Our First Cygnets

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Félicité Perpétue

Squeezing my left leg into the car, for a drive into the forest on this very dull day, was less painful again today. As I did so I admired the Félicité Perpétue rose facing me. This, and all the rest of today’s photographs were taken through the passenger seat window.

Garden opposite All Saints Church

The planting in the lane opposite All Saints Church Milford on Sea was at its best.

 

Thinking that we might be rewarded with a sight of our first cygnets of the season, Jackie headed for Hatchet Pond, where this proved to be the case.

Black-headed gull

A rather high and mighty black-headed gull took exception to our presence.

Motley cattle roamed the woodland along Brockenhurst Road,

where foxglove flowers flourished.

This evening we dined on second helpings of the Forest Tandoori takeaway meal from two days ago.

 

My Second Nonagenarian Visitor

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On a lightly overcast afternoon Jackie, plonking Mum’s stool to order, followed me on a short perch-hopping spree in the garden. I enjoyed two vantage points in the patio, one at the head of the Brick Path, and one beside the Westbrook Arbour.

In the meantime Jackie enjoyed herself planting.

Here are some of the corners on which I focussed. The two new wooden chairs on the decking were intended to replaced a collapsed wickerwork model which was destined for the dump. In the event, Jackie was unable to part with it and planted it up as seen in the third picture in the gallery.

Mum

Soon afterwards, Mum,

Jacqueline

driven by Jacqueline,

was the second nonagenarian to visit in two days. We spent several hours reminiscing and swapping medical notes and experiences.

This evening, for the two of us, Jackie fetched a takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori in Pennington. We started with excellent prawn puris. My enjoyable main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken sag.

The North/South Divide

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Today was another dull one with little sun after 10 a.m. This morning we took a motorised stroll through the forest

Breakfast

and brunched at Hyde-Out Café where I enjoyed a tastefully presented full English.

Cyclists on road 1

Just outside Bashley the first bunch of cyclists began disrupting the traffic.

Rubbish in stream

Someone had recently lobbed food packaging into the stream crossing Holmsley Passage, along which we passed the resident of

Modern House

the modern house that was once the site of the crossing keeper’s cottage.

Ponies on outfield 1Ponies on outfield 4

At Burley ponies had been engaged to mow the outfield of the cricket green.

Ponies on outfield 3

Some took a break,

Ponies on outfield 2

and, for one, the task had become all too exhausting.

Braggers Lane

It being the grockle season, only the narrower lanes like Braggers were free of cyclists and other cars designed to send drivers onto the verges.

Cyclists on road 2Cyclists on road 3Cyclists on road 4

More common were crocodiles like these escorted children wobbling along

Irises 3

opposite the irises blooming in Whitemoor Pond.

Foxgloves 1Foxgloves 2Foxgloves 3

Mauve foxgloves stood proudly erect all over the forest.

Orchids and ferns 1Orchids and ferns 2Orchids and ferns 3

On the slopes on other side of the road leading into Bolderwood, where the first two of these pictures were taken, wild orchids clustered among the curling ferns.

Orchids, ferns, and bottleBottle in ferns

Someone had lobbed a bottle into this lovely landscape.

Tree stump

Logging had been carried out in the vicinity of this stump with its moss-covered exposed roots.

Foal and ponies

The A31, that bisected the forest into North and South, spans the road through Bolderwood, bringing the modern world into stark contrast with the historic home of this equine family whose ancestors grazed the forest floors for centuries.

Horse riders

One of two riders crossing the heath on the other side of the main thoroughfare gave me a pleasant smile, after which we exchanged waves.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced tasty chicken thighs marinaded in lemon and herbs and roasted with peppers; boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans.

 

 

 

The Woman In White

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Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose GardenMargery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

Defying Gravity

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Today I divided my time between wandering idly around the garden hunting down piles of weeds and clippings deposited by the Head Gardener; transferring four barrowloads of compost from the south end of the garden to the ficus hole in the Dragon Bed; and, of course, making photographs. Jackie continued with her weeding, clearing, and planting.

Garden view from iron urn

This view from the iron urn features two paths and the yellow bottle brush plant now coming into bloom. The chimney pot on the grass patch is still to receive its portion of the contents of the plant trays to be found in abundance.

Begonias

These begonias are among those still to be given a tenancy.

Phantom Path 1

This splendid rhododendron flanks the Phantom Path,

Rhododendron and geranium palmatum

and has a happy relationship with a geranium palmatum,

Geranium palmatum

one of many to be found all over the garden.

Brick Path

Rodgersias lurch across the older section of the Brick Path,

South end of garden

at the south end of which can be seen the clematises and gladioli in the window boxes and the weigela on the fence beyond.

New Bed

The join with the newer section of that path can be seen in the opening between two foxgloves in the New Bed.

View from Rose Garden

This garden view extends from a corner of the Rose Garden featuring pink aquilegias; the rose Summer Time at the corner of the painted shed; and, halfway up on the left-hand edge,

Rose Ballerina

Ballerina, who trips merrily across her stage.

Orange theme on chimney pot

The orange theme of black-eyed Susan and marigolds atop this chimney pot was determined by the finial of this obelisk. Susan should soon wrap herself around it.

Raindrops on geranium

This geranium sheds a tear or two.

Rose on wisteria arbour

Now that the wisteria has finished flowering, its companion red rose has taken over floral duties;

Clematis and white climber

and the white rambler has now joined clematis Star of India on the arch spanning the Brick Path at the corner of the Phantom Path.

Roses Festive Jewel

Even before we reach the Rose Garden the scent of the prolific Festive Jewel drifts into our nostrils.

Rose Peach Abundance

Peach Abundance,

Roses Peach Abundance and red, and valerian

sharing this shot of the Oval Bed with a large red sky-climber and vibrant valerian, does have a delicate scent completely snuffed out by the more powerful fragrance.

Day Lilies

Day lilies, on the other side of the bed, are now enjoying their twenty four hours of glory.

Clematis Hagley Hybrid

Two clematises offering their first bloom are Hagley’s Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

Clematis Piilu

and Piilu against the redundant garage door.

Félicité Perpétue 1

Félicité Perpétue along the back drive has also produced its first flower;

Rose Félicité Perpétue 2

rather further on is the one in the front garden,

Foxgloves

which also has an abundance of foxgloves.

Bee on erigeron

Bees are now somewhat busy. Here is one exploring the larger erigerons;

Bee on bottle brush plant

another sampling the aforementioned bottle brush plant;

Bee on heuchera

and finally one defying gravity while sipping from a swaying heuchera.

For our dinner this evening we supplemented Mr Pink’s exceedingly good Fish and Chips with Tesco’s gherkins and Garner’s pickled onions. We both drank Cimarosa Special Edition sauvignon blanc 2015.

‘Road Kill’

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Struggles with erratic internet connection means that this post has taken some considerable time today. But let’s not go into that. Suffice it to say that I didn’t lose my cool and kept going off to do something else, sometimes involving a little garden clearance.

No way, however, can I match Aaron who today dug out and removed a mature ficus, pruned and reshaped the winter flowering cherry, cut the grass, laid some stepping stone paths, and

Aaron nailing beams to tree stumps 3

nailed beams across old tree stumps to support rambling roses. He had already built the fence behind him some time ago.

Garden view from patio along Dead End Path

Here is this morning’s view from the patio along the Dead End Path; the fresh bud low down to the left of the picture

Rose peach

is on the same bush as this rich peach one.

Garden view from frog pond

A large poppy will soon bloom behind the stone frog in this scene.

Triangular Bed

Purple campanulas in the triangular bed outside the wisteria arbour link the startling red Sweet Williams and the two clematises above.

Clematis 3

Here is one of those.

Clematis 2

Others can be found on one of the arches spanning the Brick Path,

Clematis 1

in the New Bed, and in many other locations.

Palm bed

Penstemons and foxgloves also compare hues in the Palm Bed.

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

Flamboyant Gertrude Jekyll parades in the Rose Garden,

Roses patio

and this pale pink patio rose thrives in the Kitchen Bed alongside the Brick Path.

Jackie continues to make excellent progress with planting up tubs, urns, and hanging baskets such as

Urn planted with cosmos, geraniums, petunias, and allysum

this stone urn filled with cosmos, geraniums and petunias flanked by filigreed ferns in the bed beneath;

Cosmos and calibrachoas

cosmos and calibrachoas in a terra cotta pot;

Calibrachoa and diascias in pot

calibrachoas and diascias in a hanging basket;

Petunias and geraniums

petunias and geraniums in a faux terra cotta container;

Petunias and marigolds in hat

petunias and marigolds in the leaden hat;

Diascias and petunias in iron urn

diascias and petunias in the iron urn;

Black-eyed Susan and marigolds

and marigolds and black eyed Susans perched on a Victorian chimney pot. The black eyed Susans should, in time, climb to the top of their obelisk.

Aaron's truck

Aaron’s truck contains the tools of his trade and garden refuse he takes away when he has created it. This shot was taken before he loaded up the ficus root and branches.

Aaron's 'Road Kill'

Country roads often contain road kill, or small animals and birds that have been struck by motor vehicles. Our friend is building up his own collection of little creatures.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb korai, peas and rice, and sag ponir. We both drank Kingfisher.

Opulence

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Once more, today was scorchingly hot. Apart from gentle tidying up, watering was the order of the day.

Garden view towards Rose Garden

The hose in this garden view was trained on the Rose Garden, where

Rose Garden 1

pink foxgloves, golden heucheras, and blue clematises romp among roses like the yellow Laura Ford, and deep red roseraie De L’Hay;

Rose Garden 2

where pink Summer wine, and white Madame Alfred Cariere cover the blue wooden entrance arch;

Rose Garden 3

where Summer’s sculpted image just manages to peep through For Your Eyes Only;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and where Jacqueline du Pré has been fortunate to find shade.

Poppies 1Poppies 2Poppy 1

Giant poppies blaze in the first view above.

Bronze fennel, poppies, Canterbury bells

There are more alongside Canterbury bells and bronze fennel on the north side of the Back Drive,

Viper's bugloss and geranium palmatum

where viper’s bugloss, given to us by Giles in order to cater for bees, burgeons before geranium palmatums;

Rose Dearest and libertia

and where the buxom rose Dearest can just about hold up her head.

Clematises and gladioli

Clematises and gladioli thrive in the row of deep plastic window boxes that divides the Back Drive from the garden proper.

New Bed

Alongside this display stands the New Bed.

California poppies 1California poppy

We have California poppies in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Rhododendron

on the other side of which my favourite rhododendron is now blooming.

The last three days of sunshine have brought opulence to the garden.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, mashed swede and potato, carrots, cauliflower and runner beans, all cooked to perfection by the Culinary Queen, who finished the Bergerac blanc while I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.