Late Summer Flowering

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I began the day with a walk round the garden with the camera. Jackie joined me to ensure that I did not miss any of her special successes.

First was the front of the house, with clematis, nasturtiums, solanum and verbena bonariensis festooning the trellis in front of the garage door; honeysuckle old and new, and pink roses having another flush; and planters of geraniums, lobelia, and petunias.

Constantly watered geraniums and other goodies thrive along the kitchen wall, opposite Jackie’s precious pineapple plants (eucomis, but I can’t get the alliteration with that) in the bed.

Begonias beside the Head Gardener’s Walk spill out of their pot. The ferns in front of them were plucked from less hospitable positions and replanted by She Who Walks The Path.

Jackie paid particular attention to hydrangeas during the long hot spell. Some, like one in the Dragon Bed, and other low-lying specimens, were little more than dried up sticks. The Phantom version, after which its path has been named, has not flowered for three years. The blooms are much smaller than they should be, but at least they are there.

Rudbeckia, Japanese anemones and a late blooming, self-seeded day lily brighten the palm bed. The pink Japanese anemones occupy the Kitchen Bed.

More rudbeckia grace the grass patch border, as do lobelias Cardinalis.

We have crinum Powelliae in the Cryptomeria Bed; ginger lilies, and white gladioli in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The Westbrook Arbour planting, including that seated in the cane chair, has matured well, as have the solanum and clematis soaring above the dead tree at the far end of the Brick Path. Penny Lane has claimed the Gothic Arch.

Roses Lady Emma Hamilton, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Gaujard, and Hot Chocolate thrive in the revived Rose Garden;

the unknown peach rose and climbing Compassion overlook the patio.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where a little of my blood was extracted for a PSA test, essentially to rule out prostate cancer.

This evening the three of us dined at the Wallhampton Arms. Jackie enjoyed a smoked haddock fishcake starter; Elizabeth, potted shrimps; and whitebait for me. The ladies each chose spatchcock chicken as a main course, whereas I Chose ribeye steak. Jackie drank Moretti while Elizabeth and I shared a bottle of Nine Lives merlot 2016. Back at home, our dessert consisted of Jackie’s splendid apple and apricot crumble and custard.

The Latest Project

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This morning Aaron removed another shrub superfluous to requirements in order to make room for a larger than planned base for the West Bed bench. Jackie and I drove off to B & Q at Christchurch for six more bags of sand.

Aaron laying bench base 1Aaron laying bench base 2Aaron laying bench base 3Aaron laying bench base 4

Aaron spent the rest of his time laying the base.

Aaron on bench

When he had finished he sat on the bench and surveyed the scene. As usual, I made him a set of A4 prints.

Phantom Path viewEucalyptus fro West Bed bench

These are the views AP Maintenance’s finest could contemplate.

Fuchsia 5
Fuchsia 6Fuchsia 3Fuchsia 7Fuchsia 8

I enjoyed a fuchsia foray.

Fuchsia 2

Delta’s Sarah defied the neighbouring geraniums to steal the limelight.

Ginger lily

Red berries are forming on the ginger lilies;

Clematis

a blue clematis drapes itself over the Phantom Path arch;

Rose Festive Jewel

and roses such as Festive Jewel enliven the Rose Garden.

Jackie on West Bed bench

This evening we enjoyed a drink on the latest project.

Phantom Path from West Bed benchEucalyptus from West Bed bench

Jackie had been rather dismayed that I should have photographed Aaron’s view of the Phantom Path before she had had a chance to remove the wheelbarrow and wash down the dry cement. It therefore seemed only fair that I should show what we were looking at then.

Diascias

Beyond the chimney pot in the second picture, these diascias decorate a hanging basket.

Garden view from Stable Door

This is our current view from beside the greenhouse.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special special fried rice, chicken sag, prawn jalfrezi, and roast duck breasts. I drank Concha y Toro Cassilero di Diablo 2016.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Away From Its Natural Environment

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Rorschach shadows

It was a bit early in the morning to be presented with a Rorschach test, but that is what Jackie spotted in this morning’s sunlight.

Cosmoses in iron urn

The cosmos and lobelia planting in the iron urn obscures the gazebo path.

Ginger lily

Ginger lilies are now in bloom.

After the early burst of sunlight, the morning was dull, but the skies cleared this afternoon when we visited the last four stragglers in the Hordle Scarecrow Trail. All are individual entries.

Scarecrow 15

There are two more Rapunzels, being No.15 at 22 Stopples Lane,

Scarecrow 20

and 20 at 6, Heath Road.

Scarecrow 21

No. 21, The Pied Piper of Hamelin attracts the rats two doors away at number 10;

Scarecrow 19

Rodents, in the form of entry number 19, Cinderella’s mice, also appear to infest 43, Charnock Close.

River Avon at Christchurch

After this, Jackie drove us to Christchurch, on the banks of the River Stour.

Red arrows 1Red Arrows 3Red Arrows 2

The Red Arrows (http://www.raf.mod.uk/reds/) were performing various routines in the sky above,

Red arrows trail 1Red Arrows trail 2

leaving their trademark trails passing the mastheads.

Kayaker

Various activities included kayaking;

Couple in boat

more leisurely boating;

Feeding swans

feeding the birds,

Swans

like these swans vying for victuals;

Boy kicking pigeon

kicking pigeons;

Little girl swinging on rail

swinging on rails;

Toddler and balloon 2

or toddling along, balloon in tow.

Trio on benchSteps, bin, willow

Some, more sedentary, enjoyed the comforts of benches and deckchairs.

Groups on quay

Woman, boy, girl

Others stepped it out along the quayside.

Group with wheelchair

One young woman enjoyed a ride in a wheelchair.

Couple with ice creams

Jackie and I were not the only ones who enjoyed an ice cream.

Hippo and mallard

Some way from its natural environment, a hippopotamus canoodled with a mallard,

Beach huts and waterfowl

and, in the distance, waterfowl lined up in harmony with the beach huts of Mudeford. Thanks to my friend, Lisa, I now know that the woman on the right is paddle boarding.

This evening we dined on a highly spiced pizza and salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Almocreve tinto reserva 2014.

After The Rain 1

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read to the end if you are watching the rugby recorded.

Chrysanthemums

This morning Jackie weeded and planted chrysanthemums in the front garden, whilst I dug out the remaining roots of the ficus in preparation for planting the pansies.

Roots of ficus

In the event, a heavy thunderstorm ruled out putting the pansies to bed. They were therefore plonked in their trays. Even though the rain ceased, enabling us to finalise the preparation and wander round the garden, the soil was far too muddy.

The sun emerged for a while. The rain ceased, but continued to drip from the trees and the shrubbery. Battered blooms bore watery blisters.

Raindrops on geraniums 1Raindrops on geraniums 2

These included geraniums;

Raindrops on Ginger lily

Ginger lilies;

Raindrops on rose peach

roses unknown,

Raindrops on rose Altissimo

 Altissimo,

Raindrops on leaves of rose Deep Secret

and the leaves of Deep Secret;

Raindrops on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

dahlia Bishop of Llandaff;

Raindrops on sweet peas

sweet peas;

Raindrops on Verbena

and verbena to name a few.

Echinaceas and chrysanthemums

Echinaceas and chrysanthemums, and others in Elizabeth’s Bed have been well watered.

View along dead end path

Here are views down the Dead End Path;

View along Brick Path

across the New Bed to the Brick Path;

View across Heligan path

and across the Heligan Path.

Our dinner this evening, consisting of Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice, was taken on trays on our knees, as we watched the opening match in the rugby World Cup, in which England beat Fiji by 35 points to 11. I drank more of the malbec while Jackie drank Hoegaarden. I didn’t spill too much curry down my sweatshirt.

A New Granddaughter

Yesterday evening Tess gave birth to an, as yet, unnamed baby girl. All is well, and she is a second shared grandchild for Jackie and me. Ever the cryptic wit, Mat, when giving Becky the news, said ‘Mum’s got 2, Dad’s got 7’. He left her to provide the solution: ‘a girl’. My other two grandchildren are a young man and a boy.

There are two reasons that we cannot visit them immediately, one quite bizarre.  The first is that I am probably now the only reasonably germ-free member of the party.

Five days ago, at the Shoreham Air Show, a plane failed to come out of a downward loop, and, exploding, crashed onto the busy A27 road which is our route into East Sussex. Continuous torrential rain has hampered the clearance of the wreckage and discovery of charred bodies of cyclists and motorists. The route therefore remains closed.

The first of the following pictures was my view through the patio window at around 11.30 this morning; the other three Becky shot of her car being directly pounded by the rain and sprayed with gutter-silt by passing vehicles.

View through patio window

Rain on car roofRain thrown up by truckRain thrown up by blue car

The accident itself was unusual enough, but the extent of the rain, shown by these photographs show just what is hampering investigators, and sending holidaymakers home in droves this week. At Mr Pink’s yesterday evening, a family incongruously clad in summer clothes, were buying fish and chips for sustenance on their way back home to Stockport, 250 miles away. They had given up.

The perversity of our weather was demonstrated three hours later, when the skies cleared, and the sun emerged.

Butterfly Small White on bidens

Small White butterflies frolicked among the bidens.

Ginger lily

In the ten days I have remained indoors the ginger lilies have bloomed,

Raindrops on apples

and the well-watered apples are ripening.

Pasta bake 1JPG

This evening, Becky produced a delicious deep 15″ ham and vegetable pasta bake for our dinner.

Pasta bake 2

Four filled dinner plates,

Pasta bake 3

didn’t make much of a hole in it.

Ian drank San Miguel; Jackie, Hoegaarden; and Becky and I, Teroldego Rotaliano riserva 2011.