A Tale Of Two Trees

Regular readers will know how our Weeping Birch leaves were burnt by last summer’s heat, leaving us with concerns that they may not regenerate this year. It is still looking doubtful, so we asked Jo, the owner of Arbor Ventures, for her opinion. She agree with us that it may not survive, although she did say that sometimes they can. She will therefore quote for taking the tree down, leaving the trunk to about 7′ for a clematis to climb it, but not expect to carry out the work unless necessary.

This morning I gathered some of the views we have now, hoping I will be able to repeat the exercise with full foliage later in the year.

This afternoon I watched the Six Nations Rugby matches between Italy and Scotland and between England and Ireland.

Later, we all dined on Red Chilli’s excellent Indian Takeaway meals. My main meal was Naga Chilli Chicken with which I drank more of the malbec.

Reshaping The Copper Beech

Just after dawn this morning, before Josephine Hedger and her Arbor Venture Tree Care team, began work on our beech tree,

Jackie photographed the tree as it was then.

With all the necessary safety harness and lines, crash helmets, and high-vis clothing, the surgeons worked away steadily on the tree, lowering lopped branches to crew members down below; carrying and piling them for shredding in a chipper; swept up after themselves; and left us clearer than they found us. Because much of our tree overhangs the garden of Mistletoe Cottage, this was a joint project with David and Lareine Firth next door.

We were very impressed with the promptness, courtesy, friendliness, thoroughness, and skill of the team who related well to us and among themselves.

This evening we all dined on further helpings of Jackie’s penne Bolognese with the addition of tender broccoli stems. I drank Reserva Privado Chilean Malbec 2022.

From Thunderstorm To Sunshine

With thunderstorms raging outside and my having been the last to succumb to the common cold that has worked its way through the household, I stayed inside and watched World Cup rugby starting with a recording of last night’s match between Wales and Tonga; then live matches between South Africa and Romania and between Australia and Fiji.

This evening the sun emerged and Jackie photographed

the hour before twilight. Each image is entitled in its gallery.

This evening we all dined on roast lamb; boiled new potatoes, firm broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, mint sauce, and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the GSM.

Sans Aniseed

Jackie has responded well to penicillin and is now recovering.

We experienced our second frost today.

The early sun sent the icy drops of the wisteria leaves melting;

it took a while longer to illuminate the lower plants

and grasses,

or paths like the Brick

or the Heligan;

and later to redden the lingering leaves of the copper beech.

This post from my first days of blogging:

tells the story of the meal I spent this afternoon cooking. As I mention, it requires powdered aniseed. This is not in our larder, so once again Susan’s chicken has no aniseed and I had to be creative with other ingredients. The linked post featured in the above one is still lacking pictures, but the text may interest newer readers.

Flo boiled basmati rice to accompany the chicken with which I drank more of the Malbec, then settled down to watch the Football World Cup Quarter Final match between England and France

Incineration Completed

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/17/a-knights-tale-66-horse-and-dolphin-yard/

Jackie continued with the garden refuse incineration and after lunch

we emptied the last of the compost bags’ twiggy bits onto the middle bin to let them dry out before finally burning them; then carried half a dozen of the now empty bags to leave them at our free horse manure source in South Sway Lane. The yellow plank on the compost bin was the wonky mantelpiece we replaced soon after we arrived seven years ago.

Opposite the horse field in the lane a young copper beech was lit by the low sun.

We popped into Kitchen Makers where we delivered Richard’s jacket that he had left behind yesterday, then continued into the forest.

A bush of holly berries nodded to a tree draped with poppies of remembrance in Church Lane.

As we left Brockenhurst a silhouetted pony ambled across the road. Jackie parked on a patch of gravel beside the speed limit sign while I photographed

this animal and its companions against the still lowering sun.

Mushrooms grew on the verges of Sandy Down.

Wintery sunset signalled its approach from behind trees at Norley Wood.

This evening we dined on slow roasted belly of pork with crunchy crackling and Bramley apple sauce; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; tender runner beans; firm Brussels sprouts; crunchy carrots, and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank more of the Chardonnay, and I drank Azinhaga de Ouro 2019.

Two Dawns

In the early morning chill I girded my loins with a thick cotton dressing gown and stepped into the garden to photograph the pink-streaked dawn.

Keen arboriculturists may be interested in the sylvan skeletons of copper beech, larch, weeping birch, and lopped bay tree.

Our great-niece, Ella, was two years old in January. She and her parents have been unable to visit since before Christmas. We haven’t heard her form clear sentences. Danni texted me this morning to say that her daughter has been shouting out of the window: “Where has Uncle Derrick gone?”

My late son, Michael, was not much older when I had to try to answer his question: “Why did my Mummy die?”. So my feelings prompted by the very welcome text were somewhat ambivalent. It was very pleasing to know that Ella, who will be able to visit at the end of the month, could remember and missed us, yet that memory of Michael, who would never see Vivien again, has always been most poignant.

For much of the day Jackie occupied herself trimming dead material from plants with which she filled a succession of trugs. I operated a relay service transporting the contents to the compost bins and returning the containers to the Head Gardener for refills.

Of course I did not undertake my Under Gardener duties without carrying my camera. Featured here are euphorbia, mahonia, leucojum Spring Snowflakes, primulas, pulmonaria, tulips, daffodils, camellias, hellebores, hyacinths, cyclamen, and viburnum bodnantensis Dawn. The first camellia shrub shows blooms browned by an earlier frost.

I was calm and contented when I produced the Dawn skies gallery. That was before WordPress had chosen to apply another simplifying process to operate from the sidebar. Until I got my head around this system to construct the plants gallery culminating in another Dawn, it was only reasonable to inform Jackie that it wasn’t her I was shouting at.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice served with plentiful green salad and three prawn preparations, namely tempura, hot and spicy, and salt and pepper. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.

The Ubiquitous Red Jacket

Jackie spent all this day of intermittent sunshine and clouds continuing her

weeding and watering, mostly in the Rose Garden.

I rendered minimal assistance while wandering round with a camera listening to the avian orchestral matins.

More clematises are now blooming;

Marie Boisselot blends with Erigeron cascading at her feet;

one we cannot name has scaled the gazebo;

pale pink Montana vies with blue solanum flung across this arch

 

over the Brick Path.

Splendid rhododendrons compete for attention in various locations such as

the Palm Bed with its spirea and cow parsley also seen

in front of the greenhouse in the Dragon Bed.

The Viburnum Plicatum stretches wide its ivory arms in homage to the West Bed.

Beautifully crocheted Hydrangea petals cap a container

beside the lawn.

Fuchsias like the delicate white Hawkshead;

Delta’s Sarah with her pastel pinks;

and this bright red bud bowing to the moon which will remind me of its name when it opens fully, provide their pendulous pleasure.

Variably hued heucheras extend their miniature Christmas trees.

Laura Ford graces the Rose Garden

over the entrance to which

sprawls Madame Alfred Cariere.

This garden bears much evidence of work in progress;

Jackie’s red jacket

seems to be everywhere.

The green plastic trug remains on the Gazebo Path where I deposited it yesterday while collecting up cuttings.

The path between the kitchen wall and the Pond Bed is still reasonably tidy.

Wallflowers, silene, companula, and aquilegias are happily blended in the Weeping Birch Bed which also contains some of prolific

libertia.

The Copper beech is now quite well clad.

I returned to my computer in time to receive a FaceTime visit from the Australian branch.

It was so dark in Fremantle on the way back for Sam and Holly and their children that Malachi needed to empty special effects to penetrate the blackness.

When they arrived home everything was much clearer. I think.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s sausages in red wine, with fresh vegetables. Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Rheinhessen.

 

 

 

 

Orlaigh And Her Rabbit – Er, Brother

Early this morning I received a FaceTime call from Malachi in Fremantle. Trying to keep up with an 11 year old who was playing Lexulous, chatting with both voice and text, and teaching me various applications simultaneously is testing indeed. All coming at a rate of knots, you understand.

One application involved ‘effects’. These can be changed in rapid succession – both the faces and their expressions. This is Malachi as his Dad. I challenge anyone else aged 77 to follow this whilst at the same time seeking a Lexulous word that won’t be too difficult whilst using US English – I couldn’t even find the icon or whatever to access my app.

I did, however, learn how to take photographs of the people so far away.

At one point, in the Chat section of our word game, I received a long message about arrangements for a meeting. Since this allegedly came from Sam Knight, in whose name we play the game, I assumed it was one my son had intended for someone else.

No. It was my grandson sending a message on auto. I completely lost the plot when he tried to explain that.

We were joined by Orlaigh and her rabbit – er, brother.

The computer was eventually set up in the dining room so we could continue conversing over dinner. Unfortunately the signal there, at the back of the house, didn’t produce very clear images so the photographs of my granddaughter tucking into potatoes and salmon didn’t actually materialise.

Jackie spent most of the day working in the garden, with minimal assistance from me.

She photographed various different rhododendrons;

a number of unfolding ferns,

some in the stumpery,

along with a hosta transplanted from elsewhere.

The clematis buds were photographed against the backdrop of John Corden’s favourite shed.

These gladioli buds are burgeoning.

The Assistant Photographer also produced images of a mound of red Japanese maple beside the decking;

purple silene;

and yellow euphorbia.

The Copper Beech is now sprouting leaves.

While we enjoyed our pre-dinner drinks in the rose garden we watched and listened to

Nugget, winging from tree to tree and resuming his repelling rivals routine. “Where’s Nugget” (74)”.

The song is so beautiful that it is difficult to imagine that it is a war-cry.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, vegetable, and bacon soup with crisp croutons and crusty bread. The Culinary Queen drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, while I opened another bottle of the Rheinhessen and drank some of it.

 

Venison For Christmas

The weather picture this morning was of strong winds propelling variable clouds, some unloading precipitation of heavy rain and piercing hale, and bright sunshine, all vying for the available time.

Thus, our naked trees enjoyed ever-changing backdrops,

while the house was often brightly lit.

Among other tasks, Aaron planted beside the cypress trunk two heavily scented pink climbing flora –

clematis Montana Mayleen and

rose The Generous Gardener. There will be later additions.

Meanwhile the first of our camellia buds burgeons.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Helen and Bill’s home in Fordingbridge where, with Shelly and Ron we all enjoyed

Helen’s delicious dinner of succulent roast venison topped with bacon; crisp roast potatoes, including the sweet variety and onions; three colours of carrots; firm Brussel’s sprouts and cauliflower with which red and white wines were imbibed. We had begun with canap├ęs and mulled wine. The meal was completed by a moist chocolate log topped with sliced strawberries.

This feast was followed by an impossible Christmas quiz in which Shelly won with a creditable 12/25, Jackie came second with 9, Ron managed 8 and I came last with 6. Helen and Bill were let off because they had done it before. Afterwards we enjoyed anecdotal reminiscences, in particular horse drawn deliveries of groceries and milk; rag and bone men; fish and chips and other meals; house prices and educational practices. We tried to stick to an embargo on the recent election.

I am definitely converted to venison for Christmas.

 

 

Emergency Grounding

The bare copper beach brings clear signs of autumn to the garden, as

Jackie continues her clearance of the Palm Bed and, in particular,

the Dead End Bed. This New Zealand hebe has received heavy pruning.

The thick limb to the right of the chimney planter, and supporting the remaining branches, has been rooted from the original shrub that had been planted further back some years ago.

Here is another view from Margery’s Bed.

Jackie has removed some plants, repositioned others like the potted hydrangea ready for planting, set a profusion of spring bulbs,

and stepping stones for access during next spring’s burgeoning.

Clearance and replanting has also been carried out on the opposite side of the path.

The same treatment has been applied to other bed’s such as Margery’s which can hopefully expect a profusion of richly hued Black Beauty Dutch irises.

Here, the Head Gardener contemplates the remains of a crocosmia collection. She did most of her own compost accumulation, but left me a little.

Anticipated winds in excess of 50 m.p.h. prompted the usual emergency grounding of the wooden patio chairs.

This evening, with additional starters of tempura prawns and vegetable wantons, we dined on our second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.