A Tattooed Jet-skier

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Yesterday, Jackie, having set a border with transplanted heucheras some weeks ago, thinned out the other plants in the small bed to the left of the rose garden entrance. As Aaron said, this increased the sense of space.

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to prune the plants over the arch to the front garden;

another was to fix spikes to the top of the Westbrook Arbour to prevent perching pigeons pooing onto the bench beneath.

Late this morning Jackie drove me out with the intention of photographing the New Forest Marathon. Unfortunately, because of road closures, and my inability to walk far enough along the paths that would lead to the runners, we abandoned the idea and went home to lunch, after which an amble round the garden was possible.

We still have a number of lively clematises, like this Polish Spirit in the Dragon Bed alongside the Shady Path,

and this Hagley Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

where is also to be found glorious Gloriana,

pink-cheeked Mum in a Million,

and Rhapsody in Blue harmonising with verbena bonariensis.

Peach Delight still stretches over the Oval Bed,

where nasturtiums echo rudbeckia,

itself found in the Palm Bed,

also home to helenium

and echinacea.

Bees swarmed blushing sedums

and Japanese anemones;

a wasp sought saxifrage.

Perhaps a spider’s spinning a modest veil for Florence sculpture.

Gauras have proved difficult to grow here. An exception is this one swaying in the Weeping Birch Bed.

This fuchsia curtains Elizabeth’s Bed from the Rose Garden.

In the late afternoon we visited Mudeford Quay which thronged with visitors, Many of whom were enjoying themselves catching crabs, although they snared more seaweed. The secret, which enabled one group to fill buckets with the unfortunate creatures before tossing them back into the water, seemed to be the bacon bait, which, to my mind, would have been better served flavouring a sausage casserole.

Taking advantage of the low tide, one dog walker wandered along the sandbank, passing the Isle of Wight, and retracing his steps.

Just as I was about to leave, a tattooed jet skier sprayed into sight and navigated his way between the port and starboard buoys.

heuchera

Early this evening, Jackie rushed in for the camera, rushed out with it, and returned with a backlit image of the heuchera I had photographed this morning.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; wild rice; crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans, followed by her sublime bread and butter pudding. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Fleurie.

 

High Street Gallery

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This afternoon Jackie drove Elizabeth and me to Lyndhurst so that my sister could replenish her cabinet at the Antiques Centre. This gave me the opportunity to perch on a bench alongside the high street where I was able to watch the world going by, and, of course photographing visitors galore. This selection of photographs is virtually random. Although each bears a title in the gallery

 

You will see in each shot what catches your own eye or imagination. I will just highlight the sequence where a couple of dog walkers approach Paws in the Forest from one direction, and pass a little girl, coming down the hill with her mother, and enjoying an ice cream , some of which drips onto her forearm.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole; swede mash; crunchy carrots, and firm cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta Malbec 2017

 

 

“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.

Compassion Recovered

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Arch blown down

Apart from the collapse of the Compassion rose arch, the recent storms have treated us with respect.

Clematis and Solanum on dead tree

The clematis and solanum have remained attached to the dead tree.

Crocosmia 1Crocosmia 2

Orange crocosmia still stands at the potting shed entrance to the Rose Garden,

Crocosmias orange and yellow

while yellow and orange thrive harmoniously in the Dragon Bed.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

Clematis Duchess of Albany drapes herself over the arbour in the Rose Garden

Rose Penny Lane

Where Penny Lane parades her maturity;

For Your Eyes Only

and others such as For Your Eyes Only

Festive Jewel

and Festive Jewel are reliving their youth.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah spreads along the side of the triangular bed now beside the greenhouse.

Japanese anemones and maple

Light pink Japanese anemones reach the lower branches of the red maple;

Japanese anemones pink

darker pink ones are quite prolific,

Japanese anemones

while white ones enliven the

West Bed

West Bed with its New Zealand hebe, its leicesteria,

Dahlia

and its dahlias.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

Close by we have fuchsia Mrs Popple.

Clematis and geranium

One clematis climbing the gazebo blends well with geraniums in a hanging basket;

Lobelias and begonia in hanging basket

another basket contains deep blue lobelia and an orange begonia.

Petunias and lobelia

Purple petunias and more lobelias populate the Back Drive barrier tubs.

Gaura

The gaura in the Weeping Birch Bed is thriving.

View across Kitchen Bed 2

The views across the Kitchen Bed;

Garden view from beside Weeping birch

from beside the weeping birch,

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

and along the Shady Bed from the Dragon Bed corner remain colourful.

Bee on geranium palmatum

Bees, like this one in a geranium palmatum continue working hard;

Fly on gladiolus Priscilla

flies, such as this one crawling over Priscilla, are in abundance.

Rudbeckia in Margery's Bed

Yellow rudbeckia are at their best. Here are some in Margery’s Bed.

Aaron fixing arch 1Aaron fixing arch 2Aaron fixing arch 3

This morning was spent generally tidying up, one of Aaron’s tasks being to refurbish the fallen arch.

Aaron replacing Compassion rose

He then,

Jackie and Aaron replacing Compassion rose 1Jackie and Aaron replacing Compassion rose 2

assisted by Jackie,

Arch repaired

recovered the Compassion rose and tied it back in place.

This afternoon we visited Willows garden at Pilley. On the grounds that we couldn’t stand the competition, I will report on that tomorrow.

This evening we dined on fish pie, ratatouille, carrots and broccoli, with which we both drank Bergerac blanc sec 2016.

 

What’s This Beetle?

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Supplementing this morning’s work on ‘A Knight’s Tale’ were my posts ‘Auntie Gwen’ and ‘One For Rebeckah’,

from which this photograph was included.

This afternoon the weather was dry, overcast, and humid, with the sun sometimes sneaking a peek at what I was up to. This was watering, dead-heading, and a little weeding.

I then experienced considerable difficulty in loading new photographs into WordPress.

Bee on hebe

Pollen-dusted bees favoured the pink and purple hebes;

New Bed garden view

Deep red Bishop of Llandaff dahlias nod to the lilies in the New Bed. (See Head Gardener’s comment below – we don’t know the name of the dahlia, but it’s not the Bishop)

Gaura

We live in hope that this gaura, a plant with which we have so far been unsuccessful, will flourish in the Weeping Birch Bed.

'Pineapple' plant

On the other hand, Jackie has had great success with what we call ‘Pineapple’ plants, prised up from paving and placed in the Kitchen Bed.

Early this evening the sun reemerged and shed new light on the garden, bringing, incidentally, a cessation to loading problems. Maybe this was because the Head Gardener had returned and there was no further reason to sulk.

Echinaceas

A glow was lent to echinaceas

Phlox

and to phlox in the palm bed;

Crocosmia Lucifer

to the crocosmias, like this Lucifer;

Day lilies

to a much wider range of day lilies than we remember having;

Clematis 1Clematis 2

and to various clematises,

Clematis 3

including this one in which the Head Gardener can justifiably take great pride. As long-term readers will know, what is now the Rose Garden, was, three years ago, a concrete-bound, overgrown kitchen garden of sorts. This is where this raggedy specimen started life. Jackie lifted the wizened little plant, placed it in a pot adopted by the front garden trellis, and returned it to its roots in its birthplace.

Strawberries

Inherited wild strawberries are bearing fruit for the first time.

Beetle on liliesBeetle on lilies 2

As I passed the sweetly scented lilies in the New Bed, an iridescent green glint in the centre of one of the blooms flashed enticingly. Does anyone have any idea as to the beetle’s identity?

Miss Coleoptera on Twitter offers this suggestion: ‘Probably a Cetonia aurata or a Protaetia’. Uma offers this, in his comment below: ‘To me that looks like a Bombardier Beetle. Or perhaps the fellow is an oil beetle’. Google images confirms Cetonia aurata, which Oglach, below, has named as a chafer beetle..

If I had any sense I wouldn’t struggle when there’s a blip in the system. I’d just ignore it until it went away.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice topped with an omelette. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Georges DuBoeuf Fleurie 2016.

 

 

Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

The Playground Bully

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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.