Colemanballs

Petunias 1Petunias 2Sawn branchSeeking to provide The Head Gardener with a pleasant surprise when she returned from an early morning trip to Ferndene Farm shop, allegedly to buy more compost, I decided to take down more of the tree which, in our gusting winds, is wrecking the red rose on the pergola outside the stable door. Jackie has been mentioning the need for this for a while now. Evidence of how windy it was today is provided by these two photographs of the same basket of petunias, taken from the same spot in rapid succession.

When we arrived in Downton last April the main trunk of the offending tree had been so torn and twisted that I had been obliged to cut off the dangling remainder. After a further year of frequent whirling winds we have noticed that this particular corner always bears the brunt, with stricken branches bending and crashing against the wisteria pergola. That is why further pruning was necessary. Still in my dressing gown, I proudly displayed my work. The Head Gardener observed that I had ‘made a start’. Unless dealing with BT, I’m not normally one for invective. I must admit to having muttered one at that. The question is often asked, ‘is there any pleasing a woman?’ It is actually very easy to please Jackie, but The Head Gardener, bless her, tends towards the exacting. She is never demanding, but, if you volunteer, you have to reckon with her desire for perfection. Two more branches had to come off. Branches to be prunedFurther pruningSpace cleared over pergola

Trudging back and forth to the pile awaiting combustion, I was able to view the rest of the garden, where

Fuchsia Paula Jane, colibrachoas, petuniaspretty pink fuchsia, Paula Jane, atop the urn, is flanked by calibrachoas and petunias;

Diascas Apple Blossom, geraniums, and clematis Margaret Hunt

Apple Blossom diascas, magenta geraniums, and clematis Margaret Hunt embellish the entrance to the back drive;

Pansies, succulent and cineraria

and, turning from that point, looking towards the rose garden, a yellow theme is provided by pansies, succulents; and the flowers of lanky cineraria, otherwise known as Dusty Miller.

Hoverfly over clematis

Hoverflies, like this one casting its shadow on an unidentified clematis, give the photographer a fighting chance to catch them in flight;

Bee landing on poppy

Not so bees, which make you really work for it.

Whisky barrel

The generous Dave Fergusson, yesterday, gave Jackie a cut glass whisky barrel for just £5. It hasn’t taken her long to position it.

Wimbledon’s weather smiled on me today. Accompanying Jackie on a three hour trip to Nuffield Hospital and back, including her physiotherapy, could have meant that I didn’t see much of Andy Murray’s three set victory over Vasek Pospisil. However. Rain had disrupted the first set; I watched the rest of that and the second in the reception area; and rain caused further stoppage just as we left for home. I, therefore, was able to see the end of the match, and, far more importantly, witness a wonderful example of Colemanballs.

1634747-34692779-310-310Derived from the surname of BBC sports presenter David Coleman, Colemanballs is a term coined by the satirical magazine, Private Eye, to describe verbal gaffes by sports commentators. Today’s was an ace, admirably returned by the tennis player.

‘Is there any more pressure because of Royal spectators? David Beckham was here today,’ without the slightest pause, asked Garry Richardson, who must have forgotten the names of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. ‘He isn’t a royal, is he?’ replied Murray, with a twinkle in his eye and a wide smile. Richardson responded with: ‘I’ll let you decide.’ ‘It’s great that they came along to support,’ observed Murray with immaculate diplomacy.

The next Centre Court match was between Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic. The former won in straight sets.

Lavender

For some reason best known to herself and Bruce Goodman, Jackie wishes it to go on record that some of the flowers she bought this morning, including the lavenders that she planted in the rose garden, were blue.

Shed

It will be no surprise to anyone that Jackie has also somewhat embellished the outside of her shed.

This evening we dined on flavoursome mushroom and onion omelette, and bubble and squeak topped with fried bacon. This was followed by profiteroles. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Teroldego Rotaliano.

 

 

Furnishing The Shed

Becky put this on my Facebook page early this morning:

11411850_10153170361428999_594653639751612138_oClever, isn’t she?

We began with a trip to the municipal dump, now upgraded to Efford Recycling Centre. Included in the rubbish we took there was a green plastic table we had bought from there in the first place. The Head Gardener, now she has a shed, has no further use for it. I got quite excited when I thought this might be the first time we would leave the tip without making a purchase. This was not to be, for Jackie spotted a hanging window box and just had to buy it.

Fergusson's van

Off we then drove to Highcliffe, and our old favourite, Fergusson’s, in search of a suitable chest of drawers to double as a work surface and storage for packets of seeds, tools, ties, plant labels, and almost anything else you can think of. Elsa and Boyce produced the very thing, that would probably have got the Bargain Hunt experts very excited. This addictive televised antiques programme involves two pairs of punters shopping in normal retail outlets in the hope of making a profit at auction. We have learned that G-plan, the iconic furniture of the ’50s and ’60s, is in at the moment. The Ercol piece that we found would definitely have been in the money. But we weren’t going to auction, and Dad, Dave Fergusson, accompanied by Elsa, delivered it for us and helped me place it in the shed.

This friendly family firm is to be recommended.

Dave Fergusson delivering chest of drawersErcol chest of drawersShed furnishings

Shed

Jackie had already begun to make herself at home.

Dave had first delivered furniture to us last May, when the garden was still a jungle. He and Elsa went on an amazed and delighted tour. He asked for a notification when we open to the public. Here is a selection from what he saw today:

Rose pink

From the bed by the wisteria, this small pink rose has a good view of the new acquisition.

View along kitchen window path

This is the view along the outside of the kitchen window. The rose above lies in the bed at the end.

Dragon's view

Obscured by the planting in the centre background, the dragon stands on a concrete plinth. This is his view through to the urn and beyond.

geraniums and maple

Near the start of the brick path, geraniums and Japanese maple form a pleasing swirl;

Geraniums and grasses

and a different variety of geranium hangs at one end of the Phantom Path.

Petunias on edge of brick path

A concrete building block lifts a pot of pink petunias taking us across another section of the Brick Path.

Pergola path view

We also walked along the Pergola Path. Like any of the others, this view changes daily.

Rose Kent

In the new rose garden, Kent is now in bloom.

Passion FlowerClematis Margaret Hunt

At the far south end of the garden, passion flowers cling to the support arches we erected last year, and clematis Margaret Hunt ascends those Jackie fixed in her new boxes at the start of the back drive.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, where we enjoyed the usual ambiance, service, food, and Kingfisher. I chose Purple Tiger and Jackie chose Navrattan Korma. We shared lemon rice and a naan, and both drank Kingfisher.