Checking Out The Venue

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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.

“So Much Colour”

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This morning Jackie continued her autumn clearing and planting in the garden. This afternoon I tidied up a bit then wandered around with my camera.

Petunias, geraniums, and erigeron

Petunias and geraniums continue to glow, with bright little erigerons still standing proud;

Hanging baskets over Shady Bed

and diascias and begonias adding to the music.

Hat planted up (bee on marigold)

The lead hat on the patio wall would grace an Ascot attender,

Bee on marigold

although she might not be happy about the resident bee.

New Guinea impatiens and fly

Other insects enjoying the warm weather include this fly on a New Guinea impatiens.

Fuchsia in Dragon Bed

Fuchsias are among the delights of the Dragon Bed,

Fuchsia in Kitchen Bed

of the Kitchen Bed,

Fuchsia and fennel in Elizabeth's Bed

and of Elizabeth’s Bed.

Oval Bed

That second example, via dahlia Coup de Soleil, continues the chrysanthemums’ colour in the top left hand corner of this Oval Bed view. The yellow nasturtium peeping into the bottom right hand corner is just one of

Nasturtiums, salvia microphylla, California poppiesNasturtiums

many rambling around the garden.

Palm Bed rhododendron leaves

Rhododendron leaves in the Palm Bed form a sinuous shape with the rudbeckias,

Palm Bed -Japanese anemones and rudbeckias

seen in the same bed dancing with Japanese anemones;

View through eucalyptus to weeping birch

or taking the eye through the regenerating eucalyptus to the yellowing leaves of the weeping birch.

Kitchen Bed eucomis, ginkgo, fennel

A similar yellow palette is taken up through the Kitchen Bed by way of the eucomises, the potted ginkgo, and the bronze fennel;

Diascias, geraniums, dahlias

whereas the pale pink diascias in the iron urn lead us to the hot geraniums and dahlias beyond.

Dragon Bed

A dragon stands proud, protecting plants in its eponymous bed.

Chilean lantern tree

Still the Chilean tree produces lanterns,

Colchicums

while gentler hued colchicums sprawl across the soil opposite.

Heligan Path begonias

Begonias still glow in their hanging basket alongside the Heligan Path over the Cryptomeria Bed,

Penstemon

and sunlight has a similar effect on this penstemon.

Rose Garden

An array of supporting plants accompany the roses in their Garden,

Festive Jewel

where such as Festive Jewel display several generations at once.

Grass Patch

Even the patch of grass delights in the day.

Perhaps this is what John meant when he came to paint the garden and observed “so much colour”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken with her especially savoury vegetable rice – itself a veritable complete meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the sangiovese.

P.S. See my response to Luanne below as a recipe for the vegetable rice.

 

 

Dicing With Death

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What does Aaron have in common with a bee? You might be forgiven for imagining that it is that they both have very high work rates. That would be a good answer, but incorrect.

Aaron lopping cypress 1Aaron lopping cypress 2Aaron lopping cypress 3Aaron lopping cypress 3Watching our friend, unlit ciggy between lips, firing one-handed from the hip with his petrol-operated chain saw as he tackles the reshaping of our cypress tree, may provide a clue,

Aaron lopping cypress 5Aaron lopping cypress 6

especially when you see the height of his tripodal ladder.

Aaron tidying upAaron tidying up 2

Aaron always clears up along the way. Today he dragged branches to the Back Drive where he cut up a few logs for his client, Susan, leaving the rest for the ‘burn site’ of the dump.

Lopped branch on cypress

This branch demonstrates his clean cuts,

View from patio showing Aaron's completed work on cypress

while this view from the patio displays the finished shape.

Persicaria Red Dragon

The persicaria red dragon baring its bloody fangs in the Dragon Bed,

Crocosmia solfaterre

and the crocosmia solfaterre are among the plants that will now receive more light and air.

Fly on Winchester Cathedral 1Fly on Winchester Cathedral 2

In the Rose Garden, an intrepid fly scales the walls of Winchester Cathedral,

Geraniums and Summer Wine

and geraniums in the stone urn beside the potting shed enjoy a glimpse of Summer Wine.

Japanese anemones

 Japanese anemones appear to grow a foot each day.

Bee and spider's web 1Bee and spider's web 2Bee and spider's web 3

The bee skirting a hopeful spider’s web, in order to work on a verbena bonarensis, provides the answer to my opening  conundrum. Each in his own way is successfully dicing with death.

Later this afternoon we pulled up some brambles. As I walked along the Back Drive to deposit them in a bag for the dump, I almost stepped on twin juvenile collared doves sunning themselves on the gravel. Naturally I hurried indoors for my camera. When I returned they seemed to have disappeared. They were, however, simply playing hide and seek, foraging among the pebbles.

Collared doves juvenile 1Collared dove juvenile 2Collared doves juvenile 3Collared doves juvenile 4

Not yet old enough for timidity, almost in tandem, they carried on about their business and left me to mine.

Sweet pea

Here is a sweet pea for Bruce.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

 

 

Late Summer Blooms

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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.

 

 

 

The Great Escape

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With the return of the sunshine I carried out a little more tidying in the garden, especially dead-heading of roses, including

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous,

Rose Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta,

Rose pink climber

and a pink climber recovered by Elizabeth.

Wisteria in Kitchen Bed

This wisteria occupied the Kitchen Bed when we arrived three years ago. Despite the Head Gardener’s best efforts it has never flowered.

Chilean lantern bush

The Chilean lantern bush, on the other hand, is once more producing blooms;

Pieris

and new shoots are emerging on the pieris on the grass patch.

Gazebo Path

Although the agapanthuses took such a battering from the recent storms that they wound up in a vase indoors, some still line the Gazebo Path.

Snapdragons, geraniums, lobelia

Little blue lobelias peep out from beneath rich red snapdragons and geraniums the Back Drive barrier,

Lobelia Queen Victoria

while their taller relatives named Queen Victoria tower in the Oval Bed.

Ginger lily

We have a number of ginger lilies.

Hummingbird moth

The warmth of the sun brought out numerous insects. Hummingbird moths hovered among the pink phlox. I needed many unsuccessful attempts to acquire this less than wonderful image of a constantly flapping creature I think is new to our country.

Red Admiral on verbena bonarensis

Verbena bonarensis blooms attracted both stable, lightweight, Red Admirals

Bee on verbena bonarensis 1Bee on verbena bonarensis 2

and bees that teetered somewhat.

Bee on salvia farinacea

Bees also plundered salvias,

Bee on bidens

bidens,

Bee on geranium palmatum

and geranium palmatums.

Insect on cosmos

I could not identify some tiny creatures like this one on a cosmos,

Insect on bronze fennel

or this one cleverly camouflaged by bronze fennel.

Sweet peas and gladioli whiteFly on sweet pea, gladioli

A fly was attracted by the ensemble of white sweet peas and gladioli.

Rudbeckia distributed

Rudbeckia snaked from bed to bed in this picture for which I must apologise to the Head Gardener because I did not remove the fallen branch before making it.

Spider 1

This spider was in for a disappointment.

Wasp on web line 1Wasp on web line 2

I could almost hear it licking its chops as it prepared its larder for the wasp that seemed ensnared by its web line.

Wasp and spider 1Wasp and spider 2Wasp and spider 3Wasp and spider 4Wasp and spider 5Wasp and spider 6

The tiny spider perfected the trap as its larger prey frantically twisted, turned, and span in its efforts to escape being drawn in.

Wasp and spider 7

Eventually the prospective dinner hauled itself to safety, and sped off, leaving the hungry spider to creep into hiding and lurk in wait for another victim.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent dinner of chicken Kiev, savoury rice, tasty ratatouille, and crisp runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bejewelled

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When I am under the weather it is always a bad headache that does me in. So it was yesterday, but, I am happy to say, this had desisted after a good night’s sleep and, although I remained a bit dizzy I enjoyed wandering around the garden this morning with a camera. I think I understand the expression ‘under the weather’ because I do seem to have headaches when there is that change in pressure that comes with impending storms. And yesterday it rained steadily all afternoon.

Raindrops on geranium 3Raindrops on geranium 4Raindrops on geranium 1Raindrops on geranium 2

This made for plants adorned with translucent pearly precipitations. Geraniums were well represented;

Raindrops on gladiolus leaf

 leaves, such as those of gladioli

Raindrops on poppy leaves

and poppies, bore crystal balls;

Raindrops on black eyed Susan

black eyed Susan sparkled;

Raindrops on begonia

blushing begonias shimmered in shadows;

raindrops on day lily

 strange creatures, food dangling from their maws, lurked behind day lilies;

raindrops on hydrangea

hydrangeas;

Raindrops on hosta

hostas;

Raindrops on rose Lady Emma Hamilton

roses Lady Emma Hamilton,

Raindrops on rose Special Anniversary

and Special Anniversary were all bejewelled.

Bee on rose Peach Abundance

Rose Peach Abundance

Oval Bed with Peach Abundance

Bees, like this one in the Peach Abundance rose, were venturing out again.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon men’s quarter finals of tennis on TV.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful boeuf bourguignon, followed by vanilla ice-cream.

 

 

I Must Not Assume There Will Be No More Surprises

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It was very rash of me to assume that I would know the entirety of the group at our meal at Lal Quilla last night, and to predict what I would eat and drink.

On our entrance the staff, with their usual warm and friendly greeting, said that someone had telephoned the night before to add two people. We didn’t know anything about that, and in any case, Ian had made the booking. He had a quiet word with Raj and we were whisked to a larger pair of tables, according to the manager so we could spread ourselves out a bit. He presented us with a bottle of Beaujolais, so I did not drink Kingfisher. After a while I received a kiss on the cheek. Elizabeth had joined us. Soon afterwards, Danni and Andy came through the door. We were nine plus Poppy after all.

Finally, as we gathered ourselves to depart, a small cake with two lighted candles advanced towards our table followed by the entire staff group who led the family in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.

I’ve no idea why I felt rather muzzy all day. I dozed through a bit of Wimbledon tennis on TV, and managed a little weeding, watering, eradicating a few brambles, and tidying up after Jackie’s work on the rose garden. We took a rest with water on the patio from which I enjoyed

Garden view across Kitchen Bed

This view across the Kitchen Bed with its day lilies in the foreground and verbenas in a hanging basket beyond;

Petunias, geraniums, erigeron

pot planted petunias and geraniums over an erigeron carpet;

Mimulus and feverfew

and self seeded mimuluses and feverfew.

Dahlia and clematis

A dahlia nods to the clematis on the wisteria arbour;

Diascia, geraniums, bidens

 pink discias, red geraniums, and yellow bidens flow over the iron urn at the entrance to the Gazebo Path;

Crocosmia Lucifer etc

while blazing crocosmia Lucifer leads us into the Palm Bed.

rose Special Anniversary

As can be seen from this Special Anniversary rose, I haven’t dead-headed the Rose Garden today.

Clematis and solanum

White solanum and a bright blue clematis stream down from the dead tree at the end of the Brick Path.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank tap water.

The moral of this post is that when I say I will report on an outing the next day, I must not assume there will be no more surprises.