Today, by our standards, unseasonably hot for September, was definitely one for sprinkling the garden.
Even the wicker owl appreciated its shower.
By late morning we had become too heated to complete our work on pruning, cutting up, and composting the wisteria, seen here from above and below.
While taking the overhead wisteria pictures I added some more general aerial shots;
back at ground level the Brick Path and its arches; and the Gazebo Path, returning to my puzzle theme with “Where’s Jackie?” (5);
and the Triangular Bed beside the iron urn.
Today’s starring seed pods are on an ornamental allium.
The temperature rose as the day progressed; the sun became veiled by voluminous hazy clouds; the atmosphere increasingly oppressive. Late in the afternoon, in order to shake us from somnolent stupor we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy some vegetables and eggs. There were no eggs.
For the last week or so, this outlet has been selling live chickens from its stock in the next door field. This has been because the older poultry do not lay in the quantity needed for a commercial enterprise. They are replaced by younger models and offered for reduced domestic production. Apparently the new birds haven’t yet got into the swing of things.
Afterwards we took a drive into the forest.
Along Holmsley Passage, tails constantly whisking, ponies dotted the landscape.
So it was for the rest of our journey, for example along Bisterne Close where we encountered
a mare and foal. Like all the youngsters, the stubby little tail didn’t seem adequate for seeing off the flies
and this infant had me backing off at a rate of knots in order to maintain focus as it attempted to brush off its flies with my beard.
On our return via Holmsley Passage ponies slaked their thirst in the rapidly diminishing wayside pool.
This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.
Before visiting Mum at Woodpeckers this morning, Jackie drove us to
Ober Water where I photographed the stream and its reflections as I clambered among
the roots and grasses.
The acute sunlight etched shadows across the land and the water.
Acorns, like Pooh sticks, floated gently down the stream.
At first we had the woodland to ourselves
and the ponies, ignoring their flies. The occasional equine snort was the only sound we heard
until the gentle voices of walkers and the occasional bark of a dog announced the gradually filtering humanity.
On our departure the moorland opposite was rich in green/gold bracken and purple heather.
We settled ourselves behind the screen in the dedicated visiting room at Woodpeckers awaiting the delivery of my wheelchair-bound mother when a loud blast rent the air and the door to the room slammed shut. This, it transpired, was a fire alarm test. Clearly the system was built for instant isolation of each room.
A few minutes later Mum, with a section of peeled skin on her arm, was wheeled in. She had been being pushed out of her room at the crucial moment and the closing door hit her arm. A nurse would soon arrive to dress the wound and order pain relief.
She did this efficiently. Mum was untroubled by the event and was on good enough form to point out that this warranted extra time for the visit. In fact we were given an additional twenty minutes which our mother considered a result.
This evening we dined on succulent sirloin steaks; fried onions; oven chips; fat grilled tomatoes; and baked beans with added tomato purée. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bordeaux.
General garden maintenance this morning included Jackie’s replanting of the
Iron Urn consisting of pansies underplanted with purple tulips, having replaced the root-bound soil; and much more clipping, chopping, and bagging of wayward shrubs.
The winter pansies now blend well with the pale purple colchicums or autumn crocuses, phlox, and Japanese anemones while contrasting with Puerto Rico dahlias.
Pelargoniums and lobelias hang happily over the Pond Bed with its Japanese maples, neighbours to
red and white dahlias.
many attracting hoverflies. continue to proliferate.
The hoverflies enjoy other flowers such as this rain-freckled pale pink rose; you will probably need to access the gallery and bigify the ginger lily to spot its fly, but perhaps not the bluebottle on the tiny diascia.
Numerous happy plantings like pelargoniums and sweet peas; eucalyptus with suspended petunias and cascading bidens; and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah with more pelargoniums continue to produce.
Further fuchsias include the red and purple Mrs Popple and the delicate white Hawkshead;
most petunias also hang from baskets.
Yellow antirrhinums have bloomed non-stop since early spring; many sweet peas persist; pieris produces red leaves.
The sun spotlights mossy stones at the edge of the Gazebo Path.
We now have so many full garden refuse bags that Jackie tried to book the one permitted half hour slot at the recycling centre. This, of course, can only be done on line. There are none available for the rest of the month; more distant appointments will be ‘posted soon’.
Later in the afternoon we carried out extensive watering.
Unfortunately I submitted yesterday’s post without realising that I had omitted the virgin beef pie picture, with the result that those who viewed it first will not have seen the complete rudbeckia bas relief. That has now been rectified by the inclusion of the original, and here is an image of today’s second serving. We have consumed the stem and most of the leaves, and despite the small shark emerging from the right of the crust, no marine animals were harmed in the making of this production.
With this delicious pie we enjoyed boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and, cauliflower, tender green beans, and tasty gravy; Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I started on another bottle of the Bordeaux.
Today we begin with this gallery of Jackie’s photographs of me photographing yesterday’s ponies and Ogdens North.
When leaving Brockenhurst on a forest drive we normally pass a small area of woodland.
This morning I spied a pony through the trees, so Jackie parked and I followed the wildlife.
Birds sang in the taller trees; distant dogs barked;
fresh acorns gently thudded onto the forest floor joining last year’s crop,
ageing autumn leaves, this year’s fungus, and moss-covered fallen trunks.
The area is interlaced with dry streams, the beds still soft enough to cross without twisting an ankle, yet not muddy enough to suck off a shoe. Lichen covered tree stumps and russet leaves remain crisp.
A gravelled path links the wood with Rhinefield Road and a stretch of open land. Pedestrians take the path
or, like cyclists, runners, dog owners, cars, and motorcycles, pass on by.
Appropriately enough, I spotted a speckled wood butterfly.
Rudbeckia was the floral decoration to Jackie’s tasty beef pie for this evening’s dinner served with boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; tender runner beans, and thick, meaty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bordeaux.
This morning, while the Head Gardener continued her autumn clearances, I followed in her wake, collecting, chopping, and composting clippings. The exercise was most delightful when focussed on the Pond Bed, savouring the liquorice flavour released from the statuesque bronze fennel and listening to the tinkling trickle of the water feature. Small birds are beginning to tweet again; pigeons continually exchange melodic love-notes; a biplane droned overhead. Tramping over crunching gravel on the back drive was less harmonious.
The bronze fennel is a very prolific self-seeder, so after lunch I cut down and composted much more of it. The pelargoniums in the second picture are in a hanging basket, which is why they stand above the much taller plant. The bed still contains
other pelargoniums, dahlias, and chrysanthemums.
Nearby, in the Wisteria Bed, these pink roses are blooming again.
Keeping with the pink, we have fuchsias Display and Garden News.
Super Elfin, red, Penny Lane, white roses, and clematis Dr Ruppel still scale the Gothic arch.
Fortunately these everlasting sweet peas are almost finished for this year, because many of the stems were bound to the fennel I removed from the Weeping Birch Bed.
More dahlias thrive in the New Bed.
It is now the larger Cabbage White butterflies that have taken the place of the Small Whites on the verbena bonariensis.
Paul Clarke dropped in for a pleasant chat and to return borrowed books while driving a sleeping Margery back from Bournemouth this afternoon.
Later, we took a drive into the forest, where Jackie visited Hockey’s Farm Shop, while
I photographed an old farm cart that isn’t going anywhere.
The stream at Ogdens North is now dry enough for me to step across quite easily. The pony in the last two of these pictures was so keen to make my acquaintance that I had to back away sharply to photograph the persistent creature which abandoned my face for he sparse grass underfoot.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon casserole; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; with tender runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Calvet Prestige Bordeaux 2018.
Early this morning Jackie found a robin flapping about in the utility room. She opened the window for him. Was it Nugget? Later she conversed in the garden with a juvenile.
While the Head Gardener completed the strengthening the compost bin that I had begun a few days ago, I carried out some dead heading before and after lunch.
Bees continued to work over the verbena bonariensis and other plants such as calendula.
Autumn crocuses are now standing proud.
In the Rose Garden Mum in a Million has reached maturity; Flower Power is as strong as ever; and Aloha greets us again;
and the Kent carpet is a wrap.
Casting a shadow was sunbathing Geranium Rozanne,
while the same sun in the early evening backlit the last hollyhock we passed on the way to taking our drinks in the rose garden.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy cauliflower and broccoli; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.
The last passenger train was, as far as I remember, about 6.30 p.m. This was confirmed by the sole station staff member. I arrived in such good time that I went for a walk, returning to see a train departing.
I became further perturbed when I saw the single employee pedalling away. I caught up with him and asked if that had been my train. With a look of terror he informed me that there was only the night train to come and cycled off in haste.
There was a long wait ahead of me. No dining establishments were open. There was a cinema – showing ‘Stand Up Virgin Soldiers’. I bought a large cup of popcorn and settled into my seat – one of three now occupied.
The film was meant to be funny, but I wasn’t in the mood.
The night train got me home in the small hours of the morning.
Fast forward to this morning, when Jackie and I visited Milford on Sea Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, after which we did not linger on the coast,
the car parks of which were fast filling up with older visitors watching the sun glinting on the waves against a backdrop of Hurst Castle, and those
entertaining pre-school age children at the seaside.
Leaving Milford, cyclamen continue to decorate the roadside verges.
It was donkeys, some quite young, that dominated the roads like Jordan’s Lane at Pilley, where they indulged in suckling and scratching on any available surface.
We both spent some time watering pots and Hanging baskets.
This evening we dined on roast pork, parsnips, and potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender cabbage and green beans, with tasty, meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.
This morning I e-mailed a drawing to a fellow blogger as an offering to illustrate one of his posts.
While I sat in the car waiting for Jackie to emerge from Tesco with a fortnight’s shopping that I would load into our vehicle and into the kitchen at home I finished reading
Lent to us by Giles, this is a truly inspirational book charting the despair following a catastrophic turn of fortune partly brought about by physical- and mental ill-health; a loving relationship and the struggling creativity that, phoenix-like, surmounted disaster and contributed to remarkable success.
Depression, anxiety, unemployment, severe physical pain, all experienced while raising a young family are all honestly described. Sub-titled ‘A Story of Despair and Redemption’, this work is about the emotional turmoil the writers have experienced; it is also a tutorial on planning and planting a stunning garden; a journey through the seasons and the effects of sunshine, light, water, and soil. The constantly repeated cyclical patterns of each year from gloom to brightness and back again could be seen as a metaphor for the couple’s journey through life.
In his dynamic media presentation of such as BBC’s ‘Gardener’s World and in his writing Monty Don has been the public face of this partnership. Sarah, however, in their collaborations, of which this work is one, produces equally eloquent descriptive prose. I must refrain from giving away any more detail but ‘The Jewel Garden’ supports the phrase ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’.
Finally, I would suggest that anyone – TanGental, for instance – planning a garden event at any particular time of the year would do well to read this book.
After lunch I finished pruning the poplar, the chopped branches of which, supplemented by a few more of Jackie’s rose clippings, filled another bag for recycling.
I managed to knock this dahlia from its stem while wheeling the barrow of poplar cuttings. Never mind. We have an accident pot indoors.
Petunias still proliferate,
as do the ubiquitous Japanese anemones.
Today’s roses are represented by a pink carpet variety; a paler pink Generous Gardener, planted to scale the lopped cypress; and Shropshire Lad, bearing the freckles formed by raindrops.
This pink gaura is the most successful we have tried in this garden; the white begonia has always delighted.
Just one hollyhock bloom has so far resisted adding to a column of seed pods; clematis Julia Correvon has shed her colourful petal-like leaves.
At the end of the afternoon Jackie finished trimming the lawn.
This evening we dined on plentiful scrambled egg on toast.
Jackie and her sisters enjoyed a coven meeting at The Bat & Ball on Salisbury Road, Braemore. As an unfortunate update to this history that still adorns the pub wall Jackie tells me that new owners have replaced the historic sign mentioned in this text with simply the title in a fairly plain font. I transported some of the Head Gardener’s clippings to the compost bin, cut back a bramble on the back drive, and pruned a poplar that had suffered severe wind damage.
I chopped up the tree branches with which I filled two more bags and added them to the pile.
Mum in a Million and other roses continue to bloom in the Rose Garden.
Various paths are looking a little tidier.
The Patio Bed remains cheerful;
fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the Pond Bed, having spent the heatwave shrivelling, has revived well from the following rains;
kniphofias in the Cryptomeria Bed continue to multiply;
and potted plants line up outside the Head Gardener’s shed.
In honour of Sir Alastair Cook, former England captain and one of our greatest batsmen, Jackie photographed this cartoon displayed in the sisters’ lunch venue.