Fruits Of Labour

I am close to deciding on my final cut for the Everton Festival Photographic Competition. Many painful decisions are being made now, concerning which shots to leave out.

In order seriously to consider the deer having her nose scratched I have converted this image to Black and White, thus giving a sharper silhouette. This is, incidentally, quite a small crop from the original picture. Does anyone have an opinion?

Jackie has been working very hard all this week on planting and replenishment of soil.

Here she tidies what she has achieved against the kitchen wall;

this side of the patio, all of which has been repotted, leads through the Dead End Path,

Earlier plantings include this allium in the Palm Bed and clematis climbing the Wedding Day (formerly Agriframes) arch.

While I think of it, I have been calling the clematis wandering up the wisteria arbour Niobe; we now think it should be named Star of India.

It faces the bright red Chiliean Lantern tree.

Rose Altissimo stands sentinel between Elizabeth’s Bed and the

Rose Garden where Laura Ford’s yellow pigment splashes onto the heuchera border, and

Special Anniversary

nods to the numerous gloves the foxes have scattered therein.

Creamy yellow Summer Time makes its bid to support the peeling old shed;

Jacqueline du Pré plays on;

and the deep pink climber Elizabeth rediscovered races Roserie de la Haie to the skies.

The Weeping Birch Bed bursts with burgeoning blooms.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts roasted in sweet chilli sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and ratatouille with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

The Crane

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This morning Shelly and Ron visited with more presents for Jackie. We sat talking on the patio before conducting the obligatory garden tour.

Poplar

The poplar, of which I featured a close-up yesterday, made a pleasing back drop to our conversation.

rose Just Joey

Also yesterday I photographed Just Joey before he had come into his full splendour, which he had done today.

rose Flower Power

Quite nearby, Flower Power, finally released from the being the Big Beast’s convenience, is demonstrating its vigour for the first time.

Shelly smelling rosa gallica

Shelly bent to experience the full fragrance of stripy Rosa Gallica,

Rosa gallica and Laura Ford

sharing it’s bed with the glowing Laura Ford;

Jackie and Shelly

and, later, looked aloft to admire the budding Wedding Day smothering the Agriframes Arch.

Allium

Finally, Jackie proudly showed her sister that the spindly little allium she had last year transplanted from beneath a prised-up brick in the path had, emulating Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, developed into a beautiful swan-necked crane.

After a routine tidying session, we took a trip to Molly’s Den. Jackie has hankered for a couple of stone window boxes with which to replace the plastic ones that sat on the stone wall at the front of the house, except when they were blown down. She suggested that would be what she would like for her birthday. We began at that antiques emporium.

Stone window boxes

These two stood immediately inside the doorway. Obviously we bought them.

But, really! Two stone troughs for a birthday present! That had only ever been subterfuge on my part. While the Head Gardener went looking to make sure they were no better ones among the many other displays, I searched for something that would be a bit more of a surprise.

Gangway

This vast, hangar-like, warehouse is separated into cubicles and smaller display cabinets linked by gangways like this one.

Clothes - second hand

There’s not much you can’t find here; retro and vintage clothing;

Furnishings

furniture and furnishings;

Garden tools etc

garden tools and kitchenalia;

Baskets, kettles, etc

baskets and kettles;

Wedding flowers

bridal accoutrements;

Jackie in rocking chair 1

and a rocking chair.Jackie in rocking chair 2

Now, in situ, underneath the wisteria arbour, isn’t that a more suitable present?

Stone window boxes planted up

Needless to say, it was essential that the window boxes be potted up post haste.

This evening we joined Becky and Ian at the Crown Inn at Everton for a birthday dinner. The food, the service, and the ambience were all excellent. I enjoyed well-filled steak and kidney pudding, crisp chips, and perfectly cooked fine slivers of broccoli and carrots wrapped in a tender cabbage leaf, followed by unbelievably light and moist bread and butter pudding in creme anglaise. I drank a pint of Doom Bar followed by a glass of Delcoeur vin de l;Herault. Should any of the other three feel inclined to report on their meal, I invite them to do so in a comment.

Jackie was given a joint present from Becky, Ian, Mat, and Tess, in the form of a quite magnificent owl. I will photograph this bird when it has been placed in the garden.

 

 

 

 

The Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier

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Brick PathJackie working on Dragon BedJackie continues weeding, clipping, planting, and replenishing soil. This involves a certain amount of popping out to a garden centre. Today, for example, she departed for some lime and returned with, in addition, a garden tray, a parasol, and the obligatory few plants. Here she was working away on the Dragon Bed near the house end of the Brick Path a couple of days ago.

Wisteria arbour

Here is a current view of the Wisteria Arbour where, accompanying the eponymous plant, can be seen a red rose and Carnaby and Star of India clematises; with bronze fennel, cerinthes and Sweet Williams in the foreground bed.

Garden view across Kitchen BedAlliumFrom the corner of the patio the view across the Kitchen Bed contains the white clematis Marie Boisselot reflected by libertia; alliums, pansies, and diascias bringing notes of purple and pink; and russet triangle points made up of the recently pruned maple, the distant copper beech, and the now fully blooming

Chilean Lantern Tree

Chilean Lantern tree.

Rose Peach Abundance 1

Rose Peach Abundance soars over the Oval Bed,

Rose Altissimo

as does Altissimo beside the potting shed.

Rose Mum in a Million

Mum in a million,

Rose Crown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margarete,

Rose Schoolgirl

and Schoolgirl are all flourishing in the Rose Garden

Rose Festive Jewel

where Festive Jewel

Rose Garden 1

leads the eye through For Your Eyes Only to Gloriana, with Love Knot to the left;

Hoverfly on rose Summer Wine

and a small hoverfly investigates Summer Wine peeping from its rack on the entrance arch.

Heucheras

The Head Gardener is wondering whether the splendid, flouncing, heucheras are now putting the roses in the shade.

Cuttings for compost 2Cuttings for compost 1My primary function has been to explore all paths and corners of the garden seeking out heaps of weeds and clippings and either chopping them up to fill the orange bags, or dumping them on the fast developing compost piles.

These contributions can crop up anywhere, especially, it seems, when I think I have finished.

Wheelbarrow loaded with weeds

This was just the first wheelbarrow load today.

Weeds for compost 1

Pushing it happily along the Brick Path, I discovered the next two loads. It is fun being the Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier.

Fortunately, Jackie had produced enough of her marvellous lamb jalfrezi meal yesterday for it to be reprised this evening. As usual, this offered some enhancement. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, leaving the Kingfisher to me.

Kingston Connections

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Given to me by Barrie earlier in the year, Neil Grant’s book ‘Village London Past & Present’, which I just finished reading, was a perfect adjunct to David Lawrence’s ‘Bright Open Spaces’.

The author’s style is both informative and entertaining, and the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the past and what was, to Mr Grant when published, the present. Much is made of the pace of change at a time when the Millennium Dome and the London Eye were both buildings of the future. Indeed, when studying photographs labelled ‘today’ in 1991, I found myself asking questions. Even my own ‘Streets of London’ series begun in 2004 is now history.

100 years ago, the metropolis was indeed a series of villages, and residences of, say Wimbledon or Dulwich cling to that term today. It is hard to believe that the un-idyllic Camberwell once harboured an eponymous beauty in the form of a butterfly.

Having lived and worked in various of London’s villages for most of my life, I am familiar with most of the book’s coverage. I have chosen just one area of the capital to illustrate this post and outline my connections.

Let me begin with 1966, the year when, as an Assistant Child Care Officer, I entered Social Work. My post ‘An Attachment To The Gates’ tells of what I did to the gates of Kingston’s Guildhall. For a good laugh, it is to be highly recommended.

Kingston Market

An important town in the Middle Ages, Kingston has probably the oldest continuing market in the country. It was in August 1972 that Jackie and her friend Linda set up a stall in this market, displaying their own hand-crafted goods. I encouraged my work colleagues to admire the contents.

Anglers at Kingston

Sometime later in the 1970s, Matthew was seriously into fishing. It is perhaps possible that it was somewhere near this bank of the Thames, seen in about 1890, that I accompanied him on such an outing. I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t catch anything.

Kingston was also where we carried out most of our mudlarking.

Today’s heavy rain had desisted by mid-afternoon revealing

Weigela and allium

a humble white allium paying obeisance to a weigela;

rose Jacqueline du Pre

bejewelled Jacqueline du Pre;

rose Absolutely Fabulous

sparkling Absolutely Fabulous;

Fungus on dead tree root

fungus breaking out on the dead tree root;

Dianthus Sweet William

the dianthus Sweet William;

clematis Doctor Ruppel

and clematis Doctor Ruppel.

Cow parsley

Anyone having read last year’s posts may be aware of a slight difference of opinion between The Head Gardener and her serf about the wisdom of welcoming cow parsley into our garden. This year Jackie has reinforcements. Apparently these plants are now in fashion. Naturally I now offer not even token resistance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jafrezi, mushroom rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Llidl’s Bordeaux superieur 2011.

 

Pictures For An Exhibition

Today we toted five more canvas bags of tree cuttings to Efford Recycling Centre.

Jackie tipping cuttings

The Head Gardener was prevailed upon to bear the strain of this one as we tipped the contents into the vast container, thus allowing The Photographer to carry out his primary role.

This time we returned with a stout wooden table suitable for the garden. I understand it was there yesterday, but it was asking too much for Jackie to pass it up two days running.

Samsung phoneAfter our last trip this afternoon, I attempted to make a phone call. My mobile seemed to be dead. Eventually I managed to get something onto the screen, but it was scribble. An urgent trip to Lymington’s Carphone Warehouse was in order. Two very helpful young men were staffing the shop. The immediate diagnosis was that the screen was cracked. This meant the phone could not relay information from the works. We decided upon a new instrument which would require a new contract. All went swimmingly until I was asked for my bank account number. I didn’t have it. Jackie, who had taken refuge in Costa’s for coffee and cake, had to down both in a hurry and get me home and back in the 25 minutes available before the shop closed. She made the twelve mile round trip in 20 minutes. I took out my new contract and received  replacement phone.

All my contacts are lost, and I must ring O2 tomorrow to have my number transferred to the new SIM card. As its seems likely that I cracked the phone in my pocket whilst humping the bags of cuttings, Jackie brightly asked me exactly how much her dump table had cost. I’m a little calmer now than I was then.

I received a rather good surprise from The First Gallery this morning. The April exhibition, for which I had submitted the albums on the making of the garden, thinking that they would be supplementary to the main performance, is now to be focussed on our garden with painters and sculptors providing additional material. Between trips to the dump and the later thrills, I trawled my collection to gather together more photographs for prints of varying sizes. Here are a few:

View from kitchen garden

View from the kitchen garden as it was on 26th July 2014;

virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia 2 30.9.15

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa and fuchsia 30th September 2015;

Allium

allium;

Mum (Jackie and Elizabeth hidden) - Version 2

Mum negotiating Phantom Path 6th July 2014;

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis 29.9.15

Small White butterfly on verbena bonarensis 29th September 2015;

Chair and bed head

and chair and bedhead on Weeping Birch Bed 12th March 2015.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, mashed potato, and crisp cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Se drank sparkling water and I drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2014.

Out Of The Dark

On another unseasonably mild day, I wandered around the garden with my camera, picking

Allium

allium,

Daffodil

daffodil,

Camellia 1Camellia 2

camellias,

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

viburnum rhytidophyllum,

Periwinkle

periwinkle,

Bergenia

and bergenia.

This afternoon we drove through the forest to Burley. On the way we stopped at a New Forest car park for a short walk with Scooby.

Ponies always gather round the parked cars because there is always a reasonable chance of hands offering titbits on the ends of arms extended from open windows. So it was today, until a family turned the tables and advanced on the ponies in great excitement.

Family tracking ponies 1Family tracking ponies 2Ponies leaving

It wasn’t long before the animals turned tail,

Ponies in landscape

only to return to their habitual patch of heathland when the coast was clear.

Gorse bush, man, and boy

A track, up which various walkers clambered, led down to a valley below.

Skyscape with poniesSkyscape with poolSkyscape with tree

Still an hour away from sunset, we were treated to some interesting skyscapes.

It was not yet 4.00 p.m. by the time we arrived in Burley, but the targeted tea rooms were closed. We therefore sought refreshment in the Burley Inn. Mine was a pint of Flack’s Double Drop.

Still not 5.00 p.m., we returned home in the dark. As we left the village and entered the less than broad, unlit roads across the forest, a stream of traffic approaching on our right, Jackie hit the brakes. Out of the dark, a black and grey pony appeared, in the Modus’s dipped headlights, ambling straight towards me on the passenger side. My chauffeuse barely had room to swerve around the beast to slip between that and the oncoming traffic.

Becky, two cars behind, was treated to a similar experience. This was our closest encounter yet.

This evening, Jackie, for our dinner, produced tender roast lamb, roast parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, perfect carrots and Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower cheese. Apple crumble would have followed had anyone left enough room for it. Becky and Ian drank rose and I finished the El Sotillo.

How Many Bees In This Post?

Snake Bark maple skeleton

Jackie and I spent the morning on an enforced feat of forestry. With the head gardener’s advice, guidance, and assistance I sawed off a myrtle branch that had been twisted by the gales, and then performed an autopsy on the snake bark maple. This latter tree has, sadly, died. We performed emergency amputations last autumn, but it failed to recover. I therefore cut down the highest branches, leaving the skeleton as a frame for climbing plants yet to be determined. I protected my left hand with a padded cycling glove purchased by Jackie in the lucky dip that is Lidl’s central aisle. With a certain amount of trepidation I teetered on the step ladders made stable with a wedge or two. It is amazing how hard this dead wood was to cut through.

The thinner limbs I chopped into combustible sections for the next bonfire. This afternoon I sawed up the thicker ones for our wood burner pile, and Jackie continued with her creative planting. After a few yards amble down the lane, I called it a day.

Bee on dandelion

In the lane, a bee flitted from dandelion to dandelion as I tracked it, eventually catching it.

Allium

Wherever you look in the garden, a wide variety of alliums is to be found.

Iris

On the back drive, we are hoping recently planted antique parchment pigmented irises will thrive, thus emulating

Valerian and wallflowersthe rather more strident valerians and wallflowers.

The Chilean lantern tree is a-whirr with leg-loaded worker bees.

Bees on Chilean Lantern tree 1

How many can you spot in this shot?

Bees on Chilean Lantern tree 2

And in this one?  Clicking on the images will help.

This evening we dined on tangy smoked cod, creamy mashed potatoes, piquant cauliflower cheese, firm sweetcorn and peas, and crunchy carrots. We both drank Heritage de Calvet white cotes du Rhone 2014, and a good accompaniment it was.

Smoked cod meal