"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
Can anything lift the spirit more,towards the end of winter, than hearing the first birdsong of the new year. I got out of the car and walked towards the hotel one morning recently and was stopped in my tracks....
....a blackbird was singing loudly and happily in a nearby tree and I had to pause for a few minutes just to absorb the beauty of this natural wonder. As I listened to itís melodic singing I began to pick up other birds, pigeons cooing in the birches, a robin singing in a rowan tree... it was lovely.Away over in the Blackspout wood a woodpecker was rattling away at a tree, another sign that spring is coming upon us. All this early activity is being caused by very unseasonal(but welcome) warm weather. The giddy heights of 15 deg have been reached over the last several days with no sign of a let up. But wait a moment we are Scottish. This optimism canít go on and it wonít. We have had very little rain over the winter so we are due quite a bit. My prediction is for a wet,cool spring and warm sunny summer. Forget the BBC,you heard it here first!
So what has benefited from this warm spell? To be honest not many of the plants have shown signs of early growth. The crocus patches are really nice this year, they are beginning to naturalise which is what we had hoped for. The Hellebores(Christmas Rose) in the herb garden are flowering well. We cut off the straggly leaves which makes them appear a bit bare, but once the flowers come they look much the better for their trim. The snowdrops in all their varieties are a lovely show this year. We do have quite a few varieties in the borders and woodland and I saw the other day that a single bulb of one rarer variety sold for £750. We had best start checking up what we have!We have given the top lawn and the putting green their first cuts. They are both a bit patchy after the winter but a good feed, some warm weather and they will recover quickly. We are still battling with the moles. Itís almost a trial of will, raking down the hills as Mr Mole puts up more, but eventually the moles will return to the woodland and leave our lawns alone. And the reason for all this activity(I have recently learned)is that the bulk of mole hills that appear at this time of year are caused by males looking for females.In a mild winter,with a good survivsl rate, there are lots of males looking for lots of females hence lots of mole hills.
With the dry weather we are painting . Sheds,benches,fences....acres of wood benefit from an annual coat of preservative then all looks smart for the new season. Soon the grass will be growing and the perennials re-emerging and another season will be upon us.Lesley,from reception, has added a few new photographs to the gallery page including one unusual bird. I have copied it onto this page.Any ideas what it might be? Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.