Gracing The Back Drive

The weather today was overcast and cold, but mostly dry. A wander round the garden seemed to be in order.

The upstairs windows gave me a new perspective in which the rescued red Japanese maple gapes in awe across and above to the majestic copper beech; I could look down on the gazebo clematis; and in the Palm Bed the cordeline Australis bears buds.

The close-up of the maple began my lower level selection.

The red climbing rose, Paul’s scarlet, will soon be joining the wisteria beneath our bathroom window.

This hawthorn graces the back drive,

as do blue-tipped irises.

Ferns are unfurling as I write.

Enlarging this image of the Brick Path will enhance the West Bed with its lamiums, dicentras, and much more.

More aquilegias and a pieris on the grass patch are bursting into life; while an oak-leaved pelargonium with its scented foliage has survived the winter beneath the gazebo.

I have refrained from mentioning that last Friday evening we ran out of fuel oil. This was not a good week to be without heating. Today a new supply was delivered. This evening the excellent Ronan, of Tom Sutton Heating, reset the boiler.

We dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Pinot Noir.

A More Manageable Garden

Our own garden is rather more manageable for dodgy knees than yesterday’s veritable undulating park. I took an amble around it this afternoon.

Jackie thought that this very small daffodil, in one of the stone troughs resting on the front wall, had come up blind. In fact it has bloomed later than most.

Behind the troughs rambles a clematis Montana, one of several we have.

One shares its perch with a blue solanum on the arch to the south end of the Brick Path;

another cosies up to the lilac.

This one, adorning the Gazebo was a shrivelled little specimen, barely alive, until Jackie came along and nurtured it. In the foreground of this shot we have a bottle brush plant ready to burst open.

The clematis will soon festoon the top of the arch.

The first of these aquilegias stands beneath the wisteria; the second is at the south end.

This phlox subulata is the sole survival of six planted last year.

Jackie savages this toadflax whenever she finds it growing like the alleged weed it is. There is no doubt, however, that it makes good ground cover.

Another plant whose name escapes the Head Gardener is this rather beautiful little bulb – one of a cluster in the Cryptomeria Bed.

We have two different rhododendrons in the Palm Bed.

The viburnum Plicata now blooms in the West Bed.

Many of our bluebells are either of the incoming Spanish variety or hybrids. Fortunately we do have some native English specimens.

This miniature azalea has accompanied me in all my abodes since it came in a pot presented to me by the foster carers of Parents for Children in 2003. It has now taken up permanent residence in the Kitchen Garden.

For dinner this evening we enjoyed Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice followed by strawberries and cream.

Hay Ho

This morning Aaron of A.P. Maintenance completed his preparation of the Rose Garden for winter that is still being kept at bay.

A week or so back he gave the shrub roses a good haircut. Today he laid our two year old compost around their bases.

Clumps of bright yellow bidens, like these at the foot of our sculpture, Florence;

Little irises, heucheras, lamium, and geraniums;

a fig flowering in the Palm Bed;

and this clematis on the Westbrook Arbour, all speak of the season’s confusion.

This morning I helped Elizabeth load her car with belongings to take to her Pilley house. This afternoon Jackie and I followed this up by unloading them for her. We then continued on a forest drive.

The lake that has been mostly dry during the summer once more bears ripples and reflections.

Bustling goats in a field alongside Jordans Lane competed in a dodgem race for first bite at the bundles of hay clutched under their speeding keeper’s left arm.

On an open space beside Bull Hill a group of stumpy little ponies chomped on their own food.

From here we sped off to Mudeford, arriving just in time for sunset. While I was taking these shots

I was unaware that Jackie was adding her own sequence, featuring me among the silhouettes.

Preening swans,

one with an entourage of gulls, completed the picture.

Elizabeth returned in the evening and we all dined on Jackie’s splendidly hot chilli con carne and toothsome savoury rice. My sister drank Hop House Lager; my wife drank Hoegaarden; and I finished the Merlot

Up And Down The Garden Path

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Between phone calls wrestling with internet connection problems, while Jackie began the process of moving the less hardy plants to their winter quarters in the greenhouse, I wandered around the garden inspecting the surprises it still holds for us. Being a natural optimist I hoped I would be able to post my findings later.

We have a profusion of prolific fuchsias, not all of which I can name. A bee clambered dozily into one of the Delta’s Sarahs.

Cyclamens grace the stone tubs on the front wall, and various beds, such as that of the Weeping Birch, also home to asters, begonias, geraniums, petunias, bidens, and a red carpet rose.

Begonias

 geraniums and petunias also bloom in other beds and containers.

 

The primula survives in the West Bed; a little blue iris reticulata in the raised bed; a clematis once again scales the potting shed trellis;

the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, such as that in a container in front of the garage, stands proud beside its neighbouring nasturtiums, and the honeysuckle and solanum ascending the right hand trellis.

This morning glory may have been a late developer, but it is making up for lost time; hot lips are persistently, provocatively, pursed.

My wanderings involved a few trips up and down the Brick Path.

It must be more than thirty years since I bought our now threadbare but structurally sound Chesterfield sofa from Heal’s. This afternoon it was removed for reupholstering.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent pork chops with mustard and almonds; new potatoes; crisp carrots; tender cabbage and sautéed peppers and onions. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Réserve de Bonpas 2016. This meal prompted me tell the relevant story that was told in ‘Chamberlayne Road’.

 

Can It Really Be October?

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Today I took several strolls around the garden, marvelling at what we still have in bloom. Some of the flowers should be long gone. This is simply a selection. Identification can be found from the gallery captions. As can be seen from the orange poppy, geranium Rosanne, and hot lips shots, hover flies and bees still prowl for pollen. Can it really be October?

This evening Jackie produced a splendid roast chicken meal complete with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, some of which were sweet; crunchy carrots, and cauliflower; tender runner beans and Brussels sprouts. She had drunk her Hoegaarden whilst cooking. Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Mendoza Morador 2016.

Afterwards, having been pointed in the right direction by my blogging friend Paol Soren, I attempted to comply with the popular request for photographs of the fairyland produced by our solar lights, some of which may be seen festooning the earlier daylight pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have a tripod, so there is a little more movement than would normally be seen. Now I have a better idea of what I am doing, I will have a go with Elizabeth’s tripod.

Sparrows To The Right Of Us, Sparrows To The Left Of Us

IMAGES MAY BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK THAT CAN BE REPEATED

Lilies

This afternoon I wandered around the garden seeking flowers I may not yet have featured this year. These lilies have just popped in a patio planter.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed again stretch across the Gazebo Path.

Rudbeckia and phlox

They stand alongside these Rudbeckia and phlox;

Begonias

while on that bed’s Shady Path side these begonias bloom.

Dahlia Puerto Rico

This flamboyant dahlia, aptly named Puerto Rico blazes between Brick and Gazebo Paths.

Clematis

The arch across the Shady Path supports this purple clematis.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

In the Rose Garden we have fuchsias Mrs Popple

Fuchsia Bella Rosella

and Bella Rosella.

Gloriana

Gloriana rose is having a better year;

Special Anniversary rose

while Special Anniversary

Crown Princess Margareta rose

and Crown Process Margareta are enjoying a second flush.

Hydrangea

Jackie bought this rather splendid hydrangea very cheaply in Lidl this morning. It doesn’t have a name. You can’t expect everything for £5. She will nurture it in the pot until the weather is kinder.

Sparrows' nest

Now to the sparrows. I have reported on the second brood of these birds in the loo extractor fan. keeping their parents foraging. We have a second set in the rusted burglar alarm on the other side. These are not visible, but I can assure you that they make as much noise as their not so distant cousins.

This evening the three of us dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s sublime savoury rice. Mrs. Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.

Morning And Evening Light

In the early morning light this morning, carrying the camera, I walked to the far end of the back drive to open the gate for Aaron.

Rose peach

The peach rose we inherited beside the patio is producing more blooms.

Petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, lobelias

Just one example of Jackie’s splendid planting in that area includes petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, and lobelias.

Geranium

This geranium hangs in a basket suspended from the kitchen wall.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the bed beside the Wisteria Arbour was still in shade. After taking this picture I dead-headed a number of small orange poppies.

Lilies

Clumps of these heady scented lilies stand either side of the Westbrook Arbour.

Crocosmias and verbena bonarensis

I turned into the back drive around the corner of the New Bed, where crocosmias blazed in front of verbena bonarensis.

Rose Dearest

There are two Dearest rose bushes in the herbaceous border along the drive. One is laden with blooms; the other is struggling.

Later, Elizabeth visited with Danni and Andy in order to deliver various items of equipment for her room. My sister has sold her house and not yet found another. She will live with us while she seeks one.

Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic.

Crocosmia Lucifer

The late afternoon light burnished crocosmia Lucifer in the Palm Bed;

Day lilyDay liliesDay lilies

various day lilies,

Day lily and hydrangea

and a bright red hydrangea.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I chose Davedush, while Jackie’s preference was Chicken dopiaza. We shared an egg paratha and special fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.