Refreshment

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Jackie carried out much knowledgeable weeding and planting this morning, whilst I cleared up the discards and conveyed them to the compost pile.

Garden view along Heligan Path

The early sun lit libertias standing in the Weeping Birch Bed,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 4Rose Garden 5Rose Garden 3Rose Garden 2Rose Garden 6

and enlivened the burgeoning Rose Garden.

Raindrops on clematis CarnabyRaindrops on clematisClematis Marie BoisselotClematis

Various clematises,

Clematis Montana

including this wonderfully scented Montana festooned over the front wall;

Weigela

the weigela winding down the south fence;

Aquilegias

ubiquitous aquilegias;

Rambling rose pink

the pink rambler on the front garden trellis;

Libertia, geraniums Ingwersen's Variety, campanulas

borders everywhere, like this corner sporting campanulas, libertia, and geraniums Ingwersen’s Variety,

Raindrops on irises

and the long Back Drive hosting splendid golden irises, relished their welcome refreshment.

Fly on primula

A fly alighted on one of the front tub’s primroses.

This afternoon I added a little more to my biography of an era including me. I now have a working title: ‘A Knight’s Tale’. I took more text, and

this photograph from ‘A Sneaky Weekend’

I then made some prints from recent posts for Louisa.

After this I joined Jackie in the weeding, concentrating my efforts on uprooting the more obvious infiltrators, namely the smelly white alliums, clinging ladies’ bedstraw, and golden buttercups occupying the wrong beds.

This evening, there being no table available at the Crown in Everton, we dined at the Smugglers’ Inn at Milford on Sea. Having starters was a mistake. The platefuls were excellent. Mine contained battered whitebait, plentiful fresh salad, and thick wedges of equally fresh bread. Jackie received a huge plateful of bread and olives. Each serving was a meal in itself. An even bigger mistake was, in my case,  ordering succulent sirloin steak, still more fresh salad, a mountain of perfect chips, onion rings, and fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Jackie was treated to a huge bowl of cannelloni. more salad, and an equal number of chips to mine. Neither of us could finish our food, and we did not require a look at the dessert menu. The food was, I hasten to add, all extremely good, and the service impeccable. We both reminisced that, in our prime, we would have managed all this. Jackie drank Amstel, and I drank Doom Bar..

Back Drive Progress

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We spent the morning of another dull, overcast, day continuing the general tidying of the garden.

Many new aquilegias are fully or partially blooming.

Over the last few days Jackie has been fine-tuning my weeding of the back drive. In addition to digging up a few more invading brambles, most of my work this morning was transferring the Head Gardener’s piles of weeds to the compost heap. We just need to apply an herbicidal spray to the gravel and the job will be done.

More irises;

Geraniums Johnson's Blue

geraniums like these Johnson’s Blue from Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Gardens;

and hostas, heucheras, alliums and bluebells are some of the plants that line these borders. We thin out the profuse alliums every year.

This afternoon we voted at the local County Council elections where we were informed that the turnout was looking like 20-30%, which was about average. I ask you.

This took place at Milford on Sea church hall. Jackie then drove us to the clifftop where

we thought the pink thrift, despite the gloom of the day, was looking quite colourful against  the grey water reflecting the slate sky.

Pigeon on clifftop

A small pigeon had come to contemplate the calm sea,

Walkers on beach

and a few walkers wandered along the beach below.

The caged structure to our left of the pigeon is intended to keep the public away from the crumbling cliff edge.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. The welcome, the service, and the food, were as good as ever. My choice was lamb dansak with special fried rice; Jackie’s was prawn and mushroom biriani; we shared a plain naan, and both drank Kingfisher.

The Meteorologists Kept Their Promise

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Becky, Ian, and Scooby returned, last night, to their home in Emsworth

The wisteria, sharing its perch with a red rose, is now fully in bloom;

Acquilegias

and aquilegias (columbines in U.S.) are cropping up everywhere.

We live in a fascinating microclimate where, despite the vast improvement in the accuracy of weather forecasts, our experience is often better than we are given to expect by the meteorologists. Take today, for example. We were promised an afternoon of rain.

Our gardening was therefore done this morning.

My major task was to cut the grass, after which I reshaped the Japanese maple standing on it, so that the lower branches no longer restrict our access to the small sward, and  the chimney pot planter may be viewed from the Gazebo Path.

Jackie continued tidying and weeding. The wonderful pastel shades of the peeling eucalyptus bark lead us into the first of these pictures. Not having complete faith in the promise of rain from mid-day, the Head Gardener slaked the thirst of the drooping rhododendron beside her with several buckets of water. Naturally this ensured that the meteorologists kept their word. It rained all afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, with boiled new potatoes and curly Kale. The Culinary Queen drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.

P.S. Note exchanges with Mary and Gwen, below. We have Lemon Scented Gum ( Eucalyptus citriodora ),

Spinners Garden

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This morning, after a brief time in our own garden where

Heligan Path

The Head Gardener has been replenishing and planting the beds either side of the Heligan Path;

View to Rose Garden fro Brick Path

 sunlight brightened the Star of India clematis on the Gothic Arch;

Clematis and orange hawkweed

and another example was suspended from the prunus pissardi above the orange hawkweed,

Jackie drove us to Spinners Garden at Boldre. This small privately-owned garden has a fine collection of rare plants in its tranquil woodland setting

Lymington Valley

overlooking the Lymington Valley.

Jackie at entrance to Spinners Garden

Jackie was immediately taken with the blue cranesbill geraniums along the drive.

Spinners Garden sign

Although past their best, the rhododendron and azalea shrubberies still had much to offer.

Path 1

Paths off the entrance drive held much promise.

Lacecap hydrangea 1Lacecap hydrangea 2

There were different varieties of lace cap hydrangea;

Fern

many different ferns;

Flower beds 1

well stocked flower beds,

Wedding cake tree

including a cornus controverta Variegata, or wedding cake tree,

Schizostylis

and schizostylis or, if you must, Kaffir lily.

Cornus 1Cornus 3

Other cornuses were plentiful.

Trees and shrubbery 1

Splendid trees soared above the shrubberies, where

Camellia fruit pods camellia fruit pods glistened;

Brunnera leaves

and in the shadier areas leaves of brunnera

Acer leaves

and acer formed intriguing patterns.

Steps

Steps led up to the highest level,

Rodgersiae and orchids

where rodgersia shared their bed with wild orchids,

Azalea 1

and white azaleas bore occasional signs of pink parentage.

Waterfall

Fed by a man-made stream

Lily pond and bridgeLily pond and bridge 2

Lily pond and bridge 3

at a lower level lies a lily pond spanned by a wooden bridge.

Irises

Irises rise from the margins,

Damselflies and water boatmen

and damselflies and water boatmen flit around the lily pads.

Tractor, gulls, and cornus

From the cabin where we could buy tea and coffee, we watched gulls mobbing a tractor digging out soil to create a lake for a neighbour further down the slopes.

Aquilegia

Aquilegias waved us farewell as we walked back to the car.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi, boiled rice, and parathas, followed by Helen’s sublime lime and ginger cheesecake.

Taking On The Hedge

Jackie, having kept me supplied with plenty of food, drove off this morning for her annual three day holiday with her two sisters.

The griselinia hedge between us and the corner bungalow has begun to push Jackie’s spring planting across the back drive in search of light. After today’s earlier rain, I decided to give the trees a good clipping. This also meant tackling stubborn brambles and ivy infiltrating from the neighbouring garden. The brambles got their own back with thorns, the ivy with stubbornness, and the griselinia with drips.

Every so often we need to remind ourselves what each area looked like two years ago.

Jackie in back drive

This was the back drive then. Jackie is at the far end.

Back Drive

This is as it is today. To the left lies fencing that Aaron and Robin are working on. To the right the griselinia clippings have spilled over the orange bags. A dump trip or two will be required on the Driver’s return.

New Bed

The New Bed which lies on the former compost heap at the corner of this drive contains, among other plants, two clematises, aquilegias, geranium palmatums, erigeron, poppies, and dahlias on their way up. The fuchsia is in fact behind it.

rose Aloha

In the rose garden, Aloha, which was rather poorly until The Head Gardener set about feeding and nurturing it, is now doing well.

As the sun emerged later in the day, they bees came out in force.

Heucheras and bee

They flitted about among the yellow heucheras, taking the nectar on the wing.

Bee on Bottle Brush plantBottle Brush plant

On the also yellow Bottle Brush plant, they did have time to stop and burrow.

Clematis

A second clematis has now bloomed on the gazebo.

I dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole and mashed potato, followed by her delicious rice pudding. Doom Bar was my beverage.

 

There’s Some Corner Of An English Churchyard

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Kitchen window 1Kitchen window 2

Over breakfast this morning, I photographed two more angles of view through the kitchen window;

Rose Garden

and afterwards, The Rose Garden.

Aquilegias

We have many banks of aquilegias.

Rose Compassion

Compassion blooms on the Dead End Path arch,

Bottle Brush Plant

And we have our first bottle brush flower.

Butterfly Painted Lady

A Painted Lady butterfly availed itself of the gravel camouflage.

St Nicholas's Church 1

This afternoon we visited St Nicholas’s church in Brockenhurst. Jackie and Sheila led the way into the exhibition inside;

Jackie examining gravestones

Jackie pausing to inspect the eighteenth century gravestones.

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 1

I wandered around the beautiful landscaped graveyard, where light glinted through trees and the ground fell away allowing the monuments to ramble down the hillside.

After my following exploration, I joined the ladies inside where a couple of volunteers within were giving them an explanatory history of the World War One burials in the churchyard.

Yew tree

They told Jackie that this yew tree dated from the twelfth century.

Tree stump

This sculptured stump must also have been a substantial giant.

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 2

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 3

Past the tree I came to a set of steps and a path leading down to level ground.

Fern sculpture

Flashes of red against clean, cream background suggested I was approaching the memorial symbolised by the sculpture at the entrance to the church. This was a brilliant fern cut out from weathered metal, familiar to anyone familiar with an All Blacks rugby jersey. The brilliance lay in the figures silhouetted in the work. I crouched a bit to ensure that the background grass made this clear.

NZ Memorial 1NZ Memorial 2

Indeed, I had. Ninety three members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force soldiers from World War One lie buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery attached to this church.

Brockenhurst Churchyard Commonwealth War Graves Board

The farming village of Brockenhurst soon became a World War 1 hospital village, from 1914 caring for wounded and sick Indian troops, and from 1916 the No. 1 HQ New Zealand hospital. Those who died therein were buried in this churchyard.

K. Rapona gravestone

Of the 93 New Zealanders, 12 were Maoris, only one of whom died from wounds. This was Private Kiri Rapona. Clare Church’s book, which I bought, gives this young man five more years of life than does this gravestone. One other drowned and the rest succumbed to illness.

Sukha gravestone

One Indian is Sukha.

There are also three unknown Belgian civilians who share a plot.

Gravestones

These plots are very well tended and maintained by New Zealanders in UK.

Balmer Lawn Hotel

Of the three hospitals from those years, the only one still standing is now the Balmer Lawn Hotel, which keeps its own living lawnmowers.

Stained glass 1Stained glass 2

The very friendly couple who were very informative about the church and this particular section of its history, pointed out the Victorian stained glass in the twelfth century stonework of the windows.

This evening Jackie produced succulent chicken Kiev, creamy mashed potato, and crisp carrots and runner beans for our dinner. Sheila’s dessert was rice pudding, and Jackie’s profiteroles. As I had consumed two pieces of chicken I passed on this. But I did drink more of the Fleurie. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Sheila, sparkling water.

It was Rupert Brooke, an Englishman who did die in 1915, who is immortalised by his own verse: ‘And if I should die, think only this of me, that there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England’. I have adapted his words for today’s title.

Perseverance Rewarded

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Until 2.30 p.m. when Jackie drove us to Brockenhurst to collect our friend Sheila who is staying with us for a few days, she continued sterling maintenance in the garden while Aaron and Robin continued with the fencing.

Erigeron

The erigeron outside the French windows featured as part of yesterday’s kitchen door shot. Here is a close-up of some of them.

Walking down the back drive to open the gate for our two marvellous garden maintenance men, I admired, on the bordering beds,

Snapdragons

snapdragons;

Wallflowers and valerian

wallflowers and valerian;

Rose Félicité Perpetué

and rose Féliticé Perpetué, now draping the dead stumps.

Rose garden 1

Rose garden 3

The heucheras in the Rose Garden provide stiff competition for the roses themselves.

Rose garden 4

Here, the geranium palmatums lead us in,

Aquilegias, Schoolgirl and Golden Showers

and aquilegias front Schoolgirl and Golden Showers.

Rose Ballerina and honeysuckle

 Ballerina dances with honeysuckle alongside the entrance arch.

Rose Hot Chocolate

The rose Hot Chocolate in the front garden is, however, just ahead of that in the back.

Rose pink climber

Rose deep pink climber

Festooning the front trellis are two different depths of pink roses.

View from Crytomeria Bed

Here is a view across the Cryptomeria Bed to Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose peach bush

The peach coloured rose photographed yesterday is further open today.

Hoverfly on For Your Eyes Only

The smallest hoverfly I have ever seen landed on For Your Eyes Only.

Bee on stick

I have striven for a long time to capture a bee in flight. Today my perseverance was rewarded.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Fleurie, and Sheila drank water.