Visiting Restrictions

This morning I printed a set of photographs for Aaron of his grappling with the erection of the Agriframes Bower.

After this Elizabeth dropped in to return a hammer and drink a cup of tea. She stayed for lunch after which we engaged in a wide-ranging discussion much of which centred on the coronavirus. This pandemic now seems to be following a geometric progression throughout Europe with consequences that are beginning to effect us all.

Andy, Elizabeth’s beloved son-in-law, despite asthma and diabetes,  has trained steadily for this year’s London marathon which has now been postponed to October.

Louisa and her family are booked to visit her brother, Sam, and his family in Australia in a couple of weeks’ time. It must be touch and go whether they will be able to fly.

With 41 cases of the virus now in our county the inevitable procedures have yesterday been implemented in Mum’s care home. Only near relatives can visit: we have to ring the bell for admission; wash; and have our temperature taken when inside. It can only be a matter of time before visits will be banned altogether. On leaving us, my sister would go on to see Mum and report back on the smoothness of the procedure.

Apparently those of us over 70 will be ordered to self isolate within a matter of weeks. The courage of the villagers of Eyam should never be forgotten.

After rain during the rest of the afternoon spent reading I wandered, camera round neck, while the weak evening light still held.

It only takes a twitch from me for the birds to scatter from the feeders suspended from the prunus Autumnalis in the front garden which contains a range of plants including

euphorbias, also found elsewhere, such as

on the back drive borders.

Ipheions persistently push through the patio paving;

Numerous hellebores,

and daffodils add their splashes of colour. The peach-centred beauties above are from a trough Jackie planted up for Mum when she was still in her own home.

Primroses appear throughout the garden, but there are still some waiting for a permanent place.

We now have some idea of the tints of the tulips sharing their pots with purple pansies.

Grape hyacinth spears stand proud. These are fronted by New Zealand flax.

The more cultivated hyacinths transplanted from gift pots continue to thrive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beefy cottage pie; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2018.

 

 

A.P. Maintenance

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In the garden this morning, envious of the attention given to the daffodils yesterday, many other plants clamoured to be photographed.

Readers may have noticed a hyacinth lurking among the daffodils. Here are a couple more, one seeking camouflage from the as yet uncleared autumn leaves.

Cowslips soar from the soil at the bottom of the back drive.

Along the beds there we have perennial wallflowers and primroses. That lady’s bedstraw will have to come out.

Alliums

Alliums are beginning to proliferate,

Grape hyacinths

and grape hyacinths are popping up.

Some bulbs, like these forcing their way through geraniums

Bulb unknown 3

or these from between patio stones, we cannot identify. The second, thanks to Rusty duck’s comment below, I can now say is Ipheion uniflorum. Geoff, thebikinggardener.com has added this information: ‘The first one – the pinkish one, is Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’ and the next one is Ipheion uniflorum as you say – although it has just had its name changed to Tristagma. (not just a minute ago)’

Aubretia

Some aubretia seem almost fluorescent.

The tiny clematis Cirrhosa now festoons the gazebo.

Jackie spent the morning clearing the garden beds, while I transferred the residue to the compost heaps.

Anyone who has followed this blog for the last two and a half years will know how invaluable Aaron, of A.P. Maintenance has been. He gets through a phenomenal amount of work on his regular Sunday morning visits. Today, for example, not only did he finish weeding the back drive, but he also

fixed the House sign into position at the front of the house

and pruned the crab apple trees in order to promote fruit for next winter’s blackbirds.

Old Old Post House sign

Jackie’s sign has now been switched to the other side of the entrance.

Ponies in the New Forest are normally to be seen fending for themselves. They are naked but for their own hair which generally lengthens during the winter; and they have to find their own food. Late in the afternoon, we drove out into the forest where, close to Linford, I spotted an equine group who appeared to be enjoying hotel facilities. They were all chomping away at a large hay bin, and one wore a rug. Like young children at the trough, more of the fodder landed on the floor than reached their stomachs.

The five-barred gate on which I leant to photograph the diners bore the sign for Newlands Farm. On our return home I Googled the farm. It was indeed a horse hotel of sorts. This is what their website has to say:

“Newlands offers you over 75 acres of well-managed grassland. We offer two types of grass livery care packages,with amazing riding from the farm gate directly onto the open New Forest , with no roadwork at all.

The farm is superbly located being less than 3 minutes from the market town of Ringwood yet set right within the New Forest National Park. The farm is run and situated alongside New Forest Livery and Training. Newlands is a professionally-managed farm providing superb grazing and care packages for your horse combined with access to superb outriding.

Grass Livery – Horses at grass are either :

– Visited regularly by their owners, or

– Retired/resting, ‘Owner-Away Option’, where owners visit less often, so we maintain the care.”

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious fare. I finished the Fleurie while Jackie drank sparkling water.

Sold By Spencers Of The New Forest

On a glorious spring morning Jackie drove us to Ferndene Farm Shop in Bashley Cross Road. The ground is drying up and many pools on the roads and heathland receding.

I have before photographed the shelves inside this shop which has the best produce of its kind I have sampled. The produce outside would grace any good garden centre. Like everything else they sell, all the merchandise is in tip-top condition.

A good range of garden plants and wonderfully colourful cut flowers glowed in the sunshine.

Primulasprimulas close-up

Brightly hued primulas were much in evidence.

Daffodils & hyacinthsHyacinths & violets

Daffodils, violets, and hyacinths were arrayed in trays.HeathersShrubs & heathers

Grasses etc

Less flamboyant shrubs, heathers, and grasses displayed pastel hues.

Cut flowersCut flowers 2

The most vibrant palettes had provided pigments for the roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums in the various bouquets. There were also bunches of tulips and narcissi.

Compost

Even the compost bags are attractively packaged.

From the farm shop we drove to Milford on Sea and wandered around there for a bit, then checked out Everton Nurseries. You see, Spencers’ sign in the garden of the house on which we have recently exchanged contracts to purchase, confirms that Ferndene Farm Shop, Milford on Sea, and Everton Nurseries will soon be our local resources.

 It announces:Sold sign

The farm shop’s superb smoked ham provided the meat for our salad lunch.

This afternoon I watched two Six Nations rugby matches on television. Ireland beat Italy by a lot and France beat Scotland by a little. Neither game was very inspiring, although Brian O’Driscoll enlivened the Irish performance by profitable flashes of brilliance, and Yoann Huget scored a ninety metre interception try for the French.

This evening we dined on battered cod and chips, gherkins, pickled onions and mushy peas, with which I drank a glass of Bergerac Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012.