Sunburst

I wandered around the garden late this afternoon, pointing the camera almost at random.

Here are the results. Don’t miss a couple of bees. The Puerto Rico dahlia provided a sympathetic sunburst. As usual, galleries will provide titles.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. We both enjoyed tempura prawns and fresh salad starters. My main meal was a superb rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato and peas; Jackie’s was the Wheel Inn Burger, salad, and chips with which she drank Kaltenberg, while I drank Ringwood’s best. Neither of us had room for dessert.

The Moscow Show Trials

There was not much sun breaking through the clouds today.

This is quite useful when photographing white flowers like clematis Marie Boisselot as I did on my way to open the back gate for Aaron.

Geranium Palmatums and their attendant red fuchsias caught a touch of it as I walked along the Shady Path.

Bees were out early. This one still visited the ageing Festive Jewel in the Rose Garden into which I had been enticed by the magical scents that permeated the air.

A spider preferred to walk on the Blue Moon.

White beauties enjoying their time out of the limelight included Margaret Merril and Madame Alfred Carriere, sharing the entrance arch with Summer Wine.

Special Anniversary, Zéphirini Drouin, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mum in a Million all contributed their intriguing essences to the perfumed blend.

Despite its name the Sicilian Honey Garlic makes no apparent contribution to the mix.

Oriental poppies; libertia welcoming visiting bees; yellow irises; and red peonies enliven the borders of the Back Drive.

From a gentle amble through the garden I turn to the terrifying Moscow Show trials of the 1930s.

According to Wikipedia ‘The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against so-called Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There were three Moscow Trials: the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center (ZinovievKamenev Trial, aka “Trial of the Sixteen,” 1936), the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center (PyatakovRadek Trial, 1937), and the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” (BukharinRykov Trial, aka “Trial of the Twenty-One,” 1938). 

The defendants of these were Old Bolshevik party leaders and top officials of the Soviet secret police. Most defendants were charged under Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code with conspiring with the western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union, and restore capitalism

The Moscow Trials led to the execution of many of the defendants. They are generally seen as part of Stalin’s Great Purge, an attempt to rid the party of current or prior oppositionists, especially but not exclusively Trotskyists, and any leading Bolshevik cadre from the time of the Russian Revolution or earlier, who might even potentially become a figurehead for the growing discontent in the Soviet populace resulting from Stalin’s mismanagement of the economy.[citation needed] Stalin’s hasty industrialisation during the period of the First Five Year Plan and the brutality of the forced collectivisation of agriculture had led to an acute economic and political crisis in 1928-33, a part of the global problem known as the Great Depression, and to enormous suffering on the part of the Soviet workers and peasants. Stalin was acutely conscious of this fact and took steps to prevent it taking the form of an opposition inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to his increasingly autocratic rule.[1]

Several of the victims of these judicial farces were personally known to Arthur Koestler, the Hungarian born British novelist who penned ‘Darkness at Noon’ in their memory decades before Mikhail Gorbatchev, in the late 1980s, introduced Glasnost, thus beginning the democratisation of the Soviet Union.

I finished reading this important book for the second time today. Without naming either Stalin or the USSR the work describes the energy-sapping destruction of the will of previous leaders who were now out of favour and forced by torture to contribute to their own finding of guilt and subsequent execution. Koestler’s prose is simply elegant but he describes an atmosphere of destructive, erosive, terror in an incongruously readable manner. I don’t often knowingly read a book twice, but since Louis had been reading his copy on his recent stay with us, I was prompted to do so.

Daphne Hardy’s translation renders the book most accessible, and Vladimir Bukovsky’s introduction is eloquently informative.

George Buday’s belligerent, brooding, wood engravings brilliantly supplement the attritional ambience of Koestler’s work.

The boards are blocked with a suitably spare design by Sue Bradbury.

We are now driving over to Emsworth for a curry outing with Becky and Ian. I will report on that tomorrow.

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.

 

The End Of British Summer Time

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Aaron was so pleased with our John Cook sculpture of him that he asked for a photograph. Naturally I printed him a copy of each of those that appeared in ‘A Particularly Strong Clue’.

Owl in New Arbour

Among other tasks today, he strengthened the new recycled gates arbour, under which the owl now stands on its plinth.

West Bed and Brick Path

The planting in the foreground of the above photograph is just part of the extensive clearance and refurbishment of the West Bed that Jackie has achieved in recent weeks.

Urn planted and erigeron

At the bed’s southern end verbena and pelargoniums still thrive in the urns, and erigerons carpet the surrounds of the New Bed.

Pelargoniums

Pelargoniums,

Begonias

 begonias of various shades,

Geraniums RozanneGeranium Rozanne 2

and geraniums like the blue Rozanne still add colour.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2Fuchsia 3

Fuchsias abound;

Salvia Hot Lips

tiny Hot Lips salvias dance in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Petunia Million Bells

Million Bells petunias entice campanologists at the corner of the patio alongside the kitchen wall.

Hebe

Hebes

Honeysuckle

and honeysuckle seem to think it is Spring.

Rose Margaret Merrill

Roses like Margaret Merrill,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Penny Lane 2Rose Penny Lane 1

Penny Lane,

Rose pink climber

and the deep pink climber soaring above the Oval Bed, remain confused.

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums twine everywhere,

Clematis Cirrhosa

yet the winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa seems a little early,

Gazebo Path

as it festoons the gazebo under which I stood to produce this image of the path named after it.

Garden view across Cryptomeria Bed

To the right of the far end of that path, this was the view across the Cryptomeria Bed, showing the few leaves of the weeping birch that survived the recent storm.

The setting back of our clocks by one hour at 2 a.m. this morning signalled the official end of British Summer Time. Of course no-one gets up at that time to adjust all the timepieces in the house. We just have to try to remember when we get up.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main meal was lamb taba shashlik jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken chom chom. We shared onion rice, an egg paratha, and onion bhaji, and both drank Kingfisher. Service and food were as good as ever.

 

 

Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Can It Be Mid-October?

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The lingering virus from which we have now recovered has really rather reduced gardening for a month. Today, I wandered around on a survey mission, and was pleasantly impressed.

View across grass

The grass could do with cutting, but there is also colour in abundance.

Dahlias we would expect;

chrysanthemums

and chrysanthemums;

but clematises?;

roses Just Joey, Margaret Merrill,

Penny Lane, or Altissimo?,

Begonia

begonias?,

Geranium

geraniums,

Fuchsia

and fuchsias in abundance?

Honeysuckle

Not to mention honeysuckle,

Bee and asters

or bees frequenting asters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious pasta beef arrabiata. Her beverage was Hoegaarden, and mine Santa Julia malbec 2015.

Focus On The Back Drive

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While Jackie continued her creative magic in the garden, and between televised tennis sessions, I wandered around admiring the fruits of her labours, and, of course photographing them.

Day lilyDay liliesLilies

We have a number of different day lilies;

Water Lily

and the first water lily has now bloomed on the tiny cistern pond.

Ast

An astilbe thrives in the shady western bed.

Rose Penny Lane

In the Rose Garden Penny Lane adorns the potting shed,

Beetles on Margaret Merrill

And Margaret Merrill hosts a miniature beetle drive.

Back Drive barrier with robin

Looking through the Back Drive barrier towards the Rose Garden, I noticed a robin perched on the mid-way arch.

Robin

It flitted off, so I stalked it for a while.

Back drive 7

The barrier provides a floral frame for the drive,

Back drive 1

Back drive 2

Back drive 4Back drive 3

Back drive 6

which is now bordered by full length planting.

Poppy 1Poppy 2

Poppies,

Snapdragons

snapdragons,

Achillea and snapdragons

and achillea, are just a few examples.

Back drive 8

Naturally there are also hanging baskets, better lit in the afternoon.

This evening we dined on fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms; baked beans and toast. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gilbert & Gaillard Châteauneuf du Pape 2014. Well, why not?