Back In The Garden

Stormy weather and a heavy cold have kept me indoors for the last week. Today the wind has dropped to 20 m.p.h. and the sun has shone. I therefore took a walk in the garden. Jackie now has the cold and is currently housebound.

Our winter flowering cherry remains bright against the blue sky above.

The copper beech and the weeping birch still display their skeletal frames;

pruned roses are biding their time to burst forth in bloom.

Golden forsythia glows beside the patio.

Whichever way you look at them, the old cart wheels and the gazebo arches have designs on the gravel path,

visible beyond this end of the Phantom Path.

Camellias still bloom and bud throughout the shrubberies.

Daffodils still abound. Those in the patio are accompanied by tulips, pansies, and violas.

Primulas, bergenias, hellebores, cyclamens, comfrey, alliums, grape hyacinths, and pulmonaria all await discovery in the beds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese served with rashers of bacon, followed by lemon Bakewell tarts.

What Has Been Happening

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY  SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT.

Today, shyly, a warm sun peeped periodically through the slow moving clouds, which released no rain. This gave an opportunity to wander around the garden to explore what has been happening whilst we have lurked inside.

The winter flowering cherry still has no idea that its season is over.

Views from the paths are enhanced by

continuing varieties of camellia,

daffodils,

 hellebores,

and pansies.

Comparatively new arrivals are epimedium, honesty, comfrey, aubretia; and

wallflowers, blending with

euphorbia, that with its fly, like the alliums, attracts insects such as the bee and the tiny creature on the wing to the right of that.

This evening we enjoyed a second helping of Oliver’s Chinese takeaway, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Ribera del Duero Camino Nuevo 2016

 

An Opened Garden

Cuttings on path

Front path lined

Yesterday Jackie carried out some further heavy pruning and clearance in the shrubbery at the front of the house. This meant that before I could continue with the path, I needed to cart several barrow loads of branches and dead plants to the far end of the garden. Well, she is the head gardener, and I did have the dubious bonus of returning each trip with a quantity of stone for the edging recycled from the soon-to-be rose garden.

After this, admittedly rather painfully, given that the knee didn’t really appreciate what it had been expected to do, I wandered around the garden listening to the music of the birds. The tits enjoyed the feeder, and the pheasant, until sent off squawking by my presence, strutted around, returning to be photographed later through the kitchen window. You may need to zoom on the second image here in order to spot this visitor..Blue titPheasantComfrey

IMG_2271Elephants' ears

Comfrey, leucojum, and elephants’ ears are now vying for space with all the other spring flowers.

I felt very satisfied that the garden we had spent all last summer opening up is really coming into its own.Bench on shady path

The bench on the shady path, so called because at first it admitted no sunlight, was suitably inviting.Pansies and daffodils in chimney pot

Plants, like these pansies and daffodils, in the chimney pots are blooming.Five ways

This particular pot is situated at five ways, which takes its name from the number of paths that radiate from it. The prunus in the foreground has recovered from severe pruning. We don’t know what the magnificent evergreen is.Heligan path

The Heligan path, named after The Lost Gardens of Heligan, because we didn’t know it was there, runs alongside the weeping beech. The log pile continues to grow, and the IKEA wardrobe sections keep triffids from next door at bay.Bed alongside weeping birch

The bed we cleared on the other side of the tree is burgeoning.chair and bed head

The bed head behind the chair in this picture was screwed to the tree, and can be seen from the side in the Heligan path shot.Camellia through euphorbia

We have cut down much of the euphorbia which covered the garden but left some, such as that which shrouds this camellia, to bloom later..CamelliasDaffodils, hellebore and fallen camellia

The camellia flowers themselves, as they fall, adorn the paths and the soil where they lie.Daffodil and cyclamen

Almost all the cyclamens have survived the gentle winter.

Later this afternoon I had a bonfire.

I am happy to report that we still had plenty of Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and fresh savoury rice for our dinner this evening. They were accompanied by paratas and Hoegaarden for Jackie, and the last of the claret for me.

A Fascinating Collage

This morning Jackie and I set about building a garage door screen  with parts of the IKEA wardrobes, supplemented by battens sawn from an old wooden pallet. We needed nails to  fix the laminated chipboard to the wood. This entailed a trip, on the recommendation of Giles and Jean, to Milford Supplies in New Milton. Being Jackie’s favourite kind of shop, she bought a few more things as well.

Now, when it comes to such practical tasks, when I say ‘we’, I really mean Jackie, with me standing around looking awkward and supplying the occasional bit of muscle, not, I must admit, always in the required direction. She, you see, is much more experienced with tools and has a far greater spatial awareness. The child’s teaching toy involving posting different shapes into a box with various openings would have come far more naturally to her than to me.

Garage door screenThe concept of fabricating a make-shift wall, against which to place the bookcases, from the materials at hand, was all Jackie’s. I did, however, under expert forepersonship, largely carry out the task, whilst she ironed and trimmed her curtains; fixed some toilet roll holders which were actually straight; and prepared an excellent fry-up for lunch.Face flannel collage

When we discovered a collage involving scraps of wood, a face flannel, and copies of the Daily Mail firmly gunged to the concrete floor, I was all for allowing it to stay put under the laminate that was to cover that bit of the ground. Jackie, however, much more of a perfectionist when it comes to such matters, set to with a hammer, chisel, and screwdriver, and at least gave us a flat surface.

During the lunchtime break I took another tour of the garden and photographed more plants for my readers, please, to identify.

The comfrey we know:ComfreyBottle brush tree and unknown shrubBottle brush tree and unknown shrub 2Unknown shrub

The shrub to the left and behind the two pictures of a bottle brush tree, however, defeats us (update: Jackie has identified it as Crinodendron Hookerianum, otherwise known as Chinese Lantern Tree).

Further behind, and to the left of these shrubs, is a cherry tree that has suffered in the winter storms. When I get around to the garden I will need to cut off the broken section. The bright green leaves surrounding this, has been identified by Tess, a New Zealander, as belonging to a hebe with a name beginning with K which I can’t remember.

This evening Jackie fed us on prawn and lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice, paratas, and vegetable samosas. She drank her usual Hoegaarden, whilst I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2012.

For the preparation of this jalfrezi follow that for lamb given on 22nd January, and when it is cooked, add frozen prawns and simmer for about five minutes; and if using fresh prawns, until they turn pink.Thrift & beach hutsCliff top, beach huts, fisherfolkjpg

After our meal we drove to Hordle Cliff to watch the sun sink beneath the horizon. From the thrift-covered cliff top we could look down on beach huts and on fisherfolk settling down for the evening on the shingle.SunsetGulls at sunsetcropped-gull-at-sunset-29-4-14.jpg
Couple at sunset

Crows and gulls fought over scraps tossed from cars whose occupants had brought their meals on wheels. One couple left their car and became silhouetted against the reddening sea.Crow on bench

A sated crow took a rest on a bench set to view the Isle of Wight, in which the bird appeared rather disinterested.