Drivers’ Guide

Knowing how hot it would be today we began early in the garden. My contribution was dead heading and a little clearing up.

Bees were early risers, too. Here one lands on lavender and another homes in on salvia.

Lilies are now blooming in the Patio Bed, and Special Anniversary rose has responded well to the recent care.

Later this morning we bought eggs, vegetables and salad ingredients at Ferndene Farm Shop and continued for a brief forest drive.

This picture of cyclists pushing their steeds up Holmsley Passage demonstrates why there is no safe passing space on this much-nibbled road.

In the silence of sun-dappled Bisterne Close, a trio of ponies tore hungrily at their breakfast grass. An unusual bird cry I think may have been an owl, answered by another from quite some distance.

Walkers and cyclists passed me on Cotts Lane while I photographed foraging ponies. It became crowded enough around the Modus for me to wonder whether I would able to return to my seat. Eventually Jackie shifted the car.

As usual in very hot weather, ponies gathered under the trees providing a canopy across Forest Road. This caused considerable consternation among visitors, and I found myself guiding some drivers through their necessary slalom. The woman in the header picture needed to clear the equine legs not quite visible in the left foreground, and straighten up without butting the rear of the animal to the right. She was quite grateful.

After lunch we tackled more path clearance, and this evening Jackie occupied herself watering many of the plants and containers.

We dined on a second helping of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway meal with which I drank Kingfisher and Jackie drank Haraszthy Suvignon Blanc 2020.


  1. I love that your forest is so filled with ponies — you photos of them inspire long periods of horse-watching! It was good that you were there to help guide the drivers around the horses.

  2. Beautiful photos. I love the bees on the lavender and all the shadow patterns on the ponies–very cool.
    It’s good you were able to help the drivers navigate around the ponies.

  3. Love the sun-dappled woodlands and ponies! 🙂 You’ve beautifully captured the light and shadows at play! 🙂 Love the photos of the ponies with a “blanket of leaves” on their backs. 🙂
    Thank you for guiding the drivers AND helping the ponies! 🙂
    Taking a cue from the bees…I need to get buzzy…busy…and back to my chores. 😀
    (((HUGS!!!))) 🙂
    PS… “Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree tops. ” – C.S. Lewis

  4. I just prune and sprayed the white climbing rose and the Fire Fighter red rose. I noticed some black spot on your white rose. What do you use on your roses, Jackie?

    1. This year , not a lot until it was too late! but I am trying to catch up with the routine of watering around the base of each rose with a product called ‘Rose clear’, I don’t spray as this affects the bees, I then like to dig in a bit of rose feed around each rose and mulch with a bit of home made compost, as I say far too late this year but I am still doing it! J

      1. Thanks Jackie. Yes, we’re a bit late here too since June is the recommended month to do them down under. I’ve always put the rose food on to p of the soil away from the base of the rose and just water it in. Mulch is a little difficult to come by in a new garden but we have a LOTS of fertilizer in the worm farm. Might be a bit strong but I’ll water it down.
        Thanks for your help Jackie.

  5. ” This picture of cyclists pushing their steeds up Holmsley Passage demonstrates why there is no safe passing space on this much-nibbled road.” I loved this sentence!

    The picture in my mind of you directing traffic along the horse “slalom” Is hilarious. For some reason you have white gloves and are very animated.

  6. A beautiful assortment of photos, and I especially enjoyed all the ponies. I bet they do create some real traffic jams, and it was good of you to help steer traffic around them.

  7. Multitudes of bees, multitudes of flowers in bloom, and multitudes of ponies feeding in the shade.. your photos warm up my cold toes this morning Derrick ..

  8. These are especially wonderful pony photos! My favorites are the ones among the trees. It looks like one pony got help with head flies from a friend’s tail. Thank you for helping the drivers navigate the pony slalom.

  9. Beautifully presented dappled ponies. You have conveyed the sense of heat as well as the relief of shade very well in your choice of photographs.

  10. Yes, Sir! That was a quiet a mayhem out there on the forest roads. You seem to have helped both motorists and ponies from unpleasant skirmishes.

  11. G’day from Down Under.

    Are you anywhere near Hordle? I’m re-reading ‘Apprenticed to my mother”, written by Geoff Le Pard, and the maternal parent lived there.

    The photos of the horses were particularly beautiful this time. Or rather, the horses were beautiful!

  12. I guess you can not be in a rush when driving through the forest. I’m always amazed by how the ponies just wander round the lanes without supervision of some sort. It’s like something from the distant past, when no one had a car. The Anniversary Rose is really stunning. I’m not sure what’s eating mine, but it looks terrible this summer. Any tips? xK

    1. The Head Gardener removes all spotted leaves (and doesn’t compost them). She spreads Rose Clear around the base (Not applied by spray because it is harmful to bees). The ponies have been here for at least 2,000 years and have legal right of way 🙂

      1. I just Googled Rose Clear and see all the rave reviews on-line. Thanks so much for sharing that tip! ? I love that the ponies have legal right of way !!

  13. I am glad the animals have the forest to help them stay cool. Hopefully, this week will be slightly lower temperatures than at the weekend just gone.

    1. Thanks very much, Helen. I’ve now responded properly to your depth question in “Around The Beds”, but I am not sure that you got it. Let me know, if necessary.

      1. Ah, I’m afraid I haven’t been notified of your response to my ‘depth’ question. I’ll go back to the post and access it from there. Thank you, Derrick.

        1. OK. I’ll try again – We have been here 7 years. Before then most beds were laid out, but totally overgrown. We created the Back Drive borders – each about a metre in depth; the Rose Garden – literally a tip which had to be dug out ( buried concrete blocks and even a bath complete with taps ) and levelled – most roses put in 5 years ago; and the New Bed – raised on concrete within a frame of the aforementioned concrete blocks. Other beds roughly 3 metres in depth. Thanks for persisting, Helen

          1. Thank you for persisting, too, Derrick. It is useful to get dimensions to see what might be possible in my own garden.

  14. I’d like to just take a horse to market, but if I had to drive – you know I wouldn’t mind waiting for the animals to move!

  15. Wonderful shots again, Derrick. The one of one equine utilizing the tail swish of another for fly removal is an excellent example of useful behavior. When I first saw the image of the leaf shadows on the rump of the white pony I thought that it was an Appaloosa!

  16. That white horse has something of the unicorn about it. I loved the picture of the roses opposite the lily picture. There’s something very decorative in the arc of the stems.

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