The Stumpery

Jill Weatherholt, in her comment on “The Path To Deadman Hill”, described Jackie’s young robin as a little nugget. His name is now Nugget.

She spent the morning conversing with him whilst tidying the Oval Bed.

After taking the above photographs I wandered round the garden.

Hydrangeas need a lot of water, but the Head Gardener is keeping them going.

Day lilies continue to thrive,

as do many lilies proper,

and, of course, roses like Gertrude Jekyll and Special Anniversary.

This sidalcea leads nicely to the red hydrangea beyond.

Now that the Wedding Day is over, gladiolus and clematis veil its arch.

Dahlia’s time is now.

This everlasting sweet pea has a scent which justifies its name.

Plants accommodated in containers during the last few weeks have proliferated. The iron urn’s examples happily spill and spread, while

the wicker chair by the Westbrook Arbour is occupied to overflowing.

A clematis shawl has been cast over the arch spanning the Phantom Path between the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds.

In the latter, yellow Lisymachia Alexander stretches across the gravel;

and at its western end clematis and day lilies cavort with the red bottle brush plant.

Phlox blend nicely with other plants in the Palm Bed,

alongside the Gazebo Path leading to the stable door.

From Charlie Dimmock, Jackie has been inspired to create a “stumpery”. She will clean up the face of this heap of griselinia stumps and give it a fern makeover.

Just as the one o’clock news was about to expand upon Mr Trump’s latest exploits, Malachi phoned me from Fremantle seeking my help with a word search. We were unable to obtain full reciprocal vision on FaceTime, so we began a game of Lexulous instead. Because they are seven hours ahead of us, my grandson had to go to bed before we finished.

Later this afternoon we drove to New Milton to buy some shoes for Jackie, then back to Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription.

This evening we dined at Totton’s excellent The Family House Chinese restaurant, where we enjoyed our favourite set meal and Tsing Tao beer.

“Are You Sure It’s In This Garden?”

Unfortunately I cannot remember which of my blogging friends wrote recently that she was very fond of clematises. Well, I am sure she knows who she is and will appreciate today’s post in her honour.

This morning I decide to make a pictorial clematis collection.

Where known, the titles of these plants may be found when accessing the galleries. The last image presents a real conundrum. I considered it politic to seek advice from the Head Gardener for confirmation of my identifications. Jackie did not recognise this beauty, and I couldn’t remember where I had taken it. So off we went to seek it out. We couldn’t find it. “Are you sure it’s in this garden?”, asked she who we were both convinced knew every one of her babies. No doubt it will turn up some time.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs in sweet chilli sauce; savoury rice; and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Shiraz.

The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.

One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to

a utility room leading to a library, fronted by

a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias, geraniums, etc.

I do hope this accurately describes the evolution of a room.

A few days ago I had taken my copy of J.L. Carr’s short novel, ‘A Month in the Country’ from my library, and I finished reading it this afternoon. Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1980, the book is a many faceted gem. Two men are linked by the fact of having survived Passchendaele and each having accepted commissions to uncover secrets of a medieval church. I will try not to reveal too much, but can say that in economical, well-placed, prose encompassing just 121 pages of my Folio Society copy of 1999 the author speaks of heaven and hell; of judgement, redemption, and damnation; of joy and pain; of culture and spirituality; of time and eternity; all with a slowly seething undercurrent of suppressed sexuality. It wasn’t heterosexual love to which Lord Alfred Douglas referred as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, yet there are other reasons for fear of revealing feelings.

Ronald Blythe’s perceptive and informative introduction reflects the author’s style.

Ian Stephen’s detailed illustrations are true to the text.

The front and back boards are each printed with a copy of the artist’s engraving for the frontispiece.

Here are the rest.

Early this evening we took a brief trip into the forest.

From Pound Lane near Thorney Hill we watched ponies paddling in Whitten Pond, alongside which a young woman played ball with a pair of dogs.

On our return we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away with which we both drank Tsing Tao beer.

First Donkey Foals

Jackie has not neglected the front garden in her clearing and planting of the last few days. This morning I gathered and bagged up her cuttings from the gravel path.

Erigerons, day lilies, Hot Chocolate rose and fuchsia feature here.

Clematises, nasturtiums, petunias, lobelias, and solanum currently bloom in front of the garage door.

This afternoon we left the sunshine behind at home as steady rain tracked us to the North of the forest.

Coats glistening, a trio of ponies took shelter among trees at Ibsley;

further on, at Frogham, more shaggy yet bedraggled donkeys, including our first foals of the season found their own shelter.

This evening we dined on minted lamb burgers; potatoes pulverised into a creamy mash; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

One Day In The Garden

Today the sun rose before 8 a.m., took an early lunch, and re-emerged in the evening.

The brighter light picked out the scenes and the plants before my dead-heading of the roses which occupied most of the morning. Clicking on any image to access its gallery will reveal titles and locations.

These post prandial photographs were produced during Phoebus’s siesta.

Apollo’s chariot crossed the sky in time for our pre dinner drinks taken on

the decking.

This gave us a pleasant glow.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away Fare with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. You will have noticed Jackie’s Hoegaarden earlier. She finished it on the decking.

A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Watering And Planting

Yesterday evening we met Becky and Ian at the Darbar restaurant in Emsworth. This was an excellent venue for our dinner. Inspired by the food of the Moguls the meals were quite unusual with aromatic spice blends; the service was friendly, tactful, and efficient. Jackie’s choice of main course was paneer shashlik; mine was goat and potato curry. We both enjoyed them very much. I also tried some of Ian’s creamy mild chicken curry. I’m not sure what Becky chose. We shared onion bahjis, plain parathas, and spinach and pilau rices. Becky drank Diet Coke, Jackie Kingfisher, and Ian and I Cobra. The enjoyable visit was completed when we drove on to our daughter and son-in-law’s flat in Southbourne to admire Becky’s artistic arrangements and refurbishments.

It is amazing that, in mid-May, we need to water the garden. The skies remained overcast but we received no rain.

My task today was to run the hose down the Back Drive and spray Aaron’s planting of yesterday. Allowing the hose to carry out its work in stages gave me the opportunity to wander round with the camera.

This foxglove is visible in the first of the drive pictures.

Clematises that have not featured before include the one on an obelisk just outside the Rose Garden; another Doctor Ruppel beside the Weeping Birch; and one sharing the Ace Reclaim arch in the Rose Garden with Zéphirini Drouin and

Crown Princess Margareta, beneath whom

sits Jacqueline du Pré.

Madame Alfred Carriere welcomes visitors to her domain.

The peach rose in the Oval Bed has really taken off this year.

It romps to the right of this view from the concrete patio; with Its partner to the left it came came with the house. The oriental poppies in the foreground are situated in the Weeping Birch Bed

which also houses this Sweet William.

The New Bed lies on the corner of the Back Drive; at the other end of the garden the bed before the wisteria arbour has filled out nicely.

This powder blue iris stands fronting the grass patch;

our white flowers also include antirrhinums

and Hawkshead fuchsias.

Bees, like this one diving into a geranium, continue to plunder pollen.

Hot lips now splash lipstick impressions over the Cryptomeria Bed.

The bench at the far end of the Dead End Path is never sat on. This is because it is generally covered in pigeon poop. Jackie has therefore filled it with decorative container planting which should mature nicely in the coming weeks.

This afternoon Elizabeth visited with her friend Franz for beverages and convivial conversation.

This evening we dined on moist chicken Kiev; tasty ratatouille including butternut squash; crisp cauliflower; and creamy mashed potatoes with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.