Even The Dog Knows……

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Helen and Shelly visited this morning for coffee, scones, and a trip round the garden.

Unfortunately the sun disappeared during their visit. My later photographs saw better light.

Red campion

This red campion is allegedly a weed, but we like it.

Roseriae de l’Hay now flaunts her flounced skirts in the Rose Garden;

Poppy

larger deep orange

Yellow poppy and allium

and small yellow poppies are flowering;

Lamium

mauve lamium lines the Brick Path;

and a blue clematis climbs the gazebo.

The tour along the Back Drive reveals clusters of creamy May blossom; two varieties of iris; this year’s honesty; white libertia, red and yellow wallflowers; sculptural euphorbia; differently hued heucheras; roses rambling and bushed; daisy-like erigeron; geraniums, including Johnson’s blue; wispy bronze fennel; deep red valerian; and no doubt much that I have missed.

After lunch we transported the two large orange bags of clippings to the Dump, now known as the Efford Recycling Centre. Making up for having left empty-handed last time, we came back with two tables and a mirror for the garden. As we turned into Christchurch Road a dog on a lead was taking its own dump on the corner of the verge. While its back legs still frantically tossed up various items of herbaceous vegetation, the desperate creature was dragged away by its owner. I observed that even the dog had more idea about cleanliness than she did. My comment was made inside the car, as Jackie, who hadn’t seen the event, drove us away.

Later, while the Head Gardener continued tidying, weeding, and planting, I gave the buddleia in the Palm Bed such a severe trim as to refill one of the orange bags with the cuttings.

There was plenty left over from yesterday’s Indian takeaway for us to have second helpings this evening. I finished the Fleurie. Jackie had consumed her Hoegaarden on the patio earlier.

Back Drive Progress

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We spent the morning of another dull, overcast, day continuing the general tidying of the garden.

Many new aquilegias are fully or partially blooming.

Over the last few days Jackie has been fine-tuning my weeding of the back drive. In addition to digging up a few more invading brambles, most of my work this morning was transferring the Head Gardener’s piles of weeds to the compost heap. We just need to apply an herbicidal spray to the gravel and the job will be done.

More irises;

Geraniums Johnson's Blue

geraniums like these Johnson’s Blue from Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Gardens;

and hostas, heucheras, alliums and bluebells are some of the plants that line these borders. We thin out the profuse alliums every year.

This afternoon we voted at the local County Council elections where we were informed that the turnout was looking like 20-30%, which was about average. I ask you.

This took place at Milford on Sea church hall. Jackie then drove us to the clifftop where

we thought the pink thrift, despite the gloom of the day, was looking quite colourful against  the grey water reflecting the slate sky.

Pigeon on clifftop

A small pigeon had come to contemplate the calm sea,

Walkers on beach

and a few walkers wandered along the beach below.

The caged structure to our left of the pigeon is intended to keep the public away from the crumbling cliff edge.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. The welcome, the service, and the food, were as good as ever. My choice was lamb dansak with special fried rice; Jackie’s was prawn and mushroom biriani; we shared a plain naan, and both drank Kingfisher.

The Beast Is Back

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An early morning inspection revealed that The Beast is back.

Beast hole 1

It has burrowed under the log and presumably wormed its way through the gap between metal stakes, having also chewed more of the fencing.

Beast hole 2

I filled the gap with a spare stake.

Beast hole 3

During this process I spotted another burrow at the far end of the concrete block, with distinct teeth marks on the bottom of the plank. It is as if our nocturnal visitor, having limboed under the fence, has decided to raise the entrance for easier access.

Later, Jackie bought some more stakes and added another piece of stone to the battlements. The rose stems are a bit optimistic.

Back Drive

I made more encouraging progress in weeding the Back Drive.

Robin with worm

A bustling robin was too busy feeding his family, to take any interest in my activities.

This afternoon Becky helped me customise this blog. I wonder if anyone will notice anything.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack in barbecue sauce, with omelette-topped savoury rice and runner beans, followed by profiteroles, followed by lemon tart. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and the rest of us shared Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

An Owl Hunt

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Back Drive

This morning I made a little more progress on weeding the back drive.

The new lilies have begun to flower.

Matthew arrived with Poppy just before lunch. Our granddaughter was quickly into all the familiar toys, playing with her Dad and Grannie,

Poppy 4

but a little more sceptical about Grandpa\s face extension.

Poppy studying photographs

She certainly recognises pictures of herself, but whether or not she links them with the camera is a moot point.

Poppy, Mat & parrot

Norman’s parrot had to be released from his perch suspended from the ceiling.

This afternoon Becky took her niece on an owl hunt in the garden. This involved lots of pointing and exclamations from Poppy and expressions of amazement from Becky.

Poppy was particularly enamoured of the blue-bespectacled bird alongside the Heligan Path.

This evening we all dined at Lal Quilla, where the food and service was as excellent as ever, and Poppy was a delight, My main choice was lamb Ceylon, with which I enjoyed a share of  special fried rice, onion bhaji, and paratha.  The ladies drank diet Coke, the gentlemen, Kingfisher, and Poppy. water.

Mat and Poppy returned home to Upper Dicker and the rest of us came back to Downton.

The Pool

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Following on from my post of two days ago I scanned a few more slides from The Dumb Flea holiday.

Becky, David and Samuel 8.81

Here Becky sits in the garden with her two regular charges, David and Samuel. Yes, that is a pet rabbit hopping about.

Another great attraction was the pool.

Becky and Sam 8.81 1Becky and Sam 8.81 2

Becky got Sam accustomed to the idea of water-wings;

Sam 8.81 1Sam 8.81 3

then, somewhat pleased with himself, and concentrating hard, he was off on his own,

Beckie 8.81

leaving Becky

Cherie 8.81

and Cherie to enjoy their own swim.

This afternoon Jackie was almost back to normal planting in the garden.

Gardman Arch

She assembled and embedded a Gardman Arch across the Phantom Path and positioned a clematis Venosa Violacea on the Margery’s Bed side;

Lobelia and Star of India

and further along placed a large lobelia in the space left for it beside the Star of India.

My contribution was a little weeding, dead-heading, and watering.

Rose Mamma Mia

Roses, such as Mamma Mia, enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine in a rather overcast day.

For our evening meal we visited the Hare & Hounds public house just outside Sway. We were not disappointed. I enjoyed a plentiful whitebait starter followed by chicken and leek pie, chips, and peas; Jackie’s mushroom pot followed by generous tagliatelle was equally good. Neither of us could even think about a dessert. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed doom bar.

Hare & Hounds

The setting sun set the building aglow as we left for our short journey home.

Sisyphus Reincarnate

Front gravel pathToday dawned with fog, and remained overcast. Yesterday was apparently the warmest November day here since records began, and it wasn’t much cooler today.

Work continued in the front garden. We gravelled the widened side path with the last of the shingle left over from the back drive. My contribution was to transport barrow loads of the material for Jackie to rake smooth. I then brought down the sixteen bricks needed for a third pillar, and handed them to the artist who built it. Just in case anyone thinks these are marvellously cemented creations, they are dry brick pillars. Still marvellous, of course.Maple reshaped

Jackie reshaped the green maple near the patio.

Clippings pile

I added the branches to the growing heap now lining the back drive. This time, making a change from combustion, we intend to hire what Aaron calls a chipper to mulch them.

This afternoon we made a start on clearing the carpet of beech leaves, and weeds, in the rose garden, in preparation for composting the soil.

Derrick sweepin leaves

Observing how many leaves are still to fall, Jackie gave me the epithet Sisyphus Reincarnate.

Carpet rose pink

Behind the black bag in the bottom left of the picture spreads a pink carpet rose.

Penstemon

Penstemons, such as this delicate pastel pink, planted for variety among the roses, are thriving.

John blowing leaves

The first Sisyphus was John, who gardened at Minstead.

This evening we dined on roast belly of pork topped with mustard and almonds; crisp cauliflower and cabbage; and boiled potatoes. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Funnel Blower, a ‘dark vanilla porter’. This latter tasted of chocolate. Not a good idea.

Before And After

This morning I e-mailed Ray Salinger a set of the photographs taken at the ‘Seventy Years On’ party.

After this I joined Jackie in the garden, where we continued yesterday’s tasks.

Gravel path front garden

I edged the front garden gravel path with rocks dug out over the last couple of days, then spread the transported earth around the flower beds fronting the house. The thick, stubborn, root behind stone near the front of this section of the path is of lonicera, an overgrown hedging of the honeysuckle family that I did battle with last year.

Weeping Birch Bed

Jackie further opened up the Weeping Birch Bed. In the process she took down the golden arches that we had erected last summer to support honeysuckle and passion flowers that festooned the bed. Anyone inclined to follow this link will be treated to the original state of what became the rose garden. The moss-covered stone edging the bed is tufa. We dug much of out last year, but there was much more still to be removed. These rambling climbers have been reduced in size in readiness for a more suitable frame.

Libertia clump

I dug out a thick clump of trimmed libertia in readiness for its division and replanting.

Colchicums

Colchicums are spreading nicely in the triangular bed, and

Red Admiral on verbena bonarensis

Red Admiral butterflies are having a resurgence.

Suset on wall

This evening the lowering sun burnished the back drive fence and the wall of Bev and John’s house that we had cleared last year;

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia

and inflamed the Virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia.

Cumberland, chilli, and pork chipolata sausages were included in Jackie’s divine  casserole this evening. She served it with ridiculously creamy mashed potato and crisp carrots and cabbage. Treacle sponge pudding and cream was to follow. The Cook drank Bierfest and I drank more of the chianti.