Mediterranean Volunteers

Sweltering in the warm morning sunshine while listening to the trilling of small songbirds and the repetitive cries of a successfully mated wood pigeon I pulled up swathes of Sticky Willy or Ladies’ Bedstraw in an attempt to halt their upward progress to flower beyond my reach.

Two other climbers, Paul’s Scarlet and Altissimo, each embellish one end of the garden;

a yellow one now clambers over the parade of dead stumps lining the Back Drive.

Foxgloves, as in this image of clematises against the patio fence, are photobombing everywhere, so I gave them two pictures of their own.

Other volunteers include these gladioli Byzantinus which, possibly seeking cooler climes, have escaped from the Mediterranean.

The Rose Garden is filling up with flowers.

A may tree stands at the back garden gate; although the eponymous Weeping Birch on its demise has been severely truncated and will be draped in a clematis in due course its Bed will forever bear its name.

The Chilean Lantern tree is lighting up the corner of the Gazebo Path, while the Wedding Day rose will soon provide a bouquet spanning the Brick Path.

This budding allium and Doctor Ruppel each promise more blooms.

A clump of irises and clusters of blue solanum compliment each other.

Erigeron and ferns sprout from the stumpery.

Later, I published

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty savoury rice with spicy, salt and pepper and tempura prawn preparations.

A New Visitor

Having already drafted yesterday’s post I joined the family on the patio chairs being entertained by Ellie in her bath, during which time I wandered off to have a look at Jackie’s planting from earlier in the day.

A creature that none of us recognised flew silently past my left ear and came to rest on a dry stem not yet removed from, appropriately enough, the Dragon Bed. Unusually, it remained long enough for me to return inside to collect my camera and to photograph it. In fact it remained in situ for much of the rest of the afternoon, circling those who disturbed it and returning to its chosen perch. Later research revealed our visitor to be a broad bodied female chaser – a dragonfly native to our New Forest.

Now I was grasping the camera I photographed a few flowers, each of which bears a title in the gallery.

This morning Jackie unclogged the Waterboy Fountain, and this

afternoon transferred the astrantia photographed yesterday in its pot to the soil in the Pond Bed.

After lunch I converted this post from Classic to Blocks edit and changed the category to Garden. I needed the assistance of Wayback Machine to identify missing photographs which I then traced in my iMac Photos, omitting rugby photos taken from the TV screen because they were not crucial to the post and I had had enough,

My gardening tasks today, partly this morning, partly this afternoon, involved dead heading and weeding.

I then photographed a batch of scenes which should put yesterday’s images into context. Again titles are with the galleries.

This set pictures the Rose Garden.

This evening we all dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie, Dillon, and I shared Asahi beer.

A Little Dead-Heading

Before Martin arrived today, the Head Gardener’s Walk had disappeared from view.

This is how he left it.

He reshaped a tree in need of a trim,

giving the Viburnum Plicatum beneath it more room to breathe;

and mowed the lawn as usual, while

I managed a little dead-heading of poppies like these in the Chilean Lantern Tree Bed, also containing orange calendula and bluebells.

This evening Flo dined on succulent roast pork, crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; cauliflower, carrots, and green beans, with which she abstained. Jackie and I enjoyed the hotter paprika pork with her flavoursome savoury rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Working On The Rose Garden

Today, the hottest day of the year, was fine and sunny.

While Jackie swept, weeded, pruned, and watered the Rose Garden. (This picture is not an official “Where’s Nugget?”, but on reading the blog and doubly enlarging it The Head Gardener identified our familiar robin clearly silhouetted above the central bloom of clematis Warsaw Nike in the right foreground.)

I pruned roses and photographed various scenes there and elsewhere.

The Mum in a Million rose chaperoned by gladioli and foxgloves to the left of the third picture above is now in her prime.

In the first scene Jackie attends the gazebo which hosts Crown Princess Margareta and Zephirine Drouhin each exuding strong sweet scents.

This pink climber scales an obelisk

beside Margaret Merrill.

Ballerina dances elegantly

and another nameless climber, a deeper pink, soars above the arbour.

The views from the Cryptomeria Bed and the Concrete Patio lead on to the Rose Garden. The above picture contains one of the

plethora of poppies we now enjoy.

These stand against a red rhododendron.

 

As these bushes are nearing the end of their flowering, a different colour combination comes into its own.

This can be seen above the bench beside the Heligan Path

Back in the Rose Garden our little goldcrest continued its reflected courtship. He wasn’t fazed by us, but Jackie has now covered the mirror to reduce tantalisation.

Nugget kept us intermittent company. “Where’s Nugget?” (79).

Another view from the Cryptomeria Bed takes us towards the house, passing an unseen

arch sporting this purple clematis.

This stunning non-hardy pelargonium has survived the entire winter in a pot beside the kitchen window.

More small alliums live in the Pond Bed opposite.

The Chilean lantern tree is now quite loaded.

From the patio we have a view along the Dead End Path.

This view looks south from the Gazebo Path.

Looking in the same direction along the Brick Path we see that Wedding Day is burgeoning on the Agriframes Arch.

The roses along the Back Drive borders will also soon cover the stumps.

Irises Reticulata are cropping up everywhere.

A few days ago we visited South Sway Lane

to check on Gimlet, our carrot-loving equine friend. His field was empty, as it remained today when we came back to collect more horse manure from the house opposite. It was all gone, although it had been there on our previous trip.

Undaunted, Jackie continued to Ferndene Farm shop where there was no queue and she was able to buy several items. Still on Sway Lane,

I disembarked to photograph some backlit grey horses. The immediately trotted over to their gate so I had to be satisfied with this shot, which biggifies quite well.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s meal, except that the potatoes were old and sprouting a few roots. Our alcoholic accompaniments were the same.

Old Curtains Or Blackout Fabric

Jackie continued refurbishing hanging baskets

and containers such as those she is watering here.

At the moment most of these involve cuttings she has preserved over the winter. We have heard today that garden centres are likely to open again next week, thus offering the opportunity for more variety – not that the Head Gardener has, thanks to Ferndene Farm shop, been completely devoid of bedding plants like these

calibrachoa awaiting a resting place.

Oak leaved geraniums and

Palmatums have survived in the open.

The burgeoning red climbing rose is now rapidly overhauling the fading wisteria;

while the nearby Chilean lantern tree is nicely lit.

Snow White Madame Alfred Carriere now relaxes with Summer Wine rouge above the Rose Garden where

the tiny Flower Power is having its strongest showing yet,

and the lyrical Shropshire Lad has found his rhythm.

A bustling bumble bee, hastening to reach its pollen count, scatters the microscopic yellow grains.

This afternoon I received an e-mail from our sister-in-law Frances wondering whether Mum had made Chris and my VE Day street party suits

from old curtains or blackout fabric. I had always thought velvet, but to ascertain the material’s origin I suggested Mum might remember.

Later  I scanned ten more pages of Agnes Miller Parker’s

elegant illustrations to H. E. Bates’s “Down The River”.

While I was working on this, Jackie began preparing the Cryptomeria Bed and found herself virtually surrounded by what seemed the whole robin family. Nugget, Lady, and two or three fledglings were all in attendance.

This evening I produced a meal of fillet steaks, mashed potato, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Modesty prevents me from mentioning its quality. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Where’s Mrs Nugget?

Jackie planted a clutch of primulas this morning.

While she was at it she kept tabs on the winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa Freckles,

and the mahonia that has grown into a tree.

She observed an encounter between a snail and an owl;

and admired the burgeoning Daphne Odorata Marginata and the

Chilean lantern tree.

By far the most exciting discovery, however, was that Nugget had become exceedingly frisky, as was his companion who followed him around.

Yes.

A Mrs Nugget has arrived.

“Where’s Mrs Nugget” in this picture? It is only fair to say that she is not on the feeder, and has her back to us. The Assistant Photographer worked very hard to capture them both in the same shot.

Today I finished reading

Because of the proliferation of pictures in this volume I could do no more that scan them before we set off to The Darbar restaurant in Emsworth where we were to dine with Becky and Ian. I will describe the book and feature the illustrations tomorrow.

We were given a pleasant surprise in that Miche also joined the party and the enjoyable conversation over the meal.

I chose a goat curry the name of which I cannot remember; Jackie’s pick was paneer shashlik. We all shared onion bhajis while Jackie and I shared mushroom rice and a plain paratha. We both drank Cobra, along with Ian and Miche. Becky enjoyed a pomegranate cocktail.. I’m not sure what the others ate.

On our return home we were sent off a closed section of the M27 and diverted into the centre of Portsmouth from which, so confusing were the diversion signs, it took us an hour to escape. The consequence is that it is now 11.15 p.m.

 

 

Fruits Of Labour

I am close to deciding on my final cut for the Everton Festival Photographic Competition. Many painful decisions are being made now, concerning which shots to leave out.

In order seriously to consider the deer having her nose scratched I have converted this image to Black and White, thus giving a sharper silhouette. This is, incidentally, quite a small crop from the original picture. Does anyone have an opinion?

Jackie has been working very hard all this week on planting and replenishment of soil.

Here she tidies what she has achieved against the kitchen wall;

this side of the patio, all of which has been repotted, leads through the Dead End Path,

Earlier plantings include this allium in the Palm Bed and clematis climbing the Wedding Day (formerly Agriframes) arch.

While I think of it, I have been calling the clematis wandering up the wisteria arbour Niobe; we now think it should be named Star of India.

It faces the bright red Chiliean Lantern tree.

Rose Altissimo stands sentinel between Elizabeth’s Bed and the

Rose Garden where Laura Ford’s yellow pigment splashes onto the heuchera border, and

Special Anniversary

nods to the numerous gloves the foxes have scattered therein.

Creamy yellow Summer Time makes its bid to support the peeling old shed;

Jacqueline du Pré plays on;

and the deep pink climber Elizabeth rediscovered races Roserie de la Haie to the skies.

The Weeping Birch Bed bursts with burgeoning blooms.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts roasted in sweet chilli sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and ratatouille with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

My Second Nonagenarian Visitor

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT.

On a lightly overcast afternoon Jackie, plonking Mum’s stool to order, followed me on a short perch-hopping spree in the garden. I enjoyed two vantage points in the patio, one at the head of the Brick Path, and one beside the Westbrook Arbour.

In the meantime Jackie enjoyed herself planting.

Here are some of the corners on which I focussed. The two new wooden chairs on the decking were intended to replaced a collapsed wickerwork model which was destined for the dump. In the event, Jackie was unable to part with it and planted it up as seen in the third picture in the gallery.

Mum

Soon afterwards, Mum,

Jacqueline

driven by Jacqueline,

was the second nonagenarian to visit in two days. We spent several hours reminiscing and swapping medical notes and experiences.

This evening, for the two of us, Jackie fetched a takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori in Pennington. We started with excellent prawn puris. My enjoyable main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken sag.

It Couldn’t Wait For My Return

On this bright and sunny afternoon, Jackie leapfrogged Mum’s perching stool down the garden, giving me three observation posts for a brief sojourn listening to the birds and pointing my lens.

Brick Path

I was able to look along the Brick Path

Clematis Doctor Ruppel

past the prolific clematis Doctor Ruppel

Rose Penny Lane

and the slightly scented rose Penny Lane, both intended to climb the Gothic Arch,

Ferns

to clusters of ferns in the West Bed.

Rhododendron

My favourite rhododendron could not wait until my return to burst into bloom in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Geranium palmatums

which has its share of geranium palmatums

Heuchera

opposite heucheras in Margery’s Bed.

Day lilies

Across the Grass Patch can be seen a clump of Day Lilies

Gazebo Path

also on view along the Gazebo Path, the foreground of which is illuminated by the Chilean Lantern tree.

Foxglove

Foxgloves, like this one in the Palm Bed stand proud throughout the garden.

Marigolds

The rich orange marigolds are rampant in the Dragon Bed.

Roses and poppy heads

The slender poppy heads shown alongside these roses are those of the yellow and orange species that crop up everywhere. Ii is normally my job to cut them down to encourage new growth. It may be some time before I am fit to return to duties.

My choice of Tesco’s prepared meals this evening was chicken jalfrezi; Jackie’s was a pasta bake.

 

“So Much Colour”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning Jackie continued her autumn clearing and planting in the garden. This afternoon I tidied up a bit then wandered around with my camera.

Petunias, geraniums, and erigeron

Petunias and geraniums continue to glow, with bright little erigerons still standing proud;

Hanging baskets over Shady Bed

and diascias and begonias adding to the music.

Hat planted up (bee on marigold)

The lead hat on the patio wall would grace an Ascot attender,

Bee on marigold

although she might not be happy about the resident bee.

New Guinea impatiens and fly

Other insects enjoying the warm weather include this fly on a New Guinea impatiens.

Fuchsia in Dragon Bed

Fuchsias are among the delights of the Dragon Bed,

Fuchsia in Kitchen Bed

of the Kitchen Bed,

Fuchsia and fennel in Elizabeth's Bed

and of Elizabeth’s Bed.

Oval Bed

That second example, via dahlia Coup de Soleil, continues the chrysanthemums’ colour in the top left hand corner of this Oval Bed view. The yellow nasturtium peeping into the bottom right hand corner is just one of

Nasturtiums, salvia microphylla, California poppiesNasturtiums

many rambling around the garden.

Palm Bed rhododendron leaves

Rhododendron leaves in the Palm Bed form a sinuous shape with the rudbeckias,

Palm Bed -Japanese anemones and rudbeckias

seen in the same bed dancing with Japanese anemones;

View through eucalyptus to weeping birch

or taking the eye through the regenerating eucalyptus to the yellowing leaves of the weeping birch.

Kitchen Bed eucomis, ginkgo, fennel

A similar yellow palette is taken up through the Kitchen Bed by way of the eucomises, the potted ginkgo, and the bronze fennel;

Diascias, geraniums, dahlias

whereas the pale pink diascias in the iron urn lead us to the hot geraniums and dahlias beyond.

Dragon Bed

A dragon stands proud, protecting plants in its eponymous bed.

Chilean lantern tree

Still the Chilean tree produces lanterns,

Colchicums

while gentler hued colchicums sprawl across the soil opposite.

Heligan Path begonias

Begonias still glow in their hanging basket alongside the Heligan Path over the Cryptomeria Bed,

Penstemon

and sunlight has a similar effect on this penstemon.

Rose Garden

An array of supporting plants accompany the roses in their Garden,

Festive Jewel

where such as Festive Jewel display several generations at once.

Grass Patch

Even the patch of grass delights in the day.

Perhaps this is what John meant when he came to paint the garden and observed “so much colour”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken with her especially savoury vegetable rice – itself a veritable complete meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the sangiovese.

P.S. See my response to Luanne below as a recipe for the vegetable rice.