Is This The Beast?


Microlite 1Microlite 3

Yesterday evening, whilst having drinks on the patio, a steady chugging overhead made me feel rather queasy. It took me back to Cumbria in the 1990s. 

As we were promised several hours of rain this afternoon, Jackie spent the morning watering the garden, and I took some photographs. The rain arrived just as Jackie had finished.

I’ll write that again. Because she is going away for three days with her sisters The Head Gardener spent the morning watering the garden. Although rain was expected it does not penetrate the soil in pots and hanging baskets.

My day was largely administrative, involving contacting Environmental Health about next door, visiting the Care Home on the other side of North Breeze to discuss this; arranging for delivery of the greenhouse; and having a meeting at the bank.

Petunias, geraniums, verbena bonarensis, erigerons

I rarely focus on the happy proximity of planting that we enjoy in the garden. Today I will begin with a view that meets us as we open the kitchen door. The erigeron in the foreground has, with Jackie’s midwifery, spawned offspring all over the garden. The petunias and geraniums in the various pots sit pleasingly together, and the tall verbena bonarensis, as it does everywhere, towers aloft.

Petunias, bidens, cosmoses, geranium palmatums

Across the other side of the patio, petunias, cosmoses, and geranium palmatums blend well with the distant spirea, The contrasting bidens, like every other one in the garden, is self seeded from last year.


We are led back along the Kitchen Bed to this corner from verbenas, geraniums, cosmoses and bidens, through day lilies and more.


Various day lilies lurk behind more suspended blue and white petunias in the Dragon Bed,


pink and white varieties of which share their berth in the herbaceous border with blue and white lobelias,

Petunias, marigolds

and purple ones swing on the breeze in the company of bright marigolds and geraniums at the western end of the Phantom Path.

Petunias and marguerites

Others produce a white theme with marguerites, with dappled blue and white examples beneath.

Geraniums and petunias

A pink display is provided by more petunias, geraniums, and lobelia, more of the first two in the background with the red Japanese maple, rosa glauca against the fence and palmatums in the foreground.

Here, pink diascas are backed by the strident red bottle brush plant.

When the next two poppies open they will have something to say to these phlox.

Clematis Star of India

Verbena bonarensis sentinels surround this Star of India clematis,


whereas Madame Julia Correvon cartwheels across the dead prunus pissardi towards phlox and penstemon.

Petunias and clematis

Petunias hanging near the Brick Path repeat the purple of another Star of India.

Hydrangea and day lily

This vibrant potted hydrangea reflects geranium palmatums in Elizabeth’s bed containing equally powerful day lilies.

Hydrangeas and fuchsia

A similar hydrangea takes the eye through red geraniums to a fuchsia Magellanica, with ferns, lobelias, and verbena bonarensis joining the party.

Hydrangea and geranium palmatums

Further along the bed a cooler note is stuck by a paler hydrangea and geranium palmatums.

Begonia 1

Two different begonia and lobelia combinations hang over the Brick

Begonia 2

and Heligan Paths.

California poppies 1

Jackie is particularly pleased with these California poppies grown from seed spilling over the rocks among the grasses on the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose Super Elfin and snapdragons

The red and white of Super Elfin rambler and neighbouring snapdragons contrast like the emblems of Lancaster and York in England’s fifteenth century Wars of the Roses.

Petunias, poppies,

Further along the herbaceous border one can rest among poppies, petunias, lobelias, and verbenas.

Clematis and verbena bonarensis

Clematis Margaret Hunt frolics among verbena bonarensis in the Back Drive barrier.

Rabbit on patio 1Rabbit on patio 2

As I reached the conclusion of this tour I came upon a surprise scampering among the shrubs, pattering across the patio, and hopping under a hole scooped out of the soil under the North Breeze fence. Was this The Beast that burrows into our garded? If so it will not be alone. This prompted my call to Environmental Health. They have already been alerted to the vermin. They are interested in rats. They are only interested in mice if they are indoors. They do not do rabbits.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins Jackie drank Hoegaarden.




  1. Not good calling Beatrix Potter in to deal with the rabbit. Get Enid Blyton’s Famous Five – far more practical and they make a good rabbit pie.
    Forget about watering the plants…. no food for Derrick for three days!

  2. I looked back at your old post. I would have let people label me chicken. 🙂
    The tour of your garden was wonderful, Derrick–and now I imagine the flowers dancing and frolicking when you aren’t watching.
    This seems to be quite a year for rabbits around here. We see them hopping about our yard all the time, and our daughter and son-in-law have them at their house, too. She was very upset when their dog got one.

  3. Ha, a Beastly Bunny! Good luck with taming that Derrick! I was quite relieved when you rewrote your second paragraph – I did wonder for a moment if you two had gone a little bonkers…… As to the opening paragraph, it’s a brave person who feels the fear and does it any way! The garden looks fab!!

  4. Seeing these photos makes me so happy, flowers are always so charming. I nearly forgot I was looking at a computer screen! It was much needed break from the day’s tasks.

  5. What!? Skipity hoppity cottpn tail a vermin? Noooo. Too cruel. Mind you mum would have it in a pie as quick as you can make it into a glove

    1. Vermin was meant to apply to the rats and mice. I quite liked the rabbit, but Jackie is concerned about what it and its family might eat. Thanks, Geoff.

  6. There are many things I enjoyed here today: “equally powerful day lilies” was one– it was an image mentally and a feeling evoked that I loved. And the commentary about the Environmental Health folks and what they do and do not do.” And why does it seem so English to me a restaurant is named Mr. Pink’s Fish and Chips? But I got a great image in my mind! And , of course, the flowers. I can’t say my potted flowers on our balcony are half as happy as yours!

  7. I am quite sure the beast is something much more fearsome than a rabbit, though … the results of a lagomorph occupation can seem those of a fearsome beast. It’s possible the rabbit has found Shangri-la. I would certainly think so if I had dug under the fence and had a look.

  8. Beauties and the beast! Of all the places on the earth, he (or she) has chosen your garden to nestle in. Plus it seems to have stolen Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak! Perhaps it is emboldened by Jackie’s planned brief departure.

    I read about your misadventure in the microlite plane. I was too reminded of a ferris wheel ride. I am sure the Almighty didn’t wire my brain for things like that. I can of course relate to your plight! It seems to have left a lasting knot in your neural pathways, potent enough to be triggered by associated sounds and smells.

    (From my phone’s Reader, WordPress doesn’t allow me to post comments or like the pages visited through a link. Reminds me to buy a microlite laptop for early morning reading…)

  9. Beautiful gardens’ Derrick and Jackie! So you have a resident rabbit? We see one here on occasion, but there appear to be too many predators about for them to become a problem here. There is a fox out back now, he or she watches us garden from safety of the edge of the woods.

  10. You need to get a trailcam, Derrick. You position it and it takes a photograph every time there is movement, even at night. That would solve the puzzle once and for all.

  11. What a beautiful garden, and thank you for the gorgeous photos. I love gardening this lovely display of nature’s colours is inspiring.

  12. my pups love bunny wabbits…..wasckally little things 🙂 nice views Derrick, you all have too much energy….I alas have a black thumb…..I can kill a cactus 🙂

  13. Such a fabulous, colourful beautiful garden 🙂 And now the rain will penetrate all the deeper for Jackie’s watering.. Hubby watered the allotment still yesterday for 2 hours despite the weatherman saying we would have rain.. He also said we would have rain on Monday but it never arrived.. However now 24 hours in and still raining.. The garden is looking refreshed and getting a good drink.. 🙂 as I hope your plants now will last the three days Jackie is away 🙂
    Sending Love your way and wonderful photo’s Derrick.. 🙂

  14. Awww, I happen to love rabbits! 🐇🐇
    We had them as a single Mom of 3 animal loving kids in a hutch along the side of the house with an overhang to give some shelter. We had gerbils, guinea pigs and Jamie had a rat (like your rat pack on the swing! 😉 )

    1. Many thanks, Robin. I was delighted to see a rabbit, until Jackie pointed out what they eat. I saw one again yesterday, but no apparent harm done.

  15. I must admit I was expecting something more fearsome – a badger at the very least. If it’s any help, we were infested with rabbits on the farm but although we had to fence off the vegetables we never had trouble with them eating flowers.

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