Does This Remind You Of Anyone?

10533096_10152557157745428_7566417720161208596_n When, yesterday evening, Louisa posted pictures on Facebook of her daughters Jessica and Imogen on a swing, she tagged Sam and me asking us if they reminded us of anyone. This, of course, meant herself. Louisa was a daredevil on any form of climbing or swinging apparatus. It is hardly surprising, really, that she recently completed The Three Peaks Challenge. Louisa & Sam 5.86Louisa 5.86I well remember her on a climbing frame in Tooting in the 1980s. Here she is with her older brother Sam, around the time of her fourth birthday, in May 1986, first gleefully scaling the ramp, then in the process of swinging around the bar.Sam 5.86 Sam, enjoying his lunch on high, would appear to be affecting an air of nonchalance. I took these photographs on a trip, with their mother, Jessica, to a recreation ground in Tooting. It was a sunny day and we all had ice creams. This morning, while Jackie endlessly watered the scorching plants, I finished transporting from the kitchen garden the remaining slabs of stone for her working path, and laid them in place. All but the last three. She shifted those. Bay tree rootsJackie walking by her pathMy first task in this process had been to dig out the roots of a veritable copse of young bay trees that Jackie had cut down some time ago. We decided that the setting of the stones securely in place could wait until tomorrow. This thoroughfare links the head gardener’s potting and general maintenance area through the new shrubbery with what will continue to be called the shady path, even though the overgrown bushes that kept light from it have now been much reduced. The sunlight on the plants by which Jackie is walking in the picture, never reached them when we first came. The decking area is in the middle distance. Thinking it really should have been placed for the evening sun’s western glow, we were puzzled because we didn’t enjoy any. Not until we applied our saw and loppers in earnest did we do so.

Butterfly shelterInsect hotelFor my birthday, three weeks ago now, Luci and Wolf gave me a butterfly shelter and an insect hotel, two very thoughtful presents for the garden. Today, with guidance from she who knows about these things, I located each of them in a suitable position. Twigs needed to be inserted into the green-roofed butterfly shelter; and wheat straw, by September, is required for the hotel. Apparently green lacewings will be attracted by the red door, and different species of bee will choose to crawl through holes of varying diameters in the top section.

Early this evening I repeated yesterday’s walk.Thistle seedsThistle seeds blowing in windThistle seeds caught on web Thistles have run to seed. The strong breeze was tearing some from their moorings. A no doubt disappointed spider, perhaps mistaking them for tasty insects, caught a few of them in its web.

SilageDown the track I discovered the silage, which is clearly the source of the strong aroma that sometimes overpowers the scent of petunias and other sweet-smelling flowers in the garden. The lorry delivering it had dropped some along the way, so I was able to scoop up some dry straw for the hopefully hibernating guests of the insect hotel.

There was choice on the Old Post House menu this evening. Mine was delicious chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice and peas; Jackie’s was pork rib rack in chilli sauce with mashed potatoes and vegetables. We both chose fruit crumble and custard for dessert, I drank more Wolf Blass, and Jackie, her customary Hoegaarden.

Bamboo, Brambles, And Ballerina

RoseFor the time being at least, the crow has conceded defeat and alternates with the wood pigeons in patrolling the area beneath the bird feeder and picking up scraps, of which there are plenty, because the smaller birds aren’t all that tidy.

The finial of the new arch has opened into a rich apricot coloured rose with a hole in one petal. Given the treatment it has had, one little blemish is less than could have been expected.

I set about the bamboo immediately this morning.Bamboo roots I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that the roots tunnelled under the gravel to the other side of the path, and were rather rampant in the oval bed. I wanted to save the parent clump which is quite attractive, and really just needs managing. I reduced it somewhat. Having to clamber over the other plants in order to remove the bamboo, there were bound to be some accidents. Pink abundance accidentThe head of one of the Pink Abundance roses was dislodged from its stem, so warranted its own accident saucer.

It hadn’t been my intention to do much weeding of the bed, still less to those further back or to the right of the path. By the time, however, I had taken out the the bamboo, and the bramble that was choking the life out of anything in the other beds, I had done quite a bit. The brambles at this end of the garden seem to emanate from that behind ours.Oval path day 2

I broke the back of the task of renovating this path, but downed tools before breaking mine. Hopefully I will finish the job tomorrow.Wall of raised bed - a glimpse

Beyond the right hand rock boundary of this walkway one can just glimpse a raised stone walled bed which had been completely hidden by the brambles.

Jackie continued to blaze a trail into the kitchen garden.Kitchen garden The ballerina rose seen dancing around the red bird box, was invisible last week.

Tree faceBay trees seem to have self-seeded and grown quite big all over the garden. We each encountered a couple that had to go. They have a cunning system of taking root between those of a more mature tree, so all we could actually do was cut them down. It seems a great shame to remove such a plant, but there really are too many in the wrong places.

Whilst we dined this evening on Jackie’s sausage casserole (recipe) with new potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, we watched, through the kitchen window, a pair of woodpeckers enjoying their meal on our bird feeder. Jackie drank Emilia lambrusco 2012. My wine was Baturrica tarragona gran reserva 2007. It seems that we, too, were being observed from outside by a little potted fir tree.