After lunch I recovered pictures and substituted feature images for the following posts:
His waterproof hooded jacket glistening from fairly steady light rain Martin had spent the morning cutting back last year’s dead garden material.
In order to improve the view from our kitchen window,
he began with the Pond Bed.
As will be seen from a few views I photographed on a walk round the garden, there is much more to be done.
Pearly drops slowly slid from camellias
Tête-à-têtes and snowdrops happily co-existed, and
the lichen on the Nottingham Castle bench continued to celebrate the purer air of its last resting place.
This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli and cauliflower; tender green beans; and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Diet Coke and I drank more of the Malbec.
Apparently yesterday’s weather was simply a precursor of Storm Dudley, due today. As the wind began to pick up this morning, we took a walk round the garden.
I had begun with four views from overhead, the last two of which featured camellias,
now quite abundant, and
beginning to drop blooms to soften the gravel paths.
Both bergenia and snowdrops are becoming widespread.
Pale blue irises reticulata; golden daffodils including têtes-à-têtes; white osteospermum; sprawling blue vinca; pale yellow primroses; and rich red cyclamen add their splashes of colour.
The strong sweet scents of Daphnes Odorata and Jacqueline Postill pervade the air.
The Head Gardener was on hand helping hanging hellebores hold heads high.
Dudley is tipped to be less fierce than Storm Eunice, due to arrive in UK on Friday, bringing us gusts of 85 mph.
This evening we dined on baked gammon; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans; and a mélange of fresh vegetables in a piquant cheese sauce, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot.
On a very dull and wet morning we visited Mum at Woodpeckers. As usual, we had to be separated by a screen in which Jackie is reflected. In the second picture here my mother indicates where she recently had her second, painless, Covid vaccination.
It was not until 4 p.m. that the rain desisted and the sun put in an appearance.
Then I put down my book and took up my camera to look round the garden where sparkling precipitation prevailed, mostly on hellebores, and additionally on the amanogawa cherry blossom, camellia and others. Euphorbia, daffodils, primroses and the lichen flower on the Nottingham Castle bench are also pictured.
This evening we dined on Hunter’s Chicken Kiev; oven chips; and baked beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Dao.
In the early morning chill I girded my loins with a thick cotton dressing gown and stepped into the garden to photograph the pink-streaked dawn.
Keen arboriculturists may be interested in the sylvan skeletons of copper beech, larch, weeping birch, and lopped bay tree.
Our great-niece, Ella, was two years old in January. She and her parents have been unable to visit since before Christmas. We haven’t heard her form clear sentences. Danni texted me this morning to say that her daughter has been shouting out of the window: “Where has Uncle Derrick gone?”
My late son, Michael, was not much older when I had to try to answer his question: “Why did my Mummy die?”. So my feelings prompted by the very welcome text were somewhat ambivalent. It was very pleasing to know that Ella, who will be able to visit at the end of the month, could remember and missed us, yet that memory of Michael, who would never see Vivien again, has always been most poignant.
For much of the day Jackie occupied herself trimming dead material from plants with which she filled a succession of trugs. I operated a relay service transporting the contents to the compost bins and returning the containers to the Head Gardener for refills.
Of course I did not undertake my Under Gardener duties without carrying my camera. Featured here are euphorbia, mahonia, leucojum Spring Snowflakes, primulas, pulmonaria, tulips, daffodils, camellias, hellebores, hyacinths, cyclamen, and viburnum bodnantensis Dawn. The first camellia shrub shows blooms browned by an earlier frost.
I was calm and contented when I produced the Dawn skies gallery. That was before WordPress had chosen to apply another simplifying process to operate from the sidebar. Until I got my head around this system to construct the plants gallery culminating in another Dawn, it was only reasonable to inform Jackie that it wasn’t her I was shouting at.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice served with plentiful green salad and three prawn preparations, namely tempura, hot and spicy, and salt and pepper. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.
Blues skies returned today for our first visit to Mum in Woodpeckers since before the Christmas lockdown, which has been somewhat relaxed.
We were able to use the screen room. Jackie photographed Mum behind the screen in which I am reflected. My mother was in good spirits, but not hearing too well, especially at the beginning, probably because of having to adjust after the long absence.
The Assistant Photographer also pictured the view from the window, containing
ponies in a neighbouring field, and
small birds in a tree. Unfortunately Mum would not be able to see all this.
As can be seen from the pictures above, we experienced some sunny periods today. This afternoon I entered the garden with trepidation, to be pleasantly surprised. So far the gale force winds have inflicted virtually no damage.
A few empty trugs have been transported; a watering can has taken refuge in the compost container outside the kitchen door; and one basket is down.
Smaller plants, like primulas, violas, and trailing vinca remain unperturbed.
Daffodils which we feared would be flattened, and the tulips which had been flattened, and spiked, by a recent frost, stood proudly erect.
Apart from a few blown down blooms, our camellias are all unscathed.
Many of our hellebores, habitual head hangers, unusually held theirs high.
Elizabeth came to dinner for the first time since lockdown. Jackie produced one of her splendidly succulent steak, onion, and mushroom pies; roast potatoes; boiled purple potatoes; crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts; firm cauliflower, and meaty gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019. This was followed by a lemon tart.
Individual picture titles will be found on the gallery, otherwise I will leave the title and the sun in charge.
This evening we dined on roast chicken thighs; chipolata sausages; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; flavoursome Brussels sprouts and carrots, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cotes de Gascogne Merlot Tannat 2019.
Early this morning, Jackie photographed the first welcoming dawn we have experienced for a while.
The sunshine lived up to its promise as I wandered around photographing clumps of cheerful snowdrops; bunches of daffodils including tete-a-tetes; bright cyclamen; a variety of abundant hellebores which retained raindrops; and prolific shrubs such as camellias and viburnum. To make room for these images I have begun thinning out some 35,000 photographs in my Mac photo collection.
While I was enjoying myself drafting this post Jackie worked to unblock the shower drain. This afternoon we visited Streets in Brockenhurst to buy cleaning materials, and returned by a slightly circuitous route.
Much of the forest, like this area near Woodfidley, is still waterlogged. Reflective pools bear fallen trees. Still-standing oaks dip mossy toes into clear, still, surface water.
We stopped again at East End to photograph a pony busy trimming a prickly hedge.
Across the road two somewhat battle-scarred bays stood beside East Boldre allotments land. A notice informed visitors that the ponies inside were meant to be there and asked that they should not be fed. Was this, I wondered, a method of cutting out the compost middle man?
This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie served with tasty gravy; flavoursome broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017.
Before Jackie discovered that, for the first time in 15 years, we can now view Test Matches live on free to air terrestrial television I listened to the first day of the England v India match on BBC sport. I watched the last couple of overs on Channel 4.
This morning I took advantage of a break between showers to wander round the garden with my camera.
The irises reticulata are all now in bloom, with tulips beside them pushing up.
Other irises and numerous hellebores still collect raindrops.
Camellias are quite prolific.
Honesty seed pods now have a skeletal presence and the metal plant Louisa gave us for Christmas will live on for a while.
Some winter flowering clematis cirrhosa Freckles have survived their recent heavy pruning.
Wherever we go we encounter a plethora of snowdrops.
This afternoon we paid a brief visit to Barry and Karen to deliver his prints.
Afterwards we took a brief drive along the lanes, like Coombe Lane largely waterlogged.
Sunlight streamed across the landscapes, lit the lichen coated hedges, and silhouetted the bones of an oak tree.
A small shaggy haired pony eyed me as I photographed its more delicate be-rugged cousin.
Jackie photographed a pair of rooks – or were they crows? – conducting a corvine conversation.
Several donkeys were installed on Wooden House Lane.
The stream running under Church Lane reflected the trees above.
This evening we dined on the varied flavours of Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; smoked haddock; with carrots and petits pois for splashes of bright colour. We both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020.