A Ship In A Bottle

Some 100 yards or so to the east along Christchurch From our house lies the entrance to a series of quarry pits. Our friend Giles has learned that three of the pits have been filled with water and converted to bird sanctuaries. In recent months a series of gates into the woodland have appeared. I imagined that these may provide access to the waters. This morning I walked along to investigate. Each one of the gates bears a digital padlock on the inside.

The last two of these images show the dried ditch. Remaining enticed by views beyond the gates, I returned home thinking that further research would be in order.

A bonus was that I met and enjoyed a lengthy conversation with our next door neighbours, Laraine and David, from whom we have been largely in Covid-induced isolation for too many months.

Jackie continued work in the garden and later photographed the Brick Path which has become quite slippery. The first of these shots shows a completed section; the second, work in progress; and the third what was still to be done.

From later afternoon until early this evening, The Head Gardener continued her task to completion among the essential shade.

These three scenes comprise the southern, central, and northern, sections of the thoroughfare, which I photographed.

After lunch I had previously toured with my camera.

Slightly left of centre in this picture we see a rather spindly Jacqueline du Pré rose which was being choked by Japanese anemones. Jackie removed the invaders and bagged them up for the stack of garden refuse destined for the dump. I carried them across to join the others, and

photographed them while I was at it. These, containing material too woody for compost, have all been packed in the last fortnight.

Hydrangeas and hanging baskets need frequent watering during this hot weather which now warrants a government Amber heat warning.

Phlox of various hues are really flourishing; Rhapsody in Blue flowers again.

One day lily has penetrated the aluminium latticework of a bench on the lawn. Rather like a ship in a bottle it would have been neatly folded to facilitate entry before its sails were unfurled.

Before settling down to drinks in the Rose Garden, Jackie photographed a ladybird, perched higher than either of us, waiting for a sunflower to open.

We dined on flavoursome liver and bacon; boiled potatoes; cauliflower and carrots al dente; and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Shiraz.

Sunburst

I wandered around the garden late this afternoon, pointing the camera almost at random.

Here are the results. Don’t miss a couple of bees. The Puerto Rico dahlia provided a sympathetic sunburst. As usual, galleries will provide titles.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. We both enjoyed tempura prawns and fresh salad starters. My main meal was a superb rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato and peas; Jackie’s was the Wheel Inn Burger, salad, and chips with which she drank Kaltenberg, while I drank Ringwood’s best. Neither of us had room for dessert.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

Say “Bye”

I woke later than usual this morning. As I passed our upstairs windows soon after 7 a.m. I spied Jackie standing with a camera at the far end of the garden.

She was taking advantage of the early morning light, which was just as well for the first three images in particular.

Titles, as usual, can be gleaned after accessing each of the galleries with a click. Otherwise I will let her results speak for themselves.

This afternoon she drove me to

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, where I walked for thirty minutes along this reasonably even path.

So crowded were the car parks that we only just managed to find a space. Surrounding the car park, golden St John’s Wort glowed in the sunshine that pierced gaps between the

majestic giant redwoods

surrounded by bracken.

Now the tourist season has begun, and children have been let out of school, I do not walk alone.

Two little boys ran on ahead of their parents, pausing while a woman approached engrossed in her mobile phone. Having put it aside, she greeted me warmly.

Two gentleman I took to be the fathers of the boys called them to stop, caught up with them and turned to communicate with the likely mothers with whom I had been conversing.

The woman carrying a younger child, I think did not speak English. Nevertheless when, realising that they were pacing me and my knees, I urged them not to wait for me she held up her little boy to wave and say “bye”. Her companion had good enough English to tell me about her aunt’s hip replacement.

On my return to the car I paused to photograph a trio playing catch. Anyone who has been accustomed to catching a hard cricket ball will appreciate that it is much easier to pouch than is this yellow tennis ball.

When we set off for home string of cyclists wheeled along Rhinefield Road.

Just outside Brockenhurst a leisurely pony and foal were instructing a patient motorcyclist in the rules of the New Forest roads.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef, mushrooms and peppers in red wine; Yorkshire pudding; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which I finished the Grenacha Syrah. Mrs Knight had downed her Hoegaarden while seated on the patio in conversation with Nugget.

The Stumpery

Jill Weatherholt, in her comment on “The Path To Deadman Hill”, described Jackie’s young robin as a little nugget. His name is now Nugget.

She spent the morning conversing with him whilst tidying the Oval Bed.

After taking the above photographs I wandered round the garden.

Hydrangeas need a lot of water, but the Head Gardener is keeping them going.

Day lilies continue to thrive,

as do many lilies proper,

and, of course, roses like Gertrude Jekyll and Special Anniversary.

This sidalcea leads nicely to the red hydrangea beyond.

Now that the Wedding Day is over, gladiolus and clematis veil its arch.

Dahlia’s time is now.

This everlasting sweet pea has a scent which justifies its name.

Plants accommodated in containers during the last few weeks have proliferated. The iron urn’s examples happily spill and spread, while

the wicker chair by the Westbrook Arbour is occupied to overflowing.

A clematis shawl has been cast over the arch spanning the Phantom Path between the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds.

In the latter, yellow Lisymachia Alexander stretches across the gravel;

and at its western end clematis and day lilies cavort with the red bottle brush plant.

Phlox blend nicely with other plants in the Palm Bed,

alongside the Gazebo Path leading to the stable door.

From Charlie Dimmock, Jackie has been inspired to create a “stumpery”. She will clean up the face of this heap of griselinia stumps and give it a fern makeover.

Just as the one o’clock news was about to expand upon Mr Trump’s latest exploits, Malachi phoned me from Fremantle seeking my help with a word search. We were unable to obtain full reciprocal vision on FaceTime, so we began a game of Lexulous instead. Because they are seven hours ahead of us, my grandson had to go to bed before we finished.

Later this afternoon we drove to New Milton to buy some shoes for Jackie, then back to Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription.

This evening we dined at Totton’s excellent The Family House Chinese restaurant, where we enjoyed our favourite set meal and Tsing Tao beer.

Late Summer Flowering

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I began the day with a walk round the garden with the camera. Jackie joined me to ensure that I did not miss any of her special successes.

First was the front of the house, with clematis, nasturtiums, solanum and verbena bonariensis festooning the trellis in front of the garage door; honeysuckle old and new, and pink roses having another flush; and planters of geraniums, lobelia, and petunias.

Constantly watered geraniums and other goodies thrive along the kitchen wall, opposite Jackie’s precious pineapple plants (eucomis, but I can’t get the alliteration with that) in the bed.

Begonias beside the Head Gardener’s Walk spill out of their pot. The ferns in front of them were plucked from less hospitable positions and replanted by She Who Walks The Path.

Jackie paid particular attention to hydrangeas during the long hot spell. Some, like one in the Dragon Bed, and other low-lying specimens, were little more than dried up sticks. The Phantom version, after which its path has been named, has not flowered for three years. The blooms are much smaller than they should be, but at least they are there.

Rudbeckia, Japanese anemones and a late blooming, self-seeded day lily brighten the palm bed. The pink Japanese anemones occupy the Kitchen Bed.

More rudbeckia grace the grass patch border, as do lobelias Cardinalis.

We have crinum Powelliae in the Cryptomeria Bed; ginger lilies, and white gladioli in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The Westbrook Arbour planting, including that seated in the cane chair, has matured well, as have the solanum and clematis soaring above the dead tree at the far end of the Brick Path. Penny Lane has claimed the Gothic Arch.

Roses Lady Emma Hamilton, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Gaujard, and Hot Chocolate thrive in the revived Rose Garden;

the unknown peach rose and climbing Compassion overlook the patio.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where a little of my blood was extracted for a PSA test, essentially to rule out prostate cancer.

This evening the three of us dined at the Wallhampton Arms. Jackie enjoyed a smoked haddock fishcake starter; Elizabeth, potted shrimps; and whitebait for me. The ladies each chose spatchcock chicken as a main course, whereas I Chose ribeye steak. Jackie drank Moretti while Elizabeth and I shared a bottle of Nine Lives merlot 2016. Back at home, our dessert consisted of Jackie’s splendid apple and apricot crumble and custard.

A Harsh Day’s Light

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One consequence of the long, hot, cloudless, days we are currently enduring is the difficulty of photographing flowers. Today, I tracked the skies in order to avoid the burning rays, and focus on the more shaded sections of the garden.

It is the very early morning light that reaches and is gentlest on the front garden, keeping such as the trellis in front of the garage in the shade;

while the Starry Night petunias suspended over the porch; the orange day lilies; the lace cap hydrangea and the white marguerites; and the honeysuckle on the main trellis all benefit from a degree of filtering.

By mid morning in the main garden, strong contrasts featured in scenes such as the view from the Kitchen Bed across to the patio; and the Brick Path running from dark to light in either direction. The dead snake bark maple is becoming rather wobbly, so the days of hanging baskets enlivening it may be rather numbered.

Little orange poppy blooms are replacing the dead heads I removed a couple of days ago; fuchsia Delta’s Sarah; the red hydrangea beside the patio; the little pink patio rose on the edge of the Kitchen Bed; and the petunias in the cane chair blending with the phlox alongside; all retained sufficient shade.

Lilies, including those in urns in the Rose Garden; in the Cryptomeria Bed; and in the patio border embraced a dramatic mix of light and shade.

Yellow flowers of lysimachia ciliata Firecracker against red campion; various clematises, including one sporting a Small White butterfly, beside dahlias in the New Bed; day lilies and heucheras picked up the sun’s rays gratefully. The golden marigolds and yellow bidens in this chimney pot tolerated it.

The camera avoided the overhead rays of the early afternoon, so I watched the Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Kristina Mladenovic. Later, the sun was somewhat lower in the sky,

brightening the Shady Path with its hanging baskets and knifophias;

and the Palm Bed where alliums were being sprayed, and from a corner of which our eye was led to the geraniums in the chimney pot on the grass patch.

The light on the Rose Garden was now a little filtered on roses Special Anniversary and Creme de la Creme; sweet peas; and potted begonias and petunias.

This evening we watched the World Cup football match between Brazil and Belgium.

For dinner, Jackie produced excellent roast chicken, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, tasty gravy, mashed potato, flavoursome carrots, and runner beans.

 

 

Play Of Light

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Willows garden 1

Willows garden on Pilley Hill is situated on a steep but manageable incline. The house is perched in the middle of the plot with the effect that the rear beds are on the highest level and the land descends to the lily pond at the bottom.

We visited this colourful exuberance yesterday afternoon. In 2003, the current owners, Elizabeth and Martin Walker, bought a small bungalow with a natural ditch where the

Lily pond 2Lily pond 1Willows garden 4

pond is now situated. The current house was built in 2005.

Willows garden 3Hydrangea

Unusual varieties of hydrangea are one feature.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The herbaceous borders, on a grand scale,

Bees on dahlias

attract bees

Visitors admiring herbaceous border 1Visitor admiring herbaceous border

and visitors alike.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

Some of the dahlias are really quite strident.

Thistle

There are huge thistles

Ferns

and swirling ferns.

Willows garden 5

Plentiful seating was arranged. You could even sit under a parasol and employ your mobile devices;

Willows garden 7

you could sit side by side across the pond and watch the other visitors,

Couple crossing bridge

perhaps walking over one of the bridges,

Heron sculptures

passing a pair of hidden herons;

Jackie and Labrador

or you could sit quietly enjoying your cream teas, provided you were able to ignore the silent pleading of the resident Labrador.

The women washing up and giving out refreshments were not permitted to handle money, so you had to move across the room to pay the keeper of the coffers. This prompted me to recount the story of ‘A Retirement Project’.

Bamboo

Some of the plants would have graced a much hotter environment. A clump of bamboo soared to the skies,

Banana tree

and a banana tree,

Light through banana leaves 1Light through banana leaves 2Light through banana leaves 4Light through banana leaves 5

as we departed, proffered the light a leafy playground.

Balloon in oak tree

The final surprise was the balloon tree.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where my main course was king prawn naga and Jackie’s was chicken hariali. We shared special fried rice, a paratha, and an onion bahji; both drank Kingfisher.

 

Is This The Beast?

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Microlite 1Microlite 3

Yesterday evening, whilst having drinks on the patio, a steady chugging overhead made me feel rather queasy. It took me back to Cumbria in the 1990s. 

As we were promised several hours of rain this afternoon, Jackie spent the morning watering the garden, and I took some photographs. The rain arrived just as Jackie had finished.

I’ll write that again. Because she is going away for three days with her sisters The Head Gardener spent the morning watering the garden. Although rain was expected it does not penetrate the soil in pots and hanging baskets.

My day was largely administrative, involving contacting Environmental Health about next door, visiting the Care Home on the other side of North Breeze to discuss this; arranging for delivery of the greenhouse; and having a meeting at the bank.

Petunias, geraniums, verbena bonarensis, erigerons

I rarely focus on the happy proximity of planting that we enjoy in the garden. Today I will begin with a view that meets us as we open the kitchen door. The erigeron in the foreground has, with Jackie’s midwifery, spawned offspring all over the garden. The petunias and geraniums in the various pots sit pleasingly together, and the tall verbena bonarensis, as it does everywhere, towers aloft.

Petunias, bidens, cosmoses, geranium palmatums

Across the other side of the patio, petunias, cosmoses, and geranium palmatums blend well with the distant spirea, The contrasting bidens, like every other one in the garden, is self seeded from last year.

Cosmoses

We are led back along the Kitchen Bed to this corner from verbenas, geraniums, cosmoses and bidens, through day lilies and more.

Petunias

Various day lilies lurk behind more suspended blue and white petunias in the Dragon Bed,

Petunias

pink and white varieties of which share their berth in the herbaceous border with blue and white lobelias,

Petunias, marigolds

and purple ones swing on the breeze in the company of bright marigolds and geraniums at the western end of the Phantom Path.

Petunias and marguerites

Others produce a white theme with marguerites, with dappled blue and white examples beneath.

Geraniums and petunias

A pink display is provided by more petunias, geraniums, and lobelia, more of the first two in the background with the red Japanese maple, rosa glauca against the fence and palmatums in the foreground.

Here, pink diascas are backed by the strident red bottle brush plant.

When the next two poppies open they will have something to say to these phlox.

Clematis Star of India

Verbena bonarensis sentinels surround this Star of India clematis,

Clematis

whereas Madame Julia Correvon cartwheels across the dead prunus pissardi towards phlox and penstemon.

Petunias and clematis

Petunias hanging near the Brick Path repeat the purple of another Star of India.

Hydrangea and day lily

This vibrant potted hydrangea reflects geranium palmatums in Elizabeth’s bed containing equally powerful day lilies.

Hydrangeas and fuchsia

A similar hydrangea takes the eye through red geraniums to a fuchsia Magellanica, with ferns, lobelias, and verbena bonarensis joining the party.

Hydrangea and geranium palmatums

Further along the bed a cooler note is stuck by a paler hydrangea and geranium palmatums.

Begonia 1

Two different begonia and lobelia combinations hang over the Brick

Begonia 2

and Heligan Paths.

California poppies 1

Jackie is particularly pleased with these California poppies grown from seed spilling over the rocks among the grasses on the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose Super Elfin and snapdragons

The red and white of Super Elfin rambler and neighbouring snapdragons contrast like the emblems of Lancaster and York in England’s fifteenth century Wars of the Roses.

Petunias, poppies,

Further along the herbaceous border one can rest among poppies, petunias, lobelias, and verbenas.

Clematis and verbena bonarensis

Clematis Margaret Hunt frolics among verbena bonarensis in the Back Drive barrier.

Rabbit on patio 1Rabbit on patio 2

As I reached the conclusion of this tour I came upon a surprise scampering among the shrubs, pattering across the patio, and hopping under a hole scooped out of the soil under the North Breeze fence. Was this The Beast that burrows into our garded? If so it will not be alone. This prompted my call to Environmental Health. They have already been alerted to the vermin. They are interested in rats. They are only interested in mice if they are indoors. They do not do rabbits.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

Where’s That Smile?

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The lower temperature brought a cooler and more pleasant day on which The Head Gardener continued her creative planting, serious weeding, and cutting back. I dead-headed roses, carted debris to the compost heap, and made a few pictures.

Kitchen wall planting 2

The planting on the kitchen wall now seems complete. But you can never be sure. It might be possible to squeeze in something else.

Kitchen wall planting 1

Surely, however, the corner viewed from the patio has more than its share of hanging baskets

Kitchen corner planters featuring petunias, violas, and bidens

and a profusion of pots beneath them.

Kitchen BedKitchen Bed 2

Even the kitchen window reflects its eponymous bed.

Urn containing petunias, alyssum.geraniums, and cosmoses

This is the stone urn standing behind the frog pond on the patio end.

Rose Garden

We have a number of carpet roses which provide a profusion of ground cover. This one in the Rose Garden flirts with Love Knot and Alan Titchmarsh.

Rose Hot Chocolate

Some of you may prefer Hot Chocolate.

Rose Mama Mia

Mama Mia produces a splendid show,

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

and, Emma Hamilton hangs her heavy head into the arms of Absolutely Fabulous.

Rose Super Elfin

Super Elfin, the red rambler in the herbaceous border, virtually uprooted by the beast coming under the North Breeze fence, has benefited from our deterrents and promises to climb to dizzy heights.

Hydrangea 2

Of all the spindly little plants that have received nurture from Jackie, she is justifiably proud of two colourful hydrangeas with dark-trimmed leaves.

Clematis and rosa glauca 2Clematis and rosa glauca

It has taken two years to train this clematis, now mingling with rosa glauca on the arch spanning the Head Gardener’s Walk.

New Bed 1Poppies in New BedPoppies in New Bed

The New Forest is not new. It was, after all where William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, was killed. But, like Jackie’s New Bed, now two years old, it was once. Both are ageing gracefully.

Verbena

Did you, as a child, ever have a kaleidoscope toy? If so, I imagine you could have produced something like this verbena, nature’s own.

Antirrhinum

We have many antirrhinums. Here is a red one.

Petunias in hanging basket, Jackie's smilePetunias and Jackie's smile 2

Jackie took the occasional rest. Sometimes she sat on the Ace Reclaim bench where she could admire her plantings such as the petunias in this hanging basket;

Phlox

the blue phlox in the bed facing her;

Phantom Path

the Phantom Path;

Florence sculpture

the sculpture entitled Florence, now perhaps bidding for the name Flora;

Garden view across Margery's bed from Ace Reclaim bench

and the view across Margery’s bed with its proliferation of day lilies,

Day lily 1Day lily 2

 other examples of which are these.

Did you spot both smiles?

This evening, the friendly Mr Chan produced our meal, which Jackie collected from Hordle Chinese Take Away. I finished Jessie’s excellent Chablis.