Guarding The Nest

During a suitable break in the showers this morning I focussed on the refreshed flora in somewhat bedraggled bees in the garden.

Examples are antirrhinums and foxgloves;

Several bees, in their waterproofs, can be seen among these roses, petunias, geraniums, rhododendrons, poppies, and bottle brush plants.

Danni and Ella came to lunch bearing a packet of gloriosa vine corms for Jackie’s birthday. Naturally the Head Gardener planted them immediately.

During the pleasant afternoon that ensued, Danni reflected on Jackie photographing Derrick and Ella.

Later our great-niece slept on the sofa and was photographed by her mother.

Through the window above Ella’s head another proud parent, in the form of a cock sparrow, could be seen, head rapidly swivelling, guarding his nest by the side of the house,

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank Chateau des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016.

In A Flap

As I walked down to the Back gate to open it for Aaron early this morning I passed

the delicate pastel shades of Penny Lane which will have a powerful fragrance later in the day;

oriental poppies which have stubbornly clung to some petals despite the recent gales;

abundant Félicité Perpétue draped over a dead stump;

and rich red Ernest Morse.

A myriad of bees were already engaged in packing their pollen sacs.

Two masquerading as others were a striped hoverfly and a green shield bug.

A somewhat tattered Red Admiral fluttered by, occasionally pausing to rest.

The roses on the front trellis have been so weighty of late as to pull down their support. It was one of Aaron’s A.P. Maintenance tasks today to strengthen this section.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. First stop was Setley Ridge Garden Centre where Jackie bought some more trays of plants and I photographed

a bee on an ageratum.

We then took the Sandy Down route to the east.

There was a little delay on the road to Beaulieu as a foal was shepherded across the road.

At East Boldre several somnolent ponies occupied the road. Others, including a foal, snoozed on the grass. Unmoved, those on the road played havoc with the traffic of which they were oblivious for some time. One dappled grey seemed to have dislodged its reflective collar.

Suddenly, silently, the entire group took off for Masseys Road. The previously recumbent foal soon caught up.

Dangerously foraging on the verge of South Baddesley Road three ducks diced with death. The white one was sent out scouting. Eventually it got in a flap trying to convince its leading companion that crossing the road was not a good idea.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in sweet barbecue sauce and Jackie’s vegetable rice, with which she drank Blue Moon Belgian style wheat ale, and I drank more of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Raindrops On Roses

Having been informed by Bob on https://lovewillbringustogether.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/blue-skies-smilin-at-me/ that Australia’s Perth is having its driest spell on record I thought that today’s overnight visitors from that city might not be too sorry that our day has been overcast and wet.

Nevertheless, our cordeline Australis, eucalyptus, and yellow bottle brush plant, all beginning to bloom, may give them more of a sense of home.

Before the rain set in I photographed this unknown peach rose nodding to Compassion, at bit further back.

When I stayed with Mick and Gay at Christmas 2007 on the occasion of Sam’s wedding to their daughter, Holly, the sun was so hot that it burnt all Gay’s roses. It seemed appropriate on this occasion to photograph raindrops on some of ours, bringing us full circle with the pair that began the day dry. They are, of course, https://youtu.be/33o32C0ogVM

Late this afternoon these Australian friends arrived to spend time with us. We all dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; with flavoursome gravy, followed by strawberries, meringues, and ice cream. Hoegaarden; water; and The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018 was imbibed. Afterwards we enjoyed convivial conversation including cultural exchanges and reminiscing before departing to our respective beds.

Orkney Stories

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This morning I finished reading a book worthy of one of Pauline’s bookmarks. This is George Mackay Brown’s ‘The Golden Bird’. That title is one of two Orkney stories combined in a John Murray publication from 1987.

As beautifully crafted as our NZ friend’s work, these stories tell of his Island home during the last quarter of the 19th century, when he traditions of centuries were beginning to be threatened. The eponymous title tells of the slow decline of the island community and the tensions of isolation within it. The next ‘The Life and Death of John Voe’ takes as its theme the story of a typical Orkneyman who sails the seas and returns to his roots to end his days. A voe, incidentally, is a small bay or creek in the Orkneys and Shetlands.

The writer, who spent all his life in the Orkneys lives, breathes, and conveys the essences of the hardy, taciturn, folk; the savage seas; the rugged landscape; and the essential isolation of the time. With spare, simple, poetic, language, Mackay Brown enthrals and informs the reader. Perhaps the most beautiful passages are left to the final stages of the second story. He is justifiably considered one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century.

George Mackay Brown

The portrait of the writer inside the dust jacket is by Jessie Ann Matthew.

Somewhat later I toured the garden in order to check on irrigation needs.

Pansies in refreshed urn

I was encouraged by the sight of yesterday’s droopy pansies revived by the water I had given them.

Day lily

A variety of day lilies

Knifophia miniatures

and miniature knifophia thrived in the beds.

Bottle Brush plant red

The red Bottle Brush plants are now blooming.

Rose Super Elfin

The red Super Elfin rose is ascending the Gothic arch,

and most of the plants in the various pots and hanging baskets are still benefiting from the soaking administered by the Head Gardener. It looked as if I was due for an easy time.

Water drops on petunias

In the heat of mid-afternoon I undertook another check. This suggested it would be beneficial to water the patio and its surrounding containers. I therefore did that, mostly with a hose. Eventually I ran out of steam and could do. no more.

Soon afterwards Becky looked further afield and noticed droopiness in a chimney pot. She photographed the ailing plants and administered liquid refreshment.

Later, Elizabeth came for a visit and Becky cooked for the three of us. She produced an excellent meal of Cumberland sausages;  mashed potato; tasty onion, mushroom and red wine gravy; cabbage fried with black pepper and nutmeg; and a tin of sweetcorn because she couldn’t find any carrots to julienne and glaze.

 

Hot Chocolate And Hot Lips

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It was another mark of progress this morning when I wandered around the overcast garden while Jackie was out shopping. I didn’t imagine I might have to be rescued in some way.

Wedding Day rose has begun to bloom on the Agriframes Arch spanning the Brick Path.

The diagonal view from the Heligan Path towards the greenhouse features Hot Lips and the clematis now blooming over the Phantom Path.

The arch over the Dead End Path, from which can be seen the Rosa Glauca in the patio, supports Compassion rose and scarlet runner beans.

Astilbe and campanula Samantha flourish in the West Bed.

Poppies, heucheras, and clematises vie with roses in the Rose Garden.

Bee flying to yellow bottle brush

Here, a bee sets its sights on one of the yellow Bottle Brush plants’ blooms.

Hostas and erigeron

The sun having put in an appearance this afternoon, and a hosta in the front garden having caught my eye, I ventured out again.

Geraniums

Jackie has replaced the pansies in the stone tubs on the wall with bright geraniums.

Fuschia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah thrives in the triangular bed beside the wisteria arbour;

Petunias and diascias

almost black petunias are set off nicely by pink diascias in a pot beside the Kitchen Bed;

and these hanging baskets on the kitchen wall contain diascias, lobelia, and bidens.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of yesterday’s Forest Tandoori takeaway meals.

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.