None Of That Nonsense

Late this afternoon rain had brought abandonment to the first day of the fourth Ashes Test match, but here it was reasonably warm and sunny.

Jackie, hindered by Nugget, continued planting, while I wandered around the garden.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, in her third flush, has now toned down her blue rinse.

Other clematises, such as Polish Spirit,

and the tiny white campaniflora, have weathered the storm.

A Lidl pink one still climbs the arch spanning the Brick Path beyond the pelargoniums flanking the Nottingham Castle bench.

Here are some of those pelargoniums.

Begonias are in their prime.

Fuchsias, like these two chequerboards, continue to thrive.

Mama Mia, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Festive Jewel, Crown Princess Margatera, and Hot Chocolate are all examples of roses still holding up their heads.

Long shadows streak across the tiny lawn.

Honesty and Hollyhocks are displaying seed pods.

Earlier in the summer Aaron moved the miscanthus from the edge to the centre of the Palm Bed. It has survived.

Pelargoniums drape many of the hanging baskets.

Petunias and bidens are equally prolific.

The New Bed and Elizabeth’s Bed still offer much colour.

The first of this set of pictures show cosmos and echinacea alongside Elizabeth’s Bed, the second is of the Weeping Birch Bed, and the last two lead us towards the house.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (14)

Jackie can’t settle to drinks on the patio without taking a trowel to stir the pudding for her little friend.

This evening he looked askance at her first effort and

took up a stance on a stone above some slate chips as if, like a stroppy toddler, to say “I don’t like that dinner. Get me something else”. I can assure you that the Head Gardener had none of that nonsense from her own children.

I certainly didn’t turn up my nose at our delicious dinner of spicy pork paprika, mushroom rice, and runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

“Are You Sure It’s In This Garden?”

Unfortunately I cannot remember which of my blogging friends wrote recently that she was very fond of clematises. Well, I am sure she knows who she is and will appreciate today’s post in her honour.

This morning I decide to make a pictorial clematis collection.

Where known, the titles of these plants may be found when accessing the galleries. The last image presents a real conundrum. I considered it politic to seek advice from the Head Gardener for confirmation of my identifications. Jackie did not recognise this beauty, and I couldn’t remember where I had taken it. So off we went to seek it out. We couldn’t find it. “Are you sure it’s in this garden?”, asked she who we were both convinced knew every one of her babies. No doubt it will turn up some time.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs in sweet chilli sauce; savoury rice; and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Shiraz.

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.

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.

Refreshment

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Jackie carried out much knowledgeable weeding and planting this morning, whilst I cleared up the discards and conveyed them to the compost pile.

Garden view along Heligan Path

The early sun lit libertias standing in the Weeping Birch Bed,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 4Rose Garden 5Rose Garden 3Rose Garden 2Rose Garden 6

and enlivened the burgeoning Rose Garden.

Raindrops on clematis CarnabyRaindrops on clematisClematis Marie BoisselotClematis

Various clematises,

Clematis Montana

including this wonderfully scented Montana festooned over the front wall;

Weigela

the weigela winding down the south fence;

Aquilegias

ubiquitous aquilegias;

Rambling rose pink

the pink rambler on the front garden trellis;

Libertia, geraniums Ingwersen's Variety, campanulas

borders everywhere, like this corner sporting campanulas, libertia, and geraniums Ingwersen’s Variety,

Raindrops on irises

and the long Back Drive hosting splendid golden irises, relished their welcome refreshment.

Fly on primula

A fly alighted on one of the front tub’s primroses.

This afternoon I added a little more to my biography of an era including me. I now have a working title: ‘A Knight’s Tale’. I took more text, and

this photograph from ‘A Sneaky Weekend’

I then made some prints from recent posts for Louisa.

After this I joined Jackie in the weeding, concentrating my efforts on uprooting the more obvious infiltrators, namely the smelly white alliums, clinging ladies’ bedstraw, and golden buttercups occupying the wrong beds.

This evening, there being no table available at the Crown in Everton, we dined at the Smugglers’ Inn at Milford on Sea. Having starters was a mistake. The platefuls were excellent. Mine contained battered whitebait, plentiful fresh salad, and thick wedges of equally fresh bread. Jackie received a huge plateful of bread and olives. Each serving was a meal in itself. An even bigger mistake was, in my case,  ordering succulent sirloin steak, still more fresh salad, a mountain of perfect chips, onion rings, and fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Jackie was treated to a huge bowl of cannelloni. more salad, and an equal number of chips to mine. Neither of us could finish our food, and we did not require a look at the dessert menu. The food was, I hasten to add, all extremely good, and the service impeccable. We both reminisced that, in our prime, we would have managed all this. Jackie drank Amstel, and I drank Doom Bar..

The Watcher Watched

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After a leisurely breakfast we left Aaron, his nephew Rory, and Robin working on the fencing while Jackie drove the two of us, Jessie, and Guru to Ferndene Farm Shop for our friends to shop for their return.

Pigs

This was such a hot, heavy, and overcast day that the Ferndene pigs had even less energy than we did.

Pig 1

One managed to snuffle around in a hole;

Pig 2

another was spark out.

The Homestead

Across the road, the thatching of The Homestead is complete.

Yachts on The Solent 1

After this we drove on to the cliff top overlooking The Solent, where a number of yachts sailed in the hazy sunlight. We were able to point out The Needles and their lighthouse.

Group on beach 1

The beach was quite populated.

Groups on beach

One group walked past beach huts, one of which was clearly in use,

Group on beach 2

and settled down near the water’s edge.

Watcher among beach huts

Meanwhile, a gentleman emerged from the hut and raised his binoculars. The watcher was watched.

The above photographs were all taken with the Canon SX700 HS, because I hadn’t anticipated needing the zoom lens, and hadn’t tried out the fixed one.

Back home we continued a very enjoyable weekend over lunch, before Jessie and Guru returned to North London.

Later, I tried out the 55mm lens on the EOS D5 Mk ii.

Chimney pot planter

Every time I pass this chimney pot planted with lobelia shoulders and cosmos crown, I have a sense of being stalked.

Clematis Ville de Lyon

After vigorous bondage from The Head Gardener, the clematis Ville de Lyon now stretches across the side wall of No. 5 Downton Lane along our Back Drive,

Clematis Marie Boisselot

and outside the kitchen window, Marie Boisselot is having a second flush.

This evening, Jackie and I dined on her superlative chicken jalfrezi, boiled rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

In The Garden Today

My gardening task today was cutting the grass.

View across grass patch

It is as well that I did carried that out before photographing this symphony in red provided by tellimas, rhododendron, pieris, mimuluses and petunias.

Rhododendron

Another rhododendron that I photographed last week in a still closed and soggy state is now fully open and looking well refreshed;

Tulips

as are the red and white tulips at the front of the house.

New arrivals are clematises

Clematis Niobe

Niobe

Clematis Marie Boisselot

and Marie Boisselot;

Crane's bill geraniums

yet more Crane’s bill geraniums;

Pheasant's eye narcissus

 Pheasant’s eye, perhaps the last of the narcissi;

Aqulegias

naturalised aquilegias;

Alliums

and different alliums.

As has been noted before, the Hordle Chinese Take Away set meal for two can always be extended into the next day. So it was with yesterday’s, the seconds of which we enjoyed this evening, with profiteroles to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Bordeaux.