Investigation By Spiders

After lunch, tempted into the garden by the sunshine, still keeping ice

in containers like this pot saucer, fingers tingling, I took a brief walk around with my camera.

Many of the camellias were either in bloom or bud,

while the Japanese anemones bore seed pods apparently investigated by spiders.

Backlit cordyline Australis bore drips of precipitation.

The Gazebo bore the clematis Cirrhosa “Freckles”.

The dead stumps along the Back Drive and sculpture Florence were picked up in sidelight.

Later, I dozed through the first two episodes of Lucy Worsley’s Russian Romanovs.

This evening we all dined on tempura, and hot and spicy, prawns; tempura vegetables and spring rolls on Jackie’s colourful vegetable rice, with which I drank more of the shiraz and the Culinary Queen drank Mezquiriz Rosado 2023

Footpaths Today

Jackie and I undertook a Tesco’s shopping trip today, after she had made purchases at Ferndene Farm Shop.

After lunch I conducted a long dead heading session with my new Wilkinson’s secateurs given to me on my birthday by Flo and Dillon. Later, I produced a few garden photographs.

On the near corner of Flo’s Fairy Garden stand a little patio seating set waiting for a permanent place when some healthy plants have been thinned out and the elfin gravel paths have been cleared a bit.

One cluster of day lilies stands beside the Shady Path

Gazebo and Brick Paths all now cleared,

attention has now been given to footpaths across the beds like these to the Orange Shed and through the West Bed;

and to the decking area cleaned and potted up.

Tall lilies tower over even climbers like Shropshire Lad in the Rose Garden.

We have ubiquitous varieties of day lilies and hot lips throughout the beds.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in pleasant conversation with the ladies of all ages in the household.

This evening we all dined on superb pork and chive sausages with creamy mash and fried onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Sierra Los Andes Mendoza Malbec 2022.

Continuing Maintenance

On a much brighter morning Jackie trimmed the lower limbs of myrtle while I bagged up the clippings and added them to the row awaiting the local recycling centre.

This, and further tidying, work has improved the views from the patio and down the Dead End Path.

Also in receipt of attention has been the Westbrook Arbour and that beside the clematis on the Wisteria Arbour. It was Mark and Steve of A.P. Maintenance who tidied up the Westbrook clippings this afternoon. They also dug out the roots of unsatisfactory un-flowering forsythia and thorny berberis; took away the garden refuse,

mowed the lawn; and continued weeding the Back Drive.

Meantime, I transferred the compost in the wheelbarrow beside the Oval Bed, shovelled the last of that in the centre bin into the barrow and started to fill the space again.

Later, I read a rather beautiful Anton Chekhov story, namely “The Lady with the Little Dog”.

The spare, subtle, descriptions of place, scene and situation contribute their own appeal to the tale of illicit lovers who struggle with living two lives – one conventional and stifling, the other secretive and stressful. As translator Elisaveta Fen observes ‘The story has indeed a rare delicacy and poignancy in its portrayal of the first genuine love between an innocent young married woman and a middle-aged married man with many love affairs in the past. They see no way out of the impossible situation, yet go on hoping against hope that a solution somehow will emerge’, even if it takes a very long time.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; new potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.

From Garden To Woodland

Jackie spent much of the morning working in the greenhouse, alongside which this is the

view to the yellowing weeping birch.

Pansies are blooming in the iron urn and in hanging baskets;

others of which contain such as petunias and calendulas.

It is still the season for dahlias of varying hues.

A variety of fuchsias continue to thrive, as do

clematises, calendulas, nicotiana sylvestris, Chilean Lantern tree, heucheras, Compassion rose, nasturtiums, geranium Rozanne, sweet peas, and hot lips.

These final views are of the Gothic arch and the Shady Path with its owls.

Drops from the early morning rain may be seen on a number of the individual images which may need bigifying (a word which the internet owes to the late Pauline King).

Late this afternoon we shopped for toiletries in Old Milton before driving into the forest where

I rambled among the ponies foraging in the woodland alongside Bisterne Close.

Clouds loured over the Holmlsey skyline as we returned along the eponymous Passage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s golden smoked haddock; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; green peas; and bright orange carrots, with which we both drank Valle de Leyda gran reserva Suvignon Blanc 2019.

More Rain

Today was dank, gloomy, and oppressed by leaden skies so lethargic as to lack energy for anything more than a slow, steady, seeping of limpid liquid.

Indeed the drizzle was so thin that it was only by observing the bejewelled plants that, from indoors, at times we could not be sure that it was still raining. I became quite damp photographing liquid pearls on gladiolus, hibiscus, Japanese anemone, clematis, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, roses, spider’s webs, begonia, Angel’s wings, and pelargonium, each of which is separately identified in the gallery.

Indoors I also began work on the draft of a special future post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine; tasty boiled new potatoes; toothsome kale; and crunchy carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montepulciano.

Moulting

We spent the hot summer’s cloudless day gardening; well, Jackie spent the day at it while I chipped in intermittently.

Jackie took advantage of what shade she could.

In addition to dead bloom decapitation and carting clippings to compost bins I produced some photographs.

The blooms and garden views in this gallery can be identified and enlarged in the usual manner.

The same applies to these images of bees clambering on verbena bonariensis and delving into a hosta; and to the comma butterfly.

In the first picture above Jackie is conversing with the moulting Nugget, looking every inch the butterball that Jill Weatherholt dubbed him on his last appearance. Our concern at the scraggy condition of our little avian familiar has diminished now the we have learned he is undergoing a normal summer process. The last, smallest, of these images is “Where’s Nugget?” (92). Bigification may be required.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s wholesome watercress soup with bread and butter, followed by tempura prawns and fresh salad, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I opened another bottle of the Rioja and consumed some of it.

Good Gardening Weather

Today, still cool, featured intermittent sunshine while cotton clouds pierced by cerulean patches sailed sedately overhead.

We carried out the usual garden maintenance including watering, planting, pruning, and dead-heading.

Jackie smiled when she first spied that I had come out to join her, but she didn’t see the camera hanging round my neck. I have taken to wearing it in order not to miss such photographic opportunities.

Here we have the peach rose, a couple of hemerocallis, sweet peas, white dahlias, sidalcea, yucca, and fuchsia Shrimp Cocktail. As usual each individual image is labelled in the gallery which can be viewed full size by clicking the box underneath it. Further enlargement is possible by additional clicks.

Mauve gladioli stand beneath the clematis covering the Agriframes Arch.

Shropshire Lad and linaria purpurea checked themselves out in the mirror placed to extend the Rose Garden views.

Here Jackie carried out pruning, the results of which I would clear up later.

The marguerites alongside the hydrangea in the corner of the front garden will unfortunately need to be cut down soon because they obscure the view of the Chauffeuse when driving out.

Bees enjoyed flitting from one verbena bonariensis to another.

We now have more robins than we can identify. This is not Nugget.

It was a good gardening day.

For a while now, it has not been pleasant enough for us to enjoy our evening drinks in the Rose Garden. This changed today.

From my seat in the north east corner I could see the hemerocallis in the Cryptomeria Bed and the lilies above Mamma Mia catching the evening sun.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty lamb curry; savoury rice; salt and pepper prawns; and vegetable samosas. I also enjoyed the chilli bhaji. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Corte Aurelia Squinzano Riserva 2015.

Windburn

Today dawned dull and drizzle-wet. We ventured into the garden early – Jackie to inspect and, where possible, nullify the storm damage and I to empty refuse trugs then carry out some dead heading.

Jackie had a chat with Nugget when he came to sample what she had dug up for him. He is able to eat himself now, rather than fly off to the nest with the goodies. The last of these four pictures is “Where’s Nugget?” (90)

The only real damage was windburn such as browning and curling of these Japanese maple leaves.

As will be seen by this rain-bejewelled Rhapsody in Blue, I didn’t get very far with dead-heading before returning to the house.

I paused to photograph this inherited clematis which has taken advantage of the light made available by the lopping of the cypress, not yet draped by the climbing plants set to cover it.

Even such a day could not dull the charms of this kniphofia and pelargonium blend.

Rain eased up for half an hour before lunch, enabling is to carry out a little more work.

Here are raindrops on sweet peas, lilies, hemerocallis, and petunias. Galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image; each one can be viewed full size by clicking on the box beneath it. Further enlargement is then possible.

Later in the afternoon we continued a bit more. Nugget is now training another junior, perhaps from his latest brood.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s crisp fish and chips and our own jars of somewhat soggy and sharpish gherkins and pickled onions having been first opened before the lockdown. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Like The Pool, Reflecting

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to embed into the soil of the front garden this previously potted Hot Chocolate rose,

near which is a planter containing last autumn’s petunias, pansies, and pelargonium, alongside a euphorbia. Similar survivors of our mild winter are the clematis, nasturtiums, pansies, and solanum adorning the garage door trellis.

This afternoon we took a short drive into a rather crowded forest. We encountered far more cars, cyclists, and walkers than of late. By and large social distancing was being observed, but in the village of Burley, for example, this wasn’t really possible.

A bovine mother and babies group was meeting in what is normally an unoccupied field alongside Hordle Lane. As always with these creatures my presence engendered a certain amount of curiosity.

Soon after we entered Forest Road we saw two herons trying their luck in what is now a rather shallow pool. Jackie parked as soon as she could and I walked back to photograph them standing in the water. A cyclist shot round the corner and spooked them. They took flight. I panned them and hoped for the best; almost immediately I was left, like the pool, reflecting.

Further along the road

assorted foraging ponies were strewn across the landscape.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well filled, flavoursome, beef and mushroom pie; boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and broccoli, with tasty, meaty, gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Becks and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

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.