Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

Fireworks

The sun today made fleeting, peeping, appearances in the garden.

These elegant, slender, gladioli are proliferating outside the kitchen door;

as does clematis Marie Boisselot in-urned in the Kitchen Bed alongside a deep red peony,

single petalled examples of which stand in the Dragon Bed.

Other clematises include Niobe on the corner of the kitchen wall, and on the wisteria arbour,

also home to Paul’s Scarlet;

and flamboyant Doctor Ruppel climbing the arch spanning the Brick Path beside the West Bed.

Delicate pink rose Penny Lane shares the arch.

One view from the Kitchen Bed leads to the distant entrance to

the Rose Garden, where

Festive Jewel, For Your Eyes Only, Love Knot, and Gloriana are among the parade.

Splendid Fireworks alliums burst forth in the Weeping Birch Bed,

while gentler pink stars mingle with Erigeron and euphorbia in the Kitchen Bed.

From the Weeping Birch Bed we are led through the Cryptomeria Bed to the eastern fence.

Pink campion and a bright red rhododendron stand sentinel on the south west and south eastern corners of the grass patch.

The red rhododendron emblazons these views down the Gazebo Path.

Elizabeth popped in this afternoon for a cup of tea.

This evening Jackie and I dined on pork spare rib chops on a bed of her mushroom rice fried in sesame oil. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Long Way Round Reserve Carmenere 2018.

The Bleeding Arch

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Jackie spent much of the day on giving the Rose Garden a thorough Autumn Clean. This involved extensive weeding, clearing all the paths, sweeping, pruning, thinning out, and dead heading. All the refuse was then carried to the Orange Bags for eventual transmission to the dump. Reducing the heucheras produced numerous plants for transplanting elsewhere. I rendered minimal assistance. The background paths and soil in these photographs is as worthy of perusal as the flowers.

Naturally, we took this evening’s pre-prandial potations in this space where, earlier, I had not noticed how the Ace Reclaim arch bled for Crown Princess Margareta.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; super savoury rice; al dente mange touts; and sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I consumed more of the Fleurie.

 

I Really Must Get Dead-Heading

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On a warm and sunny afternoon, whilst Jackie planted in the shade, with a pit stop at Five Ways, I made my way to the Rose Garden. The Head Gardener followed me with Mum’s perching stool, placed it beside the Florence sculpture, propped up the single crutch I am now using, and left me for a while. After two further shifts of the stool I was among the roses.

From Five Ways I could look down the Phantom Path between the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds;

I could see more poppies on the Weeping Birch Bed; geranium palmatums attracting small white butterflies flitting to and fro; a tall red climbing rose; the Cordyline Australis preparing to pervade its bed with its powerfully sweet scent; and a laurel leaf that doesn’t look too well.

Honeysuckle cavorts with Madame Alfred Carriere atop the entrance arch to the Rose Garden,

where there are so many roses in all stages of development that I could see that I really must get dead-heading as soon as I can.

In particular the peach Crown Princess Margareta and the red Zephirini Druin now flank the Ace Reclaim Arch in the far corner.

Later this afternoon I walked from my desk in the hall through the kitchen to the sink. Not really a big deal. Until I realised I had forgotten my crutch.

Tesco ready prepared meals for dinner this evening consisted of fish pie for me and pasta carbonara for Jackie, who added runner beans to each.

Playing With Dad’s Toys

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Today may have been exceedingly dull, but it was also incredibly mild for mid-December.

The orange poppy bud in this cluster is from our patio. Normally we expect these to flourish in Spring and Summer. This year they have never stopped. The pink rose, For Your Eyes Only, has clusters of buds and small shoots that are more evident in the deep red Love Knot. Winchester Cathedral is having a further flush, and this white clematis, although somewhat bedraggled, still performs.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Margery and Paul’s home in Bitterne for their annual Christmas sing-song. Here the friendly little group sang a mixture of traditional carols like ‘Silent Night’, folk songs such as ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and fun numbers like ‘I’m ‘Enery The Eighth, I Am’. Lynne ably led the singing, Mary played piano beautifully, and the rest of us did our enthusiastic best. Margery had been the pianist for the first number.

Afterwards Jackie and I went on to Elizabeth’s where she fed us on authentic spaghetti Bolognese  followed by tasty apricot tart and cream. Jackie drank Peroni and I can’t remember which Australian red wine Elizabeth and I enjoyed.

Elizabeth was on grandparent duties, so we had the added bonus of a short time with Adam and Thea, before Jackie drove them to a party and returned to join my sister and me and my delightful great-nephew Jasper.

Jasper

Adam’s childhood toys have remained at his mother’s home, so Jasper, three in January, was happy to wave his parents goodbye, wishing them “a lovely time” and remain with his GeeMa to play with them.

Jasper

Jasper is a dab hand at spearing chips and sausage with a fork and dipping them into ‘red sauce’, which Elizabeth had to keep topped up.

Our next stop was a short visit to Mum during which we made her comfortable for the night.

Promise

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Today was ultra gloomy, but with promise of good things to come. Now it is much milder again, the garden appeared to have forgotten the recent day of frost.

I made a start on the winter clearance. A couple of weeks ago, Aaron had extracted a clump of badly positioned bamboo from the Oval Bed. I stuffed this into orange bags in readiness for a trip to the dump.

Next was pruning roses. I had expected to be cutting them right down, but there were so many freshly burgeoning buds, that this became a dead-heading exercise, as in these Absolutely Fabulous and Love Knot.

Some actual blooms, like the white Kent and the red Deep Secret, had survived the freeze.

Elsewhere, Vibernum Bodnantense Dawn is in bloom,

Clematis Star of India

and there are new buds on still blooming Clematis Star of India.

Japanese anemone seeds

The Head Gardener prevented me from waxing lyrical about the seeds of the Japanese anemones ready to be spilled for germination, by pointing out that in this country they propagate by means of underground tendrils.

This evening we dined on chicken, tomato, and mozarella pasta bake with peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Via di Cavello chianti 2014.

Getting The Hang Of It

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Naturally, I couldn’t wait to get out into the garden and play with my new toy. Confining myself to the Creative Automatic setting with the zoom lens, I made a few close-ups. I had about a 60% success rate.

Asiatic Lilies

Starting with lilies, here are some Asiatics dappled by sunlight;

Day Lily

a day lily basking in full sun;

Fly on Lily

Fly on Lily – Version 2

and a fly exploring one in the New Bed.

Rose Mamma Mia

Now to roses. Mamma Mia is maturing nicely;

Rose Love Knot

Love Knot is prolific;

Rose For Your Eyes Only

and this is For Your Eyes Only.

Penstemon

These beautiful penstemons also grace the Rose Garden.

Bottle Brush plant

The red Bottle Brush plants, now that the yellow one is over, are coming into their own.

I also did some dead-heading and cut the grass, while Jackie watered the pots, and tidied and catered for our weekend guests. These were my long-term friend, Jessie, and her flat-mate, Guru, who arrived in time for lunch.

After lunch we visited the New Zealand graves at St Nicholas’s church in Brockenhurst. This was of interest to Guru because he has recently been learning about the Indian Army involvement in World War One, and there are three Indians buried there. I photographed one of these on our previous trip. (The pictures that follow were made with the CanonSX700 HS)

Arogyasami' s gravestoneSumeer gravestone

Here are the other two.

Belgian gravestone

On that day the light had been too strong for me to photograph the stone of the unknown Belgians who had worked in the hospital. Today was less bright.

Gravestone in tree

One of the nineteenth century stones has had a tree push it over;

Cross in meadow

the lichen on another blended well with the wild flower meadow.

After this we attended the  RNLI fundraising event at Gordon’s home in Downton Lane. This was an afternoon of jazz music and cream tea in the garden. It was very enjoyable.

GuruJessie and Guru

We arrived too late for a traditional cream tea, but were amply compensated with home-made cakes and delicious strawberries and cream. Jessie amused us by furtling in her bag for sweeteners for her tea.

We dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, pilau rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank a Georges du Boeuf Fleurie 2014 that our guests had brought. Jessie’s choice was Irn-Bru, and Guru’s orange juice.