Late Summer Blooms

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While Jackie, weeded, watered, and planted, my main gardening task today was extensive dead-heading. If anyone spots any heads I’ve missed in the following photographs, I’ll thank you for not mentioning it.

Petunias, geraniums, erigeron

We have many petunias. These, with geraniums and erigeron, grace the sitting room wall.

Petunias and fuchsiaPetunias geraniums, and lobelia

These, in a basket hanging over the shady path, blend well with a dangling fuchsia and lobelia above;

Begonia and petunias 1Begonia and petunias 2

accompany begonias,

Dragon Bed

like these above the Dragon Bed,

Petunias

or are planted in beds.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Dahlias, such as Bishop of Lllandaff,

Dahlias, phlox, etcDahlias

and some I can’t identify¬†are cropping up everywhere.

Dead End Path 2Dead End Path 1

This last trio grace the West Bed alongside the Dead End Path.

Bee on dahlia

A furry bee is cleverly camouflaged by the red and yellow one.

Bee on carpet rose

Other bees explore a carpet rose

Bee on salvia

and a salvia,

Salvias, cosmos, etc

two varieties of which are potted at the corner of the Kitchen Bed.

Crysanthemums

These chrysanthemums speak to the phlox behind.

Geraniums

I have no idea how many geraniums fill this stone urn nearby. Last autumn they were all little broken stems that the Head Gardener stuck in soil and nurtured through the winter.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus, Japanese anemones etc

Hibiscuses and Japanese anemones such as these on opposite sides of the Brick Path are typical of late summer blooms.

Penstemon and Festive Jewel

Another happy juxtaposition is that of the penstemons and Festive Jewel in the Rose Garden.

Fuchsia Lady in Black climber and hydrangea

The climbing fuchsia Lady in Black, against the pink hydrangea backdrop, has begun its ascent up the new arch beside the greenhouse;

Clematis

while the White clematis climbing the obelisk in the Kitchen Bed still flowers.

Shady PathPhantom PathThe Heligan Path

Jackie has produced her own individual signage for our paths,

Cryptomeria Japonica

and such as the Cryptomeria.

Palm Bed

Finally, here is a view across the Palm Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, breaded mushrooms, boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, and crisp spring greens. One of the advantages of being a wine drinker is that, after a tipple on the patio, I have some left for my dinner. It doesn’t seem to work like that with Hoegaarden. I drank Cimarosa, reserva privada cabernet sauvignon 2012.

 

 

 

The Great Escape

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With the return of the sunshine I carried out a little more tidying in the garden, especially dead-heading of roses, including

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous,

Rose Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta,

Rose pink climber

and a pink climber recovered by Elizabeth.

Wisteria in Kitchen Bed

This wisteria occupied the Kitchen Bed when we arrived three years ago. Despite the Head Gardener’s best efforts it has never flowered.

Chilean lantern bush

The Chilean lantern bush, on the other hand, is once more producing blooms;

Pieris

and new shoots are emerging on the pieris on the grass patch.

Gazebo Path

Although the agapanthuses took such a battering from the recent storms that they wound up in a vase indoors, some still line the Gazebo Path.

Snapdragons, geraniums, lobelia

Little blue lobelias peep out from beneath rich red snapdragons and geraniums the Back Drive barrier,

Lobelia Queen Victoria

while their taller relatives named Queen Victoria tower in the Oval Bed.

Ginger lily

We have a number of ginger lilies.

Hummingbird moth

The warmth of the sun brought out numerous insects. Hummingbird moths hovered among the pink phlox. I needed many unsuccessful attempts to acquire this less than wonderful image of a constantly flapping creature I think is new to our country.

Red Admiral on verbena bonarensis

Verbena bonarensis blooms attracted both stable, lightweight, Red Admirals

Bee on verbena bonarensis 1Bee on verbena bonarensis 2

and bees that teetered somewhat.

Bee on salvia farinacea

Bees also plundered salvias,

Bee on bidens

bidens,

Bee on geranium palmatum

and geranium palmatums.

Insect on cosmos

I could not identify some tiny creatures like this one on a cosmos,

Insect on bronze fennel

or this one cleverly camouflaged by bronze fennel.

Sweet peas and gladioli whiteFly on sweet pea, gladioli

A fly was attracted by the ensemble of white sweet peas and gladioli.

Rudbeckia distributed

Rudbeckia snaked from bed to bed in this picture for which I must apologise to the Head Gardener because I did not remove the fallen branch before making it.

Spider 1

This spider was in for a disappointment.

Wasp on web line 1Wasp on web line 2

I could almost hear it licking its chops as it prepared its larder for the wasp that seemed ensnared by its web line.

Wasp and spider 1Wasp and spider 2Wasp and spider 3Wasp and spider 4Wasp and spider 5Wasp and spider 6

The tiny spider perfected the trap as its larger prey frantically twisted, turned, and span in its efforts to escape being drawn in.

Wasp and spider 7

Eventually the prospective dinner hauled itself to safety, and sped off, leaving the hungry spider to creep into hiding and lurk in wait for another victim.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent dinner of chicken Kiev, savoury rice, tasty ratatouille, and crisp runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play Of Light

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Willows garden 1

Willows garden on Pilley Hill is situated on a steep but manageable incline. The house is perched in the middle of the plot with the effect that the rear beds are on the highest level and the land descends to the lily pond at the bottom.

We visited this colourful exuberance yesterday afternoon. In 2003, the current owners, Elizabeth and Martin Walker, bought a small bungalow with a natural ditch where the

Lily pond 2Lily pond 1Willows garden 4

pond is now situated. The current house was built in 2005.

Willows garden 3Hydrangea

Unusual varieties of hydrangea are one feature.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The herbaceous borders, on a grand scale,

Bees on dahlias

attract bees

Visitors admiring herbaceous border 1Visitor admiring herbaceous border

and visitors alike.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

Some of the dahlias are really quite strident.

Thistle

There are huge thistles

Ferns

and swirling ferns.

Willows garden 5

Plentiful seating was arranged. You could even sit under a parasol and employ your mobile devices;

Willows garden 7

you could sit side by side across the pond and watch the other visitors,

Couple crossing bridge

perhaps walking over one of the bridges,

Heron sculptures

passing a pair of hidden herons;

Jackie and Labrador

or you could sit quietly enjoying your cream teas, provided you were able to ignore the silent pleading of the resident Labrador.

The women washing up and giving out refreshments were not permitted to handle money, so you had to move across the room to pay the keeper of the coffers. This prompted me to recount the story of ‘A Retirement Project’.

Bamboo

Some of the plants would have graced a much hotter environment. A clump of bamboo soared to the skies,

Banana tree

and a banana tree,

Light through banana leaves 1Light through banana leaves 2Light through banana leaves 4Light through banana leaves 5

as we departed, proffered the light a leafy playground.

Balloon in oak tree

The final surprise was the balloon tree.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where my main course was king prawn naga and Jackie’s was chicken hariali. We shared special fried rice, a paratha, and an onion bahji; both drank Kingfisher.

 

The Roadside Meadow

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Municipal planting has been one of the facilities offered by Local Authorities in these straitened times to have fallen by the wayside. In the metaphorical sense this is not true of New Forest District Council. Last autumn seeds were sown by the side of the A337 and covered with a protective netting. They have now sprung into life.

Wildflower meadow location sign

This is the location of the nearest site to our home, no more than a mile away.

Wildflower meadow wide view 2Wildflower meadow wide view 1

We have been waiting an opportune moment to photograph the most amazing display that is currently swaying in the breeze and buzzing with bees.

Wildflower meadow 27Wildflower meadow 25Wildflower meadow 26Wildflower meadow with bee on poppy 2Wildflower meadow with bee on cornflower 3Wildflower meadow 23Wildflower meadow 24Wildflower meadow 20Wildflower meadow 21Wildflower meadow 22Bee on cornflower 2Bee on poppy 2Wildflower meadow 16Wildflower meadow 17Wildflower meadow with bee on poppyWildflower meadow 18Wildflower meadow 19Wildflower meadow 14Bee on poppy 1Wildflower meadow 15Wildflower meadow 13Wildflower meadow 11Wildflower meadow 12Wildflower meadow 5Cornflower meadow 9Wildflower meadow 1Wildflower meadow 8Wildflower meadow 6For once, I cannot  say any more than the plants do themselves. This array would enhance any cottage garden.Wildflower meadow 7

Having feasted our eyes on these floral delights, we drove on to Barton on Sea to have a look at Christchurch Bay.

Beware unstable cliffs sign

The unstable cliffs sign is not new,

Cliff erosion

but it has perhaps moved inland a little more.

Gull over Christchurch Bay

Only the gliding gulls can travel over the clifftop with equanimity.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s marvellous boeuf bourguignon with swede and potato mash and mange touts. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the Saint Emilion.

Only Another Sixty Years To Go

Today I put in some more work on ‘A Knight’s Tale’. This involved edited sections from ‘Trams And Trolley Buses’, from ‘The Bees’, and from ‘A Woman Paid My Fare’.

This illustration from ‘The Bees’ is included as are

Trolley Bus by David Bradley Online Trams by Norman Hurford

two historic transport photographs from the internet. The trolley bus is by David Bradley Online and the trams by Norman Hurford.

Only another sixty years to go.

This evening I dined on another plateful of Jackie’s delicious, now nicely matured, lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by a tangy Tesco’s yellow ticket Sicilian lemon tart.

The Wisdom Of The Owl

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Aaron with tree roots

Two days ago views along the kitchen window and bed opposite featured a sawn tree trunk at the far end. Here Aaron is with the last of the stump he further sawed and removed. As usual, I printed him an A4 copy for his collection.

View alongside Kitchen Bed

This has provided a little extra space at the end of Jackie’s current work area.

Hebe and Brick Path

Here is another view of the gap, taken from a hebe on the corner of the Dead End Path.

Removing a tree is always a last resort. The branches of this one, however, were very brittle and constantly breaking when strong winds beset this whirlpool of a corner. The extra foot of space is also needed for the expected greenhouse.

Bottle brush plant 1

To the right of the above picture the yellow bottle brush plant has now turned brown. On the other side of the gazebo path a bright red variety has drawn its attention.

Bee on bottle brush plant 1Bee on bottle brush plant 3Bee on bottle brush plant 2Bee on bottle brush plant 1

Swarms of bees gather in the attempt to transfix themselves on the beds of nails that are its blooms.

Snapdragons, geraniums and petuniasSnapdragons and geraniums

Other strong reds of snapdragons, geraniums, and petunias blend in the plastic troughs forming the barrier at the start of the back drive.

Marigolds and black-eyed Susan

Equally vibrant are the marigolds and black-eyed Susans now clutching the orange globe.

Foxglove

It is almost a relief to encounter the cooler hues of this foxglove,

Hosta

these hostas,

Insect on hebe

or the hebes, this example of which has attracted a tiny flying insect I can’t identify.

Although its floor is of gravel, the patio at the South end of the garden is termed the Concrete one. That is because the surface beneath the pebbles was probably where the Post Office vans were parked.

Garden view from concrete patio towards Rose Garden

That is where our mid-afternoon water was taken and we enjoyed views looking towards the Rose Garden;

Garden view from concrete patio towards potting shed

towards the potting shed;

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

of this cluster of yellow day lilies flanked by geranium palmatums;

New Zealand flax

and the New Zealand flax that has flowered for the first time since our arrival.

I haven’t mentioned the wind in the last few days. I thought that if I ignored it it would go away. It hasn’t.

Upturned pot and parasol

A couple of hours after we had been sitting beneath this parasol a sudden gust wreaked havoc. Admittedly the parasol had not been fitted tightly into its base, but it took off like a kite, smashed down into the bed, tipped over the stand supporting the recently planted red geraniums, and dragged down the string of overhead solar lights.

Broken plants

We began by lifting the parasol over everything and slotting it securely into its stand. Then picked up the pot and pedestal. Chucked broken bits onto the compost, and placed what would be salvageable onto one of the tables.

Gravelly soil

It was, I thought, very sensitive of the owl not to give me the benefit of his wisdom as I placed him on a chair and used his table to take the gravelly earth I scooped up and, with fingers and sieve, separated the two ingredients, so The Head Gardener could repot the remains.

This evening we dined on a fusion of more of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Peroni and I opened Jessie’s delicious Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2016 and drank some of it.

 

 

 

 

Satisfied

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Today Summer has returned in the form of a hot sunny day.

Bee on geranium palmatum

I’m no entomologist, so my identification of the bee-like insects flitting from bloom to bloom should be taken with a pinch of salt (which, traditionally should see off weeds). I am, however, confident that this one on a geranium palmatum is really a bee.

Hoverfly on fuchsia

This is probably a hoverfly using fuchsia Delta’s Sarah as a landing strip;

Hoverfly approaching poppy

and another approaching a pale pink poppy;

Hoverfly in antirrhinum

more likely a wasp lurking behind this white antirrhinum;

Wasps in poppies

and a couple more sampling these new poppies

Herbaceous border

towering in the herbaceous border,

Canterbury Bells

where delicate pink Canterbury bells now stand alongside the deep blue ones,

rose Ernest H. Morse

and roses like the flaming Ernest H Morse

rose Dearest 1

and the gentler Dearest are thriving.

Hole under fence

Unfortunately this herbaceous border, between the Back Drive and the back fence recently erected to keep out invaders from the North Breeze jungle, became the source of my major gardening task. An attempt has been made by an even bigger beast to eradicate Jackie’s recently planted red rambler rose. There was a label giving the name of the rose, but it’s probably been eaten by whatever dug its way under the fence, tearing at the roots and demolishing a large ornamental poppy.

Concrete blocks in wheelbarrow

We decided to be subtle about creating a barrier. To this end I transported two concrete blocks from the other end of the garden,

Red rambler and concrete barrierConcrete blocks barrier 2Concrete blocks barrier 1

extended the hole behind the rose, and popped in the concrete. The subtlety lay in leaving the hole to the left of the rose, so providing the animal with an alternative route. The stem in the foreground of the last of this series of pictures will be tied to its support.

Rose garden

Here is a current view of the Rose Garden showing, from front to back, Absolutely Fabulous, For Your Eyes Only, and Love Knot, flanked by tall pink foxgloves;

Garden view from eucalyptus to Compassion rose

and another from the eucalyptus to the Compassion rose on the arch spanning The Dead End Path,

Jackie tidying Dead End Path

which received the bulk of Jackie’s attention today. She pruned, weeded, raked, tidied, planted, and

Derrick admiring bench supports

propped up the rather unstable bench with bricks which I helped transport from elsewhere. It can now take my weight without wobbling.

Petunias and cosmos

Recent plantings well settled in include the begonias in the foreground of the picture of the Head Gardener at work; these petunias and cosmoses in a tub nearby;

Osteospermum and nepeta

and osteospermums and nepeta in the Oval Bed.

Jackie 1Jackie 2

Eventually Jackie was satisfied that her day’s work was fit to be photographed,

Jackie admiring Dead End Path

and she could sit back and admire it.

This evening we are off to Danni and Andy’s home in Shirley where Elizabeth will join us for a meal at the young folks’ local Indian restaurant. Since it is only my niece who has expressed sleepless distress at not knowing what I had for dinner, and she will be well acquainted with it, I assume that the rest of you won’t mind if I report on this tomorrow. With apologies to those who will be on their breakfast.