The Woman In White


Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1
Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose Garden

Margery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.


  1. I didn’t know there was a musical based on that book – I take it wasn’t a roaring success? Florence however looks almost ethereal! The classical urn overflowing with whatever those pink blossoms are (I don’t recognise them) is beautiful. Advance Happy Birthday wishes for Jackie ….. I hope you both have a wonderful celebratory day!

  2. It’s already 1 June here so Happy Birthday to Jackie! It’s a good thing you removed all the lurking menaces in the garden–what a riot!

  3. The garden is lovely. The photos are beautiful. My favorite is the poplar leaves. I probably take a picture of sunshine through leaves every day here in Big Creek.

  4. “Niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles…” Flowers in your garden, flowers in your prose. Thanks for the continued treat.

  5. I had no idea you would be on a septic tank. I thought it was only Aussies in the bush..FYEO I am putting my blog to sleep. It has been trolled. I will find you again some other way.

      1. Oh, you’re most welcome. Your gardens are a beautiful inspiration. Have a wonderful birthday!

    1. Ta Jessie and Poppy and Peanut! Looking forward to seeing you soon Jessie.

  6. Happy birthday, Jackie! You have given us such a good time over the years with your gardening, decorating, cooking, and travels. Hope your day was a stellar one.

  7. I thought, by the title, that you’d bought the Culinary Queen, a new Chef’s jacket for her birthday.
    The potato & swede mash,that you’ve been devouring much of, of late, is, I assume, potato & swede cooked in the same pot and mashed with butter, white pepper and cream or milk.

    I’m rather partial to swede, and mashed potatoes, but never gave thought to mashing them together, I shall have to give it a go, once I get confirmation of the process.

    As for septic tanks, I noticed Johns remarks, and recall working in the bush down Pinjarra W.A.
    way, late 1960’s putting them into back gardens, it was back breaking work with the ‘bluestone’ that we shovelled into the leach drains. I don’t think they use the ‘bluestone’ anymore.

    I noticed, too, the number of Septic Tanks you have following your posts/site

    1. Thanks a lot, Brian. Jackie uses black pepper with a bit of salt; she doesn’t bother with cream. As swede takes a bit longer to cook that goes in the pot first.

      1. perhaps if she cut the swede into smaller portions and cooked it together might it not be cooked to perfection at the exact same time? I shall try it sometime this week end.
        I love black pepper but with mash I usually opt for ground white, I shall also try using cream and also sour cream on another occasion. Thanks Derrick; I told the War office and she too is looking forward to this. Buggered if I know what to serve with it though

  8. WOW! I can’t remember seeing a more beautiful garden. I’ll need to stock up on Alpaca poo and hope it gets rid of the 2-legged rat variety πŸ˜€ Hope Jackie’s special day was fun and that you had your cake.

  9. Seeing the Alpaca poo reminded me of the link you sent some weeks ago. Max found it very amusing, as the mole wondered who had pooped on his head!

  10. I really enjoyed the “new tour,” which each day seems unique to me, Derrick!
    I liked the purple vipers bugloss! I love your bumblebee photos.
    Another wonderful visit in the Head Gardener’s and her “First Assistant’s” garden. Thank you. xo ?

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