Preparing For Ophelia

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

(Gwen and Yvonne, divert your eyes when it comes to the culinary coda)

Compared with what has been inflicted on Wales and Ireland by the albeit waning hurricane Ophelia, we have got off lightly.

Chairs lain down

This morning we made our usual preparations for protection from strong winds, notably laying down chairs, pedestals,

Pelargoniums and marigolds

and hanging baskets.

Towards midday a fleeting glimpse of a bright red version of yesterday’s solar discs was seen peering from behind the billowing smoke

Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 6Clouds 7Clouds 8Clouds 9

 that was dark slate-coloured clouds. By the time I had gathered up the camera the sun had disappeared. The temperature was so unseasonably warm as to give the impression that there was, indeed, a fire somewhere.

Birds flying against clouds

I suspect that the birds thought they must be having a sleepless night;

Clouds and weeping birch

but the weeping birch still hung unmolested.

By early afternoon the sky had lightened and the sun played upon the garden.

Pansies

These pansies still brightened

Patio planting

the pots outside the kitchen door.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsias etc

Fuchsias are among the flowers still blooming beside the greenhouse.

Pelargoniums 1Pelargoniums 2Pelargoniums 4

Various pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums 3

including this sweetly scented one;

Begonias

and begonias still defy the coming of the first frost.

Petunias

Delicate striped petunias thrive in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Dahlias

and white dahlias in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose Just Joey 2

Among the rejuvenated roses are Just Joey,

Rose Aloha

Aloha,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia,

Rose Peach Abundance

and, photographed later, when the wind was getting up and making this spray elusive to the lens, Pink Abundance.

Weeping birch in wind 1

The weeping birch was now waving about,

Cordyline Australis

as was the Cordyline Australis.

Weeping birch 2

I wondered how many of these leaves would be in place in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine liver and bacon, new potatoes, cabbage and mange touts, with which I drank Chateau Bonhomme minervois 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Latest Project

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This morning Aaron removed another shrub superfluous to requirements in order to make room for a larger than planned base for the West Bed bench. Jackie and I drove off to B & Q at Christchurch for six more bags of sand.

Aaron laying bench base 1Aaron laying bench base 2Aaron laying bench base 3Aaron laying bench base 4

Aaron spent the rest of his time laying the base.

Aaron on bench

When he had finished he sat on the bench and surveyed the scene. As usual, I made him a set of A4 prints.

Phantom Path viewEucalyptus fro West Bed bench

These are the views AP Maintenance’s finest could contemplate.

Fuchsia 5
Fuchsia 6Fuchsia 3Fuchsia 7Fuchsia 8

I enjoyed a fuchsia foray.

Fuchsia 2

Delta’s Sarah defied the neighbouring geraniums to steal the limelight.

Ginger lily

Red berries are forming on the ginger lilies;

Clematis

a blue clematis drapes itself over the Phantom Path arch;

Rose Festive Jewel

and roses such as Festive Jewel enliven the Rose Garden.

Jackie on West Bed bench

This evening we enjoyed a drink on the latest project.

Phantom Path from West Bed benchEucalyptus from West Bed bench

Jackie had been rather dismayed that I should have photographed Aaron’s view of the Phantom Path before she had had a chance to remove the wheelbarrow and wash down the dry cement. It therefore seemed only fair that I should show what we were looking at then.

Diascias

Beyond the chimney pot in the second picture, these diascias decorate a hanging basket.

Garden view from Stable Door

This is our current view from beside the greenhouse.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special special fried rice, chicken sag, prawn jalfrezi, and roast duck breasts. I drank Concha y Toro Cassilero di Diablo 2016.

 

Checking Out The Venue

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Canna lily

Late this morning sunlight burst onto the canna lily given to us by Helen Keenan.

Bee on dahlia

The garden beyond was alive with the buzzing of bees

Small White butterfly on hanging basket

and fluttering butterflies like this Small White three quarters of the way up the lines of a hanging basket

Comma butterfly 1Comma butterfly 2

or this Comma hiding in the shadows.

Dahlia 1

The dahlia in the first picture is one of those

Patio plants

supported by the white pedestal in the patio.

Dappled stable door

Dappled starlight seemed to brighten the Stable Door.

Marguerites, petunias, bidens

Marguerites, petunias, and bidens continue to bloom on the edge of the Dragon Bed;

Petunias

deep violet petunias spill from the Iron Urn;

Geraniums and petunias

while pale pink striped ones accompany similar hued geraniums on the

Cryptomeria Bed

Cryptomeria Bed also sporting Hot Lips salvias.

Dahlia 2

More dahlias continue to bloom alongside the Dead End Path,

New Bed

and in the New Bed.

Ginger lily

A Canna lily lifts its flaming torch over the Palm Bed;

Rose Garden

Blue Ming Marvellous campanula once more lives up to its punning name in the Rose Garden;

Rudbeckia, New Zealand flax, grass

New Zealand flax, rudbeckia, and the remains of a crocosmia Lucifer still provide a sinuous sweep in the Palm Bed;

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

and clematis Comtesse de Bouchard flounces once more over the gazebo.

Sedum and fuchsia

Sedum, fuchsias

Herbaceous Border 1Herbaceous Border 2

and asters parade along the herbaceous border.

Weeping Birch

An orange begonia hangs before the Weeping Birch, the leaves of which appear to confirm that summer really is thinking about departing.

This afternoon we drove out to the other Downton, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, in order to checkout the route to the venues for Rachel and Gareth’s wedding on Saturday. The service is to be held at Timberley Lane, Redlynch, which was our first stop. From there we travelled to Barford Park Farm, where the reception is booked.

Cattle

Cattle grazed in the field

Cattle, Barford Park Farm entrance

on one side of the entrance drive.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

The fields on the opposite side of Barford Lane basked in the warm sunshine. What a shame that the forecast for this area on the wedding day is continual rain.

Driving through:

Lover sign

Telephone Box Book Box

on our way home, we noticed that the village public telephone box has now been converted to a book exchange.

Books 1Books 2

Naturally we rummaged for romantic novels.

Jackie's choice of book

Jackie all but made off with her favourite find.

Ponies

The cricket season has ended, but ponies still carry out groundsmen’s duties on the outfield at Nomansland.

The Green Dragon 1The Green Dragon 2The Green Dragon pub sign

We stopped for a drink at The Green Dragon, Brook, then continued on home.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, crunchy carrots, new potatoes, and runner beans. I drank more of the malbec.

Meal Of The Day

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Susan Rushton’s post earlier today featured colchicums. There are a number of different varieties of these autumn crocuses.

Colchicums 1Colchicums 2Colchicums 3

Ours are different, and a bit battered by wind and rain. I think they are speciosum. Here they are Susan.

Spider 1

Whilst on my way to obtain the first two images above, I spotting a spider waiting on its web. As I watched it hauled itself up aloft and I just left it to get on with it.

Colchicums 3

Later, I walked the same way to capture the flowers in a different light.

Spider with bee prey

The spider was gloating over its meal of the day. That was one bee that would seek no more pollen.

Snapdragons and spider

It is, of course, the season for these insectile predators. I couldn’t even photograph these snapdragons without one poking its nose in.

Garden view through arch towards Oval Bed

The antirrhinums appear to the right of this view through the arch framing the Oval Bed.

Weeping Birch Bed

The kniphofia to the left is one of many in the Weeping Birch Bed

Kniphofias and begonia 2

blending with the begonia in a hanging basket behind.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2

We still have many thriving fuchsias

New Bed

including one festooning the New Bed.

This afternoon I finished reading ‘Phineas Finn’, the second of Anthony Trollope’s six Palliser novels. This follows the fortunes of the eponymous hero as he ventures into the Victorian Parliamentary world. Without giving away any of the story I can say that, against the background of conflict over reform bills in the 1860s, we have love triangles; fraught courtships; political and matrimonial intrigue; and a view of social history of a time when Members of Parliament needed independent incomes in order to fund their campaigns and carry out their duties if elected; and when women were dependent upon submission to their husbands.

Trollope’s lengthy work is rendered readable by his elegant, flowing, prose, which may not suit some of today’s readers requiring shorter, more racy works.

The author is clearly in sympathy with the status of women, especially those trapped in unhappy marriages. Perhaps that is why, as stated by J. Enoch Powell – himself a controversial politician active a century after the period of the book – the female characters have rather more depth of study than do the males.

Powell’s introduction is sound, and he was aptly chosen by the Folio Society whose 1989 edition I was reading.

In my review of ‘Can You Forgive Her?’, I expressed my disappointment in the illustrations of Llewellyn Thomas. I am no less enamoured of those he has made for the current volume, so I won’t reproduce any.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main meal was Goan lamb, while Jackie’s was Chicken shashlik. We shared special fried rice, a paratha, and onion bhaji; and both drank Kingfisher and the customary complimentary Bailey’s.

Late Summer Blooms

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

While Jackie, weeded, watered, and planted, my main gardening task today was extensive dead-heading. If anyone spots any heads I’ve missed in the following photographs, I’ll thank you for not mentioning it.

Petunias, geraniums, erigeron

We have many petunias. These, with geraniums and erigeron, grace the sitting room wall.

Petunias and fuchsiaPetunias geraniums, and lobelia

These, in a basket hanging over the shady path, blend well with a dangling fuchsia and lobelia above;

Begonia and petunias 1Begonia and petunias 2

accompany begonias,

Dragon Bed

like these above the Dragon Bed,

Petunias

or are planted in beds.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Dahlias, such as Bishop of Lllandaff,

Dahlias, phlox, etcDahlias

and some I can’t identify are cropping up everywhere.

Dead End Path 2Dead End Path 1

This last trio grace the West Bed alongside the Dead End Path.

Bee on dahlia

A furry bee is cleverly camouflaged by the red and yellow one.

Bee on carpet rose

Other bees explore a carpet rose

Bee on salvia

and a salvia,

Salvias, cosmos, etc

two varieties of which are potted at the corner of the Kitchen Bed.

Crysanthemums

These chrysanthemums speak to the phlox behind.

Geraniums

I have no idea how many geraniums fill this stone urn nearby. Last autumn they were all little broken stems that the Head Gardener stuck in soil and nurtured through the winter.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus, Japanese anemones etc

Hibiscuses and Japanese anemones such as these on opposite sides of the Brick Path are typical of late summer blooms.

Penstemon and Festive Jewel

Another happy juxtaposition is that of the penstemons and Festive Jewel in the Rose Garden.

Fuchsia Lady in Black climber and hydrangea

The climbing fuchsia Lady in Black, against the pink hydrangea backdrop, has begun its ascent up the new arch beside the greenhouse;

Clematis

while the White clematis climbing the obelisk in the Kitchen Bed still flowers.

Shady PathPhantom PathThe Heligan Path

Jackie has produced her own individual signage for our paths,

Cryptomeria Japonica

and such as the Cryptomeria.

Palm Bed

Finally, here is a view across the Palm Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, breaded mushrooms, boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, and crisp spring greens. One of the advantages of being a wine drinker is that, after a tipple on the patio, I have some left for my dinner. It doesn’t seem to work like that with Hoegaarden. I drank Cimarosa, reserva privada cabernet sauvignon 2012.

 

 

 

Can It Be Mid-October?

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

The lingering virus from which we have now recovered has really rather reduced gardening for a month. Today, I wandered around on a survey mission, and was pleasantly impressed.

View across grass

The grass could do with cutting, but there is also colour in abundance.

Dahlias we would expect;

chrysanthemums

and chrysanthemums;

but clematises?;

roses Just Joey, Margaret Merrill,

Penny Lane, or Altissimo?,

Begonia

begonias?,

Geranium

geraniums,

Fuchsia

and fuchsias in abundance?

Honeysuckle

Not to mention honeysuckle,

Bee and asters

or bees frequenting asters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious pasta beef arrabiata. Her beverage was Hoegaarden, and mine Santa Julia malbec 2015.

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.