Storm Damage

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Begonias and lobelia in hanging basket on dead snake bark maplePlanting on dead Snake Bark Maple -solanum, begonias, petunias

This scene has featured in a number of posts over the years. The snake bark maple died in 2015, and has since been home to hanging baskets and climbing plants watched over by a wicker owl.

Sadly the avian guardian could not protect the living monument from last night’s severe winds.

The tree, complete with adornments, lay across the Brick Path this morning. Crashing down along the West Bed have come beams bearing a clematis Montana now lying along the West Bed. Fortunately, the blue solanum has a stout stem which looks to be intact.

This pot containing a red hydrangea had stood on the ground beside the Oval Path across which it now lies.

The rose Summer Wine has been freed from its moorings at the entrance to the Rose Garden, and will need a new set of stays.

Although much calmer this morning, winds have picked up again during the day, preventing any possibility of sensible recovery work. No real harm appears to have been inflicted.

Elizabeth was out this evening, so Jackie and I finished her delicious Pilley Celebration Chicken dish with Jackie’s special savoury rice and tender green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Preparing For A Storm

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For the last couple of days Jackie has kept much garden furniture and many hanging baskets grounded against buffeting from the heavy winds. As this afternoon’s gusts swept towards the 60+ m.p.h. we are to expect overnight, there was no reason to lift tables, chairs, parasols, or baskets. Readers may care to spot the dropped baskets in this further collection of

experiments with my new Sigma 35mm lens.

Given that she exchanged contracts on her Pilley house purchase today, it was appropriate that we named the delicious spicy creation that Elizabeth produced for our dinner this evening Pilley Celebration Chicken. This was served with Jackie’s splendid savoury rice and crisp sugar snaps. My sister and I drank Parick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016; my wife drank Hoegaarden.

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.

Rob’s Table, Helen’s Photographs

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Jackie drove me over to Rob and Helen’s home in Lordshill, a suburb of Southampton where we spent a very enjoyable day.

Apparently thirty years or so ago I gave Rob a rusty old sewing machine which had been left in the garden shed in Lindum House in Newark. I have no memory of this, but the fact that he has kept it all this time has now borne fruit.

He has cleaned and refurbished the base of the Bradbury of Oldham industrial artefact which has a still working treadle. Fixed to its top he has placed a solid sheet of cedar wood which was once a headboard. This has been sanded and oiled, thus releasing the beauty of the glowing grain.

On a nearby wall of this covered outside seating area hangs a splendid antique French water dispenser.

We enjoyed a superb three course lunch consisting of choice carrot and coriander soup by Helen; a most flavoursome fish pie by Rob; and a luscious lemon meringue pie by Helen. Rob and I enjoyed an Aldi claret.

Helen’s sister Marion and her husband John dropped in for a visit after lunch.

On 27th September last year, Helen had taken a batch of splendid photographs of our garden. She had sent me a set, but I was unable to download them. This afternoon we viewed them on Rob’s computer and he loaded them onto a memory stick which I brought home with me. Here is a selection, the individual titles of which appear on the gallery. ¬†Autumn leaves are in evidence. Perhaps in another fortnight we will have some more. Jackie was ambivalent to see the pictures of the dahlia Bishop of Llandaff which has since been devoured by a vole.

Later this evening I found room for a ham sandwich followed by Elizabeth’s special Firs Mess of meringues topped, on this occasion, with raspberries and ginger ice cream. Sparkling water was my accompaniment.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Late Summer Flowering

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I began the day with a walk round the garden with the camera. Jackie joined me to ensure that I did not miss any of her special successes.

First was the front of the house, with clematis, nasturtiums, solanum and verbena bonariensis festooning the trellis in front of the garage door; honeysuckle old and new, and pink roses having another flush; and planters of geraniums, lobelia, and petunias.

Constantly watered geraniums and other goodies thrive along the kitchen wall, opposite Jackie’s precious pineapple plants (eucomis, but I can’t get the alliteration with that) in the bed.

Begonias beside the Head Gardener’s Walk spill out of their pot. The ferns in front of them were plucked from less hospitable positions and replanted by She Who Walks The Path.

Jackie paid particular attention to hydrangeas during the long hot spell. Some, like one in the Dragon Bed, and other low-lying specimens, were little more than dried up sticks. The Phantom version, after which its path has been named, has not flowered for three years. The blooms are much smaller than they should be, but at least they are there.

Rudbeckia, Japanese anemones and a late blooming, self-seeded day lily brighten the palm bed. The pink Japanese anemones occupy the Kitchen Bed.

More rudbeckia grace the grass patch border, as do lobelias Cardinalis.

We have crinum Powelliae in the Cryptomeria Bed; ginger lilies, and white gladioli in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The Westbrook Arbour planting, including that seated in the cane chair, has matured well, as have the solanum and clematis soaring above the dead tree at the far end of the Brick Path. Penny Lane has claimed the Gothic Arch.

Roses Lady Emma Hamilton, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Gaujard, and Hot Chocolate thrive in the revived Rose Garden;

the unknown peach rose and climbing Compassion overlook the patio.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where a little of my blood was extracted for a PSA test, essentially to rule out prostate cancer.

This evening the three of us dined at the Wallhampton Arms. Jackie enjoyed a smoked haddock fishcake starter; Elizabeth, potted shrimps; and whitebait for me. The ladies each chose spatchcock chicken as a main course, whereas I Chose ribeye steak. Jackie drank Moretti while Elizabeth and I shared a bottle of Nine Lives merlot 2016. Back at home, our dessert consisted of Jackie’s splendid apple and apricot crumble and custard.

Sparrows To The Right Of Us, Sparrows To The Left Of Us

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Lilies

This afternoon I wandered around the garden seeking flowers I may not yet have featured this year. These lilies have just popped in a patio planter.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed again stretch across the Gazebo Path.

Rudbeckia and phlox

They stand alongside these Rudbeckia and phlox;

Begonias

while on that bed’s Shady Path side these begonias bloom.

Dahlia Puerto Rico

This flamboyant dahlia, aptly named Puerto Rico blazes between Brick and Gazebo Paths.

Clematis

The arch across the Shady Path supports this purple clematis.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

In the Rose Garden we have fuchsias Mrs Popple

Fuchsia Bella Rosella

and Bella Rosella.

Gloriana

Gloriana rose is having a better year;

Special Anniversary rose

while Special Anniversary

Crown Princess Margareta rose

and Crown Process Margareta are enjoying a second flush.

Hydrangea

Jackie bought this rather splendid hydrangea very cheaply in Lidl this morning. It doesn’t have a name. You can’t expect everything for ¬£5. She will nurture it in the pot until the weather is kinder.

Sparrows' nest

Now to the sparrows. I have reported on the second brood of these birds in the loo extractor fan. keeping their parents foraging. We have a second set in the rusted burglar alarm on the other side. These are not visible, but I can assure you that they make as much noise as their not so distant cousins.

This evening the three of us dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s sublime savoury rice. Mrs. Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.