“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.

Watering And Planting

Yesterday evening we met Becky and Ian at the Darbar restaurant in Emsworth. This was an excellent venue for our dinner. Inspired by the food of the Moguls the meals were quite unusual with aromatic spice blends; the service was friendly, tactful, and efficient. Jackie’s choice of main course was paneer shashlik; mine was goat and potato curry. We both enjoyed them very much. I also tried some of Ian’s creamy mild chicken curry. I’m not sure what Becky chose. We shared onion bahjis, plain parathas, and spinach and pilau rices. Becky drank Diet Coke, Jackie Kingfisher, and Ian and I Cobra. The enjoyable visit was completed when we drove on to our daughter and son-in-law’s flat in Southbourne to admire Becky’s artistic arrangements and refurbishments.

It is amazing that, in mid-May, we need to water the garden. The skies remained overcast but we received no rain.

My task today was to run the hose down the Back Drive and spray Aaron’s planting of yesterday. Allowing the hose to carry out its work in stages gave me the opportunity to wander round with the camera.

This foxglove is visible in the first of the drive pictures.

Clematises that have not featured before include the one on an obelisk just outside the Rose Garden; another Doctor Ruppel beside the Weeping Birch; and one sharing the Ace Reclaim arch in the Rose Garden with Zéphirini Drouin and

Crown Princess Margareta, beneath whom

sits Jacqueline du Pré.

Madame Alfred Carriere welcomes visitors to her domain.

The peach rose in the Oval Bed has really taken off this year.

It romps to the right of this view from the concrete patio; with Its partner to the left it came came with the house. The oriental poppies in the foreground are situated in the Weeping Birch Bed

which also houses this Sweet William.

The New Bed lies on the corner of the Back Drive; at the other end of the garden the bed before the wisteria arbour has filled out nicely.

This powder blue iris stands fronting the grass patch;

our white flowers also include antirrhinums

and Hawkshead fuchsias.

Bees, like this one diving into a geranium, continue to plunder pollen.

Hot lips now splash lipstick impressions over the Cryptomeria Bed.

The bench at the far end of the Dead End Path is never sat on. This is because it is generally covered in pigeon poop. Jackie has therefore filled it with decorative container planting which should mature nicely in the coming weeks.

This afternoon Elizabeth visited with her friend Franz for beverages and convivial conversation.

This evening we dined on moist chicken Kiev; tasty ratatouille including butternut squash; crisp cauliflower; and creamy mashed potatoes with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Fruits Of Labour

I am close to deciding on my final cut for the Everton Festival Photographic Competition. Many painful decisions are being made now, concerning which shots to leave out.

In order seriously to consider the deer having her nose scratched I have converted this image to Black and White, thus giving a sharper silhouette. This is, incidentally, quite a small crop from the original picture. Does anyone have an opinion?

Jackie has been working very hard all this week on planting and replenishment of soil.

Here she tidies what she has achieved against the kitchen wall;

this side of the patio, all of which has been repotted, leads through the Dead End Path,

Earlier plantings include this allium in the Palm Bed and clematis climbing the Wedding Day (formerly Agriframes) arch.

While I think of it, I have been calling the clematis wandering up the wisteria arbour Niobe; we now think it should be named Star of India.

It faces the bright red Chiliean Lantern tree.

Rose Altissimo stands sentinel between Elizabeth’s Bed and the

Rose Garden where Laura Ford’s yellow pigment splashes onto the heuchera border, and

Special Anniversary

nods to the numerous gloves the foxes have scattered therein.

Creamy yellow Summer Time makes its bid to support the peeling old shed;

Jacqueline du Pré plays on;

and the deep pink climber Elizabeth rediscovered races Roserie de la Haie to the skies.

The Weeping Birch Bed bursts with burgeoning blooms.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts roasted in sweet chilli sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and ratatouille with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Opulence

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Once more, today was scorchingly hot. Apart from gentle tidying up, watering was the order of the day.

Garden view towards Rose Garden

The hose in this garden view was trained on the Rose Garden, where

Rose Garden 1

pink foxgloves, golden heucheras, and blue clematises romp among roses like the yellow Laura Ford, and deep red roseraie De L’Hay;

Rose Garden 2

where pink Summer wine, and white Madame Alfred Cariere cover the blue wooden entrance arch;

Rose Garden 3

where Summer’s sculpted image just manages to peep through For Your Eyes Only;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and where Jacqueline du Pré has been fortunate to find shade.

Poppies 1Poppies 2Poppy 1

Giant poppies blaze in the first view above.

Bronze fennel, poppies, Canterbury bells

There are more alongside Canterbury bells and bronze fennel on the north side of the Back Drive,

Viper's bugloss and geranium palmatum

where viper’s bugloss, given to us by Giles in order to cater for bees, burgeons before geranium palmatums;

Rose Dearest and libertia

and where the buxom rose Dearest can just about hold up her head.

Clematises and gladioli

Clematises and gladioli thrive in the row of deep plastic window boxes that divides the Back Drive from the garden proper.

New Bed

Alongside this display stands the New Bed.

California poppies 1California poppy

We have California poppies in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Rhododendron

on the other side of which my favourite rhododendron is now blooming.

The last three days of sunshine have brought opulence to the garden.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, mashed swede and potato, carrots, cauliflower and runner beans, all cooked to perfection by the Culinary Queen, who finished the Bergerac blanc while I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Various Stages Of Life

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

The experts on the antiques programme Bargain Hunt, which we generally watch at lunchtime, tell us that silver items should not be polished, for that activity eventually obliterates the hallmarks. Many antique book dealers also believe that uncut book pages should be left in their pristine condition because taking a knife to them reduces their value.

This poses the question whether treasures are to be preserved in figurative amber and never used, or to be enjoyed for what they are

Count Morin, Deputy 1

I had no qualms about taking a sharp kitchen knife to the pages of

Count Morin, Deputy cover

a delightfully told political fable.

It is always interesting to speculate on who has read an old book, or indeed whether it has been read at all. In the old days when books were still well made to last, the pages were often joined at the edges and required cutting, as indicated above, in order to read them. So, if, as in this 1921 publication, you found uncut pages, you knew no-one else’s fingers had left their marks on the virginal leaves. It is such a pleasure to know that you were the first, and gives you a responsibility to take great care of your chosen treasure.

Although this slender little volume from The Bodley Head is illustrated throughout, I have chosen to restrain any impulse to scan the internal pages; because straining the spine to flatten the book in the scanner seems too high a price to pay; and because the woodcuts don’t appeal to me, as they display the heaviness I associate with Black Forest carving, thus denying the elegance of the text in translation by J. Lewis May.

Wood Pigeon and Owl

Without our double glazing I may have been able to eavesdrop on this avian conversation through the sitting room window.

My contribution to the general garden maintenance of the day was to hold the steps and otherwise assist The Head Gardener in retraining clematises at the front.

Jackie reflected training clematis

This photograph was executed with one hand on the steps, and the other on the camera.

Clematis

Clematises such as this one don’t yet need such mountaineering feats to support them;

Violas in hanging basket

and the hanging baskets are within easy reach.

Bird's nest

While tidying her containers behind the shed, Jackie has found a nest from which the chicks have hedged and flown without our knowing it was there.

Thalictrum

She has also found the thalictrum’s true element in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Shady Path

Visible in the Dragon Bed in the centre of this Shady Path view,

Peony

we have a new peony bloom.

Phantom Path

This view along The Phantom Path leads us to the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden entrance

up the entrance of which Madame Alfred Carière and Summer Wine are speedily making their way;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and within, Jacqueline du Pré displays various stages of life.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Kingston Connections

AS USUAL, IMAGES MAY BE ENLARGED BY CLICKING ON THEM. REPEAT IF NECESSARY.

Given to me by Barrie earlier in the year, Neil Grant’s book ‘Village London Past & Present’, which I just finished reading, was a perfect adjunct to David Lawrence’s ‘Bright Open Spaces’.

The author’s style is both informative and entertaining, and the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the past and what was, to Mr Grant when published, the present. Much is made of the pace of change at a time when the Millennium Dome and the London Eye were both buildings of the future. Indeed, when studying photographs labelled ‘today’ in 1991, I found myself asking questions. Even my own ‘Streets of London’ series begun in 2004 is now history.

100 years ago, the metropolis was indeed a series of villages, and residences of, say Wimbledon or Dulwich cling to that term today. It is hard to believe that the un-idyllic Camberwell once harboured an eponymous beauty in the form of a butterfly.

Having lived and worked in various of London’s villages for most of my life, I am familiar with most of the book’s coverage. I have chosen just one area of the capital to illustrate this post and outline my connections.

Let me begin with 1966, the year when, as an Assistant Child Care Officer, I entered Social Work. My post ‘An Attachment To The Gates’ tells of what I did to the gates of Kingston’s Guildhall. For a good laugh, it is to be highly recommended.

Kingston Market

An important town in the Middle Ages, Kingston has probably the oldest continuing market in the country. It was in August 1972 that Jackie and her friend Linda set up a stall in this market, displaying their own hand-crafted goods. I encouraged my work colleagues to admire the contents.

Anglers at Kingston

Sometime later in the 1970s, Matthew was seriously into fishing. It is perhaps possible that it was somewhere near this bank of the Thames, seen in about 1890, that I accompanied him on such an outing. I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t catch anything.

Kingston was also where we carried out most of our mudlarking.

Today’s heavy rain had desisted by mid-afternoon revealing

Weigela and allium

a humble white allium paying obeisance to a weigela;

rose Jacqueline du Pre

bejewelled Jacqueline du Pre;

rose Absolutely Fabulous

sparkling Absolutely Fabulous;

Fungus on dead tree root

fungus breaking out on the dead tree root;

Dianthus Sweet William

the dianthus Sweet William;

clematis Doctor Ruppel

and clematis Doctor Ruppel.

Cow parsley

Anyone having read last year’s posts may be aware of a slight difference of opinion between The Head Gardener and her serf about the wisdom of welcoming cow parsley into our garden. This year Jackie has reinforcements. Apparently these plants are now in fashion. Naturally I now offer not even token resistance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jafrezi, mushroom rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Llidl’s Bordeaux superieur 2011.

 

The Name Of The Rose

Substituting scissors for secateurs, the Head Gardener began the day by cutting my hair. We settled the dispute about how long ago she last performed this pruning, by referring to our customary aide-memoire – this blog. It was 14th March. There were no pestiferous flies to eradicate.

It seemed only fair for me to cut the grass.

Before that, in the dim light penetrating the complete cloud cover, I photographed three of yesterday’s rose purchases.

Roses Mum in a Million and Love Knot

Mum in a Million, yet to be planted, is positioned in front of Love Knot, already ascends its obelisk,

Rose Laura Ford

as does Laura Ford,

800px-LauraFord.ChinaCats.2

named after the contemporary sculptor,

seen here on Wikipedia which tells us that the artist ‘[grew] up in a travelling fairground family to the age of sixteen and attended Stonar School in Wiltshire. [She studied] at Bath Academy of Art (1978–82), whilst spending a term at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. She was invited to take part in the annual New Contemporaries at Institute of Contemporary Arts(1982). Ford has lived and worked in London since 1982 since studying at Chelsea School of Art (1982–83).’ She is photographed working on China Cats, commissioned by Shanghai Sculpture Park in 2012.

On the former compost bed

Gladioli etc

The gladioli have opened out;

Echinacea

the echinaceas have taken on their natural pink hue;

Bess on poppy

and pollinating bees vie for position, plundering the remaining poppies.

By this afternoon blooms had appeared on the roses

Hoverfly on rose Summer Wine

Summer Wine, already slaking the thirst of a hoverfly,

Rose Jacqueline du Pre

and Jacqueline du Pre, named after the great cellist.

220px-JacquelinedupredavidoffWikipedia, featuring this photograph of du Pre with her Davidov Stradivarius of 1712, and her husband Daniel Barenboim, has this to say about her:

‘Jacqueline Mary du PréOBE (26 January 1945 – 19 October 1987) was an English cellist. At a young age, she achieved enduring mainstream popularity unusual for a classical performer. Despite her short career, she is regarded as one of the more uniquely talented cellists of the second half of the twentieth century.

Du Pré is most famous for her iconic recording of Elgar‘s Cello Concerto in E Minor, her interpretation of which has been described as “definitive” and “legendary”.[1]

Her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, which forced her to stop performing at the age of 28. She battled the illness for many years, which ultimately resulted in an untimely death.’

Everyone of my generation will remember her well.

Veronicas and rose Mum in a Million

We completed more planting. Jackie moved the Mum in a Million, and, in honour of her late, beloved mother, flanked it by two Veronicas.

Then came the turn of

Rose Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate,

and Rose Gaujard, known until yesterday as lost label. This bears the name of its mid-twentieth century breeder, Jean Gaujard. It was slightly disappointing to learn that there was no-one called Rose for whom the plant was named.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, enhanced by the inclusion of ground cumin and coriander leaves; peas, cabbage, and carrots; followed by profiteroles. My accompaniment was more of the merlot. Jackie had already finished her Hoegaarden.

Afterwards, I made the mistake of watching the highlights of the first day of the Lords Ashes Test Match in which Australia scored 337 runs for 1 wicket. That’s good news if you are an Aussie.