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.

Building Materials

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX ON BOTTOM RIGHT. SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK WHICH CAN BE REPEATED IF REQUIRED.

Today’s sky was cloudless, the sun shone, and the temperature was hot enough for summer.

Most of our tulips are now fully opened.

The mirrors, like these beside camellias, now have blooms to reflect.

Heucheras and forget-me-nots

Heucheras and forget-me-nots are enlivening the rose garden edges.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, including commas, freely flit about.

Cherry blossom

Now that the winter flowering cherry is thinking about shedding its blossom, others are coming into full bloom.

Naturally, we took a drive into the forest.

For most of the stretch of road between Burley and Bransgore we were treated to a generous display of shiny MAMIL backsides. It was difficult to construe the occasional cyclist’s veering across the centre of the road other than as designed to prevent any thoughts of overtaking the crocodile.

Horse and rider

By contrast, the equestrian on the horribly pock-marked Snails Lane had the good sense to tuck in her steed and wait as we approached.

Perched on the backs of long-suffering donkeys at Ibsley, a clattering of jackdaws filled their beaks with the creatures’ soft, flexible, hairs pecked out for use in nest building. As I approached the scene, the birds flew off. Uncomplaining, silent, and motionless, this forlorn creature fixed me with a baleful eye.

Donkeys shared the road with cattle at Gorley Lynch,

but at Hyde they were reluctant even to share it with motor vehicles.

We lunched at The Hyde Out Café then collected a blood test referral form from our GP. This is for a post-hip-replacement follow up. There are no problems but I have been asked for this and the completion of a questionnaire because, in the years since my operation, involving a metal on metal replacement, it has emerged that that method has led to later difficulties for some people. My knees are nothing to do with that.

Paul popped in for a visit this afternoon, and we enjoyed our customary pleasant conversation. Modern life and its geography means that this is something that doesn’t happen very often now, and it is our loss.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice with which I finished the Shiraz

 

Seeking Camouflage

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The sun has returned after several days’ absence. I wandered around the garden with a camera. These photographs reflect the current conditions in our plot.

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscuses are now in full bloom. This one is at the front;

Nasturtium

as is this yellow climbing nasturtium sharing the garage frontage with

Hanging basket and clematis Star of India

hanging baskets such as this container of geraniums an lobelia blending with the clematis Star of India behind them.

Dahlias, lobelias, and fuchsia chequerboard

There are quite a few dahlias reaching up to meet the Chequerboard fuchsia sharing the basket suspended from the wisteria arbour with the paler blue lobelias.

Clematis Polish Spirit and buddleia

A buddleia peeps through the Gazebo arch festooned with clematis Polish Spirit;

Eucalyptus

nearby petunias hang from the eucalyptus.

Leicesteria

Leicesteria drop earrings dangle in the West Bed

Japanese anemone

which also contains white Japanese anemones Jackie planted a couple of years ago to contrast with the ubiquitous pink ones.

Begonias and lobelia in hanging basket on dead snake bark maple

Begonias swing from the dead snake bark maple.

Gladioli Priscilla

Priscilla gladioli have survived the rains in the

Through the New Bed

New Bed.

Petunias and geranium

These petunias and geraniums stand on a brick plinth in the Weeping Birch Bed;

Petunias, geraniums, etc

opposite them a pot on the corner of the Raised Bed contains more of each with many blooms behind them.

Crocosmia etc

The crocosmia in this shot greets you as you leave the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden featuring Just Joey

this view of which is focussed on Just Joey.

Elizabeth's bed with Altissimo

Altissimo, in the centre of this shot looking into Elizabeth’s Bed, has sent out a lower than normal stem.

Palm Bed

Yellow rudbeckia takes centre stage in this section of the Palm Bed.

Comma butterfly

This bronzed Comma butterfly appears to be seeking camouflage from the dead little fir tree

Gazebo Path

in a pot on the right hand side of the Gazebo Path.

Perhaps last night’s power cut improved tonight’s evening meal. A consequence was that the lemon chicken Jackie was marinading remained in the lemon juice overnight. We enjoyed this with her special fried rice and runner beans. I finished the pinot noir. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio as an aperitif.

 

 

 

A Splendid Morning

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The weather this morning was splendid. The morning was to become more so, with a visit from good friends.

In eager anticipation of the arrival Jackie was out early sweeping the corridors, manicuring the green carpet, refreshing the flowers, and generally tidying up the reception room that is the garden. It seemed only right that I should get out there and help.

Right on time at 11 a.m. Geoff Le Pard arrived with the Textiliste, the Vet, and Dog.

View across Kitchen Bed

We all sat on the patio with coffee and sparkling water. This is one view across the Kitchen bed.

The Textiliste 1The Textiliste 2

Everyone then wandered around the garden. Here are a couple of views featuring the Textiliste, a skilled gardener herself.

Geoff and Milo

This was the first bench tried out by Geoff.

Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 1Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 2

Partly for the benefit of our mutual friend, Pauline, the Vet reprised a photo of Geoff and me taken a year ago. Dog wasn’t in the last one. He didn’t get the joke his master and I shared.

The Vet 1The Vet and Milo 1The Vet and Milo 2

The Vet, of course, was, herself, far more worthy of the camera’s attention. Was Dog feigning an ailment in order to obtain a scratch?

Bidens

The large chimney pots, one of which holds this bidens, were much admired.

Jackie

Jackie, amused by the photo session,

Jackie, Geoff, and Milo

was soon to be joined by Geoff and Dog on the Nottingham Castle Bench. In the right foreground of this shot is another of the chimney pots.

Heuchera and day lilies

The opposite corner of the Dead End Path contains this heuchera and these day lilies.

Bee in Summer Wine

On a final visit to the Rose Garden before we set off for lunch, I spotted a bee slaking its thirst on Summer Wine.

Ogre sculpture

Watched over by an Ogre we all lunched at The Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea. He seemed to be having as much fun as we were.

Afterwards, Jackie drove me to the Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a clean and check up. All was well.

We arrived back home in time for the televised Wimbledon tennis semi-final between Johanna Konta and Venus Williams.

Head Gardener's Walk/Shady Path

I then wandered around the garden again, along the Head Gardener’s Walk to the Shady Path

Dragon Bed

beside the Dragon Bed,

Begonia

where a glowing begonia shines like a beacon.

Comma butterfly

A rather tatty Comma butterfly took a rest,

Red Admiral and Comma butterflies

then flitted across to join a Red Admiral in the sunshine.

Gazebo Path

To the left along the Gazebo Path,

Agapanthus 1Agapanthus 2Agapanthus 3

a large cluster of agapanthuses, in different stages of emergence, are bursting from their cases.

Dead tree trunk

This is the trunk of the dead tree that supports solanums and clematises.

Fuschia Mrs Popple and hydrangea Lanarth White

In the corner of the Rose Garden beside the orange shed, fuchsia Mrs Popple provides a strong contrast to Lanarth White hydrangea.

Sweet peas 1Sweet peas 2

Finally, I thought Bruce would like to see how the sweet peas are coming along.

This evening Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled gherkins and onions. I drank Arborescence Fronton 2016.

Patrick’s Patch Revisited

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We enjoyed a productive drive through the forest this morning.

Hincheslea Moor 1

On Hincheslea Moor the horizon still bore the early haze, as one man and his dog disappeared into the bracken,

Hincheslea Moor 2

Hincheslea Moor 3

Hincheslea Moor 4

whilst the sun’s rays illuminated the rest,

Hincheslea Moor 5

especially the bright purple heather.

Highland Cow 1

Venturing into the wooded area at the edge of the moor, I became aware that I was being observed.

Highland Cow 2

A number of Highland Cattle glided among the trees,

Highland Cow 3

and sailed majestically into the sunshine beyond.

Highland Cattle 1

These great shaggy beasts have roamed the rugged landscape of Scotland since at least the 6th century AD, possibly having been imported from Scandinavia by invading Vikings.

Highland Cattle 2

Forage is easy to come by in The New Forest,

Highland Cow 5Higland Cow 6Highland Cow 7

and they probably don’t need their extra overcoats.

Highland Cow 8

They really are light on their feet, silent, and really quite elegant.

Highland Cow 9

On my way back through the forest this one became more interested in my presence;

Highland Cow 11

raising her head, she licked her chops;

Highland Cow 10

and attempted a kiss, which, deftly avoiding tripping over a fallen trunk, I politely declined.

Lymington RiverLymington River 2Lymington River 4

Moving on, the Lymington River at Brockenhurst was as smooth and effective as glass.

From there we travelled to Beaulieu for a visit to Patrick’s Patch. Although this gem of a community garden has featured in a number of posts, the link from 25th November 2013 explains its purpose.

Paddy's Patch 1

Today, the garden was enjoying one of its peak periods. This path, to one of the many scarecrows, is flanked by sweet peas, dahlias, and globe artichokes.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, like this comma, punctuated the hedges;

Bee on echinacea

bees raided the echinacea;

Zinnia

at their peak were flowers like the dahlias above, this zinnia,

Globe Artichoke

and the globe artichokes that bore the evidence of the irrigation of

Rachel Head Gardener

Rachel, the Head Gardener, who worked over the whole plot with a snaking hose.

Bouquet from Paddy's Patch

Before we left, this friendly young woman cut us a bouquet of flowers, including the zinnia pictured above. Jackie was quick to place them in a vase on the kitchen table.

This evening we dined on the offerings of Mr Chatty Man Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. I finished the last inch or two of the Slovenian white wine.

Bunting

This morning’s garden maintenance including more pruning, weeding, and digging up of brambles. Coma butterfly on verbena bonarensis

Comma butterflies are still transfixed by the verbena bonarensis.

Here are two views of the work in progress in the rose garden:

Rose garden work in progress 1Rose garden work in progress 2

  The reason for the hose is that each new plant requires four gallons of water daily, and we are not getting any rain. Jackie’s stepping stones can be seen; and also, in the second picture, the first of her brick pillars on which stands a pot including white cosmos under the apple tree.The two bricks in the foreground are the start of another. Four further views are from corners of the Phantom Path. Hollyhocks

The first, through Margery’s hollyhocks takes us across the grass patch to the Brick Path;

View from corner of Phantom Path 1

shifting slightly to the right at this western end gives a different perspective;

View from corner of Phantom Path 2

from the other end, we have two different views looking north, towards the house,

View from corner of Phantom Path 3

then the shed, over the door of which Jackie has hung cloth bunting.

As I set out for another session this afternoon, I was reprieved by a long and enjoyable phone call from Sam, who did his best to maintain a poker voice, as he was also watching the cricket in Perth, Australia, and knew I didn’t want to know what happened until I watched the highlights this evening. My second respite came when Shelly popped in for a visit. Early this evening I attempted an aerial photograph of the garden. We have Everest windows throughout the house. They are not meant to be fully opened, so it is impossible from upstairs to take in the whole picture. This is the best I could manage from our dressing room:Garden aerial view As always, clicking on this image, once, then a second time will enlarge the picture to reveal much more detail. For example the little chair in the rose garden will locate that feature. Stone edging

After this Jackie and I relaid stone edging in a small bed leading to the rose garden.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty cottage pie, carrots, peas, and cabbage. Dessert was apple pie and cream brought to us by Shelly. Jackie drank sparkling water whilst I finished the malbec.

A Cracking Match

Lace cap hydrangea

This morning’s task was to dig a pit I had chickened out of last night. This was for the lace-cap hydrangea alongside the orange shed. Beneath about two inches of poor soil lay an impacted heap of rubble. With pick-axe, fork, and spade, I managed to get through what we hope is enough of it for the plant to find its way. Jackie filled the hole with good multi-purpose compost, and gave it a good watering.

It takes the two of us a couple of hours to irrigate the trillion hanging baskets, window boxes, tubs, chimney pots, and various other plantings that the Head Gardener has stuffed with flowers. This, today had to form the bread in a sandwich, the filling of which was an absolutely cracking Wimbledon ladies final. Despite dropping the opening game in which she served three double faults, Serena Williams recovered her champion’s composure to win in straight sets, over Garbine Muguruza, who was no push-over. Both women thrilled the crowd, and even I was choked up, with tears in my eyes, at the gleeful dance of the unbeatable American, and the reception given, at the presentation ceremony by the crowd, and by Serena herself, to the runner-up. I cannot call Garbine the loser.Serena WilliamsGarbine Muguruza and Venus Williams

She will be back. But this was the serene Miss Williams’s day, which she was generous enough to share.

It was difficult to get my photos in focus, pointing at the TV, from the sofa, in a somewhat emotional condition.

Rose - possibly Aloha

The lost label rose we bought some days ago, has now produced a flower. We think it may be a David Austin Aloha. When it opens out a bit more, we will have a better idea.

Nasturtiums 1Nasturtiums 2

The varieties of nasturtium in the front garden have been multiplied,

Day liliesDay lilies and petunias

as have the day lilies in the main one.

I thought we may have had a visit from an apparently almost extinct butterfly. This, however,  is not the Large Tortoiseshell, but the

Butterfly Large Tortoiseshell on verbena bonarensis

Comma, attracted by verbena bonarensis.

I am grateful to Norma and Laurie Palmer for correcting me.

Bottle Brush flower

The red Bottle Brush bushes are now in flower.

View from Pergola Path

The one above has this view from the pergola path.

Nicotiana

Yellow/green nicotiana has now joined its white neighbour on the patio.

Buddleia

We are aiming for a very scented rose garden, but, just at the moment, our new plants cannot compete with our neighbours’ buddleia draped over our fence.

Clematis Carnaby

Reminiscent of our pink camellias, which turn pleasing shades of ochre, the sepals of the clematis Carnaby have now matured into the texture of parchment.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred haddock fish cakes; sauteed potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers; and crisp cauliflower and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.