The Holly And The Ivy

 

Our white sofa, being a sofa bed, is extremely heavy. In order to avoid damaging the new flooring, this morning Connor called upon

Mark to help him lift it into place.

Jackie ventured into the garden on this much brighter day than yesterday, announcing “I am going into the garden to photograph some loveliness.”  Her results included

raindrops on oak leaf pelargoniums,

on nasturtiums – only the red ones -,

on roses including Hot Chocolate,

Winchester Cathedral,

and pink carpet variety,

on vinca,

 

on cyclamen,

 

on camellia,

and on branches of Japanese maple,

weeping birch,

and the stems of Félicité Perpétue.

She also pictured primroses,

bidens,

solanum,

marguerites,

cyclamen leaves,

weeping birch bark,

viburnum,

 winter flowering cherry,

and generous pansies sharing their trough with next spring’s burgeoning tete-a-tetes.

Finally she thought her collection would not have been truly seasonal – not that much of it actually is – without

the holly

and the ivy.

The blackbirds have eaten all our berries.

Apart from working on this draft, I wrote out a batch of Christmas cards which Jackie posted later.

By the end of the afternoon, Connor was working on the final corner, which he soon finished.

One of the benefits of not being able to get into your kitchen for three days is that you can eat out in one of your favourite restaurants each day. This evening it was the turn of The Family House Chinese at Totton where we enjoyed our usual M3 set meal with Tsing Tao beer.

It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

Protective Custody

Between watching recordings of the Rugby World Cup quarter final matches featuring Wales and France then Japan and South Africa, I wandered round the garden.

When we arrived here five years ago a variegated myrtle bush that had grown to a tree was in the process of reverting, This meant that the two-toned cultivated leaves had become dark green. Jackie and I have twice removed all those of the pristine hue, but we have been fighting a losing battle.

This morning Aaron stripped the lower trunk to reveal its colourful bark. Thus we admitted defeat.

Nasturtiums, continuing to scale the trellis in front of the garage door, are  hoping they will get away without a frost this winter.

Some of the more established pelargoniums

remain outside in their pots, whereas

 

others, with begonias

and fuchsias have already been taken into protective custody in the greenhouse.

 

Dahlias are still in season,

and the Rose Garden features carpet roses,

Absolutely Fabulous,

Special Anniversary,

and Lady Emma Hamilton.

Self-seeded bidens, like these floral cuckoos among heliotrope and petunias remain ubiquitous.

This recently planted panicum Warrior grass has taken well to the Weeping Birch Bed.

The solanum swaddling the dead tree will probably be blooming long after the birch has shed its leaves.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome cottage pie; tasty carrots and Brussels sprouts; and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

 

Soil Replenishment

So often when Jackie pops out for a spell of planting she spends all day, first diverting herself with bed clearance and soil replenishment. This is what happened today, especially as the weather was mild and sunny.

The New Bed has become rather full lately, so to plant new bulbs required the process outlined above. Self-seeded and too prolific plants are removed, others heavily pruned, then the area is topped with compost. Naturally it has to pass the inspection of Nugget. It was kind of him to take a break from his sentry duty to perform this task.

 

“Where’s Nugget?” (37)

My contribution to the proceedings was to gather up the refuse and transport it to the compost bins.

Doris Tysterman continues to shine in the borders of the back drive,

where clusters of chrysanthemums crowd

alongside pursed hot lips.

Begonias continue to thrive, although some

 

 

along with fuchsias and others, including dahlias, shed their petals.

Fuchsias, including a number of Delta’s Sarah and Mrs Popple, drape many of the beds. This mauve and white Delta’s Sarah shares a corner of the Rose Garden.

This small pink rose nestles in

the Wisteria Bed outside the stable door, hidden in this picture by another Delta’s Sarah.

The red climber, Super Elfin continues long after the runner beans on the Gothic arch

which also supports Doctor Ruppel clematis having another flush.

Nearby, the wicker chair, fronted by Japanese anemones, bears another fuchsia.

Alongside the Kitchen Path we have a deep purple double petunia,

burnished red sedum and lighter pelargoniums. 

Later I printed copies of the Doris Tysterman and the chrysanthemums for the Back Drive album update.

This evening we dined on mini spring rolls and tempura prawns with sweet chilli sauce as starters followed by a rack of pork spare ribs and Jackie’s savoury vegetable rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

Should I Revert To The Classic Editor?

The light this morning was dull when I took a walk around the garden.

It looks to me as if WordPress have changed my gallery image sizes as they did yesterday. This will mean that nothing can be enlarged. I am also uncertain whether the galleries can be accessed at all. Should either of these situations arise, I will return to the Classic editor. I would appreciate feedback on this.

This afternoon the light was slightly better when I photographed a hosta blooming on the stumpery; the Virginia creeper brightening the back drive,

which also bears hot lips in its border;

bees plundering salvia and cosmos;

and a Red Admiral basking on warm paving bricks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic lamb jalfrezi with mushroom rice and onion samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserva Shiraz 2017.

The Watchers On The Shore

Today’s weather was once more clear, bright, sunny, and cooler.

Bees continued collecting nectar throughout the garden. On my walk around I captured them on bidens, and on the more mature blooms of Festive Jewel.

Crisp young examples of the latter await their turn at contributing to the queen’s larder.

Tomatoes continue to ripen in readiness for ours.

It is a good thing I was not using film in my attempts to catch the myriad of fluttering snowflakes in the form of Small White butterflies while they swirled through the air. I settled for those landing on a poppy head and on a verbena bonarensis. Another took pity on me and perched on a petunia.

Orange crocosmia Emily Mckenzie brightens the Dead End Path and pink sweet peas dance in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Our Bishop of Llandaff in the New Bed was eaten by a vole a couple of years ago. Its deeper red companion has survived.

Another plant that has proved impossible to grow in the various beds tried by the Head Gardener is the gaura. This one is thriving in a pot.

Lady Emma Hamilton produces multiple flushes.

Rows of small begonias sparkle on the borders of beds like these alongside the Heligan Path.

Nugget darted in and out nearby. I am beginning to wonder whether he associates the click of the camera with the clink of a trowel.

One of the pictures above should provide a clue to today’s “Where’s Nugget?” (9)

Late this afternoon we took drive into the forest.

The only sign of life on Hatchet Pond was this pair of swans.

The others must have heard that members of an excited family were feeding the birds beside the nearby Beaulieu River.

Kite surfers and sailboarders struggled on the Solent at the end of Tanners Lane, where they were watched by a young man on the shore. I suppose I made it two watchers so I could legitimately borrow the title of Stan Barstow’s novel.

This evening we dined on Lidl’s rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce; the Culinary Queen’s flavoursome mushroom rice; and the Head Gardener’s tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Belgium’s Hoegaarden and I finished Tesco’s finest Chilean Malbec.

Ice Cream Delivery

Jackie swept liberally scattered beech nuts from the Rose Garden this morning.

Scoobie kept her company. On the Back Drive he found a fossilised rat which I opted not to photograph.

We have a liberal supply of petunias,

begonias,

and Japanese anemones.

Bees busied themselves gathering pollen, ignoring the fact that some plants remained dog-eared;

and competing for occupation of others.

Some clematises,

fuchsias,

cosmoses, and sweet peas remain in bloom.

Rose Doris Tysteman thrives in the Back Drive border.

Rosa Glauca hips hang over the colourful patio beds.

The hibiscus beside the Brick Path is really flourishing this year.

This afternoon the four of us visited the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

Gulls hung on the thermals overhead;

crows on the clifftop blinked and pecked at tissues which were eventually shredded;

children wandered;

and a fisherman angled on a breakwater

in view of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay.

This was a day for ice creams.

We had become a little concerned on noticing an elderly woman alone in a wheelchair. After some time a younger woman made her way across the garden with two ice creams. She presented one to the person we then assumed to be her mother, and they sat and enjoyed them together.

After we returned home Ian and I listened to the BBC sport broadcast of the Ashes Test match first day; and watched the second half of the highlights after dinner.

Our dinner consisted of thick pork chops with mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potato; crisp carrots and broccoli; tender runner beans; and roasted peppers, onions and mushrooms. I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah while the others drank Wairu Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2017.