Cervine Elegance

Occasional sunny spells on a clouded morning developed into bright sunshine by the time we drove into the forest this afternoon.

Jackie spent some time collecting cuttings with which to populate the

greenhouse pots.

The orange poppies that last just a day don’t normally emerge from the soil until spring. We have several clumps now. These, incongruously beside more seasonal asters, are in the Cryptomeria Bed

which also houses hot lips

still attracting bees.

The cryptomeria itself can be seen beyond the cordeline Australis lending its name to the Palm Bed;

it stands beside the laurel on the far right of the Phantom Path.

The deep red climbing rose soaring over its arch spanning the Shady Path also doesn’t know it is autumn,

although the Weeping Birch clearly has an inkling.

Elizabeth’s Bed

and the patio planting continue to flourish.

Pelargoniums still hang in baskets.

Nugget, this morning patrolled his fences. This fellow, I think, is a rival displaying discretion. I did see our own robin dive-bomb another which immediately scarpered, but he was too quick for me.

These autumn colours brighten Sway Road;

others burnished the landscape beside the A35,

and glowed beneath

an unnamed lane off Cadnam Lane,

along which clusters of mushrooms burst from the moss coating of a fallen log,

and bracket fungus clutched a living tree.

Pheasants, both cocks and hens, dared anyone actually to drive at the 40 m.p.h. limit.

On one side of Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies cropped the verge outside The Old Bakery;

several more slaked their thirst on a winterbourne pool on the opposite side.

A mare led her foal along the road

to add to the chaos caused by a broken down car.

Returning home along Roger Penny Way we were treated to a display of cervine elegance as a young stag stepped on pointe across the road in front of us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty and wholesome liver and bacon casserole (for recipe see Jackie’s comment below); roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy orange carrots, and bright green firm Brussels sprouts, with she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2017.

It Seems To Be Working

Nugget darted under my feet this morning as I swept the beech nuts from the Rose Garden paving and the gravel paths,

 

 

and around Jackie when she continued planting.

Sometimes he took a bird’s eye view of proceedings.

Here Jackie demonstrates that she has some thyme to plant;

and here converses with her little familiar. “Where’s Nugget?” (33).

Hoping to accustom him to a robin feeder for the winter she has installed one in the cryptomeria, bearing just small tokens. It seems to be working.

Bees, like this one homing in on bright red salvia

and this plundering a pink pelargonium;

as well as butterflies such as this Painted Lady, continue to bask in our sunshine on such a day.

This afternoon I watched a recording of the Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and Canada.

Later, we took a short trip into the forest where, at Holmsley, bracken has really browned;

 

some leaves take on an autumnal hue, while others remain green;

grasses bent to the breeze;

the stream spanned by the eponymous Passage is filling up and flowing briskly;

trees were silhouetted on the sky line;

and a gatepost sporting a boot without which a child had departed pleaded for a rescue dog which had left home.

This evening we dined on prime pork loin steaks roasted with tomatoes and mushrooms; plentiful mushroom stroganoff; firm peas, and tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Brouilly.

 

Rearing Hellebores

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The first clear sky at dawn for some time promised a sunny day which was appreciated by the garden, especially the winter flowering cherry that has been blooming for seven months now.

Sunshine, shadows, and birdsong returned to the garden paths.

Cryptomeria and eucalyptus trees from the antipodes brightened considerably.

Some of the hellebores even reared their heads.

Bright yellow mahonia blended with paler daffodils.

Although those nearer the soil were a little mud-spattered, primulas that had drooped a little now stood proud.

This afternoon Margery and Paul paid a visit as congenial as ever.

Afterwards Jackie drove me to catch the last post at Everton Post Office and on into the forest. Much of the terrain was still waterlogged, but the ford at Brockenhurst was dry.

Beef pie meal

This evening we dined on the second half of the smaller of Jackie’s splendid beef pies; served with crisp carrots and Brussels sprouts; and sautéed potatoes, peppers, and onions. I drank Serabel Lirac 2015.

 

 

 

Thorns And Scratches

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Jackie is making good headway on her Spring planting

Sarcococca

Two sarcococcas, small shrubs which already dispense amazing scents, have been tried out with temporary plonking in their pots;

Other seeds, bulbs, and corms to come, are marked with packet labels;

Daffodil

Our first daffodil needed a helping hand to hold up its head.

Camellia

Camellias are now proliferating,

Cryptomeria

and the cryptomeria is sporting fresh needles.

Snowdrops

Most beds are blanketed with snowdrops;

Hellebore

more varieties of hellebore are blooming.

Many cyclamens have survived the winter, the white one here offering a fly a perch.

On this fine morning we took a trip into the forest.

At North Gorley a murder of crows were taking a very cold bath in the temporary pools. In order to park safely for a photograph we had to drive on and tun round, by which time most had flown away, a few engaged in aeronautics, and one remained  alone in contemplation.

One of the countryside crafts much in evidence in this area is that of hedge laying. A fine example lines a section of Hungerford Hill at Hyde. Water from the fields is fed into the ditch from pipes sunk into the banks.

This seven minute video demonstrates the skill required to maintain such a living boundary:

Donkeys largely eschew the grass they leave for the ponies that they perhaps regard as wimps whilst, occasionally pausing for a good scratch, they tear away at brambles and anything else prickly enough to test their mettle. These creatures were seen, as usual, at Hyde and Frogham. Could it be that the calloused craters between the nostrils of the young white one trimming the hedge at Frogham, have been caused by its chosen nutriment?

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. Service was very friendly and efficient; the food was as superb as ever. We shared special fried rice, egg paratha, and onion bahjis. My main choice was Davedush; Jackie’s was Noorjehani. We both drank Kingfisher.

A selection of three photographs have been made from those I submitted. The size chosen is A3+. Raj, manager, wasn’t there, and the others want to check once more with him before I go ahead and produce them.

 

 

 

 

Mad Max

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It was finger-tingling cold when Jackie continued her winter planting on this sun-bright  morning and I photographed some still lingering blooms.

Pelargoniums, petunias, erigeron

Outside the kitchen door pelargoniums, petunias, and erigeron vie for space.

Pelargoniums

More pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums and verbena

some with autumnal plumage, as in this urn shared with verbenas, continue to spread their colour around.

Geranium Rozanne

Rozanne geraniums add splashes of blue

Clematis Comptesse de Bouchard

palely reflected by clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

Gazebo path

just about thriving on the gazebo

Clematis Cirrhosa

along with the winter flowering Cirrhosa.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2

There are still hardy fuchsias

Fuchsia 3

I may not yet have featured.

Maple

This maple on the grass had been cut down when we arrived three years ago. We are encouraging it to come back to life.

Honesty

Honesty seeds are masquerading as Pauline’s light catchers.

Cryptomeria and bed

They are seen here in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose pink climber

The roses to the right of the tree rise over the Oval Bed. As can be seen, there are more to come.

Salvia Hot Lips

Hot Lips salvia,

Nasturtiums

varieties of nasturtium,

Antirrhinum

and even of antirrhinum, still bloom.

On such a day a late afternoon forest drive was essential.

Sway Tower and pony

A pony in a field off South Sway Lane was more interested in the grass than in Sway Tower.

Landscape with gorse

Opposite Longsdale View, where gorse blooms among the bracken,

Isle of Wight, Solent, moors

the Isle of Wight is visible across the moors.

Reflected trees

Along the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst,

Stumps by water

where stumps stand like ancient tombstones on one bank,

Trees and Highland Water 1

the deciduous trees

Trees and Highland Water 2

now wear their temporary autumn plumage;

Shadow and reflections

the banks are becoming waterlogged

Trees and reflections 3

enough for arboreal reflections.

Dog in water

It was here that I was introduced to Mad Max, who had no fear of freezing his nether regions.

Forest scene 1

The forest road between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu displayed trees resplendent

Forest scene 2

 

with the last of their glowing golds

Autumn leaves 1

and burnished browns;

Autumn leaves 2

falling fast

Forest scene 3

to carpet the floor.

Ponies 1

As we approached Beaulieu, a pair of backlit ponies prompted Jackie to park the car on the verge and me to wander back to photograph them. Maybe it was something I said,

Pony 1

for, in turn,

Pony 2

they turned tail,

Pony 3

and crossed the road,

Ponies 2

to join companions enjoying greener grass.

The portions of our meal at The Raj two nights ago were so generous that we couldn’t eat it all and brought some home.. Jackie added samosas and onion bahjis  for this evening’s repast, with which I finished the malbec.