Planting And Paving

Here is the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, scanned yesterday:

‘No-one could have doubted their being twin brothers’

‘ ‘My children, my defrauded, swindled, infants!’ cried Mr Kenwigs, pulling at the flaxen tail of his second daughter’

‘A quiet, little frequented, retired spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation’. You will usually find a cat or a dog in Mr Keeping’s drawings.

‘The terrified creature became utterly powerless and unable to utter a sound’

Mr Browdie gave his wife a hearty kiss, and succeeded in wresting another from Miss Squeers’

‘Divers servant-girls were almost scared out of their senses by the apparition of Newman Noggs looking stealthily round the pump’

‘ ‘What do you want, sir?’ ‘How dare you look into this garden?’ ‘

‘Miss Squeers elevated her nose in the air with ineffable disdain’

‘A bar-maid was looking on from behind an open sash window’

‘Stepping close to Ralph, the man pronounced his name’

The outside temperature is now hot by our standards. We made more progress in the garden.

Jackie has finished planting her hanging baskets and other containers flanking her favourite view from the stable door and along the Gazebo Path. The red Chilean lantern tree to the left of the second picture, and the yellow bottle brush plant on the right will soon be in full bloom.

These cosmos, petunias, geraniums, and angels wings in containers by the rhododendron can be seen near the end of the path on the right.

I finished the weeding of the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. I still have to find some more stones to complete the repair, but I couldn’t manage that today.

These gladioli in a trough outside the kitchen door increase each year.

Love Knot, and Gloriana, with purple aquilegias alongside, are two of the roses coming to fruition in the Rose Garden.

I only normally watch daytime TV for cricket and rugby. Today I made an exception for the 1958 version of Dunkirk, starring John Mills. As I said in my eponymous post, both Jackie’s and my father survived the event, and I had an urge to watch the film for the first time.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, baked beans, and cornichons with chilli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.


  1. I have enjoyed Keeping’s exquisite illustrations expressing a full range of emotions with his trademark irony.
    Your roses are coming up one by one, Derrick, and it’s lovely to see.

      1. I have no idea why you we be rejected. I do not even have it set to require approval. I will have to check it out. Sometimes WordPress has a mind of its own.

  2. Your garden is looking good, Derrick. It takes a lot of hard work to keep a garden nice. I like your blue stucco wall – the flowers look pretty against it. It’s cold and rainy here today, in the 40s this morning and we are having soup tonight!

  3. More wonderful illustrations, and beautiful photos of your garden, which is looking very summery. I love the bright gladioli against the white wall.

    You have me wanting to re-watch “Their Finest.”

  4. That post you referenced, especially your summation, left me in tears. Such a story! I just cannot imagine.

    Your garden is in its glory and makes me think I need a Chilean lantern tree.

  5. Mr. Keeping’s illustrations are always a joy to peruse! Those details, expressions, the movement… 🙂

    The garden is glowing brightly today! It’s beauty is a HUGE thank you to you and Jackie for your tender loving care! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  6. The garden is looking beautiful in the sunshine, and all the work you’ve both put in really shows. Hope you’re feeling a little better.

  7. “‘A quiet, little frequented, retired spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation’. You will usually find a cat or a dog in Mr Keeping’s drawings.” this is indeed an intricate and detailed drawing, in the way that every brick of the houses has been precisely illusrated in their the place … absolutely fascinating Derrick …

  8. What a wonderful image both author and illustrator draw of Miss Squeers’ contempt and disdain!
    Your garden is looking fantastic – I never knew that Gladioli could propagate so freely – they are clearly very happy in their spot, just outside your kitchen door!

    1. Thanks very much, Emma. Yes, that was a marvellous depiction. The gladioli are called Byzantine Each flower carries a seed and they self-seed – and, of course the corms increase.

      ‘There are two gladiolus propagation methods: germinating seeds and growing new plants from divided corms. The method you choose depends on how many flowers you want to grow and how much time you’re willing to invest. If you want to grow a great number of gladiolus plants and don’t mind spending a few years doing it, gladiolus seed germination is the way to go. Leave the flowers on the stem for about six weeks after they die off. You’ll find a hard casing that is filled with seeds. Sprout these seeds into miniature plants and you’ll have full-sized gladiolus in about three years. For quicker results with fewer plants, try propagating gladiolus corms. Dig the corms up at the end of summer for storage. Each corm will have a number of baby corms, known as cormels or cormlets, attached to the bottom. When you remove these cormlets and plant them separately, they’ll grow to flowering size in a couple of years.

      Read more at Gardening Know How: Propagating Gladiolus Corms And Gladiolus Seed Germination’

      1. Wonderful, Thank you Derrick – I’m doing so much propagating as we have such a vast area, and once I’ve found something the rabbits and deer leave alone, I want to maximise use of it! But I had not thought of trying with Gladioli – I’m looking forward to having a go!

    1. It was, Tootlepedal. All my Dad ever said was that his job was to keep driving his truck backwards and forwards to pick up the retreating troops – until he drove into a ditch and legged it. And he was on a small boat and couldn’t swim. He left out all the details. He must have been 22

  9. The garden is looking beautiful! I like the curvy pathways and the wisteria above the view from the stable door. The illustrations are so expressive. The building detail and perspective is interesting on page 462 with the man leaning on the post.

  10. Charles Keeping keeps luring me into reading Charles Dickens all over again. However, I doubt if it will ever be with the concentration and belief of my younger days. I suspect my conscience has soured and degraded with all the prevailing bitternesses of the world. The garden is as alive as ever, brightly lit and warm, ripe with the promise of blooms waiting to happen. You always nail the exposures to perfection.

    1. Thanks very much, Uma. I doubt I would be reading them all again if it weren’t for my commitment to my Keeping fans. I never take the camera off automatic, but I do pay attention to the light 🙂

  11. Keeping’s last illustration is simply marvellous. You certainly wouldn’t want to buy a second hand TV set from either of those two.

  12. I don’t turn on TV until 5 o’clock and the Chaser but I will always watch John Mills in “Ice Cold in Alex” if it is in the listings.

    The paths are impressively tidy!

  13. Oh, those gardens! On a more sobering subject…Dunkirk. Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a time when we remember those who have served in the military. Somehow seems very appropriate to read about Dunkirk. I’m extremely grateful to those, like yours and Jackie’s fathers, who answered the call to fight against a monstrous evil, tyranny, and insanity.

  14. I enjoyed your sunny gardens, Derrick and Jackie, as well as the Charles Keeping illustrations! I read your older post on your fathers being at Dunkirk. For some reason when I follow link on this site, I cannot “like” or comment on these older posts. The 1958 Dunkirk movie sounds interesting, and I will look it up. My father was in the Pacific during the war, but their other uncles on both sides were in Europe.

    It is trending sunny and warm here too. I am doing more planting today. 🙂

  15. The garden is looking very crisp these days! Do you plan to pave the paths throughout, over the gravel, or will the gravel be the ‘paving?’

  16. It’s hard to imagine what prior generations endured. I’ve read so much about both world wars over the years. I remember visiting the house that hid Anne Frank and her family during the early years. It must have been interesting discovering that you and Jackie both had a father at Dunkirk.

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