A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Six Trains

This post by Linda at shoreacres, https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/32382/posts/2281944455 took me back this morning to my 1940s childhood.

Linda has eloquently described steam railways in America.

From 1947 to 1954 the magical – to us children at least – The Devon Belle steamed past our kitchen window in Raynes Park on its way from Waterloo station to the West Country. Details of the train and its history can be found in http://railway.g3w1.com/The_Devon_Belle/devon_belle.htm

I was intrigued to read that the author of this piece lived in Raynes Park until he was three and a half, and has memories similar to mine, although I was 5 years old in the inaugural year.

My entire childhood from the age of two in1944 to 1960 was spent in the maisonette at 29a Stanton Road, alongside which ran the railway path. The family ate in the kitchen where we could watch the trains. Chris and I would collect the numbers of those driven by electricity at any time during the day. But our favourite was https://youtu.be/XPpqD3GUmSA

This was, of course, because of the steam engines, but also the Pullman carriages which gave us something else to collect. Each of these first class cars bore a different name, usually of a woman.

When eating we were not expected to wolf down our food, leave the table, and get on with whatever else in which we had been engrossed. No, we had to wait for six trains to go by before we were permitted to “get down”.

When I open the back gate for Aaron on a Sunday morning this involves a walk down the gravelled back drive.

Beyond the gate on the south side we have a range of wallflowers and valerian;

on the opposite side there is currently a heap of the redundant griselina stumps, and more yellow wallflowers.

The dark patch of soil a bit further along, beside another stump and a spray of libertia, consists of spent compost from Jackie’s pots. This is being used to fill the holes left by the removal of the overgrown hedging.

Further still, a clump of Johnson’s Blue geraniums is found beside erigeron and bronze fennel.

This afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a brief journey before the rain set in.

Forest Road Burley was the venue for an equine mothers and babies group, only occasionally divided by the traffic with which they played havoc. Observant readers may spot the foal featured in ‘Aquatic Surface Cover’ of May 8th.

A young man with a video camera also stopped to film the scene. We enjoyed pleasant conversation.

For this evening’s dinner the Culinary Queen roasted duck breasts in plum sauce and served them with mushroom wild rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

P.S. Our friend Barrie Haynes has made this comment on my Facebook page:  ‘Unfortunately, the Devon Belle was not a commercial success. The Observation Cars had to be turned on the locomotive turntable at Ilfracombe and the station was badly sited for the town. I believe the Pullman observation cars were later used in Scotland and I think at least one of them is still with us. Because there were no water troughs on the Southern, engines were normally changed at Wilton.’

Not Quite Mid-May

Today’s tour of the garden began with

clematis Marie Boisselot in the Kitchen Bed which also contains an as yet small wisteria, clusters of ferns, Japanese maples, the now ubiquitous erigeron, and self seeded bronze fennel which will have to go when it outgrows it’s welcome.

Other clematises include Niobe, now rivalling the fading wisteria and the burgeoning rose Paul’s Scarlet for space above the Wisteria Arbour; and Doctor Ruppel, one of which is beginning its ascent up the arch facing the Westbrook Arbour.

At the Brick Path corner of the Dragon Bed a deep red peony prepares to top off the happy planting of phlox and geraniums.

At the far side of this bed the magnolia Vulcan is beginning to relish the light now permitted into its corner.

The pink rhododendron in the Palm Bed sits opposite the deeper variety in Margery’s Bed.

There are a number of vantage points along the Brick Path.

The yellow diurnal poppies alongside the Gazebo Path

can be seen slightly above the centre of this view through the Cryptomeria Bed.

Before Aaron left this morning he had mown the grass patch which is beginning to warrant the epithet lawn.

Rose Madame Alfred Carriere soars above the entrance to the Rose Garden; Jacqueline du Pré adds harmony; Laura Ford a splash of yellow beside Roserie de la Haie; and Gloriana a touch of majesty to the side fence.

Aquilegias dance with ferns in the South Bed;

weigela festoons the fence above them.

Three hawthorn trees, swathes of libertia, and carpets of erigeron give a distinctly white hue to the Back Drive borders.

These are glimpses of the garden in not quite mid-May.

While we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the patio a pair of pigeons settled down for the evening in the copper beech.

For our dinner we travelled around the world in 60 minutes. We enjoyed Jackie’s special fried rice with Japanese tempura prawns, Chinese pork spare ribs, Indian tandoori chicken, Belgian Hoegaarden beer and more of the Chilean Carmenere wine.

Ferns Unfurling

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea, where Peter cut my hair. We continued into the forest.

This lane is one we traversed at North Ripley.

From high ground near Linford we admired landscapes over farmland. Horses may be seen in some, and a stretch of hawthorn in another.

The Modus is still managing to cope with the narrow, winding, crumbling Holmsley Passage, on the verges of which bracken is unfolding.

Back at home I dead-headed clusters of the diurnal poppies. On the way round the garden I paused to take a few photographs. Blue solanum scales several arches, and the large wisteria drapes its arbour outside the stable door. Sculptural euphorbias tower in the beds, and clumps of erigeron carpet paving stones and walls. Geraniums macrorrhizum are sweetly scented and make good ground cover. Another rhododendron is blooming in the Palm Bed. A wasp makes a beeline for the open flower in the close-up image of this. The last of these photographs is of Libertia.

A number of our own ferns are unfurling.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy pork paprika, boiled potatoes, crisp carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Nearly November? Never!

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After early morning rain we enjoyed intermittent sunshine. A wander around the garden produced much evidence of continued growth.

This afternoon Jackie drove herself and me to Ringwood where I collected printing paper and inks from Wessex Photographic and she bought a winter coat at M & Co. We continued into the forest.

Trees along its banks were reflected in the stream at Ibsley,

where a loan pony, ignoring a sudden spurt of rain, surveyed passers-by within sight of a tree of massive girth,

beyond which a group of youngsters enjoyed the use of a tyre swing.

We stopped at Hockey’s Farm Shop to buy a joint of pannage pork, reputed to offer a special flavour. A couple of ponies wandered along the road outside; two field horses, like most others, as protection against the expected colder nights, now wear their rugs.

As we near Remembrance Sunday an outlined World War I combatant has appeared on a wall near Hockey’s; cutouts have patrolled around New Milton throughout the summer; an army nurse stands near Barton on Sea.

From the clifftop at Barton we were given a clear view of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse; while beyond the golf course behind us we could see rain falling.

Synchronised gulls perched on fence posts, until one flew off over another.

As I wandered around the garden I had found myself thinking ‘is it really nearly November? Never’. Pannage pork, horses in rugs, and the Lest We Forget memorials perhaps suggest otherwise.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika served with savoury rice and crisp cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Pulpito Tempranillo 2016. This was followed by the Culinary Queen’s honey and treacle tart.

 

 

 

Father And Daughter Time

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Becky and I are enjoying what is the only extended period of time we have spent alone together in our lives. There is much joint reminiscing and exchange of information, especially concerning my past, that is really quite new.

At one point, I accompanied Scooby, who wandered up the Gazebo Path, into the garden.

Patio planting

Having paid particular attention to hanging baskets and other containers, Jackie had thoroughly watered the garden before leaving yesterday.

In today’s baking heat, some plants, particularly the pansies in the first of these images, displayed considerable signs of thirst, so I managed to distribute the contents of a can or two.

Russell crow was not in evidence today, but Becky did spot a mouse in the compost trug outside the kitchen door. She freed it into the flower bed.

This evening Becky produced a tasty, well-filled, Spanish omelette which we enjoyed on trays in front of the television while we watched the 2nd XI World Cup football match between England and Belgium which was so thrilling that I am typing this when there is still 25 minutes to go. I drank Doom Bar.

Hot Chocolate And Hot Lips

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It was another mark of progress this morning when I wandered around the overcast garden while Jackie was out shopping. I didn’t imagine I might have to be rescued in some way.

Wedding Day rose has begun to bloom on the Agriframes Arch spanning the Brick Path.

The diagonal view from the Heligan Path towards the greenhouse features Hot Lips and the clematis now blooming over the Phantom Path.

The arch over the Dead End Path, from which can be seen the Rosa Glauca in the patio, supports Compassion rose and scarlet runner beans.

Astilbe and campanula Samantha flourish in the West Bed.

Poppies, heucheras, and clematises vie with roses in the Rose Garden.

Bee flying to yellow bottle brush

Here, a bee sets its sights on one of the yellow Bottle Brush plants’ blooms.

Hostas and erigeron

The sun having put in an appearance this afternoon, and a hosta in the front garden having caught my eye, I ventured out again.

Geraniums

Jackie has replaced the pansies in the stone tubs on the wall with bright geraniums.

Fuschia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah thrives in the triangular bed beside the wisteria arbour;

Petunias and diascias

almost black petunias are set off nicely by pink diascias in a pot beside the Kitchen Bed;

and these hanging baskets on the kitchen wall contain diascias, lobelia, and bidens.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of yesterday’s Forest Tandoori takeaway meals.