Spot The Difference

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING ON THE RELEVANT BOX.

In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Ford

A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

A Sparrow in Swallow Drive

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE WHEN SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Jackie continued with the weeding of the rose garden today, whilst I wandered with the camera.

Tulips are now in bloom.

Tulip 2

This one really did come from Amsterdam, courtesy of Danni and Andy who brought it back for us.

A bank of yellow primroses fronts this striated group at the entrance to the back drive,

Wallflowers

along which golden wallflowers are massing.

Rhododendron

Our first rhododendron is beginning to flower;

Japanese maple

 Japanese maples are coming into leaf,

Cherry blossom

and a deep pink cherry blossom is blooming.

Saxifrages

Saxifrages planted last year are thriving.

Wasp

Clearly confused as to the season. a sleepy wasp staggered about.

This afternoon we went for a drive.

The tide was high at Keyhaven, where the wreck was now submerged,

Boats and Hurst lighthouse 2

and the Hurst lighthouse clear beyond the line of moored boats.

Mallards (purple headf)

A purple-headed mallard and mate basked on a lichen covered wall;

Coot and white bird

and a white-headed coot paddled past a white bird hiding in the reeds.

In view of Hurst spit swans waded, foraged, and drank. One bore a tide-mark causing speculation about what it had been swimming in.

Among those silhouetted on the spit were a woman and two children,

and two young women. In each group there was one person engaged in a mobile phone conversation.

Sparrow

We took a diversion around a housing development in Milford on Sea. Given that these streets all bore the name of a different bird, I wondered what a sparrow was doing on Swallow Drive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef cobbler, sautéed potatoes and mushrooms, with crisp carrots, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank sparkling water while my drink was San Andres Chilean merlot.

Rewards

Snatching half an hour of occasional sunshine before the expected gloom set in for the day, I wandered around the garden with my camera.

Rose pink climber

Two retrained pink climbing roses are in bloom along the front garden trellis.

Geranium palmatum

We have masses of geraniums palmatum. Jackie took cuttings last year, and distributed some in the front, where they are thriving and will soon replace the wind-blown crab apple blossom from above.

Libertia and red Japanese maple

Similar division has been effected with libertia. My method is described in the linked post. I would have been happy to write that the libertia here frolicked solely with alliums and bluebells against the red Japanese maple. Unfortunately when I put this picture up on screen it revealed the clinging velcro strings of lady’s bedstraw, a pernicious weed we have spent two years eradicating. That put a halt to my proceedings while I assisted The Head Gardener in its immediate removal.

Red Japanese maple

The maple’s red foliage appears to be extended by a rhododendron on the other side of the grass.

Snapdragon

Snapdragons are now fully out, this one fortuitously planted within sight of one of the residents of the Dragon Bed.

Shady path

Walking straight on past the dragon leads to the Shady Path, so named because of its original state.

Gazebo path

Running roughly parallel to the right of this is the Gazebo Path.

View from shady path

This is the view through the gazebo across the grass patch.

Roses red climber

Continuing along the Shady Path, red climbing roses now reward Jackie’s training.

Gladioli

When we arrived here, some very poorly looking slender red gladioli struggled in poor soil outside the kitchen door. Our resident expert lifted the bulbs and replanted them in the boxes she arranged at the head of the back drive. They are standing proud and coming into flower.

Rhododendron

A mature rhododendron has been rescued from the choking jungle,

Clematis Doctor Ruppel

and nearby, similarly hued clematis Doctor Ruppel proliferates.

Hawthorn 1Hawthorn 2

The hawthorn along the back drive has responded to pruning.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main choice was Goan King Prawn, and Jackie’s sag chicken. We shared an egg paratha, special fried rice, and onion bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.

Early Morning Lovemaking

CLICK ON IMAGES YOU WISH TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Now, please don’t get too excited. It’s birds I’m referring to. Pigeons, to be precise.

Pigeons 1

Pigeons 2

I am no good at sexing birds, so I’m not sure which was which in this couple, although I suspect that it was the female who remained aloof whilst her suitor performed on the trapeze.

Pigeons 3

Not greatly impressed, she turned and flew away.  He swivelled on the high wire and set off in pursuit.

Jackie continued her mammoth weeding and planting in the garden.

Bamboo roots

My contribution was digging out bamboo roots that had strayed into the gravel of the Oval Path. This also involved lifting border rocks and replacing them after removing the interlopers. Afterwards I ambled around with watering cans, and, of course, a camera.

Tulips, daffodils a,d pansiesTulips and daffodilsTulip mix

We are daily enjoying new tulips,

Parrot tulips

including these parrots.

Wallflowers 1

We inherited some prolific yellow wallflowers along the back drive.

Wallflowers 2

Encouraged by them Jackie added these beautifully red-veined ones last year,

Erysimum Redjap

and these varicoloured erysimum Red Jeps quite recently.

mesambryathemums

Another recent planting is mesembryanthemums,

Red maple bed

seen here in situ beyond the russet heuchera.

It was so hot this afternoon that we took cold drinks on the Castle Bench because it was in the shade. There is a little table each side of the seat for drinks. Jackie sat on the right. I sat on the left. She is left-handed. I am right-handed. Work it out. Until she twigged what was going on, we both rested our glasses in the middle of the bench. Then we swapped positions, and there was nothing between us.

This evening we dine on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, carrots, cauliflower, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the fleurie.

A New Fashion Print

Jackie working on bed from above 2

Jackie spent most of another fine spring day working on her soil replenishment project. Can you spot her?

Jackie through eucalyptus

You certainly can now

Jackie working on bed

that the sunlight has provided her with a new fashion print.

Mimulus

To the left of the eucalyptus can be seen one of the freshly planted mimuluses. Here is another.

View from frog pond

The red Japanese maple stands at the bottom right of the opening picture. It is also evident in this view from the frog pond. Actually the pond is a filled cistern containing water lilies and no frogs. It acquired its name when Jackie unearthed the stone amphibians in the undergrowth.

Clematis lost label

I provided a modicum of assistance in the soil replenishment process; carted compost about; did some watering; and dug a big hole, filling it with more nutritious matter, for a lost label clematis. The benefit of such a buy is that you get much more for your money, and the fun of waiting to find the answer to more of what. Behind the plant is our insect hotel.

Crane's bill geraniums

Different crane’s bill geraniums are coming into bloom,

Convolvulus

as is the small convolvulus cneorum on the back drive.

Bee on ajuga

The bees are still preferring the pulmonaria to anything else on offer.

Grass bed completed 1

Just as the morning light illuminated the start of Jackie’s final day on this particular soil transplant, the evening sun cast shadows across the finished job.

Greenfich

It was greenfinches, resting from feverish flitting from tree to tree, that overlooked our evening rose garden drinks; this one from the relative safety of a neighbour’s garden.

Heucheras

Jackie is beginning to worry that the splendid heucheras she planted as a border to the roses might overawe the main attraction.

Our dinner this evening consisted of Mr Pink’s fish and chips, and  pickled gherkins and onions from jars in the cupboard, followed by Jackie’s apple and sultana crumble with cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Down The Lane

This morning I wandered through the garden, down Downton Lane and into Roger’s field and back.

View towards patio fro Waterboy

The red Japanese maple is now coming into leaf, and we may soon have to refill the Waterboy’s shell.

Clematis Montana

The clematis Montana, retrained eighteen months ago, now festoons the dead tree;

Tulip

and different, delicate, tulips are bursting into life.

Dandelions

Dandelions currently claim the lane’s verges,

Primulas

where, soon, cow parsley will swamp primulas.

Hoverfly

On this ivy leaf, I think, is a hoverfly masquerading as a wasp.

Crows and crop fertilising

I exchanged waves with the friendly farmer as, attracting the usual avian entourage,

crop fertilising 1

he drove up and down fertilising his field, with a backdrop of Christchurch Bay.

Downton Lane

The oak trees are producing plumage. In the bottom right of this picture can be seen another amenable gentleman,

Paving and sandPaving

one of the staff of Transform Paving, working on the drive of number 23.

Grass bed

After lunch, I rendered token assistance to The Head Gardener in replenishing and redistributing soil, then cut the grass. The bed here demonstrates the soil rejuvenation process. To the left, clog clay soil has been removed and placed where it doesn’t matter much, then replaced by all-purpose compost. That to the right is, as yet, untreated. Anyone with a better knowledge than mine will recognise a self-seeded mimulus from last year in the left-hand section. They obviously do well there. That is why the wheelbarrow contains more of these plants, to be inserted tomorrow.

Wood pigeon

For the whole time we sat in the rose garden with our pre-dinner Hoegaarden and cabernet sauvignon, a big fat wood pigeon warbled his contribution to our conversation. Or perhaps he was simply calling to his mate.

There was plenty of last night’s menu for us to come back for more this evening.