Sunday 30 November 2014


"Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard”  

Leviticus 11:29


Kruger Game Park
South Africa
14 September 2014 

CLICK HERE if the video does not appear below.

I do not the name of this Lizard however someone may be able to help me ID it.

Thank you for visiting.

Many thanks for leaving comments on any of my posts.

Saturday 29 November 2014

SATURDAY CRITTERS - Purple Sandpiper off Newcastle Pier

Last Saturday when our RSPB Bangor group when birding in Newcastle, Country Down, we saw the Purple Sandpiper at the end of the Pier.  This is near where we saw the injured Common Scoter.  CLICK HERE to see that.  So that me people find it difficult to distinguish these Sandpiper from Turnstone and very often the 2 birds are together but not day.  So I am showing you a series of fairly close up shots so you will have no problems identifying them in the future. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing the Purple Sandpipers today.

I am linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS.

Thank you for stopping by and also to those bloggers who  leave me comments.

Friday 28 November 2014

WEEKEND REFLECTIONS - Walk round Mount Stewart Lake (3)

This is the final post regarding Mount Stewart Gardens at present. 
For post (1) CLICK HERE, (2) CLICK HERE.  for you to fully understand today's post. 
I just would like to tell you that at present Lisa, The Interpretive Gardener is working in the Italian garden and she is taking out all the plants and soil in the formal beds and replacing it with fresh soil as well as manuring the plots.  This is done every third year.  
Today, most of photographs I took of the lake speak for themselves so without any more ado, join Lisa and myself as we walk around the lake, soaking in all the beauty it had to offer.  

Matching fountains in the Italian Garden taken before I met Lisa.

Fountain in the Spanish Garden.

These were taken later when Lisa and myself were in the Italian Garden.

The birds I saw on the lake were Black headed and Herring gulls, Mallard, Tufted and Gadwall ducks, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan and Little Grebe.

I hope you enjoyed the walk and views as much as I did.

I am linking this post with WEEKEND REFLECTIONS.
I would like to thanks Lisa for a wonderful tour and perhaps we will be able to do it again sometime.  

Thank you for visiting and many thanks for all your kind comments.

Thursday 27 November 2014

GOOD FENCES - Mount Stewart Gardens In November (2)

Following on from yesterday’s post when I visited Mount Stewart Gardens and showed you the most beautiful flowers that are still blooming at the end of November, today I invite you to come with me as we walk round many parts of the very interesting garden.  The essence of Mount Stewart is the Italian garden that runs the entire length of the south-facing neoclassical house front.  Such a grand background demands a substantial garden and this one does not disappoint.  For more photograph of the gardens in different seasons (Look in Labels  RH column - under Mount Stewart)

Divided in the centre by a lawn, the two parterres are split into beds, with symmetrical fountains, and planted with herbaceous plants and shrubs. The garden was started in 1919, using local labour, particularly Thomas Beattie, the craftsman who made the stone animals and other sculptures that make this such an intriguing part of the garden. (see tomorrow for the fountains)

To the west of the house there is another formal gardens, the Sunken Garden.  An English influence shows in the sunken garden.  The orange, yellow and blue planting was designed by Gertrude Jekyll and can be seen in the summertime. In late spring, orange azaleas dominate the scene  but the raised walk and pergola that surround it is home to a vast array of interesting plants spilling down the rock wall. This gives the garden a fresh palette of plants that would otherwise not thrive in this moist garden.

Lily wood
By now the lily wood and other areas beckon.
Here, among the 80 acres you will discover beautiful lilies, shrubs, the finest and rarest of rhododendrons, massive cordylines and bamboos, exuberant ferns and delicate meconopsis. 

The view of the house from the Italian garden is framed by two remarkable bay trees in ‘pots’. Bought by Lady Londonderry in 1953, they are now 125 years old and said to be the largest potted bays 

Spanish garden

More formality awaits you south of the Italian garden as you step down into the Spanish garden. Some large pots, filled with beschornia, a large yucca-like plant with bright pink flower spikes in the summer, and the formal pool suggest a Moorish influence but its name is derived from the roof tiles on the summer house which are from Spain. All this is surrounded by an immaculate hedge of ‘Leylandii’ showing what a good plant this can be if it is kept under control. 

Quite a number of plants have been protected from frost.

Shamrock garden
The last show of formality is provided as you turn your back to the house and enter the shamrock garden. Named after its outline, this is a concentrated taste of Ireland with its harp topiary and Red Hand of Ulster bed, decked with red begonias in summer however at the moment being planted with Primula.  The top of the hedge is rather more intriguing, decorated with intricate topiary depicting a hunting party, taken from Queen Mary’s Psalter (dating from the 14th century but named after its 16th century owner).

Dodo terrace
On the southern boundary, pillars support strange goat-hoofed monkeys clutching urns above classical busts. Turn to the east and the dodo terrace entices you with its eccentric range of figures.   Someday I will do a post on the many interesting sculptures however I  leave you with just three for now.

When I entered the garden, I notice there was going to be a tour at 2 O’clock so I booked that and for the hour before it started, I quickly went round parts of the a garden hopefully head of the crowds.  At 2 o’clock I went to the Crockett lawn to meet with the group and much to my surprise, I was the only one!  I met Lisa, an interpreter Garden who works at Mount Stewart permanently, and she said as I was the only one, we could go anywhere we liked.  So for nearly the next 2 hours it was a privilege to see and learn about this wonderful garden through her eyes.

Crossing the terrace brings you to the Mairi garden, named after Viscountess Bury who spent much of her time here in a perambulator when it was just waste ground. In the centre now is a statue of her and the garden is a depiction of ‘Mairi, Mairi quite contrary’ for there are silver bells (campanulas), cockle shells and little maids (saxifrage)all in a row.

We went back into the Lilly Wood again and for me, the most special tree and the only one the garden has, was the Ginkgo Tree. (Left below)

After we went through all the formal gardens and wood again, Lila asked if I would like to see newly acquired acres of land and what their hopes and plans where for it.  I was thrilled to have this opportunity.  This area above, Neil, the Head Gardener is making into a fern area and already there have been over a 100 tree ferns have been planted.  So watch this space!!

The Dairy 

The Dairy is where Lady Londonderry made cheese, butter and yoghurt etc  The fountain in the middle was used to cool the cheese.

Close up of the raised tiles around the walls of the dairy 
which are possible Spanish in origin.

This is said to be an old fridge.

Looking out from the dairy you see what was the Rose Garden and the Orchard beyond with a very large greenhouse with vines still growing n them looked like.  These are 2 photographs I shot of what the rose gardens were like in Lady Londonderry’s day and Mount Stewart gardens hope to recreate it as it looks in her day.  How exciting!

This shot is looking over part of the orchard and I just thought this tree was a beautiful shape and still had its yellow leaves and of course a fence for this post today! 

A view to the left of the Orchard and 
in the distance you can see the greenhouses.

Lisa and I walked round the lake and these shot were especially taken for Tex’s meme, GOOD FENCES and to wish you all HAPPY THANKSGIVING especially the USA bloggers.

Tomorrow I will be showing you the very beautiful views of the still autumn colour and reflections of them over the lake.  I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed!

Thank you for visiting and also for those you kindly leave me comments.