Mediterranean Volunteers

Sweltering in the warm morning sunshine while listening to the trilling of small songbirds and the repetitive cries of a successfully mated wood pigeon I pulled up swathes of Sticky Willy or Ladies’ Bedstraw in an attempt to halt their upward progress to flower beyond my reach.

Two other climbers, Paul’s Scarlet and Altissimo, each embellish one end of the garden;

a yellow one now clambers over the parade of dead stumps lining the Back Drive.

Foxgloves, as in this image of clematises against the patio fence, are photobombing everywhere, so I gave them two pictures of their own.

Other volunteers include these gladioli Byzantinus which, possibly seeking cooler climes, have escaped from the Mediterranean.

The Rose Garden is filling up with flowers.

A may tree stands at the back garden gate; although the eponymous Weeping Birch on its demise has been severely truncated and will be draped in a clematis in due course its Bed will forever bear its name.

The Chilean Lantern tree is lighting up the corner of the Gazebo Path, while the Wedding Day rose will soon provide a bouquet spanning the Brick Path.

This budding allium and Doctor Ruppel each promise more blooms.

A clump of irises and clusters of blue solanum compliment each other.

Erigeron and ferns sprout from the stumpery.

Later, I published

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty savoury rice with spicy, salt and pepper and tempura prawn preparations.

The Light Of Day

This morning I handed in my sample for sending to the lab and enjoyed a telephone conversation with Doctor Moody-Jones who gave me an appointment for a week’s time after which the test results would be in and I would have completed the course of antibiotics.

One of the advantages of ignoring the steady drizzle and drop in temperature of an overcast day is that the diffused light is helpful for

photographing flowers, which I did this afternoon. These examples all bear titles in the gallery.

Bearing witness to Martin’s opening up of the beds is this

rhododendron which has never flowered since we came here a decade ago. Having experienced too much shade it now sees the light of day.

This evening Jackie visited Red Chilli for one of their excellent takeaway meals. The establishment was in darkness; closure notices and bailiff’s warning on the windows.

So she came home and we fed on pizzas and salad.

A Growth Spurt

Today was warmer than yesterday, but largely overcast until after lunch when I wandered around the garden with my camera taking advantage of the diffused light.

Before then I made considerable further progress with “Kristin Lavransdatter”.

The very hardy Erigeron plants are popping up everywhere, as are the yellow Welsh poppies now in need of my deadheading duties.

Clusters of libertia, like these beneath the wisteria, are quite prolific.

Our bright red varieties of rhododendron thrust themselves into view whichever way we look.

Fine blue irises stand proud.

Jackie’s greenhouse cuttings are burgeoning.

Peonies are becoming massive.

Shrubs such as spirea, vibernum plicata, weigela, and the last, now identified by Martin with the aid of an App on his phone, as a deutzia, are in full bloom.

Ferns, including those acting as backdrop for the orange tip butterfly, are fully unfurled.

Bees also visited such as the vinca.

This antirrhinum sat well in front of a red maple fading from view.

The Rose Garden is beginning to prosper.

The copper beech is in good leaf after its recent trimming,

and the clematis against the fence between us and North Breeze is bursting into stellar shape.

After such a wet April the current warmth has made for a sudden growth spurt.

This evening we dined on spicy beef burgers, chunky chips, chestnut mushrooms, baked beans and onion rings, with which I drank a Reserva Privado Chilean Merlot 2022.

A New Visitor

Having already drafted yesterday’s post I joined the family on the patio chairs being entertained by Ellie in her bath, during which time I wandered off to have a look at Jackie’s planting from earlier in the day.

A creature that none of us recognised flew silently past my left ear and came to rest on a dry stem not yet removed from, appropriately enough, the Dragon Bed. Unusually, it remained long enough for me to return inside to collect my camera and to photograph it. In fact it remained in situ for much of the rest of the afternoon, circling those who disturbed it and returning to its chosen perch. Later research revealed our visitor to be a broad bodied female chaser – a dragonfly native to our New Forest.

Now I was grasping the camera I photographed a few flowers, each of which bears a title in the gallery.

This morning Jackie unclogged the Waterboy Fountain, and this

afternoon transferred the astrantia photographed yesterday in its pot to the soil in the Pond Bed.

After lunch I converted this post from Classic to Blocks edit and changed the category to Garden. I needed the assistance of Wayback Machine to identify missing photographs which I then traced in my iMac Photos, omitting rugby photos taken from the TV screen because they were not crucial to the post and I had had enough,

My gardening tasks today, partly this morning, partly this afternoon, involved dead heading and weeding.

I then photographed a batch of scenes which should put yesterday’s images into context. Again titles are with the galleries.

This set pictures the Rose Garden.

This evening we all dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie, Dillon, and I shared Asahi beer.

Down To The Lakes At Iris Time

After an uneventful forest drive when no-one was about,

Jackie and I brunched at the Lakeview Café beside Orchard Lakes.

Before we ate, I walked around the pair of manmade lakes circled by banks of buttercups, daisies, and dandelions, bordered by hedges hosting may blossom; with scattered lifebelts placed in case someone fell in, the water was the fixed focus of attention of carefully socially distanced silently reflecting elderly gentlemen gazing into the depths in hopes of a tug at their periodically adjusted line or a tell-tale surface ripple signalling a flailing finny catch.

It may be lilac time at Kew, but here it is the time for yellow flag irises.

With the rest of the family all out for the day, and having seen our brunch, no-one will be surprised that Jackie and I enjoyed small amounts of left-overs this evening – mine our takeaway curry, and Jackie oven fish and chips – with which she drank more of the Zesty and I drank Moerbei Testarosso Sangiovese 2020

Ecological Duties

Much of my day was spent on time consuming administration involving e-mails, phone calls, and research concerning blogs, electricity consumption, and on line banking..

Later, after making purchases at Ferndene Farm Shop Jackie drove me briefly round the forest.

Irises have pierced the ground beneath the surface of the reflecting Winterborne pool upon which camellia blooms have mysteriously arrived alongside Bisterne Close. How did the flowers get there?

Mossy tree roots hold firm on the corner of Bisterne Close and

Bennetts Lane, opposite which a tree, toppled

and sawn up a few years ago is steadily carrying out its ecological duties by degenerating into dust to replenish the soil.

A pair of ponies foraged between burnt gorse stems and golden gorse alongside Holmsley Passage.

This evening Jackie and I enjoyed second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway accompanied by Hoegaarden and the last of the Malbec, while Flo and Dillon consumed Ferndene sausages, carrots, mashed potato and broccoli, and Ellie was happy with Mashed potato and mango chutney juice.

South Sway Lane

This morning Jackie drove me to the surgery at Milford on Sea where I received my booster Covid vaccination with no problems. We then continued on forest drive.

I stepped out of the car at South Sway Lane, where a fine specimen of buttercups lined the verges opposite the ubiquitous cow parsley,

and carpeted fields with a distant horse enjoying the comfort of fly masks. I

had been initially attracted by the crop of yellow irises.

Two dark bay ponies shared the nearest field. One hopefully trotted over to

investigate me, bringing cloud of flies of a like mind. How this patient creature must have envied the more pampered field horse which was protected from the pesky insects.

On the opposite side of the road moon daisies lined a verge beyond which lay a landscape swathed in varicoloured grasses.

A couple of friendly cyclists sped down the dappled tarmac.

Jackie was struck by the cathedral quality of the oak roof beams spanning Rodlease Lane. She stopped to produce the portrait style photograph, while I made the two landscape versions, one, of course, looking backwards.

A trio of ponies tripped among the daises on the verges of Sway Road.

As we arrived home I noticed what beckons to those who drive past our front entrance.

For dinner this evening we all three enjoyed more servings of those we had yesterday, with more pie filling for Flo and fresh vegetables for us all. Jackie drank Tsing Tao beer and I drank Swartland Shiraz 2020.

21 Chestnut Road

This afternoon we visited another NGS garden – 21 Chestnut Road, Brockenhurst.

This is my selection of photographs;

here are Flo’s. As usual each of these images bears a title in the galleries.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where the food and service was as good as ever. Jackie’s main course was Lal Quilla Special, Flo’s was Lamb Biriani, and mine was Chicken Jaljala. We shared pilau rice, sag paneer, egg paratha, and peshwari Nan. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, while Flo drank J2O.

In The Greenhouse

Reportedly only for a couple of days, the wind had stilled overnight. The day was dull and warmer, with very little rain.

Jackie spent much of the morning rescuing tossed pots and loosened climbers.

After lunch I gathered up numerous small broken branches, then cut the grass and produced a few pictures, one of which shows

the pieris between the Nottingham Castle bench and the planted chimney pot.

Florence enjoys this view across the lawn to North Breeze.

Jackie’s latest owl purchase remained safely perched on its log, surveying the view across the Dead End Path.

We also have aquilegias, violets, dicentras, peonies, and a few lingering camellias.

A number of blue irises grace the Weeping Birch Bed and elsewhere.

Some plants, like the osteospermums in the Cryptomeria Bed have suffered from wind burn.

The Gazebo Path; and the Dragon and Palm Beds have recovered well.

Jackie spent much of the afternoon potting up in the greenhouse, where she was decorated with libertia reflections.

Later I scanned the next seven of Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations to Charles Dickens’s “Nicholas Nickleby”.

‘Mr Tix transferred his admiration to some elegant articles of wearing apparel, while Mr Scaley proceeded to the minute consideration of a pimple on his chin’

‘The two combatants chopped away until the swords emitted a shower of sparks’ is a typical balanced depiction of action from Mr Keeping.

‘There bounded onto the stage a little girl in a dirty white frock who turned a pirouette’. Nothing less than a full page would suffice for her.

In ‘Two strong little boys were dragging the phenomenon in different directions as a trial of strength’, Mr Keeping has shown how balance is maintained by their planted stances.

To depict the distance between the higher admirer and the performer on stage in ‘The warmth of her reception was mainly attributable to a most persevering umbrella in the upper boxes’ the artist has used the different levels of the double spread.

‘Lord Verisoft threw himself along the sofa in order to bring his lips nearer to the old man’s ear’

In ‘ We come on a mission, Mrs Nickleby’ ‘ the success of the smarmy flattery is clearly apparent.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon; firm boiled potatoes and carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Meet Nugget Junior

This morning while gardening Jackie photographed

rose Emily Gray, a highly scented rambler gracing

the back drive border out of sight in this shot;

clematis Doctor Ruppel climbing the weeping birch;

a row of blue irises with the bonus of a yellow stowaway in the bag of bulbs;


and his son Junior, still not qualified to wear the red jersey.

After lunch I managed the photoshoot.

On the kitchen corner of the patio we have delicate magenta gladioli Byzantinus blending with deep blue verbena Vectura and pink pelargoniums,

in turn reflecting similarly hued diascia potted above cascading Erigeron.

Nearby stands this peach rose we inherited.

Ornamental alliums of a number of varieties are gradually un-peeling throughout the garden.

Nugget attempted to encourage his son to feed from the suet pellet tray, but the youngster was deterred by my wandering around

the vicinity of the wisteria arbour.

I therefore focussed on this from above, showing how the rose Paul’s Scarlet and the clematis Star of India are poised to replace the fading pale blue blooms.

Later Jackie came in for her camera when Nugget and Junior both occupied the tray. Unfortunately they were gone by the time she returned.

Later, Nugget left Junior to his own devices while he flew off with a pellet for the next brood. Apparently robins are such prolific breeders that they can produce 3 to 5 clutches of up to five eggs a year. As soon as the youngsters earn the red jersey they are chased off by their father, so Junior will soon go and find someone else’s garden.

The marigolds in the Oval Bed continue to proliferate.

In the Rose Garden For Your Eyes Only is bushing out nicely, while Gloriana towers above it;

Schoolgirl vaults the arbour;

and flamboyant Festive Jewel,

sprightly Summer Wine and middle-aged Madame Alfred Carriere

carelessly cavort in concert.

This evening we dined on minted lamb steaks, boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and firm Brussels sprouts with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.