Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

Before The Storm

Threatened with a thunderstorm, after two lengthy dead-heading sessions, I wandered around the garden while Jackie continued with her general tidying and maintenance work.

The blooms in these images of the Rose Garden and the bed at its entrance are identified in the titles of the galleries, each of which can be accessed by a click.

The Shady Path runs between the Dragon the the Palm Beds. The kniphofia and fuchsia occupy the Dragon Bed. The poppies are volunteers having forced their way through the gravel.

Day lilies, sweet Williams, lobelia, more poppies, and geranium palmatums are found in the section of the Dragon Bed alongside the greenhouse.

Day lilies, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, geraniums, and clematis Marie Boisselot all make their contributions to the Kitchen Bed.

Supported by the Gothic Arch, Wedding Day now flowers above the Brick Path.

More day lilies and a fuchsia thrive in what we now call the Grass Bed.

Here are the current views down the Phantom Path;

from the Concrete Patio to the Oval Bed;

and over the stepping stones in the Cryptomeria Bed through to Margery’s Bed.

By early evening the skies were oppressively leaden, but the storm had held off when we drove into the forest.

On Undershore,

Gilpins is blessed with a quite magnificent cornus, which arlingwoman, below, has identified as Kausa.

On a particularly dark section of Church Lane a trainee rider loomed up out of the murk ahead of us.

Further on a deer dashed out of the light into the dark.

As we arrived at Tanners Lane a pair of kayakers were coming in to land.

There was a distinct dearth of donkeys, ponies and other wildlife in all the spots where we would expect to see them. We came to the conclusion that they had tuned in to the weather forecast and were lying low.

This evening we dined on perfect pork chops; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Reserva 2014.

“Welcome To The World Of Flies”

Now I am going to throw a spanner in the works of selection. I have just remembered ‘The Drift’, the second half of which post contains a number of pictures which must be included. It is such a unique New Forest event. I don’t wish to impose more work on my readers, but any comments would be welcome.

I have culled the 5 least popular of my 19 and added the four above from The Drift. At least the shortlist is reduced by one.

When we visited Wessex Photo yesterday I was encouraged to enter that company’s own competition on the subject of Spring. This gave me the opportunity to submit

this jackdaw gathering nesting material from a cow’s hide, taken from my post of 3rd May. I had rejected it from my first selection for the Everton competition because it could have been taken anywhere.

A brief walk around the garden this afternoon gleaned

these diascia which have survived two winters outside in their pot;

these marvellously scented sweet peas having forced their way through paving beside the kitchen wall;

above the campanula and geraniums the red peonies first photographed in bud;

this velvety climbing rose now springing from the arch Aaron erected over the Shady Path;

and, in the Rose Garden Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only; Summer Wine and Madame Alfred Carriere above the entrance arch beside

Festive Jewel nudging me for a dead heading session.

Later we took a short drive into the forest. Warborne Lane, outside Lymington, is so narrow that we just coasted along in the wake of these two horse riders. The two cyclists lurking behind the hedge had no choice but to wait their turn for a place on the road. We waited for them, too.

On the moorland beside St Leonards Road cattle and ponies lazed or grazed.

So bright was the head of this wagtail darting about that it seemed to be wearing a daisy hat.

The twitching of his mother’s tail as she reacted to the troublesome flies made it difficult for her offspring to latch onto his milk supplier.

Eventually he set off on a frisky trot

soon returning to shelter behind his Mum.

The flies were getting to him too. Dropping to the ground he rolled and kicked around for a while,

then tried to nudge them away.

“Welcome to the world of flies” exclaimed Jackie as he gave up and rose to his feet again.

On our way home we stopped at Hordle Chinese Take Away for this evening’s dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Not Quite Mid-May

Today’s tour of the garden began with

clematis Marie Boisselot in the Kitchen Bed which also contains an as yet small wisteria, clusters of ferns, Japanese maples, the now ubiquitous erigeron, and self seeded bronze fennel which will have to go when it outgrows it’s welcome.

Other clematises include Niobe, now rivalling the fading wisteria and the burgeoning rose Paul’s Scarlet for space above the Wisteria Arbour; and Doctor Ruppel, one of which is beginning its ascent up the arch facing the Westbrook Arbour.

At the Brick Path corner of the Dragon Bed a deep red peony prepares to top off the happy planting of phlox and geraniums.

At the far side of this bed the magnolia Vulcan is beginning to relish the light now permitted into its corner.

The pink rhododendron in the Palm Bed sits opposite the deeper variety in Margery’s Bed.

There are a number of vantage points along the Brick Path.

The yellow diurnal poppies alongside the Gazebo Path

can be seen slightly above the centre of this view through the Cryptomeria Bed.

Before Aaron left this morning he had mown the grass patch which is beginning to warrant the epithet lawn.

Rose Madame Alfred Carriere soars above the entrance to the Rose Garden; Jacqueline du Pré adds harmony; Laura Ford a splash of yellow beside Roserie de la Haie; and Gloriana a touch of majesty to the side fence.

Aquilegias dance with ferns in the South Bed;

weigela festoons the fence above them.

Three hawthorn trees, swathes of libertia, and carpets of erigeron give a distinctly white hue to the Back Drive borders.

These are glimpses of the garden in not quite mid-May.

While we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the patio a pair of pigeons settled down for the evening in the copper beech.

For our dinner we travelled around the world in 60 minutes. We enjoyed Jackie’s special fried rice with Japanese tempura prawns, Chinese pork spare ribs, Indian tandoori chicken, Belgian Hoegaarden beer and more of the Chilean Carmenere wine.

The Garden Stirs

Did you know that when someone else washes your feet they tickle mercilessly? Well, they do, and this is not funny when you are trying not to jerk your knees.

This afternoon whilst I watched the recorded highlights of the spellbinding Women’s Australian Open Final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova, Jackie toured the garden with her camera.

She brought me back a pictorial record of the garden stirring. As usual, titles of the pictures are given in the gallery.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs; plentiful, well dressed, salad; and tasty new potatoes.

Our Joint One Good Knee

Last night I watched a recording of Saturday’s breathtaking rugby match between Wales and South Africa; after lunch today the soporific contest between Scotland and Argentina.

Bright sunshine had taken me into the rather cold garden this morning.

Winter pansies and trailing ivy adorn hanging baskets on the sitting room walls.

Geraniums

and Japanese maples brighten several vistas.

Surprises include lingering snapdragons

and nascent honeysuckle.

Ubiquitous flamboyant fuchsias continue to flounce among the beds.

Clematises needing warmer weather have died back from the gazebo, but the Cirrhosa Freckles will enliven their support right through until spring.

Carpet roses, like this one in the Weeping Birch Bed, pile on the blooms.

Serpentine stemmed bobbles of Japanese anemones cavort before a spider web in the Rose Garden.

A few crinkly leaves are still to fall from the copper beach;

the Weeping Birch has shed all hers.

Being possessed of our one joint good knee, it fell upon Jackie to fit a new toilet seat in the print room.

This evening we dined on Jackies’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice followed by profiteroles. My wife drank Hoegaarden; sister Elizabeth drank Hop House lager; and I drank Tesco’s finest Médoc 2016.

Not Cold Enough

Perhaps it was the very light overnight frost that led the blackbirds to investigate the neglected crab apples in the front garden.

This one turned its back on them and considerately stayed just long enough for me to photograph it.

We still have plenty of colour in our plot.

There are winter flowering plants such as this viburnum bodnantensis Dawn in Margery’s Bed,

and the tiny clematis cirrhosa Freckles dotted over the gazebo.

Hardy autumnal chrysanthemums we do expect;

maybe some of these fuchsias are tough enough to make it through the winter;

but self seeded bidens?;

still perky nasturtiums?;

sturdy penstemons?;

varieties of geranium not sheltered in the greenhouse?;

roses such as ascending Altissimo,

blushing Schoolgirl,

marvellous Mamma Mia,

and blooming Absolutely Fabulous?

To send these beauties packing it is not yet cold enough.

This evening Jackie produced a fillet of pork laced with powdered mustard, flaked almonds, and brown sugar, served with roast potatoes and parsnips; colourful rainbow carrots, firm Brussels sprouts, and tender runner beans. Having enjoyed a beer beforehand, neither of us imbibed.