Not Quite Mid-May

Today’s tour of the garden began with

clematis Marie Boisselot in the Kitchen Bed which also contains an as yet small wisteria, clusters of ferns, Japanese maples, the now ubiquitous erigeron, and self seeded bronze fennel which will have to go when it outgrows it’s welcome.

Other clematises include Niobe, now rivalling the fading wisteria and the burgeoning rose Paul’s Scarlet for space above the Wisteria Arbour; and Doctor Ruppel, one of which is beginning its ascent up the arch facing the Westbrook Arbour.

At the Brick Path corner of the Dragon Bed a deep red peony prepares to top off the happy planting of phlox and geraniums.

At the far side of this bed the magnolia Vulcan is beginning to relish the light now permitted into its corner.

The pink rhododendron in the Palm Bed sits opposite the deeper variety in Margery’s Bed.

There are a number of vantage points along the Brick Path.

The yellow diurnal poppies alongside the Gazebo Path

can be seen slightly above the centre of this view through the Cryptomeria Bed.

Before Aaron left this morning he had mown the grass patch which is beginning to warrant the epithet lawn.

Rose Madame Alfred Carriere soars above the entrance to the Rose Garden; Jacqueline du Pré adds harmony; Laura Ford a splash of yellow beside Roserie de la Haie; and Gloriana a touch of majesty to the side fence.

Aquilegias dance with ferns in the South Bed;

weigela festoons the fence above them.

Three hawthorn trees, swathes of libertia, and carpets of erigeron give a distinctly white hue to the Back Drive borders.

These are glimpses of the garden in not quite mid-May.

While we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the patio a pair of pigeons settled down for the evening in the copper beech.

For our dinner we travelled around the world in 60 minutes. We enjoyed Jackie’s special fried rice with Japanese tempura prawns, Chinese pork spare ribs, Indian tandoori chicken, Belgian Hoegaarden beer and more of the Chilean Carmenere wine.

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.

 

Energy-Sapping Humidity

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Today was hotter, and considerably more humid than yesterday. I flopped this morning, but didn’t sleep. Perhaps that fact that I slept all yesterday evening had something to do with this. My brief trip into the garden at mid-afternoon was energy-sapping.

Correctly surmising that I might need a rest en route to my planned perch at the Westbrook Arbour, Jackie positioned Mum’s stool beside the Nottingham Castle Bench. I took a few pictures from there, then moved on. Melting, after about twenty minutes I fled back indoors.

I took a cooling break before uploading the pictures. This was extended by a very welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, for which I was most grateful.

My choice of Supermarket prepared meals this evening was fish pie to which Jacke added crisp carrots. leeks, and mange-touts, which added fresh flavour.

Rewards

Snatching half an hour of occasional sunshine before the expected gloom set in for the day, I wandered around the garden with my camera.

Rose pink climber

Two retrained pink climbing roses are in bloom along the front garden trellis.

Geranium palmatum

We have masses of geraniums palmatum. Jackie took cuttings last year, and distributed some in the front, where they are thriving and will soon replace the wind-blown crab apple blossom from above.

Libertia and red Japanese maple

Similar division has been effected with libertia. My method is described in the linked post. I would have been happy to write that the libertia here frolicked solely with alliums and bluebells against the red Japanese maple. Unfortunately when I put this picture up on screen it revealed the clinging velcro strings of lady’s bedstraw, a pernicious weed we have spent two years eradicating. That put a halt to my proceedings while I assisted The Head Gardener in its immediate removal.

Red Japanese maple

The maple’s red foliage appears to be extended by a rhododendron on the other side of the grass.

Snapdragon

Snapdragons are now fully out, this one fortuitously planted within sight of one of the residents of the Dragon Bed.

Shady path

Walking straight on past the dragon leads to the Shady Path, so named because of its original state.

Gazebo path

Running roughly parallel to the right of this is the Gazebo Path.

View from shady path

This is the view through the gazebo across the grass patch.

Roses red climber

Continuing along the Shady Path, red climbing roses now reward Jackie’s training.

Gladioli

When we arrived here, some very poorly looking slender red gladioli struggled in poor soil outside the kitchen door. Our resident expert lifted the bulbs and replanted them in the boxes she arranged at the head of the back drive. They are standing proud and coming into flower.

Rhododendron

A mature rhododendron has been rescued from the choking jungle,

Clematis Doctor Ruppel

and nearby, similarly hued clematis Doctor Ruppel proliferates.

Hawthorn 1Hawthorn 2

The hawthorn along the back drive has responded to pruning.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main choice was Goan King Prawn, and Jackie’s sag chicken. We shared an egg paratha, special fried rice, and onion bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.

Kingston Connections

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Given to me by Barrie earlier in the year, Neil Grant’s book ‘Village London Past & Present’, which I just finished reading, was a perfect adjunct to David Lawrence’s ‘Bright Open Spaces’.

The author’s style is both informative and entertaining, and the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the past and what was, to Mr Grant when published, the present. Much is made of the pace of change at a time when the Millennium Dome and the London Eye were both buildings of the future. Indeed, when studying photographs labelled ‘today’ in 1991, I found myself asking questions. Even my own ‘Streets of London’ series begun in 2004 is now history.

100 years ago, the metropolis was indeed a series of villages, and residences of, say Wimbledon or Dulwich cling to that term today. It is hard to believe that the un-idyllic Camberwell once harboured an eponymous beauty in the form of a butterfly.

Having lived and worked in various of London’s villages for most of my life, I am familiar with most of the book’s coverage. I have chosen just one area of the capital to illustrate this post and outline my connections.

Let me begin with 1966, the year when, as an Assistant Child Care Officer, I entered Social Work. My post ‘An Attachment To The Gates’ tells of what I did to the gates of Kingston’s Guildhall. For a good laugh, it is to be highly recommended.

Kingston Market

An important town in the Middle Ages, Kingston has probably the oldest continuing market in the country. It was in August 1972 that Jackie and her friend Linda set up a stall in this market, displaying their own hand-crafted goods. I encouraged my work colleagues to admire the contents.

Anglers at Kingston

Sometime later in the 1970s, Matthew was seriously into fishing. It is perhaps possible that it was somewhere near this bank of the Thames, seen in about 1890, that I accompanied him on such an outing. I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t catch anything.

Kingston was also where we carried out most of our mudlarking.

Today’s heavy rain had desisted by mid-afternoon revealing

Weigela and allium

a humble white allium paying obeisance to a weigela;

rose Jacqueline du Pre

bejewelled Jacqueline du Pre;

rose Absolutely Fabulous

sparkling Absolutely Fabulous;

Fungus on dead tree root

fungus breaking out on the dead tree root;

Dianthus Sweet William

the dianthus Sweet William;

clematis Doctor Ruppel

and clematis Doctor Ruppel.

Cow parsley

Anyone having read last year’s posts may be aware of a slight difference of opinion between The Head Gardener and her serf about the wisdom of welcoming cow parsley into our garden. This year Jackie has reinforcements. Apparently these plants are now in fashion. Naturally I now offer not even token resistance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jafrezi, mushroom rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Llidl’s Bordeaux superieur 2011.

 

Streets Of London

Shadow, grass, gravel

Again, the early morning sun, casting shadows across the gravel to meet grasses on the other side of the path, worked it’s magic

Peony

on the peonies;

Roses

on new rambling red roses;

Aquilegias

on rose tinted aquilegias;

Clematis Warsaw Nike

on the clematis Doctor Ruppel;

Geranium palmatum

on a somewhat nibbled geranium palmatum;

Bluebottle on frog's back

and warming the stone of a frog’s back on which a bluebottle hitched a ride.

I have mentioned before, my, as yet unpublished, Streets of London Series. From March 2004 until some time in 2008, I conducted this exercise, wandering around during breaks in my working day. The constraint I set myself was that the street signs should appear in the shots. There are many hundreds of these colour slides taken with my Olympus OM2, so I decided to embark upon scanning them. I entered the first dozen, from March to April 2004, today.

Streets of London001

From Hanover Gate, NW1 can be seen the burnished dome of Regent’s Park mosque.

Streets of London002

Warwick Place W9 stands on the corner of Warwick Avenue. The mind boggles at the van’s signage.

Streets of London003

The ubiquitous McDonald’s has an outlet on the corner of York Way N1. Perhaps Securitas is coming to collect the takings.

Streets of London004

A spindly young London Plane comes into leaf on Castellain Road W9.

Streets of London005

Maida Avenue W2 runs alongside the Little Venice stretch of the Regent’s Canal, forming a junction with Warwick Avenue which spans the bridge. The white building on our left is The Bridge House, featured in ‘Time To Go’.

Streets of London007

This corner of Gray’s Inn Road, WC1 stands diagonally opposite Kings Cross Station. The area is always clogged with traffic.

Streets of London011

The station itself stands on the corner of Euston Road and York Way, N1.

Streets of London008

The subject of the witty window cleaner sculpture in Chapel Street, NW1, scratches his head in contemplation of the task of cleaning Marks and Spencer’s glass fronted tower standing alongside Edgware Road Metropolitan Line station.

Streets of London009

From this corner of Warwick Avenue, W2, narrow boats on the Regent’s canal are visible through the railings.

Streets of London006

In Sardinia Street WC2, Angelo advertises his hairdressing, whilst thespians trip the tango.

Streets of London012

The eponymous Church Street Market runs from Edgware Road. At this far end it is joined by Penfold Street, NW8.

The sign for Gracedale Road, SW, is now many miles from Furzedown, so I have inserted it in a more appropriate post.

Margery and Paul popped in for a very welcome surprise visit, ‘to check up on’ me. This was, as usual, great fun. Paul put me right on the jackdaws I had recently incorrectly identified as hooded crows. I amended the post accordingly. Thanks, Paul.

Jackie returned home early this evening, and we dined on her superb chicken and egg jalfrezi with special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden whist I opened another bottle of the Madiran and drank some of it.