“Turncoat”

The air this morning when we set about further post-storm garden recovery work hung humid and eerily still.

Concentrating on the patio area and the sweet peas corner of the kitchen wall, Jackie trimmed the Lathyrus odoratus and extricated the strangled tomato plant. From less than polite expressions of intense disappointment yesterday when discovering broken geranium stems, her exclamations have been the more optimistic “ah, another cutting”. The greenhouse is going to be pretty full this winter.

Naturally Nugget kept her company.

Where’s Nugget? An easier puzzle today.

Elsewhere pelargoniums, petunias, rudbeckias, and hoverflies sharing a poppy enjoyed the early sunshine.

My task was dead-heading roses in the Rose Garden where

heavy bees clambered over the tiny blooms of the verbena bonarensis;

Lady Emma Hamilton laid her head on the block;

Jacqueline du Pré played on;

a hoverfly flew to the Blue Moon;

Crown Princess Margareta bustled voluminously;

Summer Wine was drunk with joy;

and Absolutely Fabulous certainly was.

Eventually leaden skies and heavy rain brought us inside. When Jackie heard that Nugget, whom she had missed, had come to join me, she uttered “turncoat”.

By mid-afternoon the skies had cleared and the weather brightened. We drove to Ringwood for Jackie to buy some new garments from M & Co. and returned home via the forest.

At first we progressed north along Avon Way and turned right into sun-dappled Sky Lane.

A severed string of ponies spanning the road at Ibsley left space for one passing vehicle or a young neophyte equestrian to thread a way through.

Several donkey families were stationed outside Hyde School. One couple seemed to be waiting to register their foal in advance of its reaching the age of admission;

another little one enjoyed a scratch on the road junction. An alarming driver turning the corner blasted his horn at the unperturbed animal which took no notice. I might have heard it borrowing Catherine Tate’s line: “Do I look bothered?” as, peeking over its flanks, it nonchalantly nibbled its hide.

The loud blast of a foghorn behind me alerted me to an agitated mother ushering her infant across the road at quite a rate.

As we returned through Ibsley the ponies, now on the move, tails twitching, like sensible walkers faced the oncoming traffic.

This evening Elizabeth visited because her phones weren’t working and she needed to phone Mum, which she did from my mobile which was coincidentally being charged up. Naturally, beginning with drinks on the patio, she stayed for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s tasty tender beef and mushroom pie; crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage; and new potatoes. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserva Shiraz 2017.

He Lent His Hat

This morning Aaron, with his usual concentrated accuracy, assembled and installed

a new flat packed wooden arch across the Shady Path. This was to replace a cheap metal one that had collapsed.

As the morning warmed up he lent his hat to Florence sculpture who remained in the shade,

Camellias continue to splash colour across the eucalyptus framed garden canvas,

as do numerous narcissi,

primulas and bergenias.

Proud tulips begin to open.

Ladybirds were spotted, along with tiny hoverflies investigating ipheions.

On a gloriously sunny spring afternoon we went driveabout. We began at Mudeford Quay which was so crowded that we had nowhere to park. We then aimed for the forest.

A calf suckling at Holmesley spilled much of the milk on the ground, jumping back as we arrived, leaving a white strand swaying in the breeze;

Ponies practiced topiary by the roadside;

two more grazed among pine cones at Bisterne.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; crunchy carrots; tender green beans and peas.

Autumn Arachnid

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER CLICKS WILL INCREASE ENLARGEMENT

As the first autumn arachnid predator wrapped prey for its larder in the warm morning sunshine, further potential sustenance foraged for their own food stores or simply soaked up the sun. The skies clouded over soon after midday and rain fell all afternoon.

This evening, leaving enough for Elizabeth, who would be home a little later, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika, tasty savoury rice, crunchy carrots, and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016.

 

A Wee Bit Harsh

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. THOSE IMAGES NOT IN A GROUP CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

Nasturtiums

Early this morning, in the front garden, I photographed nasturtiums;

Petunias in hanging basket

double petunias in a hanging basket;

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

clematis Mrs N. Thompson, now taking over from the pink roses on the trellis;

Clematis Ville de Lyon

and another, Ville de Lyon, draped over the fence.

Moving to the patio, I admired the various planting groups, including planters and hanging baskets along the Kitchen Path.

A brief sojourn in the Rose Garden revealed, among others, the miniature Little Rambler, clematis Arabella; Creme de la Creme; a bee in a poppy; and Jackie’s new creation, Rosa Canoris Forkii.

This made me determined to return later and join Jackie in a lengthy dead-heading session. I have to admit that I did get carried away with tracking bees and hoverflies, but, nevertheless, I thought the Head Gardener’s observation that there was more photography than dead-heading being carried out, was a wee bit harsh.

This afternoon I dozed through two World Cup football matches. It doesn’t much matter which they were.

Before dinner, we enjoyed a drink on the patio. I saved some of my Doom Bar to accompany Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and boiled basmati rice. Having finished her Hoegaarden, Jackie had the pleasure of watching me.

The Herbaceous Borders

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Jackie continued her planting today. My major task was dead-heading.

Planting in Dragon Bed

This section of the Dragon Bed shows how what was a large, gangly ficus until Aaron removed it six days ago has been replaced by the Head Gardener’s selection.

View from Butler sinks along Dead End Path

The chimney pot in this shot of the view from the butler sinks at the end of the Dead End path

Chimney pots planted

is one of the three in which Jackie has now completed this year’s arrangements.

Kitchen Bed

Brick Path 1Brick Path 2The stone planters in the Kitchen Bed have received similar treatment, as have these two urns leading us to the original section of the Brick Path taking us from the south end to the house. This pair necessitated an urgent trip to Otter Nurseries late yesterday afternoon to buy a few more geraniums.

 

Margery's Bed

A yoked pair of hanging baskets introduces us to Margery’s Bed,

Phantom Path

alongside which raking of the Phantom Path has commenced. The gorgeous pink rhododendron seen through the arch on the Cryptomeria Bed

Garden view from Weeping Birch Bed

is also visible from the brick section of the Oval Path, along which coils

Sprinkler on Weeping Birch Bed

the hose delivering sprinkled refreshment to the Weeping Birch Bed.

Gothic Arch

A white rambler and a purple clematis share the Gothic Arch;

Clematis on Agriframes Arch

The combination is similar on the Agriframes Arch, and we can name the rambler which, yet to bloom, is Wedding Day.

Geraniums

These Rozannes behind the iron urn are perhaps the most unusual of the blue geraniums.

Sambucus nigra and geranium palmatum 1

Beside the potting shed at the corner of the Rose Garden sambucus nigra and geranium palmatums sit happily together.

rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Garden 2

occupying the foreground of this image is now beginning to bloom;

roses Just Joey and Love Knot

Just Joey and Love Knot are at the far end.

rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton

Rose Garden 3

peeps round pink foxgloves at Absolutely Fabulous.

rose Little Rambler

The aptly named Little Rambler scales one of the pergola posts.

Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 1Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 2

I concentrated much of my dead-heading efforts on the Rose Garden, giving me ample opportunity to photograph hoverflies like these skimming For Your Eyes Only. For this purpose my camera hung round my neck as I snipped.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The beds alongside the Back Drive have demanded that they now be called the herbaceous borders.

Poppies

They contain different varieties of poppy,

Rose Félicité Perpétue

and Félicité Perpétue now wears a green and white shawl.

This evening we dined on pizza supplemented by a topping of bacon rashers; plentiful salad, and cold baked beans. I drank Cahors malbec 2015. Jacke had previously slaked her thirst with fizzy water, or, as she termed it, ‘eau petillante’.

In The Hedgerow

Just a few yards down Downton Lane was enough of an amble for me this morning. Close inspection of the hedgerow revealed various insects soaking up the soporific sunshine.Hoverfly 1FlyInsectHoverfly 2 Hoverfly 3 See if you can spot them. The first two are easy. If in difficulty click on the imagos’ images. (WordPress didn’t like the first piece of this alliteration. It persisted in changing it to the second. An alternative plural of imago is imagines. The site would have been happy with that). Apart from the ordinary fly, I think the others are all hoverflies masquerading as something more harmful. Holly leaves and seeds in a web Holly blossom The hollies are sprouting new leaves and blossom. Spiders keep out of sight of probing lenses. One has only trapped dandelion seeds in its web. Wild strawberry

Struggling through the ground ivy are what I take to be wild strawberries.

Rose garden stage 1

At home Aaron has begun to lay the projected rose garden paths.

A pair of goldfinches has taken to joining us for dinner. Note the male’s bright red poll. We enjoyed Jackie’s beef stew; boiled potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots; and roasted peppers, onions, and garlic, followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream.Goldfinches

The birds preferred their niger seed. I drank Madiran Reserve de Tuguets 2012. Jackie drank water from the fridge. Our visitors possibly drank later.

Kingston Market Stall

When trying to phone Bev and John last evening, I could see a dialling signal on my new super duper Samsung Galaxy mobile, but heard nothing. The call ended sign then came up. Jackie phoned me. I got no ring tone. She was switched to Voicemail. She left a message. I did not receive the message, and could not ring Voicemail to receive it. This situation had probably been going on for a couple of days, since I last received a call.

This morning Jackie drove me to O2 at Christchurch where the problem was rectified. ‘What had I done?’, I asked. The helpful Philip replied: ‘Nothing’. He explained that the phone was like a computer, and every so often had a blip and had to be reset. Then it was necessary to locate the reset button and press it. I ask you! I had actually noticed this facility last night, but been scared to activate it.

After this we collected my dry cleaning from Johnson’s in New Milton, filled up with petrol, and returned home for a spell of tidying and watering in the garden before Jackie drove back to Christchurch via Walkford for lunch with her two sisters.

bee on eryngium planumHoverfly on eryngium planum 2The hot autumn sunshine this afternoon brought bees and hoverflies buzzing around, especially enjoying the blue eryngium planum.  Leaves of snake bark mapleThe turning leaves of the snake bark maple are as attractive as its fascinating bark. Unfortunately this exquisite specimen appears to be dying, despite the surgery we performed earlier.

By August 1972 I had left the Social Services Department of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, and was working in Southwark. We still lived at Amity Grove in Raynes Park and I was still in touch with former colleagues, all of whom I encouraged to attend a crafts stall in Kingston market. This stall, and its holders, form the subjects of the next pictures in my ‘posterity’ series, all colour slides taken that month, and scanned and reproduced later this afternoon.

Jackie crocheting 8.72Jackie, and her friend Linda, had spent months crocheting, knitting, and working with pottery, cotton cloth, felt, and leather to produce a dazzling display of wares for sale.Market stall 8.72

Clothes, mob hats, and shoes for children, pottery mugs and pendants, and the then fashionable chokers in various materials were tastefully arrayed in the sunshine. Jackie’s art-work provided the faces on the models. The prices reflect the then recently post-decimalisation era, heralded in by Prime Minister Harold Wilson on 15th February 1971, when, in effort to bolster the pound, sterling went metric.

Jackie with Michael, Linda and Joan at market stall 8.72Joan and Jackie at market stall 8.72Linda at market stall 8.72In one photograph, Jackie and Linda can be seen smiling at a studious eight year old Michael, while Joan Wilmot, one of my ex-colleagues, turns her back to examine the goods.

 

In the final photograph, Linda is rearranging some crocheted flowers.

This evening, we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions. Mine was followed by a colossal cream slice Jackie had brought me back from Stewart’s Garden Centre where she had lunched with Helen and Shelly. We both drank Cuvee St Jaine, an excellent dry white table wine.