Monday, 15 April 2013

A-Z Challenge 2013 - 'M'

My A-Z posts this year are based on my garden – flowers, animals, the birds and the bees, butterflies - with a bit of poetry thrown in. For some letters I am expecting to cheat somewhat – a sort of wish they were here.

M – Mahonia, Michaelmas Daisy, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen

The mahonia bush we inherited in the front garden when we moved into our house over 20 years ago stands about three feet tall. At this time of year it shows a flower head like this:

Those buds develop into berries later in the year. Which bird takes a liking to them we do not know; something must because a second shrub has appeared in the garden at the back of the house.

Later in the year some daisies grow,

Michaelmas Daisies
Lilac and blue, the daisies nurse now
Quiet suns in a centre of petals.

You always know when there is mischief afoot when you hear these birds; their raucous noise sounds just like the House of Commons at PM’s Question Time – no wonder the collective name for a group of them is a parliament. We see a pair regularly now but it has not reached the stage when they are mobbed by other birds frightened for their young.

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death

This rhyme, first recorded around 1780, has its origins in superstitions connected with magpies. The magpie was considered a bird of ill omen in some cultures, and in Britain, at least as far back as the early sixteenth century

A bird that overflies us often is the  mallard. We even see them in the corner of a waterlogged field

Mallard Ducks
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines it sups,
It bottoms ups.

Mallards occur on my golf course at Billingham. There is a pond on the 11th hole to which this verse could well apply:

In Spring in pond in grove by the old streamlet amongst the reeds the moorhen built her nest
A bulky mass just above the water level of flags and long dried grass the material she liked best

 But when it comes to dogs some take exception to being given a bath after rolling in deer droppings. Just to show who is in charge she dries off in the dirtiest spot she can find.

Maxie sulking

  • The Moorhen Pond – Francis Dugan
  • Michaelmas Daisies – Ronald ‘Chalky’ White
  • Mallard Duck – Albert Aunchman


Jen Chandler said...

Fun post! Thanks for sharing your flowers and birds and your adorable dog.

Thanks for visiting my blog the other day! Enjoy the challenge!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. my mother loved Mahonia - the scent was pervasive .. mighty prickly to pick - but I did - one sprigg!

Muddy Maxie should be your last title .. I hope you're feeling better -

Cheers Hilary

aw said...

Your magpir rhyme is rather different to the one I know, Bob, but it is strange that one bird should attract so much attention in verse.
Hope you are feeling better.

Jo said...

I thought it was parliament of owls? Magpies too eh? Lovely pix again Bob. Do you play golf?


Bish Denham said...

Donovan wrote a lovely little song...
"The magpie is a most illustrious bird."

The moorhen is beautiful! And poor Maxie, poor you, who had to bathe her!

Margo Kelly said...

Great pictures! I'm new to your blog from the A to Z Challenge. Nice to meet you. :)

Juliet Bond said...

Beautiful! Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

Bob Scotney said...

@ Margo, Juliet & Jen - thanks for visiting. I'll look in on you as soon as I can.

Jo - I retired from golf at the end of 2012.