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.

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.

Precipitation

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Keeping out of the kitchen this morning was just not an option. The enticing aromas of tonight’s dinner would not permit it. Preparation of Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi was under way. The spicy fragrance and enticing colours of food from the Indian sub-continent would, if necessary, compensate for lack of taste. They don’t even have to think about that, for their flavours are second to none.

Chicken jalfrezi 1

Initially I resisted, until the bubbling sauce got the better of me;

Chicken jalfrezi 2

and the tomato puree added rich colour.

Chicken jalfrezi 3

Jackie normally likes to fry the chopped chicken pieces separately, but they had not been defrosted in time, so

Chicken jalfrezi 4

in they slid,

Chicken jalfrezi 5

and the tempting mixture continued cooking, until,

Chicken jalfrezi 6

with the addition of ample chicken stock, the pan simmered away the early part of the afternoon,

Chicken jalfrezi 7

until the lid was removed to release the condensed liquid and allow the meal to thicken up.

Heavy overnight rain and a thick cloud layer rendered the garden an inverted version of the pan lid. When the precipitation ceased

Fly and raindrops on crab apple blossom

a bedraggled fly still sought shelter among the liquid drops on the crab apple blossom;

Clematis

our first large blue clematis bloom had taken a battering;

Rhododendron

and the first offerings of an early rhododendron,

Rose Shropshire Lad

rose Shropshire Lad,

Peony

and tree peony, were all somewhat soggy.

Early this evening the weather was dry enough for us to sit in the rose garden for pre-dinner drinks. The higher and brighter notes of the small birds combined with the deeper ones of the wood pigeons, against the repeated refrain of The Needles lighthouse fog warning.

Rose Madame Alfred Carriere and raindrops

A weeping Madame Alfred Carriere had popped out during the day,

Misty background

in time to catch the mist rolling in from the sea.

Meat samosas, egg fried rice, and paneer in a curry sauce, were served with the aforementioned stependous jalfrezi.  Sticky toffee pudding and cream was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I started another bottle of the Cotes du Rhone.