Setting Up For The Day

What do you do when you wake up with no internet on the first day of a gloriously sunny bank holiday weekend? And you don’t get it back until 5 p.m?

Speaking for ourselves, we were in the car soon after 8 a.m, beginning with a trip to Milford on Sea Pharmacy.

A blue clematis on the front garden trellis accompanies pink rosebuds.

Thrift, buttercups, and daisies line both sides of the coast road and the cliff edges,

which have suffered further erosion, as demonstrated by the barriers round the steps to the shore.

Jackie parked beside a marigold lined wall in De La Warr Road for me to photograph the thrift.

We anticipated that Mudeford Quay would be flooded with visitors today, but continued our journey to there hoping to be ahead of most of them.

Already, camper vans and many other vehicles were parked and arriving in steady streams.

Various groups were setting up for the day.

A trio of girls still had room to practise cartwheels.

While I was taking these photographs, Jackie couldn’t park, so had to keep moving. When she spotted me and slowed down for me to rejoin her, she was called “a fucking mad cow” by a following driver. It was perhaps a good thing that I didn’t hear this.

Afterwards we visited Ferndene Farm Shop to buy compost and more plants.

This afternoon I read enough of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ to scan the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations. I could do this off-line, but could neither write the captions nor put them into WordPress. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

This evening we dined on tangy basil-flavoured lasagne and plentiful fresh salad, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Meet Nugget Junior

This morning while gardening Jackie photographed

rose Emily Gray, a highly scented rambler gracing

the back drive border out of sight in this shot;

clematis Doctor Ruppel climbing the weeping birch;

a row of blue irises with the bonus of a yellow stowaway in the bag of bulbs;

Nugget,

and his son Junior, still not qualified to wear the red jersey.

After lunch I managed the photoshoot.

On the kitchen corner of the patio we have delicate magenta gladioli Byzantinus blending with deep blue verbena Vectura and pink pelargoniums,

in turn reflecting similarly hued diascia potted above cascading Erigeron.

Nearby stands this peach rose we inherited.

Ornamental alliums of a number of varieties are gradually un-peeling throughout the garden.

Nugget attempted to encourage his son to feed from the suet pellet tray, but the youngster was deterred by my wandering around

the vicinity of the wisteria arbour.

I therefore focussed on this from above, showing how the rose Paul’s Scarlet and the clematis Star of India are poised to replace the fading pale blue blooms.

Later Jackie came in for her camera when Nugget and Junior both occupied the tray. Unfortunately they were gone by the time she returned.

Later, Nugget left Junior to his own devices while he flew off with a pellet for the next brood. Apparently robins are such prolific breeders that they can produce 3 to 5 clutches of up to five eggs a year. As soon as the youngsters earn the red jersey they are chased off by their father, so Junior will soon go and find someone else’s garden.

The marigolds in the Oval Bed continue to proliferate.

In the Rose Garden For Your Eyes Only is bushing out nicely, while Gloriana towers above it;

Schoolgirl vaults the arbour;

and flamboyant Festive Jewel,

sprightly Summer Wine and middle-aged Madame Alfred Carriere

carelessly cavort in concert.

This evening we dined on minted lamb steaks, boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and firm Brussels sprouts with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.

 

 

In The Night Garden

Following the call of the moon last night Jackie took her camera into the garden to photograph

its light;

she moved on to sculptures Florence

and her Owl

She worked on the garden during the day, beginning with lining up tubs of

tulips on the patio, showing  those in the process of uncurling alongside earlier arrivals.

Those tulips, and this more standard red one, are cultivated and have limited life spans.

Species, on the other hand, will naturalise. These red ones are new.

Lilac Wonders bloom and proliferate year after year, brightening

the Palm Bed,

diagonally opposite which stand these fritillaries

at the corner of the Cryptomeria Bed. This view takes us through to

the Weeping Birch Bed.

Alongside that is the Oval Bed with its splendid marigolds and cowslips.

Nearer the house the red Japanese maple is regenerating in the Kitchen Bed. Apparently dead, this was heavily pruned three years ago by me, and the following year by Aaron.

The camellia behind this bears new and old blooms

which carpet the ground beneath it.

This evening Jackie served up her own savoury egg fried rice with meaty spare ribs coated with spicy barbecue sauce; crisp prawn toasts and spring rolls, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquiriz Reserva Navarra 2013.

 

Cleaning Out The Frog Pond

Jackie spent most of this gloriously sunny and warm spring day working in the garden.

In the front she photographed budding Amanogawa

and crab apple blossom,

and a row of different coloured cyclamens.

I took tours before and after lunch, choosing to focus first on a variety of daffodils;

these, alongside the Dead End Path, are strongly scented and aptly named Park Perfume;

 

iberis cascades over the New Bed wall in front of more;

nodding to the dreaded all-pervading white allium another masquerades as a cheery scarecrow.

The sunshine has encouraged one of yesterday’s tulips to open wider,

to blend nicely with these marigolds.

Camellias continue to shine and to discard their heavy blooms, some of which persist in

growing old gracefully.

Varieties of wallflowers are blooming;

these yellow ones kneel at the feet of euphorbia in the back drive border.

Honesty is bursting out all over. It will be a brave individual who sits on this chair in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The burnished Japanese maple near the Fiveways corner

takes the eye across the Gazebo Path to North Breeze,

skirting the peeling-pastel-sheathed eucalyptus on the lawn, beside which

clematis Cirrhosa Freckles still festoons the iron gazebo.

Looking south east from the above-mentioned maple takes us into the Rose Garden whence

we have a view towards the house. I will be in dire trouble for leaving that blue plastic trug in the shot.

Given that during the Covid-19 pandemic bedding plants cannot be purchased

Jackie’s pelargonium cuttings in the greenhouse are even more important than usual this year.

They are even attracting ladybirds.

 

This view from the Kitchen Bed leads to the Nottingham Castle bench;

this one across to the greenhouse.

It is through a kitchen window that I managed to catch Burt, the long tailed tit, playing on his honeysuckle trellis. Like a child who will run endlessly up the steps for another go on a slide, Burt swung through the air time and again, incessantly hopping back up for a repeat performance. The bird can be seen peering in beside the window catch – it is well worth bigifying.

The Head Gardener’s main task today was cleaning out the weedy Frog Pond. This is how she pictured it this morning,

and this with clear reflective water this afternoon.

This evening we dined on roast duck breasts; roast new potatoes; meaty sausages and fried onions; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, leeks, and runner beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

 

 

 

 

Snatching Snoozes

SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO. CLICKING ON ANY ONE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

In ‘The Card Case’, I spoke of the client who had no money to pay my fee, but brought me the occasional small gift, all of which I have treasured for almost 30 years. I am not a science fiction fan, so I have not read many of his paperback books. One of these is Poul Anderson’s ‘The Makeshift Rocket’. I finished this short novel this morning. It was a surprisingly entertaining work. Light-hearted, with a touch of dry humour, once I had ceased trying to decipher the author’s attempts at reproducing Danish and Irish spoken English, I enjoyed the book.

Afterwards I photographed garden views from upstairs windows and from the stable doorway.

Having decided to reduce the codeine element in my pain relief, I struggled a bit today. On the other hand it may have been the amount of walking on uneven terrain I undertook yesterday. Consequently I spent the afternoon alternately dozing over snatches of World Cup football and having brief forays into the garden.

Lily, marigolds etc

A new day lily has forced its way through the soil to join the marigolds beside the greenhouse.

Palm Bed to eucalyptus

Geranium palmatums lead us past more day lilies in the Palm Bed to the eucalyptus and beyond.

Cosmoses, geraniums, violas

Urns, like this stone one Jackie has planted up at the end of the Brick Path,

Garden view from Shady Path to kitchen window

and the pottery one standing on the filled in well, counteract what she call “The June Gap”, when there is not normally much colour around.

The hanging baskets on the kitchen wall and the two clematises in pots on the corner serve the same purpose.

Rose Ballerina dances in the bed beside the entrance to the Rose Garden,

Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia

where such as Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia continue to splash their colour.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Swinging Sixties is another plant in a pot,

Linaria and valerian

opposite which Linaria and Valerian vie for space in the Oval Bed.

My final trip up the garden was via the Phantom Path to join Jackie taking a break on the decking. There I passed the Cryptomeria Bed with its clematis, geranium palmatums, and hot lips; a penstemon in Margery’s Bed; a planted pot on the corner of the Gazebo Path; and Florence sculpture with her basket of bacopa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and splendid special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

 

 

Down The Garden

SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO. CLICKING ON ANY OF THOSE IN GROUPS WILL ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Patio

As it began to rain whilst they were finishing the painting yesterday, Clare and Andrew had placed the garden chairs under the wisteria arbour. This morning, Aaron carried them to the patio.

The day was overcast. Jackie and Aaron spent the morning on garden maintenance, now at its most pressing. Aaron also filled his truck with our pruning and clippings. From the patio I continued on a perambulation with the camera.

I took my usual route along the Kitchen Path, passing the rose campion planted in front of the lysimachia firecracker with feverfew to the left.

At the corner by the iron urn, in view of the geraniums and verbena in a planter above the Dragon Bed with its pink snapdragons and prolific marigolds,

I made my way along the Brick Path, past the grass patch with its bed of bright pink begonias,

taking a rest on the Westbrook Arbour bench, and looking down the Phantom Path to sculpture Florence. Penny Lane is making her way up the Gothic Arch, opposite clematis Star of India.

Campanula persiciflora

The campanula Persiciflora stands at the south end of the Brick Path, beneath the dead snake bark maple.

It normally takes me quite a while to make inroads into a new book. “Pilling Always Pays’, by Thomas Armstrong, which I finished today, was no exception. My post-operative lethargy probably contributed to this, but I did also think that the author’s painstakingly thorough method of introducing his cast of characters may have played a part. Nevertheless, I will not hold this against him, for he proceeded to tell a carefully crafted story with numerous apparently disparate strands skilfully knitted together in the final pages. The setting was a provincial town in 1936, with its closely interwoven upwardly mobile community.  In ‘Auntie Ivy And Sir Edmund Hillary’ I featured what I had found inside my copy.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken, new potatoes, crunchy carrots and cabbage, and moist ratatouille, with flavoursome gravy.

 

Food For Blackbirds

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. SINGLE PHOTOGRAPHS CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK WHICH MAY BE REPEATED IF REQUIRED

Having approached the end of my teens some time ago, I had come to a fork in my ‘A Knight’s Tale’, and couldn’t make up my mind as to which road to take. Today I set off again, taking material from posts ‘Auntie Gwen’ and ‘A Little White Lie’.

Jackie on Brick Path

Today was sunny but not much warmer than yesterday. However, Jackie was happily able to return to her work of tidying, weeding, and planting in the garden.

Most tulips are fully flouncing, but some are freshly flourishing;

Ajugas

ajugas are replacing cowslips in the Oval Bed.

 

 We now have campions and marigolds.

The red Japanese maple, having been pruned of dead branches first by me and then by Aaron, has miraculously survived in the Kitchen Bed.

At the front of the house we have enough crab apple blossom to suggest that the blackbirds will be well catered for in the winter. The collared dove in the now over winter flowering cherry has a nest in a holly out of the picture.

We dined on Jackie’s succulent roast pork with perfect crisp crackling, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, ratatouille, runner beans, and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Paniza gran reserva 2009

 

 

“So Much Colour”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning Jackie continued her autumn clearing and planting in the garden. This afternoon I tidied up a bit then wandered around with my camera.

Petunias, geraniums, and erigeron

Petunias and geraniums continue to glow, with bright little erigerons still standing proud;

Hanging baskets over Shady Bed

and diascias and begonias adding to the music.

Hat planted up (bee on marigold)

The lead hat on the patio wall would grace an Ascot attender,

Bee on marigold

although she might not be happy about the resident bee.

New Guinea impatiens and fly

Other insects enjoying the warm weather include this fly on a New Guinea impatiens.

Fuchsia in Dragon Bed

Fuchsias are among the delights of the Dragon Bed,

Fuchsia in Kitchen Bed

of the Kitchen Bed,

Fuchsia and fennel in Elizabeth's Bed

and of Elizabeth’s Bed.

Oval Bed

That second example, via dahlia Coup de Soleil, continues the chrysanthemums’ colour in the top left hand corner of this Oval Bed view. The yellow nasturtium peeping into the bottom right hand corner is just one of

Nasturtiums, salvia microphylla, California poppiesNasturtiums

many rambling around the garden.

Palm Bed rhododendron leaves

Rhododendron leaves in the Palm Bed form a sinuous shape with the rudbeckias,

Palm Bed -Japanese anemones and rudbeckias

seen in the same bed dancing with Japanese anemones;

View through eucalyptus to weeping birch

or taking the eye through the regenerating eucalyptus to the yellowing leaves of the weeping birch.

Kitchen Bed eucomis, ginkgo, fennel

A similar yellow palette is taken up through the Kitchen Bed by way of the eucomises, the potted ginkgo, and the bronze fennel;

Diascias, geraniums, dahlias

whereas the pale pink diascias in the iron urn lead us to the hot geraniums and dahlias beyond.

Dragon Bed

A dragon stands proud, protecting plants in its eponymous bed.

Chilean lantern tree

Still the Chilean tree produces lanterns,

Colchicums

while gentler hued colchicums sprawl across the soil opposite.

Heligan Path begonias

Begonias still glow in their hanging basket alongside the Heligan Path over the Cryptomeria Bed,

Penstemon

and sunlight has a similar effect on this penstemon.

Rose Garden

An array of supporting plants accompany the roses in their Garden,

Festive Jewel

where such as Festive Jewel display several generations at once.

Grass Patch

Even the patch of grass delights in the day.

Perhaps this is what John meant when he came to paint the garden and observed “so much colour”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken with her especially savoury vegetable rice – itself a veritable complete meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the sangiovese.

P.S. See my response to Luanne below as a recipe for the vegetable rice.

 

 

By Request

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Pauline, The Contented Crafter, recently expressed an interest in seeing a photograph showing the whole length of the garden and the house. Well, this may have been possible were it not for the foliage in between. Nevertheless, I did my best to comply.

Old Post House

I managed to cross the road at the front of the house without either dying in a road accident or falling in the ditch on the other side.

Front garden corner

There was no room for the corner facing the trellis in that view of the building.

Weeping Birch bed to house

I aimed in the direction of the house from as far south as was possible, beginning with the Weeping Birch Bed;

Brick Path to house

the Brick Path was next;

Back Drive barrier to house

then the Back Drive barrier;

Oval Path to house

the Oval Path;

Rose Garden to house

and the Rose Garden.

Well, at least they show glimpses of the back of the house.

House roof from Back Drive

Here are a couple of sightings of the roof, one from the Back Drive,

House roof from compost heaps

and another from the compost heaps.

Garden view from Garden Room windowGarden view from Bathroom windowGarden view from Dressing Room window 2Garden view from Dressing Room window 1

Here are some aerial views from the bedroom and bathroom windows.

Jackie watering

This one features Jackie watering, on which she spent much time. To the right of the fence is the North Breeze jungle.

dahlia

Here are today’s dahlia

Sweet peas

and some white sweet peas.

Clippings on Back Drive

Normally Aaron takes his clippings to the dump at no extra charge. Yesterday Jackie insisted that he left them for us to deal with. The orange bags in this picture were already destined for the Effort Recycling Centre. The heaps in the foreground filled them up again after we had completed our first trip. We needed to chop them up a bit more to fit them in. We then made a second journey.

Tables in car

I was only a couple of days ago that Jackie was announcing that she had come away empty handed from our last few trips to Efford. That run was to be interrupted today with these two tables. The metal, glass-topped, one was for the greenhouse to be delivered tomorrow, so she may be forgiven.

We had then earned a break, so we took a trip into the forest.

Horse and donkey in fly masks

Seeking shade under trees in Sandy Down a little donkey was given similar masked protection from the pesky flies to that afforded to its larger equine cousin.

Ponies and foals on road

Our chosen approach to Brockenhurst was somewhat congested with ponies and their foals. Can you count how many?

Eventually we found ourselves at Patrick’s Patch in Beaulieu.

Wildflower meadowWildflower meadow 2Wildflower meadow 3

This community garden has its own wildflower meadow;

Marigolds and nasturtiums

colour coordinated marigolds and nasturtiums;

Echinaceas

echinaceas in the form of shuttlecocks;

Swiss Chard

splendid Swiss chard;

Sweet peas 1Sweet peas 2Sweet peas 3

a variety of sweet peas;

Sunflower

russet sunflowers;

Rabbit carving

and a carved rabbit.

Scarecrow balloon

An admirably creative collection of scarecrows are distributed throughout. This one is a revolving balloon;

Scarecrow gourd

and this one, having a rest from watering, has a gourd for his head.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House just outside  Lymington. The service was excellent, friendly, and unobtrusive; the food excellent. We both enjoyed gammon steaks for main courses. My starter was whitebait, Jackie’s brie in breadcrumbs; my dessert Eton mess, Jackie’s crème brûlée. I drank a very good pinot noir and Jackie drank Amstel.

 

 

The Heyday Of The Cinema

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Dawn 2

This is the view from our bedroom window that got me staggering downstairs for a camera at 4.30 a.m.

Later on Jackie and I both tidied, weeded, and cleared sections of the garden, adding to the compost heap. Jackie then planted more flowers and I continued with ‘A Knight’s Tale’, extracting edited sections of ‘A Retirement Project’ and ‘Where’s The Tripod?’, yielding more experiences of the heyday of the cinema.

Marigolds and Black eyed Susans

In the garden the marigolds and Black-eyed Susans cone has reached its peak.

Day lily 1Day lilies 2

Hemerocallis

Lilies 1

and lilies,

Lilies 2Lilies 3

especially these giants in the Rose Garden, flourish everywhere.

Dahlia

A new dahlia has popped up in the New Bed,

Bee in poppy

where pollen-laden bees plunder poppies, the seed pods of which produce nodding sculptures.

Schoolgirl 1Schoolgirl, Hawkshead fuchsia, Jacqueline du Pre

Schoolgirl rose bends in a bow in obeisance to Jacqueline du Pre against a backcloth of white Hawkshead fuchsia. I was lucky to get these shots in, because not long afterwards the Head Gardener had tied up the errant rose.

Garden View from Oval Bed to New Bed

Visible in this view across to the New Bed

Hydrangea

is a thriving potted hydrangea;

Garden view across Concrete Patio from Elizabeth's Bed

shifting the eye slightly to the left offers the view across the Concrete Patio.

Rose Summer Wine

The aptly named rose Summer Wine

Rose Summer Time

and golden Summer Time soar over the Rose Garden.

In between further sessions of clearing up after the Head Gardener, I watched Wimbledon tennis match featuring Britons Heather Watson, Johanna Konta, and Andy Murray.

This evening we dined on cod fish cakes, ratatouille, Jersey potatoes, carrots, caiuliflower, and runner beans. And very tasty it all was. We both drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada sauvignon blanc 2016, which rather helped.