particular view will have disappeared.

bridge

At the end of my walk I spotted a little bridge over the river that I don’t remember seeing before, so I think some trees or bushes must have been cut down.

river bridgeSo there we have it – a search that turned out to be very successful indeed this time!


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Friday letters – the bluebell edition

Dear motorways, Thank you for your cooperation on my drive south on Tuesday – no incidents and no hold ups through the roadworks.

Dear soup,  Where would we be without you?  You are such a multi-tasking food – warming, filling, tasty, quick to make etc etc.

Dear birds, I’m sorry that you ran out of food yesterday.  It was very remiss of me to let the feeders run down so low. As soon as I have finished these letters I will be out there replenishing them.

Dear bluebells, At last!  It was excellent to go for a walk in the woods this week and find you well and truly on your way to making a magnificent spectacle.

bluebells

Happy Friday everyone!


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bird feeder

WHO IS ON THE FEEDER TODAY?

For quite a while now one of our bird feeders has been dominated by woodpeckers, with the occasional visit by bluetits, but yesterday afternoon I spotted this visitor.

Who do you think it is?

beady eyeNot sure? Here’s a bit of a clue – a touch of red…

hint of red

Were you correct?

robin

Robins are normally ground or bird table feeders, preferring to eat insects, worms, berries and seeds, but this one seems to be adventurous.

robin2

To read more sets of six words for a Saturday visit Cate at Show My Face.


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In search of bluebells

Having heard a rumour a few days ago that bluebells have been making an early appearance in the south of England, I thought I’d better take myself off to the woods post haste in case I missed them. So, at the weekend I visited the area where I have usually seen vast swathes of bluebells carpeting the ground and stretching off into the distance.

On the way into the woods, I first had to check on the progress of the weeping willow tree, which last year suffered some damage and the main trunk broke off.  It used to be such a tall, majestic tree and it seems sad to see it as a shadow of its former self.  The buds are beginning to appear.

weeping willow I saw a pair of ducks were dabbling around in the water.  There were some moorhens too, but they had swum off before I had my camera ready.

mallards Over the canal next,  looking in both directions to see what was happening.

canal

canal Then I followed the path through the woods and off to places where I knew I would find bluebells.

Along the way I saw a few trees with leaves beginning to appear, vibrant green moss, fungi, interesting bark and some primroses.

A horse and rider passed by,

I walked by all the areas where I would normally see the blue carpet of bluebells, but everywhere I looked the carpet was still green…

… I was giving up hope, when at last I spotted it – one single bluebell, all on its own in the acres of green leaves.

bluebell

Success – although I don’t think this can count as our local bluebells being out yet.  I’ll give it another week or so and go and look again.

I’m linking my woodland walk with Jo’s Monday Walk.

 


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Garden photography March: wildlife in the garden #3

In the area around the lakes in Celebration, Florida I came across this rather large grasshopper.  His bright colours warn predators to stay away as he is toxic, but he will also make a loud hissing noise and secrete an irritating foul-smelling spray if picked up.  Luckily I just looked and didn’t touch!

lubber grasshopper

Eastern lubber grasshopper

lubber grasshopper 2

I might look pretty, but stay away!

I’m linking this post with Jude’s garden challenge for March. 


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Garden photography February: monochrome #2

For February’s garden challenge Jude is looking for monochrome photos (either black and white, or tones of one colour), encouraging us to look for texture, shape and patterns.

This is a young monkey puzzle tree (araucaria araucana).  I’ve applied an effect to it, which I quite like,  but I like the original too.  Which do you prefer?

young monkey puzzle tree

young monkey puzzle tree