The Lady Of Shalott

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Cricket match 6 – Version 2

This morning I made this crop of a photograph taken at Burley in May, and Jackie turned it into a birthday card for Bill, whose party we were to attend later.

Aaron pruning Philadelphus 1Aaron pruning philadelphus 2

Among the various tasks carried out by Aaron was heavily pruning a spent philadelphus.

Aaron pruning philadelphus 4

Bending the branches took a bit of effort.

Fuchsia Delta Sarah

This fuchsia Delta’s Sarah is spreading along the west side of the patio.

Petunias

A stand of petunias,

Lilies

and these rather splendid potted lilies prepare for the arrival of the base for the greenhouse to be delivered during the week.

Dahlia

Dahlias continue to enliven the borders,

Japanese anemone

and the first Japanese anemones are springing up.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses are coming along nicely,

Bee on New Zealand hebe

while the New Zealand hebe now attracts the bees, eager to fill their pollen sacs.

Gladiolus Priscilla

Priscilla, the frilly gladiolus is coming through in the New Bed;

Rose Peach Abundance

 roses like Peach Abundance are having another flush;

Echinaceas

and paler pink echinaceas have risen to join the darker red ones.

This afternoon we travelled by car to Poulner where we enjoyed Bill’s birthday party. We sat and conversed in the pleasant company of Helen and Bill’s children David, Rachel, and John; Rachel’s fiancé Gareth and John’s wife Stephanie and their children, Billy and Max; Gareth’s mother, Mo, and stepfather Fred; Shelly and Ron; and. of course the birthday boy and Jackie’s sister, Helen.

Gareth and Fred

Gareth got the barbecue going, taking us through the smoky stage.

John at barbecue

John took over to give him a chance to clear the vapours from his eyes.

Barbecue

Between them they produced a variety of roasted meats to go with the salads prepared by the ladies.

Guests reflected in window

Here is a group of the male guests reflected in a window.

Max and hands 1

Great aunts eagerly took it in turns to cuddle two and a half month old Max.

Shelly and Max

Jackie handed him to her younger sister

Max and hands 2Max and hands 3

Max and hands 4Max and hands 5Max and hands 5

who eventually handed him back to his mother whose hands he explored.

Bill 1Bill 2

Bill was his usual engaging self,

Billy in tub of balls 1Billy in tub of balls 2Billy in tub of balls 3

and, in a tub filled with plastic balls, his young namesake did a passable impression of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott as painted by many Victorian artists.

I mostly drank a fine Argentine malbec, and sampled a splendid strawberry trifle and cream tea scone for dessert.

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.

Bejewelled

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When I am under the weather it is always a bad headache that does me in. So it was yesterday, but, I am happy to say, this had desisted after a good night’s sleep and, although I remained a bit dizzy I enjoyed wandering around the garden this morning with a camera. I think I understand the expression ‘under the weather’ because I do seem to have headaches when there is that change in pressure that comes with impending storms. And yesterday it rained steadily all afternoon.

Raindrops on geranium 3Raindrops on geranium 4Raindrops on geranium 1Raindrops on geranium 2

This made for plants adorned with translucent pearly precipitations. Geraniums were well represented;

Raindrops on gladiolus leaf

 leaves, such as those of gladioli

Raindrops on poppy leaves

and poppies, bore crystal balls;

Raindrops on black eyed Susan

black eyed Susan sparkled;

Raindrops on begonia

blushing begonias shimmered in shadows;

raindrops on day lily

 strange creatures, food dangling from their maws, lurked behind day lilies;

raindrops on hydrangea

hydrangeas;

Raindrops on hosta

hostas;

Raindrops on rose Lady Emma Hamilton

roses Lady Emma Hamilton,

Raindrops on rose Special Anniversary

and Special Anniversary were all bejewelled.

Bee on rose Peach Abundance

Rose Peach Abundance

Oval Bed with Peach Abundance

Bees, like this one in the Peach Abundance rose, were venturing out again.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon men’s quarter finals of tennis on TV.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful boeuf bourguignon, followed by vanilla ice-cream.

 

 

Do You Like Butter?

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Base for greenhouse

This morning, while Jackie weeded and I cleared up, Aaron smoothed concrete edging around the greenhouse base and realigned a section of The Head Gardener’s Walk.

Oval Bed 1Oval Bed 2Oval Bed 3

At the other end of the garden the recent plantings in the Oval Bed have matured;

Weeping Birch Bed

honeysuckle swings among the day lilies and petunias in the Weeping Birch Bed;

Violas grimace appealingly in the barrier tubs;Violas

Rose Garden view

 in the Rose Garden lilies still sway beside the Potting Shed,

Petunias, penstemons among roses

while potted petunias and bedded penstemons offer accompaniment to the roses.

Garden view across Palm Bed

The view across the centre of the garden from the Shady Path has been opened up.

Sweet peas

Out of sight on the far side pink and white sweet peas climb for Bruce.

Fuchsia

Similarly hued fuchsias dangle from a pot beside the Gazebo Path.

Bee on bidens

I’m sure we were not the only children who held buttercups to friends’ chins, asking “Do you like butter?”. If your chin glowed yellow, you did. If not, you didn’t. Noticing this bee’s pollen coated butt, I asked the question.

Bee in flight

“I’m not listening to this”, cried the bee, buzzing off with alacrity

This evening we enjoyed a second sitting of Mr Chan’s fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank a delicious gold medal winning Saint Emilion grand cru,  a birthday present from Danni and Andy.

After this, prompted by Becky, I watched the highlights of the fourth day of the Test Match between England and South Africa. This turned out to be a good call.

 

The Heyday Of The Cinema

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Dawn 2

This is the view from our bedroom window that got me staggering downstairs for a camera at 4.30 a.m.

Later on Jackie and I both tidied, weeded, and cleared sections of the garden, adding to the compost heap. Jackie then planted more flowers and I continued with ‘A Knight’s Tale’, extracting edited sections of ‘A Retirement Project’ and ‘Where’s The Tripod?’, yielding more experiences of the heyday of the cinema.

Marigolds and Black eyed Susans

In the garden the marigolds and Black-eyed Susans cone has reached its peak.

Day lily 1Day lilies 2

Hemerocallis

Lilies 1

and lilies,

Lilies 2Lilies 3

especially these giants in the Rose Garden, flourish everywhere.

Dahlia

A new dahlia has popped up in the New Bed,

Bee in poppy

where pollen-laden bees plunder poppies, the seed pods of which produce nodding sculptures.

Schoolgirl 1Schoolgirl, Hawkshead fuchsia, Jacqueline du Pre

Schoolgirl rose bends in a bow in obeisance to Jacqueline du Pre against a backcloth of white Hawkshead fuchsia. I was lucky to get these shots in, because not long afterwards the Head Gardener had tied up the errant rose.

Garden View from Oval Bed to New Bed

Visible in this view across to the New Bed

Hydrangea

is a thriving potted hydrangea;

Garden view across Concrete Patio from Elizabeth's Bed

shifting the eye slightly to the left offers the view across the Concrete Patio.

Rose Summer Wine

The aptly named rose Summer Wine

Rose Summer Time

and golden Summer Time soar over the Rose Garden.

In between further sessions of clearing up after the Head Gardener, I watched Wimbledon tennis match featuring Britons Heather Watson, Johanna Konta, and Andy Murray.

This evening we dined on cod fish cakes, ratatouille, Jersey potatoes, carrots, caiuliflower, and runner beans. And very tasty it all was. We both drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada sauvignon blanc 2016, which rather helped.

 

What’s This Beetle?

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Supplementing this morning’s work on ‘A Knight’s Tale’ were my posts ‘Auntie Gwen’ and ‘One For Rebeckah’,

from which this photograph was included.

This afternoon the weather was dry, overcast, and humid, with the sun sometimes sneaking a peek at what I was up to. This was watering, dead-heading, and a little weeding.

I then experienced considerable difficulty in loading new photographs into WordPress.

Bee on hebe

Pollen-dusted bees favoured the pink and purple hebes;

New Bed garden view

Deep red Bishop of Llandaff dahlias nod to the lilies in the New Bed. (See Head Gardener’s comment below – we don’t know the name of the dahlia, but it’s not the Bishop)

Gaura

We live in hope that this gaura, a plant with which we have so far been unsuccessful, will flourish in the Weeping Birch Bed.

'Pineapple' plant

On the other hand, Jackie has had great success with what we call ‘Pineapple’ plants, prised up from paving and placed in the Kitchen Bed.

Early this evening the sun reemerged and shed new light on the garden, bringing, incidentally, a cessation to loading problems. Maybe this was because the Head Gardener had returned and there was no further reason to sulk.

Echinaceas

A glow was lent to echinaceas

Phlox

and to phlox in the palm bed;

Crocosmia Lucifer

to the crocosmias, like this Lucifer;

Day lilies

to a much wider range of day lilies than we remember having;

Clematis 1Clematis 2

and to various clematises,

Clematis 3

including this one in which the Head Gardener can justifiably take great pride. As long-term readers will know, what is now the Rose Garden, was, three years ago, a concrete-bound, overgrown kitchen garden of sorts. This is where this raggedy specimen started life. Jackie lifted the wizened little plant, placed it in a pot adopted by the front garden trellis, and returned it to its roots in its birthplace.

Strawberries

Inherited wild strawberries are bearing fruit for the first time.

Beetle on liliesBeetle on lilies 2

As I passed the sweetly scented lilies in the New Bed, an iridescent green glint in the centre of one of the blooms flashed enticingly. Does anyone have any idea as to the beetle’s identity?

Miss Coleoptera on Twitter offers this suggestion: ‘Probably a Cetonia aurata or a Protaetia’. Uma offers this, in his comment below: ‘To me that looks like a Bombardier Beetle. Or perhaps the fellow is an oil beetle’. Google images confirms Cetonia aurata, which Oglach, below, has named as a chafer beetle..

If I had any sense I wouldn’t struggle when there’s a blip in the system. I’d just ignore it until it went away.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice topped with an omelette. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Georges DuBoeuf Fleurie 2016.

 

 

The East End Arms

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Today was still humid, but cooler and overcast. We spent the morning dead-heading, weeding, cutting back shrubs and other plants, generally tidying up, and adding to the compost heap and orange bags for the dump.

IKEA Wardrobe bitsThis afternoon two trips to the dump were required to dispose of the contents of two orange bags and a collection of bits of IKEA wardrobes. This laminate-clad chipboard has served many a useful purpose in the three years we have occupied our Downton home. Much of it was now surplus to requirements and was broken into manageable pieces for recycling. Once more the trusty Modus was enlisted into transport service.

Afterwards we visited Everton Garden Centre to buy a birthday present, then on the WG Hibbs at New Milton to order stone, sand, and cement for Aaron to lay a base for the greenhouse.

We then drove on to Norley Wood where we hoped to find water lilies. There were none, but Jackie spotted

Straw horse on rooftop

one straw horse on top of a thatched roof,

Horses weather vane

and two metal ones on a weather vane decorating ridge tiles.

We back-tracked to The East End Arms for a cool drink of Amstel. The inn had a very warm and friendly atmosphere and unusually pleasant toilets for a hostelry.

Bee on blackberry blossom

Whilst waiting five minutes for opening time I watched bees swarming over blackberry blossom.

It is 25 years since the popular band Dire Straits finished performing together. The locals in this bar were keen to inform us that their pub was owned by John Illsley, that group’s bass player and vocalist. John is still performing with his own band.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.