The Plantation House And Garden

Spider

A visitor just inside the front door this morning somewhat deterred Jackie from leaving the house by that route. Well, it was suspended at just about head height.

Ficus roots

Yesterday the Head Gardener pronounced sentence of death on a ficus which was far too close to the patio, and too big for the plot it occupied. She made a valiant start on carrying out the punishment which I continued today. Working in steady drizzle, I just managed to complete the task before heavy rain set in for the day. The two pieces of trellis in the background of the photograph were taken from the recently freed cast iron gate. A scented jasmine has already been planted to make its way up them.

In the days following Sam’s arrival into Port St Charles, Barbados in May 2004, I continued to photograph the island and scanned a dozen more slides today.

Sam meeting Milnes family

Sam with Peter, Sol, and Jay Milnes

The two boys were very keen to meet the new celebrity. They were Jay and Sol, the sons of Peter Milnes, who lived in a former plantation house. An introduction was arranged and we made our way to their home, where their delight was patent.

Plantation House and Garden

The family lived in a former plantation house. Better appointed than most they date from the colonial days when rich men could keep the poorly paid servants to run the establishments. The house was impressive and situated in an idyllic spot.

Plantation House garden 1PlantationHouse garden 2Plantation House garden 3

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Breadfruit

and breadfruit were among the plants.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her scrumptious cottage pie, carrots, and cauliflower. She drank Blanche de Namur and I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada malbec 2013.

 

Succulent Graffiti

On another rainy day, with me not yet fully recovered, and Ian coming down with the cold, we had to postpone Becky’s birthday meal out. I scanned another batch of Barbados colour slides from May 2004, and Jackie stocked up on tissues and medications.

Flowering cacti

Cacti were flowering profusely.

Unknown plant

I don’t know what this plant is (See Mostly Mondays’ comment below. It is calotropis),

Hibiscus

but I do recognise hibiscus,

Bougainvillea

and bougainvillea which grows everywhere on the island.

Breadfruit

Maybe these are breadfruit, (actually coconuts, see PS) but most of the Google images have dimpled skins.

Stork

A lone stork stands out from the long grass by the sea,

Homes on coastline

on the coast of which expensive holiday homes

Chattel houses

contrast with the traditional wooden chattel houses.

Horse

I was surprised to see a horse lurking in the hedgerow, but have since learned that racing is a popular pastime, dating from the colonial years.

Grackle

This is possibly a grackle, or a Barbadian Black Bird.

Zenaida dove 5.04 02

The iridescent blue tinge on the neck of the Zenaida dove is intriguing.

Rusty drum

I expect there were plans for this rusting drum.

Succulent graffiti 1Succulent graffiti 2

Succulent graffiti 3

I have seen graffiti in many forms, but only on Barbados has it been carved into succulents.

This evening Jackie collected our meal from Hordle Chinese Take Away which was as good and as plentiful as usual. My drink was Kumala reserve shiraz 2012; Beccy’s, rose; Jackie’s, Hoegaarden; and Ian’s, Tiger beer.

PS. Following the comments of wolfberryknits and Mary Tang, I have corrected my text to show coconuts for breadfruit.

‘I Was Afraid You Were Going To Say That’

Early this morning I continued working my way through the backlog of e-mails.

Shrubbery clearance

I then finished clearing the section of overgrown shrubbery. This involved extracting more stubborn roots; dismantling the rock wall in the middle of it; using some of these to build up the border with the pergola path, and laying others as access stepping stones; finally digging over all the old soil and adding Jackie’s sifted compost.

When we settled down to our now customary lunchtime fix of the antiques programme, ‘Bargain Hunt’, we could receive no sound on the TV. We watched that with sub-titles, but the situation prompted me into action.

It is fairly obvious that maintenance of the garden takes priority over the house in our summers. But the telly was just one issue demanding of attention that has been put on the back burner.

Speaking of burners, we have not used our log burning stove, because we don’t trust it without having had it overhauled. So, a voicemail message was left for a chimney sweep.

We have Everest windows that don’t fit properly, and a Velux window that leaks. A message was left for a double-glazing expert.

The sound had disappeared from the television some months ago, and Ben from Milford Sound & Vision had come to fix it. He had at first thought the set was kaput, but managed to sort it out. This time it may not be so easy. We drove to Milford and after some discussion Ben sold us a new TV. This will be delivered and installed next Wednesday. I think we can live without sound for eight days, although it does mean I will be unable to enjoy ‘The Big Bang Theory’ just by listening to the dialogue which I enjoy from my corner chair whilst I am working on the pc.

We need a shower shield in the guest bathroom, and have a leak in the outside tap which services the garden. Having been unable to receive a reply on either of The Lady Plumber’s numbers, we drove on to her home the other side of Highcliffe. The said Sam was about to go on holiday and will contact us when she returns home. I had also left a message for another plumber, Mike, who texted me this evening saying he would call next week.

Although there wasn’t.as yet, anything to show for it, I felt I had at least achieved something, entitling me to a wander round the garden. While I was doing this, the windows man called and arranged to visit us on Thursday.

Rose Winchester Cathedral

Rose Winchester Cathedral now displays its first object of veneration.

Roses - scarlet

The blooms on this unidentified scarlet rose stand a good eight feet over the Oval Bed.

View down Pergola Path

The rose garden is now visible down the Pergola Path.

Hibiscus

We have a number of hibiscuses, one of which is in the front garden,

Myrtle

where a myrtle is beginning to ignite its star-bursts.

The Head Gardener went off to buy plants for the exposed bed, and we later planted

Echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckia perovskia

echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckias, and perovskia Blue Spires in the vacant space.

Soon after this the chimney sweep responded to my message. When I confirmed our address, Barrie, the tradesman, said ‘Crikey. I was afraid you were going to say that’. He had examined the stove for our predecessors, had told ‘the gentleman’ what a state it was in, and what needed to be done. He had heard no more. Nothing daunted, he will come again next week.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s delicious liver casserole, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots, followed by custard tarts. I finished the Italian red wine and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Lest We Forget

Alice wallpaperIt is Alice’s birthday today, so I will begin by displaying my iMac wallpaper on which she walks across the shingle on a very blustery day in view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.
Telephone boxThis morning I walked to the bank at New Milton. I turned right up Lower Ashley Road and left along Ashley Road. This route is rather less picturesque and more protracted than the winding racetrack that is Christchurch/Lymington Road, but considerably safer. The man who insisted on giving me a lift soon after I had passed Angel Lane on my return thought so too.
Downton’s public Telephone box has probably seen better days.
A grasshopper camouflaged in the long grasses through which I trampled on the verge took me back to A Close Encounter I experienced in Sigoules on 9th August 2012.Grasshopper
36th Ulster Division memorial flagA memorial flag flapping on the top floor balcony of a block of flats in Ashley Road encouraged us to remember the 36th Ulster Division’s contribution to the First World War, which we joined 100 years ago today. This was just one group of the generation of young men and boys on both sides sent to their slaughter in order to satisfy the whim of a power-crazed Kaiser and the hopeless ineptitude of our own war leaders. Grandpa Knight 1917A century later we still fight our battles on foreign soil, to demonstrate that not much has been learned by mankind in the intervening century.
It is almost incredible to recollect that Kaiser Wilhelm was a grandson of Queen Victoria, and therefore that the major protagonists were a family at war.
My own paternal grandfather was one of those who came back, otherwise, since my father was born in 1917, when we think this photograph was taken, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post. Neither would Alice, come to that.
When our lights are extinguished at 10 p.m. this evening, it will not be a power cut that brings this about. We will be joining the rest of the UK in an hour’s darkness of remembrance.
Back home this afternoon, while Jackie laboured with her watering cans, View from dump benchI wandered around the garden, at one point taking a rest on the dump bench and admiring one of its views. I did a little dead heading on my rounds. Petunias are very sticky.

Cricket on clematisThe nocturnal relative of this morning’s grasshopper, probably sleeping, aboard one of our many blue clematises was a cricket. Close scrutiny of the photograph reveals the incredibly long antennae that distinguish this insect from the other.Clematis Niobe

We think the purple clematis climbing the new arch on the opposite side of the garden is a Niobe.Hibiscus

Near this is a very prolific hibiscus.Crocosmia solfoterre

Because we are likely to forget their names, Jackie is labelling all those plants, like the unusual crocosmia Solfoterre, that she can, sometimes after considerable research.
Jersey Tiger MothJust as extensive research was required for me to identify a black and white striped butterfly that flashes it bright orange underside when on the wing. After a thorough study of the thoroughly informative ‘The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland’ by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington, I surfed the web, to no avail. Then I had one of my strokes of genius. Maybe, I thought,’ it is a moth?’. One had, after all, the other day, settled on Jackie’s woolly bosom. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth. She was, incidentally wearing a cardigan at the time.
For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a professional egg fried rice to accompany our succulent pork chops and the remnants of our recent Chinese takeaway. I finished the Bordeaux and she sampled some Hoegaarden.

Privilege Customer

Bramble blossom
BrambleNo matter how thorough you try to be in pulling up and eradicating brambles, there are always some that catch your eye as you wander around. For this reason I went on a bramble hunt today. Some, by now, are announcing their presence with blossom and budding fruit; others are so long and straggly they make you wonder how you missed them. So skilled in the art of camouflage are these thorny ramblers that I was constantly amazed at how much space was opened in the shrubberies simply by removing them. No doubt if I repeat the process in a day or two, I will be equally surprised.
Jackie continued weeding, watering and planting.
EchinopsagapanthushoneysuckleHibiscusAmong the recent discoveries more welcome than the unwanted growth have been echinops, agapanthus, and honeysuckle whose pink blends quite well with the blue arch around which it clambers.
Not knowing what colour to expect, we have been eagerly awaiting the blooming of the hibiscus in the front garden. We were not disappointed by its interesting pink hues.
For a late lunch today we visited the Needles Eye Cafe in Milford on Sea. Jackie enjoyed a cheese omelette, chips, salad, and diet coke; whilst I, once I had jogged the waiter’s memory, relished a maxed-up breakfast with tea. This large fry-up comes with toast and marmalade. For the second time, my toast was forgotten. I assured the staff member that I did not take it personally as I was not paranoid.
Beach sceneBeach scene 2We had not been to this beach in hot holiday weather before, so it was something of a shock to walk to the path at the top of the shingle and be confronted by a picture postcard scene. ‘Oh, yes. We live here’, we said.
After our meal Jackie drove us on to Stewart’s Garden Centre at Christchurch and back. Just before my last trip to France, I had signed up for a Stewart’s Privilege Customer card. One of the benefits of this is that you may buy two samples of specific plants at half price. The choice changes monthly. The July selection is agapanthus. After dropping me off at the airport on 8th July, Jackie hot wheeled it off to Stewart’s to choose her agapanthuses. She found two marvellous full-budded specimens. Taking out the coupon from the monthly magazine, she proffered her pennies. She was asked for the Privilege card. Ah. It was in my wallet in Sigoules.
The card is now safely in Jackie’s purse, so off we had gone to choose some more of the perennial blue plants. Agapanthus and clematisesUnfortunately there were only a few, decidedly past their best for this year, left. Never mind, we could still have two of them – and we found two that will do very nicely next year – and, in compensation for their condition, a clematis also at half price. we chose Inspiration ‘Zoin’.
LilyThis evening I wandered down to the postbox. A lily has escaped into the hedgerow in Downton Lane.