I Took A Tumble

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Ronan and Mark of Tom Sutton Heating are well on schedule with our new installation. We have hot water. After another couple of days all will be completed.

Jackie continued her work on garden maintenance this morning and I dead-headed a few token roses this afternoon.

Crown Princess Margareta

and Mamma Mia are two of those that keep on giving;

as is Compassion, kindly climbing over the Dead End Path.

Clematis Sieboldii, masquerading as a Passion flower, has surprised us by blooming in the last few days;

geraniums are keeping pace with nasturtiums;

and bees continue their dalliance with dahlias.

Our National Trust has adopted the practice of placing a thistle on the seat of antique chairs in order to deter people from sitting on them. One of our metal chairs in the rose garden has come apart. Naturally it will be used as a planter rather than despatched to the dump. In the meantime, following the National Trust, Jackie has plonked a pot of chrysanthemums thereon.

Later, we drove along Cowpits Lane, Ringwood, turning into Linford Road, which we had not previously traversed. This proved to be a winding tree-lined lane of which the ponies claimed ownership.

The large foal that appears in the first picture of the long gallery attracted my attention as it began licking the tarmac in the middle of the road. The creature was oblivious of the car waiting behind it. I waved my arms about a bit attempting to draw it out of the way. This was to no avail. The driver emerged from his vehicle and adopted a hands on approach. I turned my back on the approaching animal, as it came towards me. This was in order to remove myself from its path. I was going to have to descend a steeper incline than I would have liked. As to be expected my pace increased to an involuntary run. The terrain levelled out, and so did I.

The concerned driver’s female companion yelled to alert him to what had happened. Slaloming around the grazing ponies, Jackie dashed out of the Modus. She and the driver soon stood on either side of me. I lay on my back, quite comfortably working out how I was going to get up. I rolled over and reached for helping hands. Jackie picked up the camera which had dented my forehead and raised my left cheekbone.

This looked much worse than it was. I only had a small cut and a little bruise. More importantly, I now know I can fall over and get up – quite a fear when you’ve just had a new knee fitted. No cameras were harmed in this production.

Elizabeth stayed at Mum’s tonight. Jackie and I dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent ¬†fare. Mrs Knight finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bedmaking

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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.

 

Life And Death

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This morning I employed several efforts at procrastination to defer my tackling the installation of the new Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner. Included were reading a book, dead-heading roses, and a bit of clearing in the garden.

Eventually, I got down to it, and am happy to say managed the job. I suspect the discs I was most scared of were actually for a Microsoft PC, because it seems the downloads were done on line with a Mac. Maybe Elizabeth will be able to enlighten me when she returns from a visit to Mum’s. A little sister is maybe a good enough replacement for a grandchild.

This afternoon I celebrated by wandering round the garden, which has reaped the benefits of Jackie’s splendid Autumn Clean.

She has weeded and swept paths including the Brick one.

Our colchicums, or Autumn crocuses, continue to spread each year.

The echinacea, however, are not doing so well. Jackie has tried these several times. None have survived, and these don’t look very well. Apparently they are prone to succumbing to sudden unexplained demise. Maybe the botanical world’s version of cot death.

We have many dahlias,

and numerous varieties of fuchsia. Bees were constantly diving into them. Here one grapples with Mrs Popple.

Another busy pollen gatherer swings on a yellow bidens.

Opulent begonias abound.

More dead-heading, as in Absolutely Fabulous was now required in the Rose Garden. Here we have the life-span of these blooms in one shot. Youngsters await their turn to beguile;

while blousy middle-age embraces a spider enswathing its prey, thus completing an opera of life and death.

Schoolgirl

and Golden Showers

scale the arbour.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans from the garden. My wife drank Hoegaarden, my sister, Becks Blue, and I, Albali reserva 2012.

A Tattooed Jet-skier

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Yesterday, Jackie, having set a border with transplanted heucheras some weeks ago, thinned out the other plants in the small bed to the left of the rose garden entrance. As Aaron said, this increased the sense of space.

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to prune the plants over the arch to the front garden;

another was to fix spikes to the top of the Westbrook Arbour to prevent perching pigeons pooing onto the bench beneath.

Late this morning Jackie drove me out with the intention of photographing the New Forest Marathon. Unfortunately, because of road closures, and my inability to walk far enough along the paths that would lead to the runners, we abandoned the idea and went home to lunch, after which an amble round the garden was possible.

We still have a number of lively clematises, like this Polish Spirit in the Dragon Bed alongside the Shady Path,

and this Hagley Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

where is also to be found glorious Gloriana,

pink-cheeked Mum in a Million,

and Rhapsody in Blue harmonising with verbena bonariensis.

Peach Delight still stretches over the Oval Bed,

where nasturtiums echo rudbeckia,

itself found in the Palm Bed,

also home to helenium

and echinacea.

Bees swarmed blushing sedums

and Japanese anemones;

a wasp sought saxifrage.

Perhaps a spider’s spinning a modest veil for Florence sculpture.

Gauras have proved difficult to grow here. An exception is this one swaying in the Weeping Birch Bed.

This fuchsia curtains Elizabeth’s Bed from the Rose Garden.

In the late afternoon we visited Mudeford Quay which thronged with visitors, Many of whom were enjoying themselves catching crabs, although they snared more seaweed. The secret, which enabled one group to fill buckets with the unfortunate creatures before tossing them back into the water, seemed to be the bacon bait, which, to my mind, would have been better served flavouring a sausage casserole.

Taking advantage of the low tide, one dog walker wandered along the sandbank, passing the Isle of Wight, and retracing his steps.

Just as I was about to leave, a tattooed jet skier sprayed into sight and navigated his way between the port and starboard buoys.

heuchera

Early this evening, Jackie rushed in for the camera, rushed out with it, and returned with a backlit image of the heuchera I had photographed this morning.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; wild rice; crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans, followed by her sublime bread and butter pudding. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Autumn Arachnid

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As the first autumn arachnid predator wrapped prey for its larder in the warm morning sunshine, further potential sustenance foraged for their own food stores or simply soaked up the sun. The skies clouded over soon after midday and rain fell all afternoon.

This evening, leaving enough for Elizabeth, who would be home a little later, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika, tasty savoury rice, crunchy carrots, and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016.

 

We Ate Their Cake

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Late yesterday afternoon, Jackie created a new bed alongside the Head Gardener’s Walk on a piece of barren ground around the bases of holly and bay trees.

She earned her period in the Gardener’s Rest where she slaked her thirst with sparkling water

Having been held in a snarl up on the M27 for over an hour, Elizabeth’s friends Pauline and Jo were forced to abandon their visit to the garden. I therefore stepped out on their behalf.

I wandered along the Gazebo Path,

glancing to the left across to the Dragon Bed and the new wooden arch.

These, of course, are dahlia days. A white break has appeared among the petals of the single red one, and a hoverfly homes in on Puerto Rico.

Fuchsias like Mrs Popple continue to thrive.

These potted pansies have bloomed continuously since early spring.

Polish Spirit is just one example of the clematises that continue flowering.

Sculpture Florence stands proud on Fiveways.

Japanese anemones proliferate.

While I was at it, I picked some runner beans for tonight’s dinner.

A number of gladioli are pleased to be alive;

as are numerous petunias gracing hanging baskets.

Bees, like these milking bright blue heliotrope and blushing sedum, toil away, taking advantage of our Indian summer.

Love Knot and Margaret Merrill are just two of the roses basking in

the Rose Garden, where Absolutely Fabulous and Lady Emma Hamilton, in their maturity, are plumply alluring.

As I came to the end of my tour, Jackie arrived home with a garden centre trophy in the form of an ailing hydrangea. We have often seen how these bargains respond to her nurturing.

Jo sent Elizabeth a text showing her mother bearing the flowers that had been meant for us.

The timing was perfect, because we were sitting in the patio while we ate their cake.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole; swede mash, crunchy carrots, and the tender aforementioned runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.

 

 

 

A Bigger Splash

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The garden was looking very refreshed as I wandered around this morning. Most blooms bore baubles of raindrops.

Bees were making up for being confined in hives by the recent precipitation.

By lunchtime, I had finished reading 

Hibbert’s well researched history is founded on the subject’s personal correspondence and contemporary observations. Like many great men, our national hero comes across has a man of two halves. Undoubtedly kind and generous to his men and to many others Nelson’s relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton was seen as folly by many, and, even as demonstrated by his own letters he must have treated his wife very badly. This Viking paperback of 1994 contains no identification of the painter of the cover portrait.

After lunch, Jackie and I visited the sites of the two scarecrows missing from our last visit. Prince Eric, now wearing a rain hood, perched on a hedge at Ramblers in Woodcock Lane. I am very pleased to be able to report that a rebuilt Frog Prince again sits outside 49 Ashley Lane. His creator informed me that his battered body had lain on the ground and his decapitated head had hung from a branch.

We continued on a drive through the forest. Near Ogdens, a herd of deer got wind of my approach, and, turning tail, slowly picking up speed, elegantly trotted across the undulating terrain to safety over the brow of a hill.

Ponies and fliesPoniesPonies and fliesPonies

Clusters of pesky flies surrounded somnolent ponies gathered together at North Gorley.

Other ponies mingled with visitors to Ibsley ford, some of whom competed to establish who could create a bigger splash.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pork paprika with savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Coonwarra Chardonay 2016; Elizabeth and I chose Villanyi Merlot 2015 and drank some of it.