Decidedly Not Smart

A number of terra cotta and yellow kniphofias have self-seeded at various places in the garden and have recently chosen to bloom rather late. These are in the Kitchen Bed, accompanied by hibiscus, petunias, Japanese anemones and fennel.

This begonia and the pelargonium are recovering from near death with the benefit of Jackie’s tender care.

Like the white Marie Boisselot glimpsed in the bottom of the Kitchen Bed picture, this pink and blue clematis and the wisteria are producing their third flushes of the year.

I paused, this morning, to photograph this happy planting of pelargoniums, fuchsias, and Japanese anemones in the front garden before embarking into the car for a trip to Woodpeckers to visit

Mum, now well enough settled into her room to have hung her favourite pictures, one of which is a drawing I made in about 1958 when my sister would have been four and I would have been sixteen years of age.

It portrays Elizabeth watching the family’s first decidedly not smart dodgy black and white TV set.

Leaving Mum to her lunch we took a diversion around Burley on our way home for ours. On Bisterne Close we trailed a young woman riding a white horse.

Although dull, it was another warm day, which brought out flies again prompting ponies to cluster under the trees.

Jackie spent the afternoon in the company of her avian under-gardener who continually converses in the sweetest, almost imperceptible gentle whisper. We can just watch his throat pulsating. He spent some time in the cryptomeria above her head, dropping down to a terra cotta lantern beside her.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (21)

This evening we dined at The Wheel in Bowling Green. The food and service were as good as ever. We both chose tempura prawns as starters, with salad so fresh as to have possibly been immediately picked from the garden. Jackie’s main course was thick meaty burger with chunky chips, salad, and onion rings; mine was an excellently cooked rib eye steak with chips, mushroom, tomato, peas, and onion rings. Jackie drank a guest lager which we can’t remember and I drank a good Malbec.

When we arrived a robin greeted us from a hedge in the car park. For a moment we wondered whether Nugget had arrived before us.

Back at home I watched the recorded highlights of the first day of the final Ashes Test match.

Ice Cream Delivery

Jackie swept liberally scattered beech nuts from the Rose Garden this morning.

Scoobie kept her company. On the Back Drive he found a fossilised rat which I opted not to photograph.

We have a liberal supply of petunias,

begonias,

and Japanese anemones.

Bees busied themselves gathering pollen, ignoring the fact that some plants remained dog-eared;

and competing for occupation of others.

Some clematises,

fuchsias,

cosmoses, and sweet peas remain in bloom.

Rose Doris Tysteman thrives in the Back Drive border.

Rosa Glauca hips hang over the colourful patio beds.

The hibiscus beside the Brick Path is really flourishing this year.

This afternoon the four of us visited the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

Gulls hung on the thermals overhead;

crows on the clifftop blinked and pecked at tissues which were eventually shredded;

children wandered;

and a fisherman angled on a breakwater

in view of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay.

This was a day for ice creams.

We had become a little concerned on noticing an elderly woman alone in a wheelchair. After some time a younger woman made her way across the garden with two ice creams. She presented one to the person we then assumed to be her mother, and they sat and enjoyed them together.

After we returned home Ian and I listened to the BBC sport broadcast of the Ashes Test match first day; and watched the second half of the highlights after dinner.

Our dinner consisted of thick pork chops with mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potato; crisp carrots and broccoli; tender runner beans; and roasted peppers, onions and mushrooms. I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah while the others drank Wairu Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2017.

Variations On A Game

Today winds were fresh; rain was absent; and the temperatures were cool.

The verbena bonarensis attracted butterflies like this Comma;

and this Small White,

examples of which flitted everywhere, seeming to use white blooms as camouflage. Can you spot any one of these which will benefit from enlargement on accessing their gallery with a click?

Jackie continued her care work on these cosmoses and clematis on the back drive;

these, elsewhere, needed rather less attention.

This somewhat rusty duck had allowed the recent rain to roll off its back.

These bidens are some of many self seeded from last year.

Jackie has successfully tied up Margery’s hollyhocks

with string.

It was quite a stretch for the Head Gardener to tidy the white everlasting sweet peas.

In the process she pointed to a glass robin, crying “there’s Nugget”.

So, now you’ve been given a clue can you answer where’s Jackie?

The real Nugget had come out to play the game. In order to help newer readers who may not be aware of what they are looking for, and to give others a bonus we have today, in order of difficulty:

Where’s Nugget? – 4a;

Where’s Nugget? – 4b:

and Where’s Nugget? – 4c.

Not far from our little friend the stumpery is bedding down nicely.

Late this afternoon, realising that this was expected to be our last dry, sunny day for some time, Jackie drove me round the Bisterne Scarecrow Trail. I have the makings of a photo story which I will save for tomorrow. This is because rain is expected all day then; because I will require considerable time to work on the post; and because I am knackered now.

While I focussed on one of the exhibits Jackie photographed a couple of chickens scratching in the gravel.

Their flamboyant male companion flexed his muscles on my return to the car.

This evening I watched the recorded highlights of what rain has made the first day of the second Ashes Test Match between England and Australia, before we dined on minty lamb burgers, new potatoes, cabbage and carrots with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Doom Bar.

Sunburst

I wandered around the garden late this afternoon, pointing the camera almost at random.

Here are the results. Don’t miss a couple of bees. The Puerto Rico dahlia provided a sympathetic sunburst. As usual, galleries will provide titles.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. We both enjoyed tempura prawns and fresh salad starters. My main meal was a superb rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato and peas; Jackie’s was the Wheel Inn Burger, salad, and chips with which she drank Kaltenberg, while I drank Ringwood’s best. Neither of us had room for dessert.

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.