Strange Old World……. Just gets stranger!


A lonely Penstemon….

(more about the Penstemon in a moment)

Yesterday was mid summers day.  June, which is supposed to be busting out all-over.  We didn’t have a sunrise nor did we have a sunset. In fact most of the day was grey. …. till the evening when we did get a chance to see some sunshine.  All in all it turned out to be a rather pleasant end to the day.

Down by the Lake this was about as good as it got….


The Ash Tree’s  across the Buttercup Meadow enjoyed the last of the days sun.

So we woke with great expectations this Monday morning.  Indeed the Woods enjoyed the morning sunshine.

On the woodland floor the new growth of the Bracken and Ferns is to say the least abundant. It also produces a great mix of aromas as it blends with the drying leaves from last autumn….its a distinctive and not unpleasant woodland smell.


Now, back to that Penstemon.    At the moment it is rather lonely, a beacon amongst all the green foliage.   Many of us have said that this is a strange year.  Nothing normal about it.  Apart from CV19 and other global tensions, we had a winter that wasn’t winter (here in middle England that is),  more rain than ever recorded, floods over vast areas.  Then Spring arrived with a mini Heatwave and now into summer and the weather is again all over the place.

In the garden, with the arrival of spring,  the new seasons growth seemed to get off to a great start.  But then it has just stopped, maybe paused is a better word.  All the herbaceous plants are green foliage.  When they do produce flowers they are short and few and far between.   Just in case it was just our garden, yesterday, I went to take a peak at another well managed Herbaceous Garden.  Not sure if I am pleased or not…but at the moment it is looking rather sorry for itself, certainly no better than ours.

Still we did mange to capture some spring blooms…

I have more faith in the natural world to catch up and get back to normal than I have of our Politicians. They just bumble along from one bad decision to another….at least Bumble Bees do know what they are doing


As always…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd June

(C) David Oakes 2020

It is getting Hot…… it won’t Last


Big Wood, Allestree

The sun was out from dawn, the sky was blue and for once not a hint of a breeze.

In the woods it was dark.  The leaves casting a shadow over the woodland floor like a giant umbrella. But there was also a real difference this morning.


For the first time this year there was a warmth, not just in the air, but that warm feeling of reflected heat from the ground….. now that is much more like summer.

I had thought we had seen the last of the Bluebells, so it was a bonus to find this small sweep of Blue…… past their best, but still a feast for the eye…


Friday and most of Saturday are forecast to be good….. maybe 26c tomorrow.  We will see as they also forecast Arctic Blast on Sunday and Monday with the potential for real wintery showers.

Keeps us on our toes…even in these trouble times.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

7th May

(C) David Oakes 2020

It all moves along…..


What a difference a couple of days make at this time of year.  Spring can at times move at the speed of an express train.


Earlier in the week, I was saying that the Silver Birch seemed to be hanging fire.  Lots of buds forming at the tips of the fine branches, but nothing else. But today the Silver Birch sports some brand new spring green leaves….


The Birch has a grand view over the Golf Course, obviously no players able to enjoy this spring sunshine.  Like the rest of the Park it is deserted…


All seems strange… This is Saturday morning, usually the Park  on such a sunny day would be busy with folk out and about.  But even though we are allowed out for exercise I have seen only a handful of  people, all keeping their distance, selecting a line of travel that diverges from others.

Now is the time we should start to enjoy carpets of Bluebells across the woodland floor.  One of the nicest sights of spring.  The first blue flower heads are now starting to appear.  They have been in hiding, sheltered by bushy rich green clumps of  leaves.  Stems are  gradually extending,  bearing the delicate bells at the tips.  There are only a few early starters today but over the week they should multiply at a pace….  these front runners are a very welcome spring arrival.



Magnolia come in a wide variety.  Until now it has mainly been the smaller more delicate trees and flowers that have had bursting bud.  So it is now the turn of the bigger buds many with a bolder colour pallete….


With all the new growth you do feel, that despite everything else that is happening in our world, Spring is here and with it hope.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

11th April

(C) David Oakes 2020


A Privilege….and not taken for Granted


Early Morning at Allestree, Derby

It is Sunday the 5th of April…. and it is a day full of Spring promise.  Early morning mist is lifting,  clear blue skies and a sun that really is starting to provide a welcome warmth.

I am one of the luck folk with somewhere to take my exercise.  I am also very much aware that many are unable to take advantage of an open air walk. It is a privilege.

So here are a few images from todays walk to share and I hope bring you just a little of the spring that is now starting to shape up rather well.


Trees are still bare, the Oak on the top of Burley Hill as stark as on many a winters day. The Silver Birch, that borders the Golf Course which is closed for the duration, waves it ever so fine top branches reaching up for warmth to encourage its leaves to burst…


But new growth is appearing, growth that over the next week will flourish into new clothes for the trees….

The Blossom on our Cherry Tree is also starting to show, but it is a few weeks later than usual….


The First of our ‘last’ batch of Daffodils has arrived alongside our first Camelia of this Spring.  So change is progressing at an increasing pace…

The more delicate flowers of the Wood Anemone are, for a short while, taking over the woodland floor, a carpet of white stars dotted with yellow buttons…


Colour is coming throughout the garden in front the Old Hall, it is the perfect compliment to a rather fine Sunday morning……

If you are one who cannot enjoy stretching your legs, even for a short while, in the sunny outdoors, then I hope these images help provide some virtual flavour to you of a sunny spring Sunday in these difficult times.

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

5th April

(C) David Oakes 2020