The Garden Of Delights

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Derrick

Here is a photograph of yesterday’s Barnet (Cockney rhyming slang – Barnet fair – hair. Geddit?)

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session with the excellent Claire who expressed surprise and pleasure at my progress. After she had strong-armed my leg she had taken the straightened knee to just one degree short of perfect, and the bent position to 105 degrees, already acceptable, but aiming for the 120 target.

There had been a nasty motoring accident on the Salisbury road, causing major delays and lateness for my appointment. We therefore took a diversion on our way home. Once we noticed that the signposts in all the tiny villages we wound our way through were pointing to Shaftesbury we realised that something was awry.

Never mind, on the road to Nunton we passed the patterned fields of Longford Farms Ltd,

and the neighbouring rolling landscape.

On the corner of Whitlock rise and the road through Bishopstone, climbing up to the bungalows above, Jackie spotted a sight to behold. She turned the car round and parked in the street beside a garden. I just had to disembark with my camera. At that moment a friendly woman with a small dog carrying out guard duties also left another car. She was the creator of what had attracted us.

She was thrilled that I wanted to photograph this Garden of Delights. She said most people simply take a shot in passing, whilst waving at the figures on the bench, imagining them to be living humans. She asked me to be sure to feature the boy on the donkey. A neighbour had given her the doll to complete the look. The wheels turn in the wind, and at Christmastime the lights are all lit. Local children love it. Having given me the information she entered her house saying she would “leave [me] to it”.

We struck lucky with The Talbot Inn in Berwick St John where we lunched. My pork Madras curry was the best I have ever tasted in a pub, and Jackie found her Italian chicken with spaghetti equally to her liking. She drank Diet Coke and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

The Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant Badges

Soon after this we found the A30 to Salisbury and set off home. At Fovant we found a good view of the remaining Badges,

The Fovant Badges plaque

which are explained in this plaque. This final image will need the double enlargement to read the detail.

This evening I watched the football World Cup semi-final match between France and Belgium. Following the lunch we enjoyed earlier, we had no further need for sustenance.

P.S. For a short video of the badges see the comment of efge63 below.

 

 

“Look. That Man’s Taking Photographs”

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Barry & Owen Van

Leaving their van in our front drive

Shoes

and their slip-on shoes outside the door,

Barry and Owen, who are New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, having first serviced Mistletoe Cottage next door, provided us with their trademark clean and efficient job.

Barry 1

A dust sheet is laid down;

Barry and Owen 1

face-masks making father, Barry, and son, Owen, sound like Star Wars stormtroopers are applied;

Barry and Owen 2Barry and Owen 3Barry 2Barry 3

a shield is fitted into place, and the soot vacuumed out, leaving the room spotless. As you can see, there was no need to cover furniture. The job was completed and the equipment cleared away in about an hour. If you need a chimney sweep look no further than http://www.findachimneysweep.co.uk/sweeps/new-forest-1-cg-7641-qualified/?area=&service=

This afternoon we met Elizabeth at Lavender Farm at Landford, where we wandered around, enjoyed refreshments, and purchased a few plants.

Trails on glass 3Trails on glass 1Trails on glass 2

Beside the car park lies a very long greenhouse on the inside of the glass windows of which tiny trail-blazing cartographers have etched uncharted territory.

Lavender Farm 1

Apart from the many plants laid out for sale, there are a number of more formal herbaceous borders;

Climbing rose

various climbing roses;

SalviasSalvias and Elizabeth 1

splendid displays such as these salvias placed in a bed in the midst of a brick path. Jackie, in red, investigates plants for sale in the background of the first view, while Elizabeth approaches in the second.

Gladiolus and metal sculpture

Glorious gladioli abound. This example is embraced by one of the many metal sculptures.

Banana leaf

Potted banana trees have been reduced in price.

Gaura

Unusually this elderly gaura stands guardsman erect.

Lavender Farm 4Lavender Farm 3Lavender Farm 5

There is a large freely planted area through which it is possible to wander,

Lavender Farm 6

take photographs,

Children at Lavender Farm 1Children at Lavender Farm 2

or run around among the lavender.

Lavender Farm 2

Many visitors come to spend a pleasant time seated at table with friends, tea, coffee, and cakes.

Coleus

A spectacularly colourful coleus

Coleus and sparrow

sat in a shiny bright blue pot close to our table. A sparrow walked around it. The background blackboard already advertised Christmas lunch.

Sparrow

Elizabeth couldn’t eat all her scone, which was broken up and tossed on the decking for the little bird and its companions.

Mother and child

Some of the dining areas were under cover, such as one sheltered by a thick transparent plastic material. As I passed this, a mother, exclaiming “Look. That man’s taking photographs”, brought her daughter to peer through it. She was amused at the result.

Before Elizabeth returned home, the three of us dined on Jackie’s superb spicy lamb jalfrezi with fried onion rice, followed by chocolate eclairs and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, alcohol free Becks; and I finished the Fleurie.

A Garden Of Delights

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Japanese anemone suspended petal 1Japanese anemone suspended petal 2Japanese anemone suspended petal 3

Watching the suspended petal of a Japanese anemone this morning set me musing. First I considered the strength of the thread that grasped it. As the flower part spun and twisted in the breeze, its captor clung on, just as it would with a fly’s frantically thrashing death throes.

On a more musical note, my head recalled the rhythmic tones of chirpy Chubby Checker from 1960:

This afternoon we went on an outing to Stratford Tony Manor House garden which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. It was my idea of a delightful garden.

Lakeside

There was space for large lawned areas, many trees, a stream, and a lake.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

The large borders, especially those planted against walls, were really rather splendid,

Couple admiring border

and admired by many,

Jackie admiring festooned wall

including Jackie.

Sculpture 1

There were a number of interesting sculptures.

Three girls sculptures

Three girls sculpture 2

The story behind those of three girls sheltering among cyclamen under a weeping willow is  rather endearing. Made some twenty years ago, they are the daughters of the family. The eldest, now brings her own child to visit the family home. This scene, reminiscent of Enid Blyton characters from an earlier time, has been brought into the 21st century with the subtle placement of a mobile phone. The standing child once had a tennis ball placed with  equal whimsy, but the dog kept taking it.

Fossilised stump

Two apparent sculptures were in fact fossilised stumps with polished tops.

Photographer photographed 1

A more modern garden ornament features in this photograph of a photographer and her subjects. We had a delightful conversation about this, and I gave them details of this blog.

Photographer photographed 2

The next picture I made of them will be a surprise to them. (I hope you like it, folks).

Visitors to garden 1

Some quite large groups of visitors wandered around, negotiating the sometimes steep slopes,

Tea Terrace

leading to the tea terrace where a very busy team of helpers kept us all supplied.

Flower arrangement

On each table was placed one or two very tastefully arranged vases of flowers.

Bridge

There were suitably placed bridges over the still lake;

Crossing the bridge

visitors enjoyed crossing them,

Lake 1

or just contemplating the tranquil scene,

Reflection

the tempting water,

Swan 1Swans 1

and the swans.

Gate

The nicely rusting iron gate to the kitchen garden contrasted with the green grass behind it, revealed by suitable excised symbols.

Field 1

At a short distance from Stratford Tony, an army helicopter chugged over crows in a recently harvested field

Field 2

now draped with striped curtains.

Back at home, Mr Chatty Man Chan of Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our evening meal with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the Kekfrankos.

No Sale

Deer in forest – Version 2

Here is yesterday’s camouflaged deer, in the centre of the complete shot. As always. clicking on my images enlarges them. If once is not enough, a second gives a supersize.

Garden 1Garden 2Garden 3

Splendid sunlight lit upon the garden today as, leaving Aaron to his work, we drove to the final coffee morning of the exhibition.

Bench - Ace ReclaimGate reset

Aaron completed the painting of the Ace Reclaim bench and reset the front side gate. The brick will hold it firm until the concrete, which he has tastefully covered with gravel, has set.

Unfortunately, the exhibition was less than successful. Attendance was meagre and no pictures, neither mine nor anyone else’s, were sold, although a number of my cards found buyers. We did however enjoy a pleasant couple of hours with our friends and a few of theirs.

This evening we dined on beefburgers, chips, cauliflower cheese, leeks, and tomatoes. I drank more of the madiran.

Post-Katie Recovery Process

This morning we began the post-Katie recovery process. Once we could reach the broken greenhouse this is what greeted us:

Broken greenhousePerspex broken

Some of the perspex had blown round the house and, torn, come to rest against the front gardener’s arbour. In reassembling all this we could have done with a three-year-old who would have recognised where all the bits went.

Gate dislodged

The concrete base for the iron gate had been uprooted and the structure knocked sideways.

Finch

We entertained a pair of finches of some sort.

The really pleasant surprise was that large areas of the garden went unscathed. The area around the house took the brunt of the gales.

View across Heligan Path

The Weeping Birch Bed,

Heligan Path

The Heligan Path,

View across grass to Dead End Path

and the borders around the grass patch, were all unharmed.

Side path

Side path and lifted concrete

Continuing this afternoon we rebuilt the frames on the side path. The second view shows the lifted  concrete mentioned above.

Agriframes Gothic Arch

We then provided additional support for the fallen arches, and heeled them in. Through the one in the front garden can be seen the pot of daffodils returned to their perch;

Jackie adjusting arch on Dead End Path

and here Jackie adjusts that across the Dead End Path.

After this we transported the last two bags of cuttings, filled on Sunday by Aaron and Robin, to the dump, returning with two wooden folding chairs,

Stove and log bin

and a galvanised bin just right for carrying logs, which was just as well because it will be a week before we will receive our tank of oil.

I managed to load up this container before Shelly popped in for a visit.

It seemed a bit harsh to expect The Head Gardener to cook after such a day, so we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My choice was king prawn Ceylon, and Jackie’s chicken sag. We shared special fried rice, egg paratha and onion bhaji; and both drank Kingfisher. The meal and service were as good as always.

To Brighten A Dull Day

On this dull, overcast, day, Aaron and Robin made considerable headway on weeding the gravel paths. Certain alliums that self seed everywhere, when wrenched from the paths, fill the air with the smell of onions, nowhere near as appetising as when they are being fried.

Jackie did some planting in the front garden.

This afternoon we drove out to Pilley Cottage Garden on Pilley Hill near Lymington.

Pilley Hill

Jackie parked the car in the School Car Park and we walked down the daffodil-lined hill to the cottage.

We were warmly welcomed by Stephanie who opens her garden, featuring its own swathes of narcissi, as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Pilley Cottage Garden 1

In the left foreground of this picture stems of willow, pressed into the soil, have sprouted. Others, equally apparently rooted, provide arches such as that further back on the left, through which a visitor has walked.

Pilley Cottage Garden 2

Pilley Cottage Garden 4

We were pleased to note so many people viewing on what was quite a cold day.

Pilley Cottage Garden 3

The couple in the centre of this shot have just crossed a bridge conveniently laid over a potentially boggy area. The lines seen in the foreground are placed to deter visitors from venturing onto other muddy patches.

On the right of the next photograph can be seen a pergola made of live willow.

Pilley Cottage Garden 5Pilley Cottage Garden 6Pilley Cottage Garden 7Pilley Cottage Garden 8Pilley Cottage Garden 9

The hilly nature of the plot offered intriguing views on different, terraced, levels.

Logs

Strategically placed sawn logs weathered beautifully in the beds, providing homes for flora such as ferns, and no doubt fauna.

Shed

Even the shed was an attraction.

Mirror feature

A gate at the top of the slope opened onto a deceptive arch. Can you see the trick? This photograph contains one of the many examples of fascinating pottery,

Chess set

such as this abandoned game of chess,

Elephant succulents

or this ring of elephants bearing succulents,

Pilley Cottage Garden 10

bounded by little globed boxes,

Jackie in Pilley Cottage Garden

within the circumference of which Jackie contemplated the layout,

Pilley Cottage and garden

before we wandered up to the house for tea, and, of course, the purchase of two plants.

We considered this trip an excellent way to brighten a dull day.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole, crisp potato wedges, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I finished the Costieres de Nimes.

Before And After: Through To The Front

Although much better than I had been a couple of days ago, I was pretty washed out today, and spent much of it on the sofa.

Having, in the interests of producing something half-way reasonable, deferred setting out on this post until 6.00 p.m., I was unable to Access WordPress. I am not normally asked for my password, but this time I was. It was rejected. I was invited to choose another. I needed to enter a code that would be sent to me. I patiently waited for one. I received an e-mail containing a blue box saying Reset Password. I clicked on it. I got no further until I realised that my mobile phone in another room was receiving texts. Sure enough they had sent me a text. There were now two messages, each with a different number. I tried one. It didn’t work. So I tried the other one. That did. I put my usual password in. I was told I couldn’t use it because I had done so recently. I invented a new one. That worked.

As if my head wasn’t muzzy enough already.

Anyway, here goes with the next section of The Downton Garden story.

Apart from the removal of much of the encroaching ivy and lonicera, the front garden had very much played second fiddle to the back until February 2015.

Front garden

This is what it looked like on the morning of 24th February;

Front garden

and later in the day.

Although there were edging stones lining the bed outside the front of the house, there was no defined path on the other side. Everything was mixture of gravel and soil.

Front path

By 11th March, I had marked out an acceptable curve;

Cuttings on path

and a couple of days later, after a bit more forestry on our left hand side,

lined path at front 1

foraged around the back garden for suitable stone with which to line it.

Lonicera by patio

This, however, did not lead anywhere accessible. To the right of this photograph, taken on 26th June 2014, is a trellis, one of three which had been used to block the side gate, that  appeared to be firmly fixed.

Side gateCold Frame

Gravel path front garden

By the time we decided to build a cold frame to place around the side of the house, The blockage had to go. Aaron, on 13th September 2015, freed the gate. The post, of course, was the usual ramshackle affair, and our friend had to set another one. The frame was in situ on 27th, and three days later I had widened the narrow gravel path.

Jackie has completed planting in this garden, but I haven’t been outside to photograph it. Perhaps I will do so tomorrow.

This evening we dined on fish and chips. Jackie also had gherkins. My portion was not very large.