Five Years On

Today was another thoroughly wet one, so I decided to try a bit more than a test print with my new Epson.

It was in May 2014 that we took on the neglected jungle that was our garden. Soon afterwards I began to compile a kind of before and after record of the project, in extra large photo albums.

Now, five years on, I have decided to update this work. I began with the Back Drive. Here, for comparison is what it looked like in June of that year.

Today I printed a collection of photographs from May,

June,

September,

and October, this year.

Jackie’s borders contain asters, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, poppies, roses such as Doris Tysterman and Ernest Morse, viper’s bugloss, and Virginia creeper, all of which can be seen in these photographs; and much more.

This time in 2014 we were burning so much on this space.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes;  crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

Better Than Expected

Today’s winds have dropped to 20 m.p.h.

When opening the gate for Aaron this morning I checked on the storm damage.

There really wasn’t much more than I had noticed yesterday. The downpipe to the water butt on the corner of the kitchen wall had become unstuck; a few extra pots had fallen; the sweet peas had been further loosened; quite a few smaller branches had been ripped off the beech and birch trees; some of the ornamental poplar branches were broken; just one rose stem had been torn; many plants have lost stems; and there was a certain amount of wind burn on one side of the winter flowering cherry and elsewhere, such as various fuchsias.

Aaron began the work of tidying up.

He gathered and bagged up many of the fallen branches and leaves;

trimmed the ornamental poplar, removing the broken branches;

and righted the fallen containers ready for Jackie to replace at her leisure. He observed that the morning had gone very quickly. He likes to be busy.

Bob of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog has recently suggested a regular feature of “Where’s Nugget” inviting readers to find our little robin. That, of course, depended on his surviving the storm and returning unscathed. I am happy to report that I heard his gentle chirp as he followed Aaron around.

He nipped up onto a chair for a chat, then flitted off into the Rose Garden.

I admit that the first “Where’s Nugget” puzzle is a little difficult.

The red scented sweet peas may have been blown awry, but there are plenty of clinging seed pods which benefited from an early shower,

and its desiccated leaves provide perfect camouflage for our Meadow Brown butterflies.

These dahlias

and the agapanthuses may have bowed to the elements, but, like the rest of the garden, they have fared far better than expected.

Bees, flies, and crickets have come out to play and to work again,

The Rose Garden has remained virtually unscathed,

and one lily kept its head in the front.

Other flowers, like these cosmoses, dahlias, and rudbeckia are wondering what all the fuss was about.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie in short crust pastry; new potatoes; roasted sweet potato and parsnip; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; with piquant cauliflower cheese, with which she finished the Austrian white wine and I drank Doom Bar.

Say “Bye”

I woke later than usual this morning. As I passed our upstairs windows soon after 7 a.m. I spied Jackie standing with a camera at the far end of the garden.

She was taking advantage of the early morning light, which was just as well for the first three images in particular.

Titles, as usual, can be gleaned after accessing each of the galleries with a click. Otherwise I will let her results speak for themselves.

This afternoon she drove me to

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, where I walked for thirty minutes along this reasonably even path.

So crowded were the car parks that we only just managed to find a space. Surrounding the car park, golden St John’s Wort glowed in the sunshine that pierced gaps between the

majestic giant redwoods

surrounded by bracken.

Now the tourist season has begun, and children have been let out of school, I do not walk alone.

Two little boys ran on ahead of their parents, pausing while a woman approached engrossed in her mobile phone. Having put it aside, she greeted me warmly.

Two gentleman I took to be the fathers of the boys called them to stop, caught up with them and turned to communicate with the likely mothers with whom I had been conversing.

The woman carrying a younger child, I think did not speak English. Nevertheless when, realising that they were pacing me and my knees, I urged them not to wait for me she held up her little boy to wave and say “bye”. Her companion had good enough English to tell me about her aunt’s hip replacement.

On my return to the car I paused to photograph a trio playing catch. Anyone who has been accustomed to catching a hard cricket ball will appreciate that it is much easier to pouch than is this yellow tennis ball.

When we set off for home string of cyclists wheeled along Rhinefield Road.

Just outside Brockenhurst a leisurely pony and foal were instructing a patient motorcyclist in the rules of the New Forest roads.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef, mushrooms and peppers in red wine; Yorkshire pudding; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which I finished the Grenacha Syrah. Mrs Knight had downed her Hoegaarden while seated on the patio in conversation with Nugget.

Conwy Suspension Bridge

According to Wikipedia ‘The Conwy Suspension Bridge is a Grade I-listed structure and is one of the first road suspension bridges in the world. Located in the medieval town of Conwy in Conwy county boroughNorth Wales, it is now only passable on foot. The bridge is now in the care of the National Trust. It originally carried the A55(T) road from Chester to Bangor.

Built by Thomas Telford, the 99.5-metre-long (326 ft) suspension bridge[1] spans the River Conwy next to Conwy Castle, a World Heritage Site. The bridge was built in 1822–26 at a cost of £51,000 and replaced the ferry at the same point. It is in the same style as one of Telford’s other bridges, the Menai Suspension Bridge crossing the Menai Strait. The original wooden deck was replaced by an iron roadway in the late nineteenth century and it was strengthened by adding wire cables above the original iron chains in 1903. The following year a six-foot-wide (1.8 m) walkway was added for pedestrian traffic. The bridge was superseded by a new road bridge built alongside and closed on 13/12/1958 [2] when the Rt. Hon. Henry Brooke, MP performed the opening ceremony of the new bridge. [3]The suspension bridge is now only used as a footbridge and has been owned by the National Trust since 1965 who make a small charge for entry.[4]

Telford designed the bridge to match the adjacent Conwy Castle.[1] The bridge deck is suspended by four tiers of two chains each (a fifth tier was added later)[4] carried over castellated towers that have a central archway over the road with machicolation.[1] The chains are anchored on the east side of the river by a freestone and concrete plinth while those on the western side are anchored to the eastern barbican of the castle and bedrock. Part of the castle had to be demolished during construction to anchor the suspension cables.[4]

Standing on this bridge with the castle in the background is my maternal grandmother in about 1926. In the pushchair – they didn’t have buggies in those days – I imagine we have my mother and Uncle Roy. I think her companion in the second picture is the relative with whom they stayed. These were my two retouching efforts this morning.

Jackie has continued working on the stumpery, seen here in context at the corner of the Weeping Birch Bed.

From my vantage point on the Heligan Path bench I admired the planting of petunias and geraniums in this hanging basket beside the south fence.

Increasingly sleek and vociferous by the day, young Nugget is growing up convinced we are his family.

Darting around from stumps to gravel path and back, with an occasional foray into the ferns, at a speed which Usain Bolt would envy, he was ready with his observations and suggestions.

The afternoon was dull and humid, but cooler than the last two days. Jackie drove me to Waterstones in Lymington to spend a book token. We drove on to Lepe and back. The trip yielded no photographs.

This evening we dined on flavoursome fish pie; crisp cauliflower and carrots; and tender asparagus (left by Becky) and runner beans. Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Ian’s excellent El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Happier Behind The Camera

I was grateful today for the overnight thunderstorm and for Jackie’s watering the parts it couldn’t reach early this morning before she and Shelly drove to Helen’s to offer sisterly assistance.

This meant I could concentrate on the dead-heading necessitated by the storm’s stripping of many petals. After more than an hour I retreated indoors with wobbly legs and wringing wet shirt to sit at the computer and apply myself to retouching two more of the images from my mother’s old album.

First I tackled my grandfather from c1926 at Conwy. Judging by the position of his hand I suspect he was holding a cigarette.

This photograph was probably taken in about 1919, before the marriage of my maternal grandparents, Annie and George Henry Hunter, who are the couple on the right.

These two images suggest that my grandfather was, like me, happier behind the camera.

After completing this work I returned to the garden,

where bees were very busy, being particularly partial to swarming over purple alliums and pink hebes.

Red geraniums, white marguerites, and pink hydrangeas produce an attractive bank on the front drive. Jackie is constantly thinning out the daisies so she has sufficient vision to her right when driving out.

A variety of day lilies continue to proliferate.

The last three day lily images are from the Kitchen Bed, also home to lysimachia Firecracker.

Pale pastel blue and white campanula spills over the Shady Path

from where we have views towards the house, and across the Palm Bed, among others.

This clematis Polish Spirit is nearby in the Dragon Bed.

From the stable door we look down the Gazebo path, and back from the agapanthuses coming into bloom in the Palm Bed.

Further garden views are afforded by the Rose Garden and the Phantom Path,

leading to the West Bed with its honesty and lilies.

Some time after Jackie returned home she drove out again for a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal which we enjoyed with Hoegaarden in her case, and more of the Fleurie in mine.

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.