Path Clearances

Today continued with warm clammy-inducing humidity. The morning was still drizzly; although the afternoon was dry.

We both carried out further stints on the ironing backlog; Jackie’s before, and mine mainly after, lunch.

During the last few days, the Head Gardener has continued clearing the borders of paths such as the Phantom Path, the Cryptomeria Bed footpath, and the Brick Path. I helped her bag up the clippings from the latter.

The hanging baskets and other containers on the kitchen corner are filling out nicely. Having trimmed the fading Chilean Lantern tree has opened the red bottle brush plant to better viewing.

Elsewhere rose Just Joey is benefiting from trimming of the red carpet rose, and day lilies and gladioli mingle with geraniums.

As the afternoon wore on the light feigned the midnight hour. Suddenly a solitary thunder clap ushered in a brief torrential downpour which, like a Swedish runner practicing Fartlek training, varied its pace as it continued its descent. Fast periods dwindled to steady drizzle, then picked up tempo and repeated the process.

I read more of Charles Dickens’s novel, David Copperfield, and scanned four more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations displaying examples of his extensive range of portraiture.

‘I waltz with the eldest Miss Larkins’

‘I came out into the rainy street, at twelve o’clock at night’ looks as if Mr Keeping knows what is outside my window.

‘She was introduced as Miss Dartle’, complete with the scar the author describes.

‘Mr Peggotty laid his niece’s face with a gentle pride and love upon his broad chest, and patted it’, demonstrates the artist’s sensitivity to the author’s characterisation.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Fleurie.


  1. The Garden looks lovely and I’m impressed with any man that will help with the ironing (Fortunately my husband was one such man when we were both working)–now we rely on taking them out of the dryer while warm.

  2. Jackie makes such a delightful and welcoming header, Derrick! Her smile is contagious. I’m not sure that we even have a working iron in our humble abode!

  3. Such a vibrant sight, your garden; brings a smile even on a wet Monday!
    Well done on all the weeding πŸ™‚
    Your red bottle plant is wonderful. As is the lovely metal archway –
    I’ve got metal work envy at the moment; every garden I see seems to have really good, sturdy metal structures!

  4. Just this afternoon, I mentioned to a colleague that we’re skipping merrily down the garden path! πŸ™‚ But seriously, Jackie’s work on the paths looks great. I would skip merrily down them any old time.

  5. I have a few hanging baskets in my courtyard Derrick, they are thrifty colourful displays for small areas, and I love your Aussie Bottlebrush, such a hardy and long lasting colourful bush ..

  6. Fartlek? I had to look that up and now understand your simile. With all this rain we are having, your plants must be putting on inches of growth every day! (Our weeds are taking over as I haven’t spent as much time in the garden as I should.) Your kitchen corner with the hanging baskets and pots and tubs is looking fabulous!

    1. Thank you very much, Clare. Our weeds – and flowers – are doing the same. I’m pleased you looked up Fartlek – it was part of my Marathon training.

  7. I love the fellow wearing the top hat in the rain. He may be the first of Keeping’s characters I’ve noticed who seems entirely pleasant and happy: appealing, even. His direct gaze is quite a contrast to the blank look in the eyes of the women next to him. The words fit the illustration perfectly — or vice-versa.

  8. I continue to be inspired by your pathways and must get some stepping stones to keep my urban forest from encroaching on my narrower paths.

  9. The force behind the garden that keeps fascinating us is the Head and her trusted Lieutenant and Chronicler.

    The passage where you described the sudden rain in the dimly lit afternoon is breathtakingly detailed and rich in imagery.

  10. Rained heavily and nonstop here, we’ve had lots of the wet stuff lately – I haven’t needed to water anything for over a week.
    I love those hanging baskets, just gorgeous.

  11. Seemingly, the pruning of shrubs and clearing/cleaning of pathways etc. is really wonderfully done by the expert garner. Regards.

  12. What a riot of form and color! My favorite from today is the one with the red petunias. Many years I have a pot or two of those growing on the porch. The deer seem to leave them alone.

    Gardens are a lot of work, but the beauty and creativity feed the soul and generate happiness and longevity.

    I am still enjoying the illustrations.

  13. The inimitable Keeping’s intrically intertwined fine lines create an impression of flowing waltz movement. A stark contrast appears in the still figure of Ms Dartle whose cutlery and the dishes in front of her are arranged in perfect order, and only her burning eyes show the “wasting fire” mentioned by the author. The rain is just as reminiscent of our weather, as it is of yours, Derrick, yet your fabulous garden seems to thrive under thee conditions.

    1. Thanks very much, Dolly. I suspect Miss Dartle is to play a significant part at some stage. I like your observant linkage between text and illustration. I think our rain has ceased for a while.

  14. As always, I love the photos of your garden. The work that goes into keeping it trimmed and beautiful, weeded and healthy, growing and managed is phenomenal! Your pictures and the text from today’s Keeping are enchanting. Yes, I agree, “it is clear that Keeping has represented the character faithfully to Dickens.”

  15. A wonderful way to stay busy, healthy and happy post retirement. The wall with hanging baskets is certainly impressive.

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