Five Years On

Today was another thoroughly wet one, so I decided to try a bit more than a test print with my new Epson.

It was in May 2014 that we took on the neglected jungle that was our garden. Soon afterwards I began to compile a kind of before and after record of the project, in extra large photo albums.

Now, five years on, I have decided to update this work. I began with the Back Drive. Here, for comparison is what it looked like in June of that year.

Today I printed a collection of photographs from May,

June,

September,

and October, this year.

Jackie’s borders contain asters, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, poppies, roses such as Doris Tysterman and Ernest Morse, viper’s bugloss, and Virginia creeper, all of which can be seen in these photographs; and much more.

This time in 2014 we were burning so much on this space.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes;  crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

Should I Revert To The Classic Editor?

The light this morning was dull when I took a walk around the garden.

It looks to me as if WordPress have changed my gallery image sizes as they did yesterday. This will mean that nothing can be enlarged. I am also uncertain whether the galleries can be accessed at all. Should either of these situations arise, I will return to the Classic editor. I would appreciate feedback on this.

This afternoon the light was slightly better when I photographed a hosta blooming on the stumpery; the Virginia creeper brightening the back drive,

which also bears hot lips in its border;

bees plundering salvia and cosmos;

and a Red Admiral basking on warm paving bricks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic lamb jalfrezi with mushroom rice and onion samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserva Shiraz 2017.

Bedmaking

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO.

This year we have enjoyed a bumper crop on the apple tree we inherited. Previously it has produced just a handful of weedy fruit which never came to anything. I picked a few after lunch.

On this gloriously warm and sunny day, Jackie continued with the refurbishment of the Weeping Birch Bed on which she has spent many hours over the last few days. Like many of the beds in the garden, this one has been laid over solid concrete, the soil gradually seeping through the dry brick and stone retaining wall onto the gravel which we laid down a couple of years ago. Most plants were now rooted in very few inches of earth. The Head Gardener has rebuilt the wall; sifted much soil and gravel; cleared an access footpath; replenished the soil with compost; weeded and replanted, along the way digging out stray rocks, including tufa.

Experts are now dictating that asters should now be called something long and forgettable, yet the Autumn Jewel variety now settled in its new home does not bear the new nomenclature. We will therefore continue to term the plants beside the rose that has no name, facing self-seeded bidens across the brick path, as we have done all our lives.

We are enjoying a variety of the once unfashionable dahlias,

some of which,

like these euphorbia and kniphofia, still attract bees and wasps,

as, especially, do sedums, now rivalling geranium in richness of red.

This Small White butterfly rented the verbena bonariensis on a short term lease from the bees.

Geraniums, lobelia, and Japanese anemones continue to thrive;

while, in the Rose Garden, Mama Mia and Absolutely Fabulous are among those furnishing further flushes.

This evening we finished Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Patrick Chodot’s Brouilly 2016.

 

A Virtual Photoshoot

Unidentified Fir BedBroken tiles

During a morning interlude between the rains, Jackie continued her work on the Unidentified Fir bed. Plants, including more than fifty spring bulbs were put in place; more broken tiles were dug out; and choked shrubs were freed from a rampant vinca. I did some clearing up.

I then made a virtual trip to Fremantle in Western Australia where I photographed my grandchildren. This is how it came about. At first I had been on the phone to Sam on his hands-free while he drove home. When he arrived there Malachi and Orlaith launched themselves into the car and both began shrieking at a million decibels.

Orlaith and DerrickOrlaith

Once in the house Orlaith entertained me for a while and mentioned that if we were on Skype she could show me her owl. This prompted Sam to introduce me to the joys of Facebook VideoCall. He talked me through the process, and I conversed with both children before Malachi read us all a bedtime story.

Malachi and DerrickMalachi, Sam and DerrickMalachi, Derrick, and Orlaith's Owl

 

Mal was keen to show me the pictures in his book. Orlaith hampered this somewhat by thrusting the owl into the foreground.

I have been having trouble e-mailing Ray Salinger some of the photographs taken on 19th September. They have been timed out in transmission. I therefore printed some for him this afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots and cabbage. I drank Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2014, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Confusion For Flora And Fauna

Jackie continued with general garden maintenance today.

New bed

Here she applies anti-vine weevil solution to all her many heucheras.

As became clear last year, there is no defined boundary between us and the empty North Breeze next door. In particular, that at the front is concocted from self seeded trees, rotting planks of wood, and what I take to be one of the pre-Everest window frames from our house. The glass panes have long since become estranged from their lead. Some have remained intact, but others have broken and found their way into the thin layer of soil in which a few weeds have managed to survive. This earth has been laid on top of gravel, thus narrowing the path that led round the house.

Front boundary

My task was to remove this soil in order to expose the shingle, thus widening the path. This was easier said than done. That is because the strip was full of tree roots, rubble, concrete, bramble, and ivy. I just dug it over. Moving it can wait.

View from patio

A view from the south west corner of the patio shows the condition of our neighbour’s back garden, and some of the panels we have set in place to keep the triffids at bay.

We continue to enjoy such warm, sunny, weather as to become somewhat confusing to flora and fauna alike.

Clematis Montana

The clematis Montana clothing the large dead tree alongside the new bed is blooming again.

Brick path, dead snake bark maple, owl

The owl in the dead snake bark maple, especially having experienced the bright super moon throughout the night, just cannot get to sleep.

Antirrhinum and sedum

Antirrhinums are growing alongside sedums.

Butterflies and bees like these in

Bee on cosmos

cosmos and

Bee on kniphofia

kniphofia must be convinced we are still enjoying summer.

Asters

The asters, however, know what the season is.

This evening we dined on fillet steak; a moist melange of mushrooms, leaks, onions, and peppers; and crisp carrots, green beans, and new potatoes. I drank Via di Cavallo Chianti 2014. Jackie had already enjoyed her Hoegaarden in the rose garden.