Five Years On

Today was another thoroughly wet one, so I decided to try a bit more than a test print with my new Epson.

It was in May 2014 that we took on the neglected jungle that was our garden. Soon afterwards I began to compile a kind of before and after record of the project, in extra large photo albums.

Now, five years on, I have decided to update this work. I began with the Back Drive. Here, for comparison is what it looked like in June of that year.

Today I printed a collection of photographs from May,

June,

September,

and October, this year.

Jackie’s borders contain asters, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, poppies, roses such as Doris Tysterman and Ernest Morse, viper’s bugloss, and Virginia creeper, all of which can be seen in these photographs; and much more.

This time in 2014 we were burning so much on this space.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes;  crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

Multiple Occupation

Although a little drier than expected, today remained largely overcast. Just before lunch Jackie took me on a tour of what she has achieved during the last few days in the garden. It struck me that I have never really shown the packed multiple occupation of our beds.

While listening to the men’s Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and South Africa, I rectified that this afternoon.

The Kitchen Bed is faced by sweet peas, foxgloves and others beside the wall. Fuchsias, day lilies, antirrhinums, erigerons, ferns are all at home in the bed.

The Butler’s Sink beside the Patio contains petunias, foxgloves, geraniums, heuchera, and bidens;

one view of the bed includes a pink diagonal of fuchsia, geranium palmatum, and clematis.

Bees were investigating the orange poppy sharing the small triangular Wisteria Bed with day, lilies, fennel, and roses.

Geranium palmatums and fuchsias are among the occupants of the Dragon Bed.

Ferns, day lilies, and geranium palmatums, fuchsias, alliums, and more pack the Palm Bed.

Spirea goldflame, penstemon, bottle brush plants, day lilies, ferns, etc all wake in Margery’s Bed.

Youthful hot lips and an ageing rhododendron occupy the Cryptomeria Bed on the opposite side of the Phantom Path.

A pot containing fuchsia, geraniums, and others stands beneath the Westbrook Arbour

and above the West Bed where we find astilbe, pulmonaria, and lamium among others.

Erigerons, aruncus, lamiums, geraniums, fennel are among the residents of the Weeping Birch Bed.

Fuchsias and feverfew are found in Elizabeth’s Bed.

The Oval Bed has its share of Day Lilies.

The Rose Garden contains more than roses. Heucheras, lavender, and fennel are examples.

It is a year or two since we created the New Bed, but, like the thousand plus year old New Forest, it retains its name. Erigerons, solanum, clematis, and ferns are there maturing nicely.

It is hard to remember how overgrown with brambles and crowded with rocks and detritus was the back drive when we arrived. These previously non-existent borders now contain roses, poppies, hostas, geraniums, foxgloves, and viper’s bugloss among the many plants at home there.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s superb sausages braised in red wine; served with creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cono Sur Bicicleta Reserva Pino Noir 2017.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Cock Of The Walk

The Scrabble controversy featured on 29th May continues apace.  A multinational petition has been embarked upon on Facebook.  Old stagers are leaving in droves.  The UK’s Daily Mail has even taken up the cause.  Mattel don’t seem to be able to sell their advertising space, because the only ads that do currently feature are those inviting players to ‘play without interruption’ by buying ad-free packages.  How cynical can you get?

For some time now Jackie has been feeding not only the garden’s bird population, but also a fattening bushy tailed rodent. Squirrel baffle Consequently she has placed a squirrel baffle on the feeder post.  The idea is that he shins up the post, bangs his head on the concave perspex dome, drops down again, staggers to his feet, shakes his head like a silent movie character, and shoots across the garden to his refuge in a distant silver birch.  This morning he did seem somewhat confused as he sat on the doorstep scratching his head and eyeing his chomping rivals with the longing expression of a Tiny Tim gazing into a butcher’s shop window at Christmastime; his empty paws then going through the motions of clutching at the food.

MacPenny's garden

MacPenny’s garden nursery in Bransgore has a much longer history than that of Aviemore which I featured yesterday.  The small outlet bought from Marcia Ashley-Corbett by Douglas Lowndes in 1934 has been developed and stayed in his family ever since. MacPenny's garden 3 The exhausted gravel pit added in 1951 has become a magnificent eight acre mature garden, dubbed by Jackie ‘a garden down a hole’.  With eight acres and a team of staff you can do so much more than in Aviemore, and the Lowndes have.  The rhododendron and Azelia season was a good time to visit. MacPenny's garden 2 Numerous other plants abounded and many trees towered above us on our trip today.  Shade-loving varieties were in their element. Petals and leaves Rustic footpaths and steps made out of logs take visitors through what is another National Gardens Scheme attraction, this one open all the year round. Aquilegia No doubt the prolific plant nursery that hosts this feature has a reciprocal arrangement with the reclaimed gravel pit.  MagnoliaThe stock looked good enough to have possibly supplied Aviemore.Hosta leavesFir's new growth

MacPenny's gardenerA couple of gardeners working in the lower level shrubberies, pruning and resetting edging, told us that during the winter we would have been up to our waists in water.  The area still looked magnificent, with more, in the shape of normally marginal yellow irises, to come.  The soaking they must have had was clearly beneficial.

On our departure those leaving the car park were treated to a strutting performance by the resident faverolles cockerel as he led his harem across the gravel, past the potted plants, to the safety of a scratching area.Cockerel and hens

He made sure his hens had a clear passage as he signalled to all visitors to keep their distance.  He must have known what we were having for dinner.

Jackie produced chicken jalfrezi and a milder curried chicken with savoury rice followed by sticky toffee pudding for our evening meal.  I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.