Ali Baba

When I walked down the garden to open the back gate for Aaron this morning the early sun peeped over the eastern fence, its light licking

the jeweling of last night’s rain still glittering on the plants. The bees were working away. Wedding Day festooning the Agriframes Arch approved of the Penny Lane bouquet adorning another. As usual galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image each of which may be viewed full size with a click in its box at bottom right; further enlargement will then also be possible.

Readers may remember that the territorial arrangement arrived at last year between Nugget and his rival, Muggle, was that the mutual boundary was the first hawthorn tree along the back drive. I therefore think that it was

Muggle I met along the back drive, providing me with “Where’s Muggle?” (1) and (2).

Among his other tasks this morning Aaron added more paving to his path linking Dead End to the patio.

One of the presents we had given Danni for her birthday was a large Ali Baba planter. These were being sold at Redcliffe Garden Centre. They were half price with a further reduction if you bought two. This had the Head Gardener thinking that she also needed one. We bought two.

This afternoon she potted up hers. Rocks and bricks covered in fleece provided the necessary drainage; the contents of two grow bags came next, and were followed by those of two and a half 50 litre compost bags. Then came the main permanent feature of the gaura with its small delicate pink and white blooms surrounded by pelargoniums, petunias, and other trailing plants which will extend to where the Head Gardener is indicating. Finally watering was required. The final picture gives the view of the pot enjoyed by anyone sitting on the white seat cleared yesterday in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Later, taking a bundle of black refuse bags and a letter delivered to our house, we visited Elizabeth and enjoyed a pleasant hour or so of socially distanced conversation in her garden.

On Bull Hill, donkeys and ponies favoured differing fodder. The smaller animals, of course, prefer prickly provender.

Our dining fare this evening consisted of piquant two varieties of pasta cheese; crispy bacon; roast potatoes, and mixed vegetables, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.


  1. Ah-hah – I got the muggle spotted! And of course I’m glad you spotted the donkey and ponies!! That planter is nearly as tall as Jackie!

  2. That Ali Baba piece is very striking in the garden. Cute shot of Muggles (twice). It seems as if the ponies’ pasture is over grazed. Do they get hay or grain or lusher pasture access somewhere?

    1. Thanks very much, Maj. Well spotted. Although the animals wander freely, they tend to remain in their familiar territory. I’m not aware of any other source of grass, but they will crop trees if necessary.

  3. I see little Muggle! If only there was an easy way to tell him and Nugget apart.

    The head gardener has done a wonderful job filling the new planters with floral delights! Beautiful garden photos, Derrick and Jackie, and it is always good to see the donkeys and ponies, too.

    1. Thank you very much, Lavinia. Well spotted. Nugget has a little black spot on his red jersey, but we don’t get close enough to Muggle for that comparison.

  4. Jackie has the best smile! Her whole face lights up.
    I like that “Ali Baba” pot. And Jackie’s planting in it is beautiful.

    “the jeweling of last night’s rain still glittering on the plants” described how everything looked here this morning. I think it was too humid for it to evaporate quickly, but everything sparkled.

    Do you know if Muggle has a female companion and offspring?

  5. Oh, I love this – Jackie is so happy about her new, beautiful planter. It is stunning – but the plantings make it even more so. And are you telling me she is estimating how far down the plantings will trail? That is a detail I have never thought to try to plan. Very cool.

    I found the Nugget imposter in both shots.

    And that little donkey makes me smile. he looks like he is sniffing something delicious.

    1. Thanks very much, Jodie. Well spotted. One of Jackie’s big disappointments before the lockdown restrictions were eased was that she couldn’t buy her trailing pot fillers.

  6. Your garden in the morning is so lovely–no wonder Jackie always looks so happy in it–labor with a result. I found muggles in both pictures. Good thing you mentioned territory or I’d have mistaken him for Nugget.

  7. The name Ali Baba is forever associated with Forty Thieves in my mind, so perhaps the bees are the thieves there. Mr Muggle is at the edge of the shadow, in the sunshine camouflaged by the gravel.

  8. What a welcome break from all of the turmoil and worry of our present days! You and Jackie are so fortunate to have such a wonderful pastime, with such gorgeous results.

  9. Your garden is too beautiful for words. I can almost smell the soft scents and freshness from here in our cold South Africa right now. Jackie’s culinary creations make my mouth water!

  10. Just as I think you couldn’t possibly fit anything more in your garden Jackie finds a little space! Gorgeous!

    I was wondering, how is your mother? Is she remaining well?

    1. Thanks very much, Sue. Mum is continuing well – confined to her room, but that is how she likes it. Elizabeth phones daily; Jacqueline 3 times a week; and I do occasionally.

  11. The Ali Baba planter is beautiful! And it makes a wonderful showcase/home for those pretty plants! πŸ™‚

    Did the Ali Baba planter say “Open sesame” as it entered the garden!?! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

    Jackie’s joyful smile makes me grin! πŸ™‚

    OH, those beautiful horses, and that sweet little donkey sure made the day brighter! πŸ™‚
    Thank you!
    And (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  12. Your wife has the most beautiful contagious smile. I am so tired of ‘staged’ selfies, people laughing and smiling which seldom reaches their eyes. Jackie’s smile is never staged. Thank you for that.

  13. Ah, always such a pleasure to visit you and Jackie, take a peek at Nugget, see your lovely flowers (I can almost smell them) and then go with you to visit your friend and see the gorgeous horses! Thank yu, Derrick. I stole that beautiful photo of your sweet wife and put it on my blog with one of your roses today. Hope you don’t mind! The topic was “If You’re Happy … ” and of course, in sharing what makes me happy, I had to include you two and your lovely garden and your beautiful daily blog. I appreciate you so much! Have a wonderful week, Derrick. <3

  14. “the jeweling” I love that. Derrick your way with words never disappoints. What lovely, lovely photos of Jackie. Thank you for sharing that fabulous smile with us. I think the pot is splendid.

  15. That Ali Baba pot is huge! I am sure the Head Gardener has found a perfect place for it and its contents in your glorious garden, Derrick.
    Muggle is perched on a tree in the very center of the first photo, while in the second he is sitting on the gravel path a bit left of the center, closer to the shadowed area.

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