Before And After: The South End

Were the barometer on our garden wall in good working order it would no doubt indicate ‘wet and warm’. Perhaps, at 18 degrees centigrade it had the temperature right. Full sunshine, however, we definitely did not experience.

The leucanthemums in the front garden are some of the plants cut back for the winter by the Head Gardener.


This one was having none of it.

It may come as no surprise that one album is insufficient for the garden record. Late yesterday afternoon I therefore ordered two more from Harrison Cameras in Chesterfield. They were delivered just after noon today. I call that an incredibly good service. I then stuck the Shady Path section of the story into the first album, and prepared the next set, The South End this afternoon.

The essential surface in this area is of concrete, we think laid down for Post Office vans in the 1930s. Stretching from the Oval Path to the Back Drive, a number of raised beds border and cross it.

Wall of raised bed - a glimpse

We reached this project on 6th June 2014. It was somewhat daunting,

Pile for burning and hose

especially as the burning pile, seen here on 23rd, restricted access.

Jackie in SW corner 3Jackie in SWcorner 4

By 4th July the pile had been cleared and we had made enough progress for a little table and chairs to take its place. The little brick pillar covers a protruding metal spike that we think was part of a washing line post. I eventually hacksawed it off.

Washing line

A washing line is coiled around the makeshift fence that was the original barrier to the back drive.

Jackie in bottom of garden

By 16th, the bed just inside the garden had been cleared.

Aaron shifting rubble

On 22nd March, the barrier down, Aaron assisted in clearing rubble,

planting-barrier 1.6.15

and by 1st June Jackie had begun building a row of planters to replace the fence.

Shingled concrete 6.9.15

The concrete surface, now merging into the drive was shingled by Aaron on 6th September,

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa (Million bells) and fuchsia 30.9.15

at the end of which month the setting was able to burnish the heavily pruned Virginia creeper, the calibrachoa in the hanging baskets, and the fuchsia beneath.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, followed by Jackie’s deep, flavoursome, apple pie and custard. I drank Doom Bar.

Old Post House Garden Album

W. H. Smith’s Selfix Photo Albums have served me well for many years. I have hundreds of them holding prints of various sizes going back to 1942. For the Old Post House Garden display book I found I needed something a bit different.

Old Post House Garden Smiths Album

The problem was that the landscape format 10″ x 8″ prints did not fit into the width of the albums and had to be placed after rotation through 90 degrees. And I can’t stand having to keep tipping up a book to study illustrations.

I therefore engaged in internet research that would impress my sister Elizabeth, and came up with a Walther Premium Extra Large White Traditional Album, which I ordered from Harrison Cameras. It arrived this morning.

I had stopped printing and entering the photos after the Weeping Birch Bed section, so my task today was to transfer those and print and enter the rest.

As the new album is traditional in style, I needed to stick the photographs in individually. This meant a drive to New Milton for some spray mount.

Unfortunately there was a hiccup in the printing process. I mentioned a few days ago, that photos taken directly from my earlier posts could not be enlarged by clicking on them. For the last three or four earlier episodes I have taken them from Photos and worked on them from the desktop. Readers will be aware that my head has been a little muzzy this week. That is probably why, forgetting I had yet to print them, I popped them into the trash to clear space on the desk. Oh, well. Not a problem, I thought. I’ll just take them from the posts and work on those.

Not examining them too closely, I made a batch of about 20 prints. Every one that was larger than 5″ x 7″ was out of focus.

Now, why would that be? Resolution, perhaps? I then resolved to print one of the offending images directly from the photo library. Sure enough, it was nice and sharp. Then it dawned on me. In the process of sending images to WordPress the resolution is reduced. When I get around to it, I will ask them what happens. But for today, repeating the printing was a priority.

Old Post House Garden Album

I didn’t get very far with my chosen task, especially as mounting the prints is quite a sticky business.

Oh, and I did watch two televised World Cup rugby matches. The first was between Wales and South Africa, and the second between New Zealand and France.

Experiment Pie 1Experiment Pie 2

This evening Jackie produced an excellent Experiment Pie, served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans.  I have to announce that there is no recipe for this brilliant meal but the pie, I can say, is layered. The base is sage and onion stuffing, followed by pork medallions, followed by chopped apple and onion, then leftover vegetables fried in a tomato sauce, and topped off with short crust pastry. Superb. And you could substitute other ingredients, such as parsley and thyme with chicken. Jackie calls it a lost chord (a creative masterpiece that cannot be repeated). She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Old Crafty Hen.