The Bees Awake

The forecast overnight heavy rain persisted, clattering on the kitchen Velux window until shortly before dawn. Slowly, sheepishly, the sun crept into the skies, warming the garden enough for me to walk around in shirtsleeves, looking at the difference in the light from yesterday.

The gelatinous liquid aiding temporary hibernation of the bees was now running freely, for most had left their roosts.

One tottered tentatively around its berberis berth.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast breast of lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, chopped cauliflower leaves, and tasty gravy with mint and cranberry sauce. Jackie, Becky, Ian, and I drank Sacchetto rosé.

Becky’s Biology Lesson

Despite the dreary drizzle-day and thanks to Martin’s weeks of clearance work in the beds there is now no corner of the garden not

brightened by snowdrops and more.

As usual clicking on any image will access the gallery, each item of which can be enlarged and bears a title; some also bearing bumble bees which yesterday had sped freely around the garden. Today, motionless, they cling to a number of plants from which they had sought sustenance then. When I mentioned this to Becky she explained that these insects, not having skeletons, contain fluid beneath their flesh which in cold weather coagulates causing a state of somnolence until liquifying once more on warming up.

Ian returned from Southbourne last night, in time to shop with Becky today for our dinner this this evening. They returned with 6 rib eye steaks; chips, and peas, which Becky cooked to perfection, according to individual choices; with M & S rice and bread and butter puddings to follow. I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône Villages

Early February Flowers

Against the soundtrack of the nesting raucous jackdaws I took a short walk around the garden, photographing

some of the many clusters of snowdrops;

more recent hellebores, unusually holding up their heads;

a few more camellias;

trailing vinca, a survivor of last year’s primulas,

and a white cyclamen.

Jackie’s numerous pelargonium cuttings are happy in the greenhouse.

This evening we all dined on tasty pork and garlic sausages; creamy mashed potatoes; fried onions; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and its chopped leaves, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mayu, gran reserva Carménère 2020.

January Blooms

A brief walk around the garden today featured

a variety of pink and red camellias, a daffodil, several hellebores and Daphne Odoratas.

This evening we all dined on KFC bargain buckets, sides, and fries, with which I drank Héritages Châteauneuf-du- Pape 2021.

Autumn In Winter

On a digit-tingling icy cold morning, where the surface of every water container reflected bright sunshine

I took a brief walk around the garden where the seed heads of cordyline Australis accompanied new buds of rhododendrons;

resilient ornamental grasses vied with spent hydrangeas;

columns of shadows including those of a stout rose stem on the orange shed door and a string of small watering cans against the kitchen wall decorated flat areas.

Lichen lingered on sculptures of Summer and Autumn somewhat out of season.

This evening we all dined on spicy piri-piri chicken and Jackie’s savoury rice with which she finished the sauvignon blanc and I finished the cabernet carménère.

Investigation By Spiders

After lunch, tempted into the garden by the sunshine, still keeping ice

in containers like this pot saucer, fingers tingling, I took a brief walk around with my camera.

Many of the camellias were either in bloom or bud,

while the Japanese anemones bore seed pods apparently investigated by spiders.

Backlit cordyline Australis bore drips of precipitation.

The Gazebo bore the clematis Cirrhosa “Freckles”.

The dead stumps along the Back Drive and sculpture Florence were picked up in sidelight.

Later, I dozed through the first two episodes of Lucy Worsley’s Russian Romanovs.

This evening we all dined on tempura, and hot and spicy, prawns; tempura vegetables and spring rolls on Jackie’s colourful vegetable rice, with which I drank more of the shiraz and the Culinary Queen drank Mezquiriz Rosado 2023

Clearing Up After Storm Gerrit

This morning I enjoyed another eminently endurable chiropractic session with Eloise.

Storm Henk was beginning to calm today. There was less rain and quieter gusts of wind as Martin was able to work throughout.

He sawed up the trunk of the overgrown pittosporum, lopped the branches which he carried to the Back Drive, cut them into pieces with which he filled more of the spent compost bags and carried all to the front end of the garden nearest our parked car, whence we will be able to transport them in several trips to the Efford Recycling Centre. A crushed chair which had borne potted plants joined other scrap metal – also destined for the dump – behind the shed.

We have kept a close eye on the Weeping Birch which remains standing – at least for the time being.

This evening we all dined on Ferndene Farm Shop’s succulent sausages; creamy mashed sweet and white potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel’s sprouts; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Valle Central Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 2022.

Boxing Day Roses

A number of blooms linger in our garden.

Here are a bunch of roses – in order Super Elfin, Lady Emma Hamilton, For your Eyes Only, Red Carpet Rose, and Pink Climber

This evening we all dined on roast lamb, Yorkshire pudding, boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, runner and green beans with which I drank the last of the Shiraz and Ian and Dillon drank Moretti.

Fearing For The Weeping Birch

With the overnight gale force winds of Storm Pia still raging around the garden

this fallen planted pot was the least of the damage inflicted.

I have previously featured a pittosporum allowed by our predecessors to grow into a tree. This has now come crashing down

crushing an arch spanning the Dead End Path, and no doubt destroying hanging baskets which we can no longer see,

because the upper branches and their foliage now block the path.

This brings me to the Weeping Birch which lost all its leaves in the very hot summer spell, and looked vulnerable as its now naked limbs groped quivering in the gusts.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie with a sautéed potato topping; crunchy carrots, and firm Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Peroni and I drank Chilean Valle Central Cabernet Sauvignon 2022

Hanging On For Christmas

This afternoon, before another encouraging Chiropractic session with Eloise, I wandered around the garden in the sunshine.

This winter flowering cherry was to be expected, but the Welsh poppies were a surprise. I thought it best to leave a few seedheads.

Numerous bidens and Roxanne geraniums seem to be continuing for ever.

Light shone through leaves such as viburnum plicatum, Japanese maple,

and Cordyline Australis;

throwing shadows on the Brick Path, Florence sculpture, and the trunk of the copper beech tree.

Holly berries, hebes and viburnum shared the season.

Roses Festive Jewel, Kent, Doris Tysterman, and Super Elfin are hanging on for Christmas.

This evening we all dined on tasty baked gammon; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese, tender green beans and mangetouts; and what I grew up knowing as macaroni cheese which I gather is now Mac and cheese, with which I finished the Fitou and Jackie drank Diet Pepsi.