Magnolia Time

This afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest.

The gardens of Sway featured

a flowing stream beyond a lichen tattooed tree in Mead End Road;

a pink magnolia towering over a hedge in Adlam’s Lane;

a magnolia stellata competing with a variegated privet in Brighton Road;

and another pink one stating its ascendancy over a red camellia.

As we set out towards Burley we paused at the obligatory pony crossing.

At Thorney Hill our side of the road was clear, while an unconcerned grey made its leisurely way along the other.

On our return home I ventured into the garden to discover whether our flame red Vulcan magnolia was yet in bloom. It wasn’t, but we still have

camellias, some fallen blooms now adorning the gravel paths; daffodils

a variety of cyclamens


and hyacinths.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans. The meal was taken from plates on trays in front of the television whilst we watched a recording of the earlier Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and France.

Spring In Sight

Today began our first serious joint preparation for 2016 garden work.


This view of the Heligan Path shows early spring flowers sharing billets with hellebores.


Wherever we look there are snowdrops in profusion; many different daffodils;


a variety of crocuses;


and even a proud pink hyacinth.

Jackie on Heligan Path bench

Taking the occasional rest on the Heligan Path bench,

Palm Bed

The Head Gardener continued last autumn’s work on the Palm Bed,

Jackie pruning grass 1Jackie pruning grass 2

in particular, pruning the ornamental grass. Two of the camellias, hung with floral decorations, can be seen in the background of the first of these two pictures.


My contribution was to cut this grass,

pick up some of winter’s fallen branches, and help Jackie load some of the griselinia hedge cuttings into the car. The heap of these stretches the length of the back drive. We have decided the best disposal method is to bag them up in the large canvas gravel containers and cart them to Efford Recycling Centre. My lady had filled two bags. We took them away, one per trip. Naturally we returned with a large terra cotta plant pot.

Mr Pink’s fish and chips, for our meal this evening, was supplemented by Mrs Garner’s pickled onions; Mr Lidl’s Freshona pickled cornichons; and, in Jackie’s case, Hoegaarden, and in mine, more of the madiran.

Back In Time For Bargain Hunt

We now have quite a variety of daffodils in the garden. Here are some new ones:DaffodilDaffodils, camellia, and helleboresCamellia

Once they start turning an attractive ochre colour, the camellias develop an additional beauty.Pansies 1Pansy 1Pansies 2

Pansy 2

Numerous different pansies, some newly planted, some having prospered through the winter, enjoyed a warm, sunny day.Hyacinth

Hyacinths are really indoor plants, but it is always worth placing the bulbs in the garden once they have finished flowering, on the off-chance that they might survive. Some Jackie inserted last year have bloomed.

Just before mid-day Jackie drove us to Lymington Hospital for her post-scan consultation. She does need surgery to repair knee damage, and her name has consequently been put on a waiting list for an operation at the Nuffield Hospital in Chandlers Ford. Once again we were impressed with the friendly efficiency of the Lymington service. Where else could you drive six miles each way for a hospital appointment for 12.15, for which we admittedly arrived a few minutes early, and return home having missed only ten minutes of T.V.’s ‘Bargain Hunt’ which started at 12.30?Hellebores

We have so many hellebores shyly hanging their heads in the garden that Jackie decided to encourage the blooms to show their faces, and thus allow us to enjoy their variety without having to crouch down to look them in the eye. She cut a selection and placed them in a bowl of water. This ceramic was made by Jill Tattersall, a Newark friend.

The Happy Wok in Ashley was Jackie’s choice of Chinese takeaway dinner this evening. The portions are plentiful enough to feed us for a further day or two. She imbibed T’Sing Tao beer, whilst I consumed more of the claret..