Dank

During the morning of this decidedly dank day Jackie worked on tidying the lawn and its surrounding borders, while I did something similar in the front garden, cleared up debris and fed the compost bins front and back.

Just in time for lunch a downpour sent us indoors. The Head Gardener left her tools outside, so, when I took advantage of a drier period to wander around with my camera, I gathered them up and deposited them in the greenhouse.

A hoverfly wasn’t too bothered about the raindrops on clematis Mrs N. Thompson; other clematises, nasturtiums, Black-eyed Susan, angels wings and day lilies were similarly bejewelled.

Various hanging baskets and other containers are flourishing, well stocked with petunias, lobelias, begonias, and more. Beside the vertical picture of Alan Titchmarsh, deep red Love Knot and lighter hued red carpet rose, are portraits of Ernest Morse and the climber Super Elfin. We have encouraged the honeysuckle to infiltrate the Back Drive from the garden of the adjacent care home. The purple and white Delta’s Sarah is in the patio bed.

Five more chapters read of Charles Dickens’s novel, David Copperfield, carry five more of Charles Keeping’s superb illustrations to my Folio Society edition.

‘She was sitting by the fire, suckling an infant, whose tiny hand she held against her neck’

In ‘We stand around the grave’ the artist chooses to place the burial party in the distance.

‘Away we went on our holiday excursion’

The figures in the foreground, bursting out of the frame of ‘I lounged about the streets, insufficiently and unsatisfactorily fed’ give a typical perspective to Keeping’s street scenes.

Note the artist’s trademark dog in ‘There was a very long-legged young man, with a very little empty donkey-cart, standing near the Obelisk’

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s hot and spicy pasta arrabbiata with full, firm, and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the especially smooth Rioja.

The wind is whipping up, reminding us that tomorrow afternoon we will need to batten down the hatches in the usual manner in preparation for the gale expected to strike early the next morning.

Raindrops Inside And Out

Recent heavy rains have opened another leak in the roof of our kitchen extension.

Jackie made these photographs of the kitchen floor, then

of what we think is the faulty lead flashing.

While she was at the upstairs windows

she then produced aerial shots of the soggy garden, after which

during a lull in the rain I toured the paths in search of raindrops on fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, begonias, pelargoniums, rose campion, various roses, chrysanthemums, Edinburgh dahlia, Rosa Glauca hips, and fallen beech leaves.

For dinner this evening we finished Jackie’s choice chicken and leek pie with crisp roast potatoes; al dente carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and most flavoursome gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montpeyroux.

Survivors December 2019

Today was the third bright, sunny, and cold one in a row. Given that overnight temperatures are in the low minuses, I wandered around the garden to photograph some of the albeit somewhat poorly looking surviving flora.

Two that seem to bloom continuously are the yellow bidens

and the white solanums from last year.

A few primulas,

penstemons,

pelargoniums,

and pansies linger.

The yellow antirrhinums refuse to die.

Mrs Popple

and Delta’s Sarah are two of the still flowering fuchsias.

Fatsia,

vibernum bodnantense Dawn,

and clematis Cirrhosa Freckles we may expect to enjoy at this time of year;

but not the hebes.

Carpets,

Paul’s Scarlet,

Just Joey,

 

Winchester Cathedral,

and Festive Jewel carry the baton for team roses.

Hoards of Hunnish sparrows occupy the hawthorn, swooping on

sad little Muggle’s

feeder for which he has to wait his moment,

while more of Attila’s marauders concentrate on the front garden robin’s seeds.

We didn’t see Nugget today.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

 

A Little Autumn Colour

For the last couple of days marauding rooks have raided Nugget’s robin feeder, ripped it off the Japanese maple, and robbed him of his food.

Jackie has baffled the thieves with a pair of hanging basket frames.

In contrast to yesterday’s dismal weather, today was clear, bright, and cold, taking every opportunity to display a little autumn colour.

Here is Margery’s Bed seen from the Cryptomeria Bed,

and sculpture Florence’s view of the house.

Weeping Birch leaves still linger

and the white solanum goes on forever.

 

Some Japanese maples have retained their leaves,

others have carpeted the lawn and paths with them.

The last scene above can be seen from the Fiveways end of the Phantom Path.

Jackie focussed on the grasses in the Palm Bed named for

the Cordeline Australis which is in fact evergreen.

Mrs Popple is one of the hardier fuchsias,

another of which, Delta’s Sarah, still attracts no doubt confused bees.

A number of pelargoniums still look down from hanging baskets, like this overlooking the Dragon bed in which

Ivy twines herself around one of the eponymous mythological figures.

Jackie spent much of the morning trying not to tread on Nugget while they were cobbling together a winter cold frame.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44a and 44b)

Wherever she moved to another location he was there first. Fortunately she took her camera.

“Where’s Nugget?” (44c and 44d)

Jackie also focussed on a sparrow with,

a pied wagtail,

and a white wagtail on the rooftop. I trust one of our birder readers will correct any errors in identification.

Late this afternoon Elizabeth visited to gather up bags of files that had remained in our single spare room since she moved out last year. She stayed for dinner which consisted of chicken marinaded in mango and chilli sauce; savoury rice topped with an omelette; and tender runner beans. My sister finished the Cotes du Rhone and I drank Chateau Berdillot Cotes de  Bourg 2018, while Jackie abstained.

 

 

 

 

Morning And Evening Light

In the early morning light this morning, carrying the camera, I walked to the far end of the back drive to open the gate for Aaron.

Rose peach

The peach rose we inherited beside the patio is producing more blooms.

Petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, lobelias

Just one example of Jackie’s splendid planting in that area includes petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, and lobelias.

Geranium

This geranium hangs in a basket suspended from the kitchen wall.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the bed beside the Wisteria Arbour was still in shade. After taking this picture I dead-headed a number of small orange poppies.

Lilies

Clumps of these heady scented lilies stand either side of the Westbrook Arbour.

Crocosmias and verbena bonarensis

I turned into the back drive around the corner of the New Bed, where crocosmias blazed in front of verbena bonarensis.

Rose Dearest

There are two Dearest rose bushes in the herbaceous border along the drive. One is laden with blooms; the other is struggling.

Later, Elizabeth visited with Danni and Andy in order to deliver various items of equipment for her room. My sister has sold her house and not yet found another. She will live with us while she seeks one.

Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic.

Crocosmia Lucifer

The late afternoon light burnished crocosmia Lucifer in the Palm Bed;

Day lilyDay liliesDay lilies

various day lilies,

Day lily and hydrangea

and a bright red hydrangea.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I chose Davedush, while Jackie’s preference was Chicken dopiaza. We shared an egg paratha and special fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

The Playground Bully

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

On another balmy morning I began a tour of the gardens at the front of the house, where

Fuchsia Delta's SarahFront garden 1Front garden 2

fuchsia Delta’s Sarah blends with the pink Japanese anemones framed by white ones and Michaelmas daisies;

Myrtle

and myrtle

Solanum

and solanum continue flowering.

Poppy

Outside the kitchen window, spritely spring poppies emerge alongside ripened sedum,

Crocuses

not far from sprawling autumn crocuses flanked by gauras and geraniums.

Fuchsia 1

This tiny white fuchsia adds variety to the Rose Garden,

Honeysuckle

and honeysuckle hangs on in there.

View across grass towards house

Pink is a frequently encountered colour.

Bee on dahlia 1

The still prolific dahlias Bishop of Llandaff are a richer red, still attracting the bees in their New Bed playground. This whacking great bee bulldozed a smaller boy from this flower with a thumping thud. (I am indebted to Barrie Haynes for correcting the sex of the bullied bee – it is a girl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_(bee)

Bee on dahlia 2

He sloped off to another flower. Comparison of the bees against the similarly sized stamens will demonstrate what a big bully we have.

This evening we dined on beefburgers, mashed potato and swede, and cauliflower cheese. I drank Doom Bar.