Sparkling Jewels

Today dawned bright and sunny. Taking her camera with her, Jackie photographed the garden, glistening after yesterday’s rain. I joined her after a while, adding a few images of my own. We have merged our results.

Raindrops bejewelled individual blooms,

and sunshine brightened every view.

While Jackie was working on the lawn, Nugget did, of course arrive to inspect the works.

He took up a viewing station in his favourite New Zealand hebe,

then dropped down onto a bench to carry out a preening session within inches from the Head Gardener. Suitably satisfied with his ablutions he went into hiding in broad daylight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (19).

This evening we dined on tangy fish pie; crunchy haddock goujons; wholesome champ – an Irish dish consisting of mashed potato and spring onions – tender runner beans; piquant cauliflower cheese; and moist ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gajewski Shiraz 2018 – an excellent Australian wine brought by Elizabeth on Saturday.

Promise

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Today was ultra gloomy, but with promise of good things to come. Now it is much milder again, the garden appeared to have forgotten the recent day of frost.

I made a start on the winter clearance. A couple of weeks ago, Aaron had extracted a clump of badly positioned bamboo from the Oval Bed. I stuffed this into orange bags in readiness for a trip to the dump.

Next was pruning roses. I had expected to be cutting them right down, but there were so many freshly burgeoning buds, that this became a dead-heading exercise, as in these Absolutely Fabulous and Love Knot.

Some actual blooms, like the white Kent and the red Deep Secret, had survived the freeze.

Elsewhere, Vibernum Bodnantense Dawn is in bloom,

Clematis Star of India

and there are new buds on still blooming Clematis Star of India.

Japanese anemone seeds

The Head Gardener prevented me from waxing lyrical about the seeds of the Japanese anemones ready to be spilled for germination, by pointing out that in this country they propagate by means of underground tendrils.

This evening we dined on chicken, tomato, and mozarella pasta bake with peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Via di Cavello chianti 2014.

Remembering The Bees

We managed a good morning’s work before the rain set in later in the afternoon.

Back drive

I cut the grass while Jackie clipped more of the Back Drive hedge.

Jackie digging out fuchsia roots

Part of this consisted of a fuchsia which, despite severe autumn haircuts, has really become very unkempt overgrown. Because it was the only reasonable plant in this area when we arrived were were reluctant to remove it. We have still kept a small section, but the main cluster just had to go. Discovering that it could not just be dug out without serious damage to the garden forks, Jackie employed her tried and tested Time Team technique requiring the use of a trowel. I then wielded a woodman’s axe to hack out the roots.

Clematis and poppies

This clematis and these poppies form part of the planting separating the drive from the gravelled patio, in one corner of which

Hydrangea Serrata Miranda

the hydrangea Serrata Miranda, behind and to the right of the planted urn, is thriving.

Elizabeth's Bed

Between this plot and the Rose Garden, Elizabeth’s Bed is nicely plumped up.

Rose Ballerina

The rose Ballerina dances us into the Rose Garden,

View from Florence to Rose Garden

blending nicely with Florence’s petunias.

Rose Summertime

Summertime ascends the corner of the orange shed,

Rose Deep Secret

and the first Deep Secret bloom has survived balling from the rain to flower well enough. Balling is the term given to the soggy balls to which unopened roses are reduced when they are subjected to lengthy precipitation.

Solanum

The solanum has taken over from the now spent clematis Montana the task of brightening the dead tree stump beside the New Bed.

Hoverfly and beetles on rose Wedding Day

Wedding Day rose, attracting hoverflies and beetles,

Agriframes arch

is now preparing to cast its veil over the Agriframes Arch.

Evening primrose

Evening primrose blooms on the Back Drive northern bed,

Bees on poppyBee on poppy

where poppies are buzzing with bees,

which, when they expressed their disgruntlement at my poking a camera up their bums by turning on me and crawling around my head and neck, took me back to my first desperate encounter with the creatures.

California poppies

In fact the only poppies that don’t harbour these beings are Californian.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pea fritters, pickled onion, and gherkins. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.

Mothers’ Protection

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I watered the pots in the front garden this morning.

Roses on trellis

More pink roses bloom on the trellis each day;

Clematis Piilu

and clematis Piilu

Solanum

and a tiny solanum are now making their way across the garage door frontage.

Rose Mamma Mia

New arrivals in the Rose Garden include Mamma Mia,

Rosa Mundi

Rosa Mundi,

Rose Deep Secret

and Deep Secret;

Rhododendron

and my favourite rhododendron is coming to fruition.

Rose peachRose peach crop

The peach rose is reaching its peak,

Bee in peach rose

and attracting bees.

This afternoon we took Sheila on a forest driveabout to the North of the forest.

Ponies on road 1Ponies on road 2Ponies on road 3

A group of ponies on the far side of Burley ignored a Give Way sign as they held up the traffic.

Ponies 1

While we were watching another group, including a couple of foals, drinking in the stream at Ibsley,

Ponies 2

an alarming neighing was set up by two other adults of these normally silent animals. There was a clattering of hooves on the tarmac to our right, and a thudding on the sward on the other side of the water, as the spooked ponies scattered. The foals clambered up the bank at the calls of their dams. This one nuzzled its relieved parent.

Ponies 3

These creatures reconvened on the road.

Ponies 4

Meanwhile others tore frantically around the field until a loose collie dog ran off and joined its owners out of sight. The horses then quietly regrouped under the trees.

Pony with carrot

Some homeowners leave carrots out for ponies. This mother crunched on one, whilst her foal satisfied itself with grass to the right of the cattle grid protecting the house entrance.

Foal 1

As I disembarked from the car, the youngster made its way back to its Mum,

Pony and foal

and had a scratch under the protection of her flanks.

We stopped off for a drink at The Royal Oak in North Gorley, then Sheila treated us to a meal at The Plough in Tiptoe. We all chose gammon steak, eggs, chips, and peas. My drink was Ringwoods Best Bitter. Probably because I had also had a pint at The Royal Oak, I wasn’t able to fit in a dessert.

Blending

Our daughter Becky is convinced that I bear a resemblance to Worzel Gummidge. As I scanned yesterday’s photograph of four year old Louisa I wondered what the wit would have to say about it. This was her Facebook observation: ‘How clever of you to include a portrait of yourself in the photo of Louisa!’

Horse and oak

Managing a slightly brisker pace than my slow trudging of late, I walked up Hordle Lane and back, to the paddock, where a weak sun dappled horse and oak alike.

Honeysuckle and lichen

Honeysuckle blended beautifully with lichen in the hedgerows,

Dog roses

where pink dog roses bloomed,

Hoverfly on cow parsleyBee on ow parsley

and hoverflies on cow parsley masqueraded as the bees filling their thighs with the tinge of buttercups.

Barley field and lorry

Through a gap in a hedge, on the far side of the barley field, a lorry, its rear resembling the buttercup, the honeysuckle, the lichen, and the bee’s thighs; its sides reflecting the blue of the sky, sped along Christchurch Road. White petals in the hedgerow carried the colour of the cotton clouds.

This afternoon, using the brick pile as a saw horse, I filled a wheelbarrow with logs cut from the last heavy branches of the sycamore tree. Then, with a break provided by a welcome visit from Shelly, I continued in the role of under-gardener. This involved the usual collecting up of the head gardener’s pruning and weeding; digging out some invasive geranium palmatums for her to transplant onto the northern verge of the back drive; and excavating two homes in the rose garden, one for Rosa Gallica, and another for Deep Secret. Rosa Gallica, Deep Secret and pansies.Rosa had shared her nursery pot with some yellow pansies. It seemed a bit churlish to make them part company, so we didn’t.

This evening Jackie’s superb egg fried rice and green beans accompanied Mr. Lidl’s plentiful spicy pork rib rack on our dinner plates. Victoria sponge was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I quaffed Torre de Ferro Dao 2013.