Drinks In The Rose Garden

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We have recently subscribed to a joint funeral plan which offered a free will writing service. It is a distinct example of my ability to grasp ambivalence that I can prepare for the inevitable whilst at the same time feeling it is not going to happen to me.

By appointment today, the will writer telephoned and gleaned all the necessary information for her to draft up documents for both of us. As the Administration Department of our marriage I then prepared Jackie’s application for a renewal of her driving license. She signed it, of course. It hasn’t found its way to a post box yet.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon quarter final tennis match between Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson. I will not give away any details for those who may have recorded the game, save to say that there was a certain amount of consternation that it might continue long enough to clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final contest with Croatia.

Have no fear, we even had time for drinks in the Rose Garden, where, in addition to the many roses, we could enjoy other plants such as lilies and the Lanarth White lace cap hydrangea.

We watched the first half of the football on the sofa with bowls of Jackie’s superb pork paprika on our knees. This was served with new potatoes and chantenay carrots. I drank a Mendoza Malbec 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden. Now we are going to see the second half.

A Wee Bit Harsh

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Nasturtiums

Early this morning, in the front garden, I photographed nasturtiums;

Petunias in hanging basket

double petunias in a hanging basket;

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

clematis Mrs N. Thompson, now taking over from the pink roses on the trellis;

Clematis Ville de Lyon

and another, Ville de Lyon, draped over the fence.

Moving to the patio, I admired the various planting groups, including planters and hanging baskets along the Kitchen Path.

A brief sojourn in the Rose Garden revealed, among others, the miniature Little Rambler, clematis Arabella; Creme de la Creme; a bee in a poppy; and Jackie’s new creation, Rosa Canoris Forkii.

This made me determined to return later and join Jackie in a lengthy dead-heading session. I have to admit that I did get carried away with tracking bees and hoverflies, but, nevertheless, I thought the Head Gardener’s observation that there was more photography than dead-heading being carried out, was a wee bit harsh.

This afternoon I dozed through two World Cup football matches. It doesn’t much matter which they were.

Before dinner, we enjoyed a drink on the patio. I saved some of my Doom Bar to accompany Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and boiled basmati rice. Having finished her Hoegaarden, Jackie had the pleasure of watching me.

Maybe There’ll Be Frost

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Although the meteorologists keep changing their minds about it, we have a frost warning for tonight. We therefore began the task of bringing some of the more tender potted plants into

Cold frame 1Cold frame 2

a makeshift cold frame

Greenhouse 1Greenhouse 2

and the greenhouse.

Gazebo Path

Sun still streaked across the Gazebo Path;

Shady/Oval Bed paths

across the Shady Path;

Dead End Path 1

Begonias etc

across the Dead End Path;

Brick PathBrick Path 2

and down the Brick Path.

Cryptomeria Bed 1Cryptomeria Bed 2

Some geraniums and other similarly vulnerable plants like these in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Petunias

or these petunias, had to be left to the elements,

Pelargonium Quercifolium

but this pot of pelargonium Quercifolia that has taken two years to reach splendid maturity, just had to be placed in the greenhouse.

Meanwhile roses such as Compassion, seen rising above the Dead End Path in one of the earlier pictures;

Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton;

Absolutely Fabulous

and Absolutely Fabulous, will fight their own corners.

Sky an hour before sunset

An hour before sunset, the skies over Downton presaged splendid views later,

Sunset 1

when off we sped to Barton on Sea where

Sunset 2

we were not disappointed.

Sunset 3

Others had the same idea;

Photographing sunset 1

especially those

Photographing sunset 2

photographing

Photographing sunset 3

the ever-changing

Sunset 4

scene.

Sunset 5

Frozen vapour in the cross-hatched clouds suggests that maybe we will have frost.

Sunset with walkers 1Sunset with walkers 2Sunset with walkers 3Sunset with walkers 4

While walkers aimed for the sunset,

Isle of Wight at sunset

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were satisfied with the lighthouse beacon (enlargement will be necessary to see this).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent sausage casserole, roast potatoes, and cauliflower. We did not imbibe.

 

 

 

 

The Great Escape

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With the return of the sunshine I carried out a little more tidying in the garden, especially dead-heading of roses, including

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous,

Rose Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta,

Rose pink climber

and a pink climber recovered by Elizabeth.

Wisteria in Kitchen Bed

This wisteria occupied the Kitchen Bed when we arrived three years ago. Despite the Head Gardener’s best efforts it has never flowered.

Chilean lantern bush

The Chilean lantern bush, on the other hand, is once more producing blooms;

Pieris

and new shoots are emerging on the pieris on the grass patch.

Gazebo Path

Although the agapanthuses took such a battering from the recent storms that they wound up in a vase indoors, some still line the Gazebo Path.

Snapdragons, geraniums, lobelia

Little blue lobelias peep out from beneath rich red snapdragons and geraniums the Back Drive barrier,

Lobelia Queen Victoria

while their taller relatives named Queen Victoria tower in the Oval Bed.

Ginger lily

We have a number of ginger lilies.

Hummingbird moth

The warmth of the sun brought out numerous insects. Hummingbird moths hovered among the pink phlox. I needed many unsuccessful attempts to acquire this less than wonderful image of a constantly flapping creature I think is new to our country.

Red Admiral on verbena bonarensis

Verbena bonarensis blooms attracted both stable, lightweight, Red Admirals

Bee on verbena bonarensis 1Bee on verbena bonarensis 2

and bees that teetered somewhat.

Bee on salvia farinacea

Bees also plundered salvias,

Bee on bidens

bidens,

Bee on geranium palmatum

and geranium palmatums.

Insect on cosmos

I could not identify some tiny creatures like this one on a cosmos,

Insect on bronze fennel

or this one cleverly camouflaged by bronze fennel.

Sweet peas and gladioli whiteFly on sweet pea, gladioli

A fly was attracted by the ensemble of white sweet peas and gladioli.

Rudbeckia distributed

Rudbeckia snaked from bed to bed in this picture for which I must apologise to the Head Gardener because I did not remove the fallen branch before making it.

Spider 1

This spider was in for a disappointment.

Wasp on web line 1Wasp on web line 2

I could almost hear it licking its chops as it prepared its larder for the wasp that seemed ensnared by its web line.

Wasp and spider 1Wasp and spider 2Wasp and spider 3Wasp and spider 4Wasp and spider 5Wasp and spider 6

The tiny spider perfected the trap as its larger prey frantically twisted, turned, and span in its efforts to escape being drawn in.

Wasp and spider 7

Eventually the prospective dinner hauled itself to safety, and sped off, leaving the hungry spider to creep into hiding and lurk in wait for another victim.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent dinner of chicken Kiev, savoury rice, tasty ratatouille, and crisp runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s That Smile?

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The lower temperature brought a cooler and more pleasant day on which The Head Gardener continued her creative planting, serious weeding, and cutting back. I dead-headed roses, carted debris to the compost heap, and made a few pictures.

Kitchen wall planting 2

The planting on the kitchen wall now seems complete. But you can never be sure. It might be possible to squeeze in something else.

Kitchen wall planting 1

Surely, however, the corner viewed from the patio has more than its share of hanging baskets

Kitchen corner planters featuring petunias, violas, and bidens

and a profusion of pots beneath them.

Kitchen BedKitchen Bed 2

Even the kitchen window reflects its eponymous bed.

Urn containing petunias, alyssum.geraniums, and cosmoses

This is the stone urn standing behind the frog pond on the patio end.

Rose Garden

We have a number of carpet roses which provide a profusion of ground cover. This one in the Rose Garden flirts with Love Knot and Alan Titchmarsh.

Rose Hot Chocolate

Some of you may prefer Hot Chocolate.

Rose Mama Mia

Mama Mia produces a splendid show,

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

and, Emma Hamilton hangs her heavy head into the arms of Absolutely Fabulous.

Rose Super Elfin

Super Elfin, the red rambler in the herbaceous border, virtually uprooted by the beast coming under the North Breeze fence, has benefited from our deterrents and promises to climb to dizzy heights.

Hydrangea 2

Of all the spindly little plants that have received nurture from Jackie, she is justifiably proud of two colourful hydrangeas with dark-trimmed leaves.

Clematis and rosa glauca 2Clematis and rosa glauca

It has taken two years to train this clematis, now mingling with rosa glauca on the arch spanning the Head Gardener’s Walk.

New Bed 1Poppies in New BedPoppies in New Bed

The New Forest is not new. It was, after all where William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, was killed. But, like Jackie’s New Bed, now two years old, it was once. Both are ageing gracefully.

Verbena

Did you, as a child, ever have a kaleidoscope toy? If so, I imagine you could have produced something like this verbena, nature’s own.

Antirrhinum

We have many antirrhinums. Here is a red one.

Petunias in hanging basket, Jackie's smilePetunias and Jackie's smile 2

Jackie took the occasional rest. Sometimes she sat on the Ace Reclaim bench where she could admire her plantings such as the petunias in this hanging basket;

Phlox

the blue phlox in the bed facing her;

Phantom Path

the Phantom Path;

Florence sculpture

the sculpture entitled Florence, now perhaps bidding for the name Flora;

Garden view across Margery's bed from Ace Reclaim bench

and the view across Margery’s bed with its proliferation of day lilies,

Day lily 1Day lily 2

 other examples of which are these.

Did you spot both smiles?

This evening, the friendly Mr Chan produced our meal, which Jackie collected from Hordle Chinese Take Away. I finished Jessie’s excellent Chablis.

 

 

Fishy Business

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This morning, Jackie went hunting for pond liner to mend a leak in the Waterboy fountain

Brick Path through Agriframes Arch

whilst Aaron cleared wind-battered plants and cut back others encroaching on the paths,

Love Knot and Alan Titchmarsh

Little Rambler

and I dead-headed in the rose garden and beyond. In the first of the above two pictures, the paler Alan Titchmarsh stands beside Love Knot; in the second, Little Rambler’s label stands out.

Rosa Gallica

The bright pink Rosa Gallica is beautifully striated;

rose Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral bears new buds ready to take over from the mature bloom;

Bee on Absolutely Fabulous 1Bee on Absolutely Fabulous 2

and a bee lingered on Absolutely Fabulous long enough for me to get two shots in.

Bee entering foxglove

In fact bees busy themselves everywhere. This one takes itself into a pink foxglove;

Bee on aquilegia

another boards an aquilegia;

Bee on heuchera

another a heuchera;

Bee and shield bug in Bottle Brush plant

and, is that a shield bug sharing a berth with one in a Bottle Brush plant?

Petunias

Elsewhere we have suspended petunias;

Clematis Star of India

ascending clematises like this Star of India;

rosa Glauca

soaring Rosa Glauca;

Campanulas

white campanulas;

Rose Campion

delicate rose campion;

Sisyrinchium striatum

tiny sisyrinchium striatum;

Lilies 1Day lily 1

luscious lilies;

Fuchsia

hardy fuchsias;

Philadelphus 1Philadelphus 2

two different philadelphuses;

rose Dearest

another pink rose Dearest;

rose Wedding Day 1

and Wedding Day

Clematis and Wedding Day

joining the clematis on the Agriframes Arch.

After lunch we motored to Stewart’s Garden Centre just outside Christchurch where, at Maidenhead Aquatics, we found the liner.

Koi Carp 10Koi Carp 11Koi Carp 12Koi Carp 4Koi Carp 6Koi Carp 7Koi Carp 8Koi Carp 9

Koi Carp 5Koi Carp 1Koi Carp 2Koi Carp 3

Outside this outlet there is a large pool around which koi carp, some looking prehistoric, glide, fins flapping, or swoop, tails flipping, fins tucked into their sides, whirling interminably.

We also noticed that Broomhill Garden Buildings had a Spring Sale, where a rather good greenhouse was available at half price. Back home we sped to take measurements of the place where it would go. It fitted. Back we sped and ordered it.

This evening we dined on haddock fishcakes topped with Cheddar cheese; spinach (for the forearms); boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans.with which I drank Louis Chamandiet Cairanne 2015.

 

 

The Herbaceous Borders

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Jackie continued her planting today. My major task was dead-heading.

Planting in Dragon Bed

This section of the Dragon Bed shows how what was a large, gangly ficus until Aaron removed it six days ago has been replaced by the Head Gardener’s selection.

View from Butler sinks along Dead End Path

The chimney pot in this shot of the view from the butler sinks at the end of the Dead End path

Chimney pots planted

is one of the three in which Jackie has now completed this year’s arrangements.

Kitchen Bed

Brick Path 1Brick Path 2The stone planters in the Kitchen Bed have received similar treatment, as have these two urns leading us to the original section of the Brick Path taking us from the south end to the house. This pair necessitated an urgent trip to Otter Nurseries late yesterday afternoon to buy a few more geraniums.

 

Margery's Bed

A yoked pair of hanging baskets introduces us to Margery’s Bed,

Phantom Path

alongside which raking of the Phantom Path has commenced. The gorgeous pink rhododendron seen through the arch on the Cryptomeria Bed

Garden view from Weeping Birch Bed

is also visible from the brick section of the Oval Path, along which coils

Sprinkler on Weeping Birch Bed

the hose delivering sprinkled refreshment to the Weeping Birch Bed.

Gothic Arch

A white rambler and a purple clematis share the Gothic Arch;

Clematis on Agriframes Arch

The combination is similar on the Agriframes Arch, and we can name the rambler which, yet to bloom, is Wedding Day.

Geraniums

These Rozannes behind the iron urn are perhaps the most unusual of the blue geraniums.

Sambucus nigra and geranium palmatum 1

Beside the potting shed at the corner of the Rose Garden sambucus nigra and geranium palmatums sit happily together.

rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Garden 2

occupying the foreground of this image is now beginning to bloom;

roses Just Joey and Love Knot

Just Joey and Love Knot are at the far end.

rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton

Rose Garden 3

peeps round pink foxgloves at Absolutely Fabulous.

rose Little Rambler

The aptly named Little Rambler scales one of the pergola posts.

Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 1Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 2

I concentrated much of my dead-heading efforts on the Rose Garden, giving me ample opportunity to photograph hoverflies like these skimming For Your Eyes Only. For this purpose my camera hung round my neck as I snipped.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The beds alongside the Back Drive have demanded that they now be called the herbaceous borders.

Poppies

They contain different varieties of poppy,

Rose Félicité Perpétue

and Félicité Perpétue now wears a green and white shawl.

This evening we dined on pizza supplemented by a topping of bacon rashers; plentiful salad, and cold baked beans. I drank Cahors malbec 2015. Jacke had previously slaked her thirst with fizzy water, or, as she termed it, ‘eau petillante’.