How He Hinders

In yesterday’s fading evening light Jackie photographed

her helianthuses Lemon Queen, complete with bee, against the phormium and mahonia reaching for the gentle sky.

Today’s skies resembled damp fleece and the air was fairly breezy. She spent the morning attempting to get on with her planting. She managed two in as many hours, including a

delicate blue and white petrovskia and an ailing

similarly hued campanula.

You might have a couple of questions about this. Why still planting new additions? And why ailing specimens? That is because this is the season that the garden centres are virtually giving away stocks and Jackie operates an excellent floral hospital service. Not only that, but the need for soil replenishment in preparation for the winter means that multiple trips to buy compost are required and it is not possible to pass up special offers whilst she is at it.

A further question might be why at the rate of just one per hour? This is where her little friend comes in.

He has various hampering techniques.

Whenever she digs a hole he plants himself on it;

whenever she tackles a root he offers assistance;

he dives between her legs;

and is continually under her feet.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (20).

Apart from a short break for her own lunch, Jackie spent the entire day in the company of her little robin.

This evening, while Nugget tucked into mashed peanuts outside the back door, the real humans dined on Jackie’s flavoursome liver and bacon casserole with champ and cabbage, with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Clay Hill

On this sunny and rather cold morning Nugget followed Aaron around the garden, darting for his prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (18).

Small White butterflies multiply by the minute, sharing the verbena bonarensises

with swarms of bees.

I spent much of the day listening to the fourth Test Match between England and Australia.

Late this afternoon we drove into the forest. Holmsley Passage was blocked by a car that had slipped into the muddy ditch. It would have been rude to have photographed it. We and another car managed to find our way round the obstacle, having assured ourselves that help was on the way.

We drove up Clay Hill at the top of which I wandered around the undulating terrain. Clouds allowed the sun to shine on occasion.

A group of ponies enlivened the landscape which was carpeted with

heather, blackberries, harebells, and gorse,

some of which had been recently burnt.

From the summit I looked down over the moorland,

then wandered along the sloping pony tracks into the woodland.

It will come as no surprise that Jackie prepared more than enough cottage pie and cauliflower cheese yesterday, with the intention of feeding us with more today; along with fresh carrots, cabbage and runner beans. I drank more of the Baturrica, from which the Culinary Queen abstained.

Unquenchable Polish Spirit

This morning Nick from Peacock Computers visited to instal a new router and to repair the interface between our TV and the You View box.

After lunch Barry from New Forest Chimney Sweeping And Repairs came to inspect our leaking Velux window. He asked me to send him two photographs, which I did.

Nugget overtook me on the Brick Path while I photographed white Japanese anemones and red pelargoniums.

Here are more of these anemones, between fading lilies and honesty seed pods.

These fuchsias, lobelia, and petunias suspended from the eucalyptus have recovered by virtue of the Head Gardener’s nurturing;

as has this unquenchable, aptly named, Polish Spirit which has twice survived the still visible windburn of the summer’s storms.

To the delight of foraging bees, new buds continue to burgeon on cosmoses.

A favourite perch for little robin Nugget stands in the Weeping Birch Bed. “Where’s Nugget?” (8)

This afternoon Jackie collected Elizabeth from her home in Pilley and drove her to collect her repaired car from a garage near us. My sister came back with the Culinary Queen and stayed for dinner, which consisted of luscious lamb’s liver (sorry, Yvonne), bacon and onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco’s Chilean Malbec 2018. Elizabeth had consumed her quota of Hophead Pale Ale on the patio beforehand. One of the advantages of a flavoursome casserole is that you can have bread and gravy if there is enough liquid left over. I did this tonight.

An Eye On Proceedings

Regular readers may know that our downstairs loo is designated ‘Print Room’ because that is what the walls carry.

She already has a copy of this one from “Christmas at Downton”, beside her computer station. Today, at her request, I printed another to be enjoyed at her convenience. This time I toned the colour saturation down a bit.

The Head Gardener worked hard on clearing and planting phlox in the rock hard Palm Bed. I transported clippings to the compost.

Nugget kept an eye on proceedings, darting to snap up any escaping insect prey

and warning bees off the nearby agapanthuses.

At the end of the day the Head Gardener transmogrified into the Maintenance Department and

framed the new print, after which, as Culinary Queen,

she produced our dinner of pork chops in sage and apple stuffing; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and Roman broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.

Watering And Planting

Yesterday evening we met Becky and Ian at the Darbar restaurant in Emsworth. This was an excellent venue for our dinner. Inspired by the food of the Moguls the meals were quite unusual with aromatic spice blends; the service was friendly, tactful, and efficient. Jackie’s choice of main course was paneer shashlik; mine was goat and potato curry. We both enjoyed them very much. I also tried some of Ian’s creamy mild chicken curry. I’m not sure what Becky chose. We shared onion bahjis, plain parathas, and spinach and pilau rices. Becky drank Diet Coke, Jackie Kingfisher, and Ian and I Cobra. The enjoyable visit was completed when we drove on to our daughter and son-in-law’s flat in Southbourne to admire Becky’s artistic arrangements and refurbishments.

It is amazing that, in mid-May, we need to water the garden. The skies remained overcast but we received no rain.

My task today was to run the hose down the Back Drive and spray Aaron’s planting of yesterday. Allowing the hose to carry out its work in stages gave me the opportunity to wander round with the camera.

This foxglove is visible in the first of the drive pictures.

Clematises that have not featured before include the one on an obelisk just outside the Rose Garden; another Doctor Ruppel beside the Weeping Birch; and one sharing the Ace Reclaim arch in the Rose Garden with Zéphirini Drouin and

Crown Princess Margareta, beneath whom

sits Jacqueline du Pré.

Madame Alfred Carriere welcomes visitors to her domain.

The peach rose in the Oval Bed has really taken off this year.

It romps to the right of this view from the concrete patio; with Its partner to the left it came came with the house. The oriental poppies in the foreground are situated in the Weeping Birch Bed

which also houses this Sweet William.

The New Bed lies on the corner of the Back Drive; at the other end of the garden the bed before the wisteria arbour has filled out nicely.

This powder blue iris stands fronting the grass patch;

our white flowers also include antirrhinums

and Hawkshead fuchsias.

Bees, like this one diving into a geranium, continue to plunder pollen.

Hot lips now splash lipstick impressions over the Cryptomeria Bed.

The bench at the far end of the Dead End Path is never sat on. This is because it is generally covered in pigeon poop. Jackie has therefore filled it with decorative container planting which should mature nicely in the coming weeks.

This afternoon Elizabeth visited with her friend Franz for beverages and convivial conversation.

This evening we dined on moist chicken Kiev; tasty ratatouille including butternut squash; crisp cauliflower; and creamy mashed potatoes with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

A Surprise To Come

Beginning with the cherry trees at the front, I focussed on the garden this morning.

A crafty sparrow uses this holly tree as a diversionary tactic en route to its nest around the corner.

Despite the efforts of cumbersome pigeons and pelting hailstones, the pale pink winter flowering example has bloomed constantly since September;

a smaller tree has added the tones of a deeper pink blossom;

and the soaring amanogawa is now attracting bees. Can you spot the seeker after nectar homing in on the first picture and having landed in the second?

Some of the camellia petals are taking on the brown hues of weathered old age.

Like this tulip they have reacted to the recent heavy rainfall. The tulip just curled up its nose;

others, such as these standing proud in the Palm Bed, remain unperturbed.

A yellow Japanese maple stretches towards the Gazebo Path.

The first deep red rhododendron buds are opening in the Dragon Bed,

which carries clusters of yellow lamiums.

Snake’s head fritillaries are proliferating in the West Bed;

others, beside the stepping stones crossing the Cryptomeria Bed, we thought had failed. In fact they were just a little later than their neighbours.

Daffodils and hellebores dance to the right of the stones.

While I photographed the fruits of her labours, Jackie puzzled over a surprise to come. Normally she labels her greenhouse seedlings and bulbs. Sometimes she forgets to do this.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon and stayed to dinner, which consisted of Jackie’s classic cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and tender green beans. Ian had brought a rather delicious bottle of Aguilla Chillando Garnacha 2017. I started on that, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth drank Becks Blue.

Up And Down The Garden Path

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Between phone calls wrestling with internet connection problems, while Jackie began the process of moving the less hardy plants to their winter quarters in the greenhouse, I wandered around the garden inspecting the surprises it still holds for us. Being a natural optimist I hoped I would be able to post my findings later.

We have a profusion of prolific fuchsias, not all of which I can name. A bee clambered dozily into one of the Delta’s Sarahs.

Cyclamens grace the stone tubs on the front wall, and various beds, such as that of the Weeping Birch, also home to asters, begonias, geraniums, petunias, bidens, and a red carpet rose.

Begonias

 geraniums and petunias also bloom in other beds and containers.

 

The primula survives in the West Bed; a little blue iris reticulata in the raised bed; a clematis once again scales the potting shed trellis;

the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, such as that in a container in front of the garage, stands proud beside its neighbouring nasturtiums, and the honeysuckle and solanum ascending the right hand trellis.

This morning glory may have been a late developer, but it is making up for lost time; hot lips are persistently, provocatively, pursed.

My wanderings involved a few trips up and down the Brick Path.

It must be more than thirty years since I bought our now threadbare but structurally sound Chesterfield sofa from Heal’s. This afternoon it was removed for reupholstering.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent pork chops with mustard and almonds; new potatoes; crisp carrots; tender cabbage and sautéed peppers and onions. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Réserve de Bonpas 2016. This meal prompted me tell the relevant story that was told in ‘Chamberlayne Road’.