Better Than Expected

Today’s winds have dropped to 20 m.p.h.

When opening the gate for Aaron this morning I checked on the storm damage.

There really wasn’t much more than I had noticed yesterday. The downpipe to the water butt on the corner of the kitchen wall had become unstuck; a few extra pots had fallen; the sweet peas had been further loosened; quite a few smaller branches had been ripped off the beech and birch trees; some of the ornamental poplar branches were broken; just one rose stem had been torn; many plants have lost stems; and there was a certain amount of wind burn on one side of the winter flowering cherry and elsewhere, such as various fuchsias.

Aaron began the work of tidying up.

He gathered and bagged up many of the fallen branches and leaves;

trimmed the ornamental poplar, removing the broken branches;

and righted the fallen containers ready for Jackie to replace at her leisure. He observed that the morning had gone very quickly. He likes to be busy.

Bob of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog has recently suggested a regular feature of “Where’s Nugget” inviting readers to find our little robin. That, of course, depended on his surviving the storm and returning unscathed. I am happy to report that I heard his gentle chirp as he followed Aaron around.

He nipped up onto a chair for a chat, then flitted off into the Rose Garden.

I admit that the first “Where’s Nugget” puzzle is a little difficult.

The red scented sweet peas may have been blown awry, but there are plenty of clinging seed pods which benefited from an early shower,

and its desiccated leaves provide perfect camouflage for our Meadow Brown butterflies.

These dahlias

and the agapanthuses may have bowed to the elements, but, like the rest of the garden, they have fared far better than expected.

Bees, flies, and crickets have come out to play and to work again,

The Rose Garden has remained virtually unscathed,

and one lily kept its head in the front.

Other flowers, like these cosmoses, dahlias, and rudbeckia are wondering what all the fuss was about.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie in short crust pastry; new potatoes; roasted sweet potato and parsnip; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; with piquant cauliflower cheese, with which she finished the Austrian white wine and I drank Doom Bar.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

Unashamedly Odious

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Once hailed as ‘one of Hampshire’s loveliest gardens’ we last visited Apple Court Garden, under its previous ownership in the spring of 2014. Elizabeth had also viewed it before then. Today it was open under the NGS (National Gardens Scheme) which raises money for charity. The three of us went along to be profoundly disappointed. Certainly we have endured a very dry summer, but that was no reason for the general air of decay and lack of care, especially as the entrance fee and prices of rather sad plants for sale were high.

My camera worked hard to find things of beauty to photograph.

Jackie and Elizabeth studying plants for sale

Jackie and Elizabeth studied the plants for sale, on the way to the entrance hut.

Spiderwort

Such colour as there was on this stretch – or anywhere else for that matter, appeared in  scattered spots, like this spiderwort tradescantia,

Crocosmia

or this attractive two-tone crocosmia.

Jackie

Elizabeth having paid our £5 a head entrance fee we scoured the beds for interest. Here Jackie contemplates the parched earth.

Agapanthuses

The distant agapanthuses looked well enough;

Phormium

This bright phormium sent up reddish feathered foliage;

Turk's Head lily

a decorative Turk’s Head lily swayed to

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed is attractive to bees. We noticed none in the garden.

A modicum of interest was engendered by the emergence of other visitors in the gaps between the beech hedges.

Water lily

At least, we imagined, the water lilies

and the carp in the Japanese garden would sparkle. Sadly the once clear water was too murky for the lens to penetrate to any depth; spiders’ webs festooned the wooden screen;

the surrounding path had become overgrown and the gravel so sparse as to offer raised circular stones as booby traps.

Comparisons are odious – so the old saying goes. Well, in our view this is no longer a lovely garden. A glance at the last two images in the post highlighted in the first paragraph above will show the difference in the carp’s pool. Our own garden, containing far more colour per square metre, is about a quarter of a mile from Apple Court. I am unashamed in making these two comparisons.

This evening Jackie produced, for the three of us, succulent roast lamb; perfectly crisp roast potatoes; Yorkshire pudding; runner beans from the garden with crunchy carrots and soft mange touts; and onion gravy so thick as to require a spoon for serving. Jackie having drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand, abstained from alcohol, while Elizabeth and I drank Castillero del Diablo reserva Merlot 2017.

Spot the Bees

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Jackie continued watering the garden this morning. This afternoon we both carried out an extensive dead-heading session.

After this, I wandered among the flitting butterflies and the laden bees, occasionally sitting down, and photographing the still colourful range of flowers. The day lilies have been struggling, but some still survive. Look for the bees in some of the blooms. Captions to the gallery pictures offer identification.

This evening the three of us, including Elizabeth, dined on Jackie’s marinaded chicken fillets, pork rack of ribs, Plentiful vegetable rice, and ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.

 

Sparrows To The Right Of Us, Sparrows To The Left Of Us

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Lilies

This afternoon I wandered around the garden seeking flowers I may not yet have featured this year. These lilies have just popped in a patio planter.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed again stretch across the Gazebo Path.

Rudbeckia and phlox

They stand alongside these Rudbeckia and phlox;

Begonias

while on that bed’s Shady Path side these begonias bloom.

Dahlia Puerto Rico

This flamboyant dahlia, aptly named Puerto Rico blazes between Brick and Gazebo Paths.

Clematis

The arch across the Shady Path supports this purple clematis.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

In the Rose Garden we have fuchsias Mrs Popple

Fuchsia Bella Rosella

and Bella Rosella.

Gloriana

Gloriana rose is having a better year;

Special Anniversary rose

while Special Anniversary

Crown Princess Margareta rose

and Crown Process Margareta are enjoying a second flush.

Hydrangea

Jackie bought this rather splendid hydrangea very cheaply in Lidl this morning. It doesn’t have a name. You can’t expect everything for £5. She will nurture it in the pot until the weather is kinder.

Sparrows' nest

Now to the sparrows. I have reported on the second brood of these birds in the loo extractor fan. keeping their parents foraging. We have a second set in the rusted burglar alarm on the other side. These are not visible, but I can assure you that they make as much noise as their not so distant cousins.

This evening the three of us dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s sublime savoury rice. Mrs. Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.

Knickerbocker Glory

I did a little bit of dead-heading in the Rose Garden this morning, and watched the Wimbledon men’s semi-finals this afternoon.

Agapanthuses 1Agapanthuses 2Agapanthuses 3

Between matches, I took a break and wandered around the garden, particularly to see how the agapanthuses are coming along. The first image shows them against the backcloth of the Palm Bed, on the edge of which they are situated; the second looks out from that bed; and the third down the Gazebo Path.

Palm bed

Here is another view of the Palm Bed,

Garden view from corner of Margery's Bed

opposite which we have this scene from the corner of Margery’s Bed.

St John's Wort

Saint John’s wort glows at the entrance to the Rose Garden.

Fly on sweet peas

A fly also took a break on a white sweet pea.

Continuing with ‘A Knight’s Tale’ I added some new material and edited extracts from ‘Mugging’

and from ‘Tom’

The picture of Tom has been extracted from this school photograph featured in ‘Did You Mean The Off Break?’ 

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb steak and onion pie in proper short crust pastry, with new potatoes, crisp carrots and spring greens. I drank more of the Fronton, then  became  rather excited when I thought dessert was to be knickerbocker glory, but it turned out to be

Hydgrangea in vase

hydrangea in a vase, so we settled for a Magnum each.

 

A Splendid Morning

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The weather this morning was splendid. The morning was to become more so, with a visit from good friends.

In eager anticipation of the arrival Jackie was out early sweeping the corridors, manicuring the green carpet, refreshing the flowers, and generally tidying up the reception room that is the garden. It seemed only right that I should get out there and help.

Right on time at 11 a.m. Geoff Le Pard arrived with the Textiliste, the Vet, and Dog.

View across Kitchen Bed

We all sat on the patio with coffee and sparkling water. This is one view across the Kitchen bed.

The Textiliste 1The Textiliste 2

Everyone then wandered around the garden. Here are a couple of views featuring the Textiliste, a skilled gardener herself.

Geoff and Milo

This was the first bench tried out by Geoff.

Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 1Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 2

Partly for the benefit of our mutual friend, Pauline, the Vet reprised a photo of Geoff and me taken a year ago. Dog wasn’t in the last one. He didn’t get the joke his master and I shared.

The Vet 1The Vet and Milo 1The Vet and Milo 2

The Vet, of course, was, herself, far more worthy of the camera’s attention. Was Dog feigning an ailment in order to obtain a scratch?

Bidens

The large chimney pots, one of which holds this bidens, were much admired.

Jackie

Jackie, amused by the photo session,

Jackie, Geoff, and Milo

was soon to be joined by Geoff and Dog on the Nottingham Castle Bench. In the right foreground of this shot is another of the chimney pots.

Heuchera and day lilies

The opposite corner of the Dead End Path contains this heuchera and these day lilies.

Bee in Summer Wine

On a final visit to the Rose Garden before we set off for lunch, I spotted a bee slaking its thirst on Summer Wine.

Ogre sculpture

Watched over by an Ogre we all lunched at The Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea. He seemed to be having as much fun as we were.

Afterwards, Jackie drove me to the Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a clean and check up. All was well.

We arrived back home in time for the televised Wimbledon tennis semi-final between Johanna Konta and Venus Williams.

Head Gardener's Walk/Shady Path

I then wandered around the garden again, along the Head Gardener’s Walk to the Shady Path

Dragon Bed

beside the Dragon Bed,

Begonia

where a glowing begonia shines like a beacon.

Comma butterfly

A rather tatty Comma butterfly took a rest,

Red Admiral and Comma butterflies

then flitted across to join a Red Admiral in the sunshine.

Gazebo Path

To the left along the Gazebo Path,

Agapanthus 1Agapanthus 2Agapanthus 3

a large cluster of agapanthuses, in different stages of emergence, are bursting from their cases.

Dead tree trunk

This is the trunk of the dead tree that supports solanums and clematises.

Fuschia Mrs Popple and hydrangea Lanarth White

In the corner of the Rose Garden beside the orange shed, fuchsia Mrs Popple provides a strong contrast to Lanarth White hydrangea.

Sweet peas 1Sweet peas 2

Finally, I thought Bruce would like to see how the sweet peas are coming along.

This evening Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled gherkins and onions. I drank Arborescence Fronton 2016.