The Round Up

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With some assistance from the Head Gardener, I made more encouraging progress on weeding the Back Drive this afternoon.

Later, Becky and Ian arrived to stay for a few days.

In my post Quads, of 3rd March, I wrote ‘Louisa has fond memories of sleeping on the sofa so she could set the alarm to go off at 5 a.m. without disturbing the rest of us. She would then go to the farm next door, round up the cattle on the farmer’s quad bike, assist with the milking, and bring back warm milk for breakfast.’

I must have risen with her on 22nd August 1992, because I have now found negatives to prove it.

Louisa and Geoff Carruthers rounding up cow 1

They show Louisa, guided by farmer Geoff Carruthers, rounding up a recalcitrant cow;

Louisa driving the quad,

and Louisa rounding up on her own. Not a moment too soon for the cow in the header picture.

View from Towcett 8.92

The farm was at Towcett, near Penrith. This was a view from our holiday cottage.

This evening Jackie produced a fine roast lamb dinner for the four of us. In addition to tender lamb and tasty gravy we enjoyed roast potatoes and parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, spring greens, and cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Ian and I drank an enjoyable Corbieres.2015.

During our conversation we learned that Matthew has recorded all 30 episodes of the classic TV comedy series ‘Steptoe and Son’ from the 1960s and ’70s. This hed me exploring YouTube. Here is an act of extreme dirtiness:

Spot The Difference

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In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”

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We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Ford

A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

An Enforced Eviction

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Wisteria

Early this morning the sun shone on the wall-bound wisteria aiming for the en suite bathroom.

Raindrops on tulip Diamond Jubilee 1

Lingering early raindrops rolled around the Diamond Jubilee tulips,

Raindrops and fly on tulip Diamond Jubilee

onto which a thirsty fly dropped for a drink.

RhododendronRhododendron and pieris

Another rhododendron, leading the eye to the pieris on the grass, is beginning to bloom.

The day dulled over as it progressed. We spent the morning working on the garden. Jackie did some general planting and weeding, and sprinkled chicken pellets over the newly composted beds. Before you imagine otherwise, we do not keep chickens. The pellets come in a large bucket and are marketed as manure.

Vinca

Vinca makes an attractive ground cover, but it does have a tendency to sprawl, take root, and make life very uncomfortable for bed-mates. So it has been for the Weeping Birch Bed. I therefore concentrated my efforts on that. Fast approaching is the warmer weather when a thinner duvet will be in order.

Ladybird on vincaSnail and ladybird on vinca leavesSnail on vinca leaf

A black-spotted ladybird and a tiny striped snail suffered an enforced eviction as I ejected  their shelter.

Brick pillar

Our stone urns and other containers are mounted on dry brick pillars. The ground under one of these subsided a bit last autumn and it fell over. We spent the last few minutes before lunch levelling a space and beginning to rebuild the column.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork and apple sauce, roast sweet and savoury potatoes, with al dente carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans; followed by rice pudding and blackberry jam.  I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

A Normal Day For Aaron

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Today, Easter Sunday, we confined ourselves to light gardening. For Aaron it was a normal day.

Compost bins

He reorganised the compost bins. This involved shifting the greenish fencing to the left from behind the Head Gardener’s Shed, and moving the contents of one heap into the one I had emptied during the week.

Ace Reclaim bench

He painted the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Phantom Path

He weeded more paths, and moved spare posts from the rickety orange shed to the trunk of the sturdier beech tree. Both of these tasks are shown in this view of the Phantom Path with the beech at the far end.

Heligan Path

Another snaking path was that entitled Heligan.

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

The Shady Path, seen beyond the Dragon Bed;

Gazebo Path

and the Gazebo Path were weeded last week.

Ajugas

We have many ajugas, such as these

Oval and Elizabeth's Beds

 in the Oval Bed, like Elizabeth’s Bed beyond, now fully composted.

We have almost finished the preparation of the Rose Garden, the first image of which shows the chimney pots in the distance, and the vantage point from which, at the south-easternmost corner I photographed the

Jackdaw 1

jackdaw, now guarding the nest inside the chimney, with my little ZX700 HS. Every so often the bird descends into the chimney.

geranium macrorrhizum Ingwersen's Variety

The geraniums macrorrhizum Ingwersen’s Variety are now blooming nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, fish pie, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with which I finished the shiraz.

Don’t Frighten The Humans

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Today was largely overcast, but it brightened up a little in Brockenhurst.

We spent the morning mostly tidying and composting the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds. Jackie continued with this work after we went for a drive this afternoon. I can report that there has been no evidence of Big Beast activity for 48 hours.

Many of the verges in Sandy Down seem to have been tended by the residents. Particularly attractive was that outside Cranford Cottage, where cultivated rhododendrons grow alongside gorse.

Cattle were out in force on the verges and in the woods of Brockenhurst. The mottled black group, perhaps jealous of the attention given to the Highland creatures, wandered into the road to claim their own share.

I became a bovine expert when I explained to a number of visitors that these were Highland Cattle rather a long way from their natural environment.

Stream

Venturing into the woodland in order to photograph one particular grazer, I discovered an inviting fern-bound stream, alongside which

my quarry chomped on grass and other undergrowth.

Further along the road a pair of ponies performed their own interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s aphorism. What they were doing was acceptable as long as they didn’t frighten the humans.

This evening we dined on chicken casserole, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans. I drank more of the shiraz.