Elizabeth Meets Ellie

This afternoon, while Jackie drove Flo, Dillon. and Ellie out shopping, I watched a BBC recording of yesterday’s delayed start of the final cricket Test Match between England and South Africa.

I then took a walk round the garden with my camera.

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We had given up these gladioli in the heatwave. They have revived nicely as have the nasturtiums in the background.

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Begonias are all doing well;

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as are Japanese anemones.

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A fly had visited Winchester Cathedral,

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and a bee, verbena bonariensis.

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Roses Crown Princess Margareta,

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Doris Tysterman,

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and Super Elfin, continue to thrive.

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Elizabeth visited this afternoon to meet Ellie.

My sister stayed for dinner which consisted of oven fish and chips (haddock and cod); mushy peas, pickled onions and gherkins, with which Elizabeth and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône; Jackie drank Hoegaarden; and Flo and Dillon drank fruit cordial.

Afterwards I watched the recorded highlights from today at the test match.

Birth Announcement Card

The fairly regular substantial showers of heavy rain that we are experiencing this week has really freshened the garden and perked up flagging flowers such as

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Japanese anemones which are somewhat stunted;

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solanums both blue and white like this one that cascades over a tall dead elm;

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various dahlias had been dried up and hanging limp;

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several of these lilies had bowed low and lost their bloom;

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Absolutely Fabulous continues to live up to her name;

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Flower Power has risen like the Phoenix;

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For Your Eyes Only still draws insects on the wing;

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Rosa Glaucas’ blooms may be over, but their hips shine with health.

This afternoon Becky helped me make a birth announcement card for Ian’s concerned stepmother. This involved printing and resizing

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this photograph produced by Flo when Ellie was 6 days old, for the front page,

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and this one at 14 hours taken by Dillon for the inside.

During this process, when Becky was using the mouse and I was wanting to add my input to the screen, I absent-mindedly tried to do it with my glasses case. Several times. Later, in the sitting room, Becky, who had been the last to leave the computer, casually mentioned to her mother that she wanted to wait until her Dad had shut down the iMac. Even when Jackie became impatient for me to do so, I didn’t twig what was going on. I decided to comply.

Lined up in place of the confiscated mouse were my mobile and landline phones, two specs cases, and two TV remote controls. The two ladies stood leaning in the doorway quivering with silent glee.

Ian, who had paid for yesterday’s takeaway, went back home to Southbourne late that night and so was not with us to partake of the leftovers this evening.

The rest of us grazed when we had motive and opportunity. Jackie and I enjoyed the first sitting entertained by lightning strikes momentarily illuminating the tails of cats and dogs swept along in blustering gusts lashing the windows to the sound of manic drum rolls that was another electric storm. Mrs Knight drank Peroni, and I drank Château La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020.

When I returned to write this last paragraph my white mouse had transmogrified into a bar of soap.

Synchronised Grazing

This morning, while Jackie continued her general garden maintenance, including mowing the lawn, lulled by the gentle trill of birdsong and the tinkling trickle of water fountain, I enjoyed a dead heading session before wandering around with my camera.

Roses receiving attention included a peach climber; pink Mum in a Million at two of her stages of life; deep red centred For Your Eyes Only; lighter centred Summer Wine; golden yellow Absolutely Fabulous; pale pink Shropshire Lad and blushing Lady Emma Hamilton in their younger incarnations.

A Small White butterfly alighted on a verbena bonariensis between stems of Festive Jewel;

a comma stopped upon another;

a bee visited a salvia.

The first of these two white plants are hollyhocks grown from allegedly red seed; the second, Japanese anemones.

A pink version of the latter hides a lurking hoverfly.

Gauras, rudbeckia, and double lilies are all doing well.

The Lawn Bed and the Gazebo Path both sport splendid colour.

After lunch, we visited the Barbe Baker Museum shop in Lymington to buy some hand made birthday presents, then continued into the forest.

Ponies grazed on Hatchet Moor within sight of the eponymous pond and its waterlilies,

photographed by me,

and by Jackie,

who also captured the first of these cygnet images,

seen here with their parents.

I watched a wet dog return to the water where it attacked an inoffensive tree.

Its owner informed me that, like Becky’s Scooby, her animal would chase sticks thrown in the water, but never bring them back, so he resorted to replenishing the supply.

A pony foal wandered across the tarmac to the East Boldre end of St Leonard’s Road, and proceeded to accompany its mother in synchronised grazing.

Other members of the group did their best to block the road,

while another did her best to suck soup from the rapidly drying corner pool.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; boiled new potatoes; and fresh salad, with which Jackie drank Greco di Tufo white wine and I drank Torre de Ferro Reserva Dao 2017.

Sunny Periods

As the early morning sunshine made way for the later gloom I assisted the Head Gardener in some tidying of the garden whilst also

recording the current state of affairs. Along with various views I photographed dahlias, fuchsias, clematises, roses, nicotiana, leaves of Weeping Birch and Virginia creeper, asters, a bee, and begonias. Clicking on any image will access the gallery which provides individual titles and aids enlargement.

Later this afternoon because we were promised sunny periods we went in search of some, finding one bestowing its charms on Ibsley where

an assortment of pigs frenziedly competing for mast rocketed along the leaf-dappled verges and to and fro across the roads grunting, snuffling, occasionally squealing in isolated panic and frantically dashing about, perplexing the be-rugged field horses and amusing visiting drivers.

The forded stream is now reasonably full,

and the surrounding landscapes rich in autumn colour.

A solitary pony at Appleslade sported.a caramel coat.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, the sweeter variety being softer centred; herby sage and onion stuffing; tender cabbage and firm Brussels sprouts, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Médoc.

Still Going Strong

This morning I cut the grass and produced a few photographs.

Individual titles appear on the galleries.

This afternoon I almost finished reading Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley which I will feature tomorrow.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of sag bhaji and mild prawn curry starter from Forest Tandoori followed by the main event in the form of Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Precipitation Photoshoot

Beneath a constantly percolating cloud colander parky temperatures prevailed throughout the day.

I stayed at the computer while the Assistant Photographer produced the

precipitation photoshoot. Click on any image to access the gallery where each picture bears it own title.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy mango and lime piri-piri chicken served with chilli-potent savoury rice topped with omelette, followed by apricot jam tart and custard, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

Spotlights

General garden maintenance this morning included Jackie’s replanting of the

Iron Urn consisting of pansies underplanted with purple tulips, having replaced the root-bound soil; and much more clipping, chopping, and bagging of wayward shrubs.

The winter pansies now blend well with the pale purple colchicums or autumn crocuses, phlox, and Japanese anemones while contrasting with Puerto Rico dahlias.

Pelargoniums and lobelias hang happily over the Pond Bed with its Japanese maples, neighbours to

red and white dahlias.

Japanese anemones,

many attracting hoverflies. continue to proliferate.

The hoverflies enjoy other flowers such as this rain-freckled pale pink rose; you will probably need to access the gallery and bigify the ginger lily to spot its fly, but perhaps not the bluebottle on the tiny diascia.

Numerous happy plantings like pelargoniums and sweet peas; eucalyptus with suspended petunias and cascading bidens; and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah with more pelargoniums continue to produce.

Further fuchsias include the red and purple Mrs Popple and the delicate white Hawkshead;

most petunias also hang from baskets.

Yellow antirrhinums have bloomed non-stop since early spring; many sweet peas persist; pieris produces red leaves.

The sun spotlights mossy stones at the edge of the Gazebo Path.

We now have so many full garden refuse bags that Jackie tried to book the one permitted half hour slot at the recycling centre. This, of course, can only be done on line. There are none available for the rest of the month; more distant appointments will be ‘posted soon’.

Later in the afternoon we carried out extensive watering.

Unfortunately I submitted yesterday’s post without realising that I had omitted the virgin beef pie picture, with the result that those who viewed it first will not have seen the complete rudbeckia bas relief. That has now been rectified by the inclusion of the original, and here is an image of today’s second serving. We have consumed the stem and most of the leaves, and despite the small shark emerging from the right of the crust, no marine animals were harmed in the making of this production.

With this delicious pie we enjoyed boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and, cauliflower, tender green beans, and tasty gravy; Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I started on another bottle of the Bordeaux.

Resisting The Elements

Knowing that we were to expect another leaden afternoon of rain Jackie spent a couple of hours in the garden setting gale damage to rights. I joined her and transported some refuse to the compost while chronicling the event. This was before we visited Mum in Woodpeckers.

Our mother, sporting another of her best outfits was on good form. She got the joke when, after the carer came to warn us that we had another four minutes, I said that would be enough for her to run a mile. This puzzled the carer, so I added “like Roger Bannister”. She was still puzzled but laughed anyway. Of course, the first four minute miler was Derek Ibbotson, but I wasn’t sure Mum would know that.

After lunch I set about drafting the garden report.

Although I focussed on some of damage, like this pot and its contents blown of its brick plinth,

there were plenty of undamaged plants like these two varieties of dahlia.

Although a few gladioli had succumbed, others had stood firm.

Lilies, including the ginger variety in the second of these images, have survived.

The Brick Path won’t even need sweeping.

I picked up a fallen owl and replaced it on its perch beside another toppled pot.

The owl above was perched at one end of the Pond Bed, the rest of which was undamaged.

The Rose Garden didn’t fare quite so well.

Here Jackie indicates the damage to the top of one of the twin planters, which also lost its pot of petunias. The other stand was not damaged but its blooms were battered a bit.

The sweet peas were dragged down and the blooms shredded; some rose stems were bent over, so Jackie decided to give them their autumn hair-cut. Mamma Mia in the second picture here is quite intact.

Here is one of the trugloads I emptied.

The gauras and some clematis clung to life;

although one obelisk slipped a bit. Many pelargoniums remained reasonably intact.

Some views like these of the lawn bed, from the Dragon Bed towards Mistletoe Cottage;

and down the Gazebo Path are unimpaired.

This pot slipped off its plinth in the front garden, but its pelargoniums,

like other plants, such as Japanese anemones were unbroken.

Once again our garden has largely resisted the elements.

I have struggled with an intermittent internet connection throughout the drafting of this post, and we are on our way to our first lockdown-easing meal at Lal Quilla. If I find we have no internet when we return I may descend into a rant, so the restaurant meal will feature tomorrow.

Sweated Labour

On another sweltering, humid day we made short trips into the garden largely for the purposes of watering, mainly plants in hanging baskets.

Speaking for myself, I needed to wait until I had stopped soaking my T-shirt and recovered from my efforts before I was almost fit enough to wander around to admire our work and produce a few photographs.

As usual the images are titled in the gallery which can be accessed by clicking on any one. They include various petunias; a golden sunflower; a variety of dahlias; a bee on a geranium Rozanne; a bunch of begonias; mauve Japanese anemones purple and red fuchsia Mrs Popple; roses Margaret Merrill, Special Anniversary, For Your Eyes Only, Lady Emma Hamilton, Mamma Mia; and pelargoniums.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole; boiled potatoes; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hop House Lager and I drank more of the Carles.

Raindrops And Humidity

This drizzle-wet morning gave way to the hot, humid-wet afternoon on which I carried out a dead-heading exercise.

For those worried about our robin family, Jackie’s internet research has revealed that in summer the missing small birds abandon gardens for woods where a plethora of readily attainable food abounds. They can be expected to return when it takes less effort to follow gardeners around than to forage the fields and forest.

In the meantime we have butterflies like the Small Whites that sup from the verbena bonariensis.

The still bejewelled Deep Secret; the apricot Mamma Mia; and red Love Knot are examples of the Rose Garden Roses, while

along the Shady Path the red climber also retains raindrops.

Yellow rudbeckia Goldsturm and rich red crocosmia Lucifer grace the Palm Bed;

an intriguing gladiolus whose label has been eaten by slugs is propped up in the Oval Bed;

Yellow kniphofias need no support in the Cryptomeria Bed;

in other locations we have more lilies;

bronze fennel and sweet peas,

Japanese anemones and pelargoniums,

and dazzling dahlias.

Later this afternoon I made a minor contribution to Jackie’s extensive watering project. One lesson I have had to learn is that water from the skies does not reach plants in pots.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s cheese-topped classic cottage pie, carrots, and mange touts with tasty beef gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.