Unashamedly Odious

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Once hailed as ‘one of Hampshire’s loveliest gardens’ we last visited Apple Court Garden, under its previous ownership in the spring of 2014. Elizabeth had also viewed it before then. Today it was open under the NGS (National Gardens Scheme) which raises money for charity. The three of us went along to be profoundly disappointed. Certainly we have endured a very dry summer, but that was no reason for the general air of decay and lack of care, especially as the entrance fee and prices of rather sad plants for sale were high.

My camera worked hard to find things of beauty to photograph.

Jackie and Elizabeth studying plants for sale

Jackie and Elizabeth studied the plants for sale, on the way to the entrance hut.

Spiderwort

Such colour as there was on this stretch – or anywhere else for that matter, appeared in  scattered spots, like this spiderwort tradescantia,

Crocosmia

or this attractive two-tone crocosmia.

Jackie

Elizabeth having paid our £5 a head entrance fee we scoured the beds for interest. Here Jackie contemplates the parched earth.

Agapanthuses

The distant agapanthuses looked well enough;

Phormium

This bright phormium sent up reddish feathered foliage;

Turk's Head lily

a decorative Turk’s Head lily swayed to

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed is attractive to bees. We noticed none in the garden.

A modicum of interest was engendered by the emergence of other visitors in the gaps between the beech hedges.

Water lily

At least, we imagined, the water lilies

and the carp in the Japanese garden would sparkle. Sadly the once clear water was too murky for the lens to penetrate to any depth; spiders’ webs festooned the wooden screen;

the surrounding path had become overgrown and the gravel so sparse as to offer raised circular stones as booby traps.

Comparisons are odious – so the old saying goes. Well, in our view this is no longer a lovely garden. A glance at the last two images in the post highlighted in the first paragraph above will show the difference in the carp’s pool. Our own garden, containing far more colour per square metre, is about a quarter of a mile from Apple Court. I am unashamed in making these two comparisons.

This evening Jackie produced, for the three of us, succulent roast lamb; perfectly crisp roast potatoes; Yorkshire pudding; runner beans from the garden with crunchy carrots and soft mange touts; and onion gravy so thick as to require a spoon for serving. Jackie having drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand, abstained from alcohol, while Elizabeth and I drank Castillero del Diablo reserva Merlot 2017.

Waiting For The Dilation

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A wander round the garden this morning yielded

 

spears of crocosmia, tulips, and daffodils piercing the soil;

Crocuses

crocuses opened further;

Primulas and snowdrops

and varieties of primula.

Daphne odorata

Daphne Odorata remains wary of the possibility of a cold spell.

 

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa now cascades down the gazebo,

 

while, in the Rose Garden, Winchester Cathedral has bloomed for several months; Mum in a Million and Festive Jewel are in bud;

Spring sculpture

and the sun shines on “Spring”

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital and back, for my eye appointment. I received efficient treatment, the nurse being rather more friendly than the consultant, but it is not his bedside manner that I suppose one looks to. After the nurse’s checks, she administered drops intended to dilate my eyes. They were effective, and, according to Jackie, gave me a sexy air. On hearing this, the gentleman sitting next to me asked her to look at his.

The consultant advised me that the laser treatment to my left eye was, as I thought, required. Apparently another cataract is forming in the right eye. I was asked if I wanted it done. No advice was given. I declined. I now await a date for the operation to the left eye.

Further administrative confusion occurred, in that a handwritten notice on the wall advised that, as stated in the appointment letter, we may have further checks carried out after the examination in order to save repeated visits. These could take three hours. Neither my nor anyone else’s letter carried such information. However this didn’t happen.

Waiting for the dilation to take effect gave me sufficient time to finish ‘The Locked Room’, being the third short novel in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. In the penultimate chapter the author suggests that all three of these works are the same story. He also uses the word ‘absurd’ on a number of occasions. It is. We are lulled, in this final episode, into thinking we might be reading something that makes sense. The writing flows with excellent descriptions and presents a plausible situation involving apparently real people and their relationships. A childhood friendship, for example, is beautifully told. There is, as usual, no ultimate clarity as nonsense finally prevails. Not that I could follow, anyway.

Tom Burns’s illustrations were, however, a delight, true to the text to the end.

           For our dinner The Culinary Queen produced succulent pigs in blankets; sublime sage and onion stuffed roast chicken; firm Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; toothsome manges touts; and tender runner beans. Good gravy, too.  With this, I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016.

Compassion Recovered

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Arch blown down

Apart from the collapse of the Compassion rose arch, the recent storms have treated us with respect.

Clematis and Solanum on dead tree

The clematis and solanum have remained attached to the dead tree.

Crocosmia 1Crocosmia 2

Orange crocosmia still stands at the potting shed entrance to the Rose Garden,

Crocosmias orange and yellow

while yellow and orange thrive harmoniously in the Dragon Bed.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

Clematis Duchess of Albany drapes herself over the arbour in the Rose Garden

Rose Penny Lane

Where Penny Lane parades her maturity;

For Your Eyes Only

and others such as For Your Eyes Only

Festive Jewel

and Festive Jewel are reliving their youth.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah spreads along the side of the triangular bed now beside the greenhouse.

Japanese anemones and maple

Light pink Japanese anemones reach the lower branches of the red maple;

Japanese anemones pink

darker pink ones are quite prolific,

Japanese anemones

while white ones enliven the

West Bed

West Bed with its New Zealand hebe, its leicesteria,

Dahlia

and its dahlias.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

Close by we have fuchsia Mrs Popple.

Clematis and geranium

One clematis climbing the gazebo blends well with geraniums in a hanging basket;

Lobelias and begonia in hanging basket

another basket contains deep blue lobelia and an orange begonia.

Petunias and lobelia

Purple petunias and more lobelias populate the Back Drive barrier tubs.

Gaura

The gaura in the Weeping Birch Bed is thriving.

View across Kitchen Bed 2

The views across the Kitchen Bed;

Garden view from beside Weeping birch

from beside the weeping birch,

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

and along the Shady Bed from the Dragon Bed corner remain colourful.

Bee on geranium palmatum

Bees, like this one in a geranium palmatum continue working hard;

Fly on gladiolus Priscilla

flies, such as this one crawling over Priscilla, are in abundance.

Rudbeckia in Margery's Bed

Yellow rudbeckia are at their best. Here are some in Margery’s Bed.

Aaron fixing arch 1Aaron fixing arch 2Aaron fixing arch 3

This morning was spent generally tidying up, one of Aaron’s tasks being to refurbish the fallen arch.

Aaron replacing Compassion rose

He then,

Jackie and Aaron replacing Compassion rose 1Jackie and Aaron replacing Compassion rose 2

assisted by Jackie,

Arch repaired

recovered the Compassion rose and tied it back in place.

This afternoon we visited Willows garden at Pilley. On the grounds that we couldn’t stand the competition, I will report on that tomorrow.

This evening we dined on fish pie, ratatouille, carrots and broccoli, with which we both drank Bergerac blanc sec 2016.

 

Destruction

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Yesterday afternoon, Jackie had been in the garden for some considerable time. This in itself was not exactly unusual, but I did think I should go out and ask whether she knew that it was raining. “Not in my greenhouse, it isn’t”.

Entering the construction myself, I saw her point, or rather her viewpoints.

When the sun emerged this morning from the previously leaden skies, I sat in the greenhouse with my camera.

View through greenhouse window 3

A number of the photographs contain confusing reflections.  Although I will allow viewers to work out most of these for themselves, I think it only fair that I should point out that the house in the first shot is not really on the other side of the

View through greenhouse window 4Dragon and begonias through greenhouse windowDragon and ivy through greenhouse window

Dragon Bed,

View through greenhouse window 2View through greenhouse window 6

from another corner of which the view leads across the garden past the gazebo and the bottle brush plant.

Crocosmia etc through greenhouse window

Crocosmias,

Nicotiana etc through greenhouse window

nicotiana,

View through greenhouse window 10

day lilies and buddleia, among others, are all in view.

View through greenhouse window 5Begonias through greenhouse window

These two baskets hang over the Head Gardener’s Walk.

View through greenhouse window 8

Jackie is particularly pleased that her orange cone is visible from her hide,

View through greenhouse window 7View through greenhouse window 9View through greenhouse window 12

while, turning just a few yards to her right her eyes wander across the Kitchen Bed to the patio;

View through greenhouse window 11

or the clematis festooning the Agriframes Arch.

After lunch we dumped the contents of two more orange bags of clippings into the container bins at Efford Recycling Centre, then went on a drive around the forest.

At Thorney Hill we encountered a string of ponies seeking shade under trees on the edge of their field.

Horses in shade 2

Only one wore a fly protection mask, although

Horse 1

others could have done with something similar, and

Horse with muzzle

an apparent biter had earned a muzzle.

Burnt out car 1

By the roadside at Avon a burnt-out car, having charred the nearby fencing,

Refuse disposal notice

bore a Council Refuse Disposal notice.

Burnt out car 2Burnt out car 3Burnt out car 5Burnt out car 6

Burnt out car 4Burnt out car 7Burnt out car 8Burnt out car 9Burnt out car 10

It seemed to us that the vehicle had already suffered destruction.

This evening Jackie produced, pork slices cooked in piri-piri sauce; marvellous mushroom, onion, and egg rice; and tender runner beans. She drank Blue Moon, and I drank a 2015 Bordeaux.

 

A Little Short Of Perfection

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After three days of cloud and rain, this one was hot and humid. Too much so for making a start on restoring our plants to their best condition.

Heuchera and crocosmia leaves

The sun did, however, cast friendly light upon such as these heucheras and leaves of barren crocosmias.

Crocosmia

Those crocosmias my not have bloomed this year, but many have.

Tomatoes

During last week’s storms the container of our aptly named Tumbler tomatoes was blown down, smashing another underneath. It has recovered reasonably well.

Hydrangea 1Hydrangea 2

The hydrangeas have probably fared best in the wet weather.

Mamma Mia rose

Roses such as Mamma Mia

Special Anniversary rose

and Special Anniversary have become rather spotty.

New Guinea impatiens

The New Guinea impatiens plants have thrived,

Florence sculpture and cosmoses

as have various cosmoses, like those adorning Florence.

Canna lily

Canna lilies stand proud in the Palm Bed.

Penstemon

Various delicate penstemons, like this one with a lodger, also remain upright,

Foxglove

while the stems of this unusual antique pink foxglove has stooped a little.

Clematis Marie Boisselot

The clematis Marie Boisselot still climbs her obelisk.

The begonias and geraniums are doing well, but we have a lot of dead heading to catch up on.

BegoniaAs will be seen the garden is currently a little short of perfection.

This evening we dined on pork and apple sausages with strips of pork belly, fried mushrooms and onions, crisp cabbage and carrots, and mashed potatoes. I drank Meszaros Pal Kekfrankos 2013, while Jackie chose fruit jiuce.

Lurking In The Shade

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Today Aaron and Robin levelled out the soil flanking the new fence and cleared away our last items of debris in preparation for building a log store.

Bath and other debris

The rubbish included the buried bath, now in its last resting place on the Back Drive, before removal to the dump.

Walking in The Sea Back 002

I finished reading Barrie Haynes novelette ‘Walking in the Sea’ this morning. The illustrator is Barrie’s young granddaughter whose cover appeared on https://derrickjknight.com/2016/08/05/deadheading/

The blurb accurately describes the essence of this scurrilous romp which would probably, perhaps slightly Bowdlerised, provide the basis of a good TV detective series plot. Written almost entirely in the present tense, with direct, uncomplicated, and amusing prose, the book carries the reader along, keeping its essential secrets to the end. It was certainly easier reading than Jane Austen, its humour requiring rather less work.

Brambles 1

I have occasionally mentioned our ongoing battle against invading brambles. This is what happens if we relax for  week.

Brambles 2

This time I reached over the fence with the long loppers in order to stem the flow at the lowest possible level.

Dragon's Bed 1Dragon's Bed 2

On my way back down the garden I spied The Head Gardener lurking in the shade beside the Dragon’s Bed.

Crocosmias

There are two types of crocosmia in this bed. The yellow one did not flower at all last year.

Cosmoses with bees

Drowsy bees clambered in and out of the cosmoses.

Florences's view

Here is Florence’s view past the hanging geraniums to Compassion rose climbing across the Dead End Path;

Hollyhocks

whilst beside the Phantom Path to the left, Margery’s hollyhocks soar aloft.

Rudbeckia

There are several clumps of Rudbeckia. This one is in the Palm Bed.

Ornamental grass, petunias, lobelias, nicotiana sylvestris

At the corner of the Cryptomeria Bed, ornamental grass; petunias, lobelia, and geraniums in hanging baskets; nicotiana; and buddleia stand in line.

Sprinkler

We enjoyed a drink in the Rose Garden where Jackie operated the sprinkler, and

Fuchsia and beyond

a fuchsia leads us past phlox and through the arch beside the hollyhocks featured above.

Jackie’s dinner this evening consisted of pork medallions baked in mustard and brown sugar topped with almond flakes; courgette, tomato and onion gratin; crisp carrots and green beans; boiled new potatoes; and tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Becks and I drank sparkling water.

Gardening With A Camera

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Photographing while gardening is a hazardous business. I blame the camera’s unforgiving eye. My entertainment this morning was tidying up the Rose Garden with dead-heading and sweeping back into the beds the mulch bark that our avian friends daily toss onto the paving; and clearing up the Head Gardener’s clipping piles.

Crocosmia in Rose Garden

I was at risk of exposing bits I’d missed, like these few scraps of bark in this shot of crocosmia torches burning alongside the Rose Garden path;

View through gazebo

revealing tasks I hadn’t yet carried out, like the clippings in this view through the gazebo;

View from old well site

or incurring the displeasure of the Head Gardener for leaving a blue bucket in this view from the circular concrete of what we think is the site of an old well.

This afternoon we continued with our usual garden maintenance activities, mine, of course, including the new camera, with which I am beginning to capture elusive insects in flight.

Small white butterfly in flight

Small White butterflies are never still;

Bee and cosmos

and bees, like this one aiming for a crocosmia, are apt to dart from one plant to another.

Included among the many varieties of fuchsia we have

Fuchsia Chequerboard

Chequerboard,

Fuchsia Hawkshead

Hawkshead,

Urn with fuchsia Army Nurse

and Army Nurse, this one sharing an urn with trailing lobelia.

Rose Garden

There is also variety in the Rose Garden, provided by different types of flower, such as lilies, geraniums, petunias, penstemons, heucheras and honeysuckle, in addition to the crocosmias mentioned earlier.

Crême de la crême

Crême de la crême,

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral are among the white scented varieties of rose;

Mamma Mia reflected

Mamma Mia is here reflected in one of the mirrors placed for that purpose.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Qilla, where, despite their being very crowded, we received our usual warm welcome, friendly, efficient service, and excellent food. My choice was king prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; and we shared mushroom rice, egg paratha, and Tarka dal. We both drank Kingfisher.

Sunset 1Sunset and reflection

With the promise of an interesting sunset on our return, we diverted to Milford on Sea. In the second shot the sky is reflected in the Modus’s roof.