Working From Home

On an even hotter day we began gardening very early, partly because our septic tank was emptied soon after 7.00 a.m.

Our shared task was dead-heading. I carried a camera with me.

I have noticed that butterflies like to bask on paving or gravel. Can you spot this Red Admiral?

We now have quite a variety of Hemerocallis. Here are a few.

The creamy Shropshire Lad, and the pink carpet rose hosting a pair of what I think are hoverflies, represent the roses in the Rose Garden which also harbours the deep magenta petunias and sweet peas. As usual, the galleries can be accessed by clicking on any of the images in each one; view these full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement is then possible.

Red rose Super Elfin rambles along the Back Drive border where red and white hot lips welcome honeysuckle that has crept in from next door.

A sunlit heuchera leaf cast its shadow across the brick path.

I spent the whole afternoon wrestling further with my banking problem. Fundamentally I cannot now create a new on line account. Once again I was on the end of a bad line from Scotland. This, it transpired was because the agents were working from home. Eventually I was advised to start again in the hope that I would reach a different call centre. I did. It worked. This time I was told that my Mac had blocked the account. I will have a session with Peacock Computers tomorrow.

Early this evening we took a drive to Mudeford which was awash with people still flooding in with little semblance of social distancing. We turned around and enjoyed a drink on the patio before a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away delights with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carenina.

The Wisdom Of The Owl

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Aaron with tree roots

Two days ago views along the kitchen window and bed opposite featured a sawn tree trunk at the far end. Here Aaron is with the last of the stump he further sawed and removed. As usual, I printed him an A4 copy for his collection.

View alongside Kitchen Bed

This has provided a little extra space at the end of Jackie’s current work area.

Hebe and Brick Path

Here is another view of the gap, taken from a hebe on the corner of the Dead End Path.

Removing a tree is always a last resort. The branches of this one, however, were very brittle and constantly breaking when strong winds beset this whirlpool of a corner. The extra foot of space is also needed for the expected greenhouse.

Bottle brush plant 1

To the right of the above picture the yellow bottle brush plant has now turned brown. On the other side of the gazebo path a bright red variety has drawn its attention.

Bee on bottle brush plant 1Bee on bottle brush plant 3Bee on bottle brush plant 2Bee on bottle brush plant 1

Swarms of bees gather in the attempt to transfix themselves on the beds of nails that are its blooms.

Snapdragons, geraniums and petuniasSnapdragons and geraniums

Other strong reds of snapdragons, geraniums, and petunias blend in the plastic troughs forming the barrier at the start of the back drive.

Marigolds and black-eyed Susan

Equally vibrant are the marigolds and black-eyed Susans now clutching the orange globe.

Foxglove

It is almost a relief to encounter the cooler hues of this foxglove,

Hosta

these hostas,

Insect on hebe

or the hebes, this example of which has attracted a tiny flying insect I can’t identify.

Although its floor is of gravel, the patio at the South end of the garden is termed the Concrete one. That is because the surface beneath the pebbles was probably where the Post Office vans were parked.

Garden view from concrete patio towards Rose Garden

That is where our mid-afternoon water was taken and we enjoyed views looking towards the Rose Garden;

Garden view from concrete patio towards potting shed

towards the potting shed;

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

of this cluster of yellow day lilies flanked by geranium palmatums;

New Zealand flax

and the New Zealand flax that has flowered for the first time since our arrival.

I haven’t mentioned the wind in the last few days. I thought that if I ignored it it would go away. It hasn’t.

Upturned pot and parasol

A couple of hours after we had been sitting beneath this parasol a sudden gust wreaked havoc. Admittedly the parasol had not been fitted tightly into its base, but it took off like a kite, smashed down into the bed, tipped over the stand supporting the recently planted red geraniums, and dragged down the string of overhead solar lights.

Broken plants

We began by lifting the parasol over everything and slotting it securely into its stand. Then picked up the pot and pedestal. Chucked broken bits onto the compost, and placed what would be salvageable onto one of the tables.

Gravelly soil

It was, I thought, very sensitive of the owl not to give me the benefit of his wisdom as I placed him on a chair and used his table to take the gravelly earth I scooped up and, with fingers and sieve, separated the two ingredients, so The Head Gardener could repot the remains.

This evening we dined on a fusion of more of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Peroni and I opened Jessie’s delicious Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2016 and drank some of it.

 

 

 

 

A Dust Bath

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Gull at sunset

This is the second of my 7 day nature series on Facebook.

It appeared originally in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/04/29/a-fascinating-collage/

When we paid for Country Girl last week, Jackie also bought one of her favoured wrought iron candle holders for use as a planter. It has a screw fitted to adjust the height.

Candle stick planter

Today, I moved it to the gravelled concrete at the southern end of the garden. This involved moving a pile of bricks from where it now stands, and raking gravel to cover that corner. I had to evict a large number of woodlice, slugs, and, one snail.

Country Girl's headpiece

Jackie had moved a few of the bricks earlier. Feeling the heat she must have removed her jumper, and slung it over the nearest available hanger, thus providing the Country Girl, now dubbed Florence, with a purple hair extension

Brick path

The white climber is now making its way up the Agriframes Arch straddling the Brick Path.

Bee on geranium palmatums

The clump of geranium palmatums halfway down that shot draws bees so large that they weigh down the petals to which they cling whilst plundering the nectar.

Philadelphus

Those plants are at the corner of the Dead End Path, alongside which a large philadelphus is in bloom.

Bee and beetle on poppy

Other plants attracting bees include poppies (this one also has a beetle)

Bee on linaria

and linaria.

Insects in poppy

Bees have shaken off so much pollen in the poppy that much smaller insects avail themselves of the bowl for a dust bath.

Mosquito in foxglove

What, now, is this nosey creature entering the foxglove?

Mosquito on foxglove

It’s a mosquito making a bee seem comparatively harmless.

My afternoon tasks including gathering up The Head Gardener’s weeding and clippings, and dead-heading roses, mostly in the Rose Garden where a few clematises like this

clematis Hagley's Hybrid

Hagley’s Hybrid have been incorporated for variety.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced a stupendous beef stew with new potatoes. So tasty was this that when offered a choice of more stew, sticky toffee pudding, or more stew and sticky toffee pudding, I opted for more stew. That way, I reasoned, I could eat more.  Jackie drank Peroni, and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014, except for the glassful I knocked over the table, which was a shame.

Before And After: The Oval Path And Elizabeth’s Bed

It was June 2014 by the time we began to tackle the southern end of the garden between what is now the rose garden and the back drive. We began with the Oval Path and made a start on Elizabeth’s bed.

Path before clearancePath before clearance 2

This is what confronted us on 5th June. We thought there must be a path in there somewhere. We did not know then that these were two parts of an oval around a bed, beyond which the strip along the fence was a jungle, overlooked by the rose Altissimo which managed to soar above it.

Bamboo coming through pathOval path intermediate stage

Later in the day, all was becoming clearer.

Kitchen garden

This broad view from the next day shows how this corner of the garden fitted together. The rose garden hadn’t even been thought of then. The Oval Path is to the right.

Bamboo roots

The bamboo seen in the third picture above sent roots right under the gravelled path. I had fun digging them out.

Jackie digging out bricksJackie sieving beyond gravelled path

By 10th Jackie was sieving soil from the gravel that we had weeded.

oval-bed 11.6.15

The Oval Bed was better established by 11th June 2015, and Elizabeth’s bed, named because she cleared much of it, was far more inviting.

Altissimo 24.6.15

Altissimo could now be reached.

Elizabeth's bed 25.9.15

By 25th September 2015, Elizabeth’s bed had been fully planted up ready for next year. It is now difficult to imagine how obscured that fence was.

Garden Album

Today was another wet, but very warm day. Between steady bouts of rain, Jackie continue to cram as many plants into the front garden as she could. I’m pretty sure I give the entries into the garden album, on which I continued to work today, more breathing space.

We dined this evening on juicy belly of pork. mashed potato and swede, crisp cabbage and tricolour carrots (orange, red, and white); followed by apple crumble and custard. I finished the beaujolais. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden whilst cooking, but she didn’t mind.

As I write this post I flip flies from my face and hands. Surely they should all be dead by now.

Before And After: Through To The Front

Although much better than I had been a couple of days ago, I was pretty washed out today, and spent much of it on the sofa.

Having, in the interests of producing something half-way reasonable, deferred setting out on this post until 6.00 p.m., I was unable to Access WordPress. I am not normally asked for my password, but this time I was. It was rejected. I was invited to choose another. I needed to enter a code that would be sent to me. I patiently waited for one. I received an e-mail containing a blue box saying Reset Password. I clicked on it. I got no further until I realised that my mobile phone in another room was receiving texts. Sure enough they had sent me a text. There were now two messages, each with a different number. I tried one. It didn’t work. So I tried the other one. That did. I put my usual password in. I was told I couldn’t use it because I had done so recently. I invented a new one. That worked.

As if my head wasn’t muzzy enough already.

Anyway, here goes with the next section of The Downton Garden story.

Apart from the removal of much of the encroaching ivy and lonicera, the front garden had very much played second fiddle to the back until February 2015.

Front garden

This is what it looked like on the morning of 24th February;

Front garden

and later in the day.

Although there were edging stones lining the bed outside the front of the house, there was no defined path on the other side. Everything was mixture of gravel and soil.

Front path

By 11th March, I had marked out an acceptable curve;

Cuttings on path

and a couple of days later, after a bit more forestry on our left hand side,

lined path at front 1

foraged around the back garden for suitable stone with which to line it.

Lonicera by patio

This, however, did not lead anywhere accessible. To the right of this photograph, taken on 26th June 2014, is a trellis, one of three which had been used to block the side gate, that  appeared to be firmly fixed.

Side gateCold Frame

Gravel path front garden

By the time we decided to build a cold frame to place around the side of the house, The blockage had to go. Aaron, on 13th September 2015, freed the gate. The post, of course, was the usual ramshackle affair, and our friend had to set another one. The frame was in situ on 27th, and three days later I had widened the narrow gravel path.

Jackie has completed planting in this garden, but I haven’t been outside to photograph it. Perhaps I will do so tomorrow.

This evening we dined on fish and chips. Jackie also had gherkins. My portion was not very large.

Before And After: The Back Drive

A good part of the day, until I set the incinerator going at 4 p.m., was spent in selecting and printing the next section of the garden development album.

If there was any task more daunting than anything else in the Old Post House garden, it was the back drive.

Jackie in back drive

This is what it looked like on 14th June 2014. An extremely careful examination of the picture will reveal Jackie at the far end embarking on spraying herbicide. After about a metre this was abandoned. The gate in the foreground didn’t fit and was roughly attached to a rickety makeshift fence.

Wheelbarrow prepared for bonfire

Nine days later the main burning pile, which will be featured later, had encroached onto this area and the old wheelbarrow that was to hold the pyre, had been put in place. The barrow itself stands on a few inches of soil forming a shallow raised bed on which vegetables had been grown. A ring of granite sets held this in place. There were several such booby traps lying about. The panels leaning on the new fence are, we think, part of what was described in the inventory as ‘greenhouse, unassembled’. further down, the older fence has been pushed over by the neighbours’ firs.

Back drive

By 21st July, further encroachment made combustion seem an impossible task.

Bramble across back driveThick brambles attacked from both sides, rooting freely in the earth strewn gravel. This one was lopped on 28th July, because It kept clawing my head.

Jackie with bonfires 1

By 19th September we had made some little headway on weeding, but were still burning branches, many of which, of course had come from other parts of the garden.

Back drive 10 a.m.

Two days later, felt we were getting somewhere. This was the scene at 10 a.m. when we began taking out the shrubbery and trees growing up the side of our neighbours’ house;

Back drive 1.30 p.m.

and this at 1.30 p.m.

Pruned conifers

Another four days and Jackie had made considerable progress in keeping the invasive firs in their rightful place;

Back drive entrance

and by 1st October we had begun defining the entrance, making yet more use of the excavated concrete slabs.

Aaron working 2

In the new year it became apparent to us that we were definitely in need of help. I reluctantly had to admit that there was a limit to what we could manage alone. By 21st February 2015 we had had the good fortune to engage Aaron of A.P. Maintenance. As I told him today he has had a far bigger impact on what we have achieved than by his work alone. Here he is digging out a clump of ornamental grass which I couldn’t lift. We now call this plant ‘the Phoenix’, because it resisted all attempts at destruction, including burning. It flourishes in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Back drive

Aaron only visits on Sundays, but this is the progress he had made by 8th March, in levelling of the soil, much of which was transferred to the rose garden, and edging the right hand border with found bricks. Jackie and I had pruned the griselinia hedging which has been allowed to become an avenue of tall trees.

Jackie executing four point turn 4

On 5th April, Jackie was able to use the strip for its intended purpose. On the left hand side, Aaron has used the granite sets for edging.

back-drive 26.4.15

Three weeks later, he and Robin had covered the drive with most of the gravel.

aaron-concreting

This was completed on 10th May, after Aaron had cemented a retaining bar outside the entrance.

Back drive

By 11th October the drive was in full use. Jackie has lined both sides with flower beds. No doubt I’ll have to tackle the fallen leaves soon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, special fried rice, vegetable samosas, and onion bhajis.  She drank Hoegaarden and I drank another glass of malbec.

Cream Tea Crawl

On 15th September, Ron’s parents will have been married for 70 years. This morning, he brought me their wedding album, from which he has given me the honour of making some prints for a commemorative book he is compiling. So keen was I to show him how I would go about it that I scanned one to begin with.

In the process I managed to delete iPhoto and everything in it, including all the photographs I have worked on over the years. This threw me into something of a panic.

Fortunately Elizabeth managed to help me to open up a new iPhoto file, and learned from Google that it would be possible to recover what I have lost. This would require a phone call to Apple tomorrow, but it gave me peace of mind to enjoy the rest of the day and the facility to post today’s photographs.

Gravelled concrete

In the meantime, Aaron finished his work on paving and gravelling the garden, when he covered the concrete surface at the southern end with shingle.

Rose Flower Power

The exquisite, tiny, little rose, Flower Power, is living up to its name.

This was a perfectly splendid, sunny, day, so when the ladies fancied a cream tea we began with a trip to Gordleton Mill Hotel, where the catering is superb, and where we knew Elizabeth would enjoy the sculpture garden which has already featured in a few of my posts.

Unfortunately they no longer serve cream teas, but were happy to give us coffee on the lawn, within nostrils’ reach of the kitchen extractor emitting appetisingly tempting aromas of Sunday roast dinners, reminiscent of supermarkets wafting the smell of baking bread throughout the stores.

Gordleton Mill Hotel entranceRiver Avon

Sun played on the River Avon rippling beneath the white bridge over which it is necessary to walk to reach the hotel.

Ducks

Ducks were in their element.

I have photographed most of the sculptures on previous occasions, but

Horse sculpture

this horse made from bicycle parts is new.

Elizabeth photographing horse

Elizabeth was intrigued by it too, especially as she thought nephew Adam would like it.

Dancing hares 1Dancing hares 2

I have not noticed the dancing hares before (I am indebted to our friend, Barrie Haynes, for pointing out that the hares are boxing, as is, of course, their wont.)

Elizabeth and Jackie in garden

The garden offers many different outlooks. Elizabeth and Jackie adorn this one.

Eucalyptus trunk

The eucalyptus is beginning to shed its leaves.

Elizabeth and Jackie on giant chairJackie and Elizabeth on giant chair

Taking a break on a chair, roomy enough for them to share, Jackie and Elizabeth found their feet could not reach the ground.

Scones

For those who may not be familiar with the term, a pub crawl is a trip from hostelry to hostelry in search of the perfect pint, or whatever else takes your fancy.

Wasp on plateWasp entering jampotWasp in jampot 1Wasp in jampot 2

The craving for cream teas remaining unsatisfied, we visited Braxton Gardens tea rooms where Elizabeth and Jackie enjoyed their searched-for treat, consisting of scones, clotted cream, jam, tea, and the attention of wasps who indulged in their own crawl into the unfinished jampots.

After this, we drove via Keyhaven and past the salt marsh and around Hurst Spit to Sturt Pond before returning home.

Turnstones

On the marsh at low tide, turnstones were demonstrating why they are so named.

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 1

Silhouetted against the lowering sun, a photographer positioned his subjects

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 2

then took the shot.

Before Elizabeth returned home to West End, we enjoyed a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal with which she and I drank Caviller del Diable reserva shiraz 2013. Unfortunately Jackie was out of Hoegaarden.

Over The Top

Shady pathOnce Jackie had finished her recent clearing job in the bed on what was originally ‘the shady path’, the very wobbly line of the edging tiles so upset my sensibilities that today I reset them into a more pleasing curve with suitably concentric parallels. This required a little more gravel in the sections where I had moved the bend inwards.
We still hadn’t taken our trip to Ace Reclaim at Hurn, so we decided to do that and divert to Ferndene Farm Shop for the decorative stone on the return journey.
At the architectural salvage depot we did not find anything suitable for restraining the rampant rose, but we did find something which readers may be forgiven for thinking we had quite enough of already. View left from Ace Reclaim benchView towards house from Ace Reclaim benchJackie had noticed when clearing her patch that there was an attractive view either to the left or the right, suggesting it might be quite a good position for a perch. She had in mind a single seat, but we spotted a two-seater bench that could just be squeezed into the car. So we bought it.
We bought two bags of Dorset stone at Ferndene. While we were there, if we were going to place the bench on recently dug soil, it made sense to buy a couple of heucheras and a vinca ‘Illumination’ to enhance the site. Jackie on Ace Reclaim bench 1Jackie on Ace Reclaim bench 2Back at home we positioned our purchase, and Jackie planted the flowers, with three begonias for good measure. I then spread and raked the gravel and we had a sit down.
The rooms in our garden can now be described as fully furnished.
Whilst setting the tiles, I reflected on the fact that, for all the work I have done in the garden during the last three months, this was the first satisfyingly creative piece I had managed. The rest was all clearance and destruction. I also thought of how I had come to be rather a dab hand at positioning these attractive boundary markers. This was in the late 1980s in Newark. Our, albeit still very large, garden there had once been much more extensive. A big section of it had been sold for development, but, for our first few years there, nothing was happening. The original Victorian garden had been bounded by these attractive tiles. Some were now buried by a century’s accumulation of soil, but Jessica and I dug them up for use in creating divisions in a vegetable-growing area out of a rough piece of ground. That was also, incidentally, my first effort at laying gravel paths. I had crushed up bricks and road stone to produce about ten inches of hardcore, and covered this with sand before applying the top surface of gravel. This rather amused John Parlett who had bought the aforementioned building plot and erected his own bungalow. He thought I had gone a bit over the top. He was too tactful to say so, but his knowing smile and the twinkle in his eye said it all. This amazing man, a plasterer by trade, used a Readers Digest manual to teach himself how to instal his plumbing and electricity. John had saved our ceiling, as described on 2nd March 2013.
To return to the tiles, I wasn’t sure I would have enough. It was Mum who came up with the idea that the tiles would have extended into what we then called ‘the waste ground’. There was as yet no boundary, and the land looked pretty much like the deserted jungle next door here. But Mum was right. More tiles were there for the taking. Enough to complete the task.
MaizeMaize 2Early this evening I wandered down Downton Lane and turned right into the field, ploughed in April, where a fine crop of maize was coming to fruition.

Deadly nightshade

Deadly nightshade now blooms in the hedgerow.

Bramble across back driveIt is becoming rather more hazardous to use the back drive to enter the lane, as the brambles sporting the blackberries that I still want to pick when they have ripened, stretch right across it.
The final evolution of the splendid sausage casserole, supplemented by pork rib rack in chilli sauce, mashed potato, and vegetables provided our dinner this evening. Jackie drank sparkling water whilst I consumed a glass of Wolf Blass cabernet sauvignon 2012.

The Day Of The Triffids

Lords and LadiesRed hot pokerYesterday evening, the head gardener put me right on red hot pokers. As she read my post for that day she pointed out that the plants I had erroneously given this term are actually Lords and Ladies, which are the berries of an insignificant variety of arum lily. We have both emerging in the garden. I think I can now tell the difference.
We both spent much of the day gardening. It is a truism that whatever we plan to do on our never ending project is subject to delay through diversion. Thus, when intending to plant out seedlings of sunflowers from seeds my sister in law, Frances, had, along with a magnificent hoe, sent us for a housewarming present, she found herself embarking upon what she termed heavy landscaping. Sunflower seedlingsOval bed brick pathIn building up the soil in front of the pruned prunus, she had discovered that the brick path we had excavated some while back was wider than we had thought. Sunflowers planted, path finishedThe bordering row of bricks had been covered with stone. She moved the tablets back and set them in an upright position; filled the earth triangles with gravel; and planted and watered the sunflowers.
Lonicera hedge far cornerMy task was continuing to do battle with the invasive plants along the path by the neighbouring empty house, in preparation for extending the IKEA wardrobe fence. UnknownAs I did so, carefully avoiding brambles desirous of poking me in the eye, I was grateful that these and the lonicera, privet, and ivy, were neither, like triffids, ambulant, nor, as far as I know, capable of communicating with each other in order to assist in tracking down their prey. I had no wish to emulate Bill Masen, blinded by triffid-juice. Our neighbours’ invading plants certainly stretched out their tendrils and forced them through windows in the ramshackle fence which is our only rampart.Compost cornerBack driveBack drive boundary
Now I have reached the corner occupied by the compost heap, I only have to turn right down the back drive and tackle the even less defined boundary between that and the back of the untended jungle. I am not sure I have the stomach for that this year.
According to Wikipedia, ”The Day of the Triffids’ is a 1951 post-apocalyptic novel about a plague of blindness which befalls the entire world, allowing the rise of an aggressive species of plant. It was written by the English science fiction author John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, under the pen name John Wyndham. Although Wyndham had already published other novels using other pen-name combinations drawn from his real name, this was the first novel that was published as John Wyndham. It established him as an important writer, and remains his best known novel. The story has been made into the 1962 feature film of the same name, three radio drama series in 1957, 1968 and 2008, and two TV series in 1981 and 2009. In 2003 the novel was listed on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. The protagonist is Bill Masen, a biologist who has made his living working with triffids – tall, venomous carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication”.
Early this evening Barrie called in to return my copy of Kilvert’s Diaries, and the three of us had a pleasant chat for a while. Afterwards Jackie and I dined at The Plough Inn, Tiptoe. With my pint of Doom Bar and Jackie’s Becks we enjoyed, as usual, the best pub food we have found since arriving in The New Forest. I managed to finish the mixed grill as Jackie did her half rack of pork ribs. No mean feats. Creme brulee was Jackie’s choice of dessert, mine being lemon meringue pie and ice cream.

Does Anyone Recognise This?

The two young heroines of The Three Peaks Challenge, each posted on Facebook today that they were unable to move. I think they have earned a fortnight’s pampering.
Bottle Brush plant
Gazebo pathA surprise visit from Matthew this morning gave me a good excuse to potter about and wander round the garden whilst Jackie undertook some more serious weeding. She still, of course, gave our son the attention he deserved.
As its yellow companion across the gazebo path begins to fade, the red bottle brush plant is now coming into bloom.
Ornamental grassUnknown yellow flowerWe have a number of ornamental grasses in the garden, perhaps the most unusual one sporting purple seeds. Alongside this in the raised bed has emerged an interesting yellow flower that we cannot identify. It is now hard-pressed by the huge cuttings pile which will have to be disposed of soon.
As will have become apparent, many of our treasures are still revealing themselves, some still being hidden by other growth. LeycesteriaThis leycesteria, for example, struggles to be noticed from the depths of a hazelnut tree, no doubt brought into being some time ago by a careless squirrel who had dropped his nuts.
We are never quite certain about pulling up what we think is a weed. Galled roseA particular rose, certainly in the wrong place, has therefore been allowed to live as it sends out long, budless, stems which we thought must be sports. The leaves now bear beautiful, red, frond-like growths we take to be some kind of gall. Does anyone recognise this?
Path - dead endAfter Matthew returned home this afternoon, we drove to Redcliffe Garden Centre in Bashley, to buy some more gravel. Naturally a few plants had also to be purchased while we were there.
I laid the gravel on the very first footpath we renovated. We call this one the dead end path because it stops at the blue painted sinks before the patio wall.
This evening we dined at The Royal Oak, not many yards away. I enjoyed a rib-eye steak; Jackie’s choice was butterfly chicken wrapped in bacon with barbecue sauce. I then had a large portion of apple crumble whilst she chose an excellent and huge slice of cheesecake with ice cream. I drank Doom Bar while she imbibed Becks. The quality of the food has gone up a notch.
P.S. Jackie has established that the growth on the rose leaves is a wasp gall, more commonly attached, and ultimately fatal, to wild roses. Wasps lay their eggs on the plant, causing it to do all sorts of weird things. We will definitely have to remove it.
P.P.S. From Jackie: Wasp gall on the rose leaf and a Bartonia nuda pursh is the yellow plant. X