Raindrops On Roses

Having been informed by Bob on https://lovewillbringustogether.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/blue-skies-smilin-at-me/ that Australia’s Perth is having its driest spell on record I thought that today’s overnight visitors from that city might not be too sorry that our day has been overcast and wet.

Nevertheless, our cordeline Australis, eucalyptus, and yellow bottle brush plant, all beginning to bloom, may give them more of a sense of home.

Before the rain set in I photographed this unknown peach rose nodding to Compassion, at bit further back.

When I stayed with Mick and Gay at Christmas 2007 on the occasion of Sam’s wedding to their daughter, Holly, the sun was so hot that it burnt all Gay’s roses. It seemed appropriate on this occasion to photograph raindrops on some of ours, bringing us full circle with the pair that began the day dry. They are, of course, https://youtu.be/33o32C0ogVM

Late this afternoon these Australian friends arrived to spend time with us. We all dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; with flavoursome gravy, followed by strawberries, meringues, and ice cream. Hoegaarden; water; and The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018 was imbibed. Afterwards we enjoyed convivial conversation including cultural exchanges and reminiscing before departing to our respective beds.

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.

A Tattooed Jet-skier

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Yesterday, Jackie, having set a border with transplanted heucheras some weeks ago, thinned out the other plants in the small bed to the left of the rose garden entrance. As Aaron said, this increased the sense of space.

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to prune the plants over the arch to the front garden;

another was to fix spikes to the top of the Westbrook Arbour to prevent perching pigeons pooing onto the bench beneath.

Late this morning Jackie drove me out with the intention of photographing the New Forest Marathon. Unfortunately, because of road closures, and my inability to walk far enough along the paths that would lead to the runners, we abandoned the idea and went home to lunch, after which an amble round the garden was possible.

We still have a number of lively clematises, like this Polish Spirit in the Dragon Bed alongside the Shady Path,

and this Hagley Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

where is also to be found glorious Gloriana,

pink-cheeked Mum in a Million,

and Rhapsody in Blue harmonising with verbena bonariensis.

Peach Delight still stretches over the Oval Bed,

where nasturtiums echo rudbeckia,

itself found in the Palm Bed,

also home to helenium

and echinacea.

Bees swarmed blushing sedums

and Japanese anemones;

a wasp sought saxifrage.

Perhaps a spider’s spinning a modest veil for Florence sculpture.

Gauras have proved difficult to grow here. An exception is this one swaying in the Weeping Birch Bed.

This fuchsia curtains Elizabeth’s Bed from the Rose Garden.

In the late afternoon we visited Mudeford Quay which thronged with visitors, Many of whom were enjoying themselves catching crabs, although they snared more seaweed. The secret, which enabled one group to fill buckets with the unfortunate creatures before tossing them back into the water, seemed to be the bacon bait, which, to my mind, would have been better served flavouring a sausage casserole.

Taking advantage of the low tide, one dog walker wandered along the sandbank, passing the Isle of Wight, and retracing his steps.

Just as I was about to leave, a tattooed jet skier sprayed into sight and navigated his way between the port and starboard buoys.

heuchera

Early this evening, Jackie rushed in for the camera, rushed out with it, and returned with a backlit image of the heuchera I had photographed this morning.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; wild rice; crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans, followed by her sublime bread and butter pudding. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Presentable For The Camera

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This morning I wandered round the garden with camera and crutch, but no perch. I began with the patio, and its hanging baskets and planters. The bed and breakfast sign was a Christmas present from Becky and Ian; the basket at its base, Jacqueline’s birthday present to Jackie.

From there I walked along the Kitchen Path,

 

taking the Brick Path to the far end of the garden,

 

and round to the Rose Garden,

where Jackie, who spent the whole day on general maintenance, including much weeding, sweeping, and raking, went to great pains to make this area, on which she had been working, presentable for the camera.

The football World Cup has nudged Bargain Hunt off the TV schedules. This meant that I could not take my usual fix for a post-prandial snooze. So I opted for the match between Egypt and Uruguay. This fitted the bill perfectly.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops, tasty gravy, new potatoes, runner beans, and crunchy carrots.

A Topsy-Turvy Season

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A wander round the garden in this balmy morning’s light diffused by wandering clouds above raised questions about what season we are enjoying.

Spider

An industrious web constructing spider, seeking camouflage in the spent marigold seedpods

Marigolds

must have been confused by the plants’ fresh blooms.

Spider 2

By early evening the predator had moved house and wrapped its dinner.

Bidens

Like many of our bidens, these have self seeded from hanging baskets and tubs.

Small white butterfly on bidens

The Small White butterflies still light on them and many other plants.

Lace Cap Hydrangea

Some of the clusters on this lace cap hydrangea have turned blue.

Hibiscus

Several hibiscuses are filled with flowers.

Petunias

Petunias,
Phlox

phlox,

Fuchsia

fuchsias,

Begonia

and begonias go on forever.

Weeping Birch Bed 2

Others, like these antirrhinums in the Weeping Birch Bed

Antirrhinum

and alongside the Brick Path, are having a new growth surge.

Autumn crocuses and geraniums

Pansies and geraniums refuse to cede ground to the autumn crocuses,

Poppy

and the little orange poppies and persistent lobelias really do think it is spring.

Digitalis

Digitalis cavorts with gaura,

RobinRosa Glauca hips and robin

and robins and other little birds swing along with rosa glauca’s hips.

Weeping Birch Bed 2

It is difficult at this time to find a view that does not include Japanese anemones. Even here, one glows like a coal in the background shadows beyond the Weeping Birch.

Most of the roses are budding again.

Ballerina rose

Ballerinas are back on stage,

Rose Mum in a Million

as are Mum in a Million,

Rose Gloriana

Gloriana,

Rose Flower Power Flower Power, and many more.

Urn at southern end of Brick Path

When admiring the view through the urn at the southern end of the Brick Path

Grizelinia branches

I did my best to ignore the fresh pile of cut branches produced yesterday by Aaron, Sean, and Rory while cutting down the grizelinias.

Later this afternoon, Jackie drove us to Steamer Point, between Highcliffe and Mudeford. I will publish photographs tomorrow, because I think I have enough on this post today, and because, for reasons that will become apparent, we plan to return in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi, and omelette-topped onion rice, with samosas and onion bhajis. I drank more of the Fleurie and Jackie drank Le Héron Gros Manseng 2015.

The End Of The Roll

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We were promised sunshine and showers today. In the end the rain dominated. Consequently I was unable to cut the grass. There was nothing for it but, with the sun on my back when it did put in an appearance, while being dripped on by the trees, to take advantage of the light to photograph raindrops; then hit the massive ironing pile.

Gazebo path

The Chilean lantern bush is on the left of the Gazebo Path, and the yellow bottle brush one to the right. The eucalyptus is in flower.

Raindrops on Bottle Brush Plant

The bottle brushes were well washed;

Raindrops on rhododendron

Heligan Path BenchView from Brick Path across the lawn

as was the rhododendron that has bloomed in the Phantom Bed since these views from the Heligan Path and the Brick Path were last featured.

Raindrops on sweet peas

These sweet peas are now adorning the arch to our right.

Raindrops on peony

Peonies heads are too heavy to be raised

Cordyline Australis

in the Palm Bed, so named for the cordyline Australis.

Elizabeth's Bed

From the Oval Path to the right can be seen Elizabeth’s bed with its bright pink hydrangea;

Rose Garden

and straight ahead through to the Rose Garden, where

Riandrops on Mum in a Million

Mum in a Million

Raindrops on Margaret Merril

and Margaret Merrill have both washed their faces.

Raindrops on Day Lily

This day lily in Margery’s Bed has just had a shower.

Kitchen Bed View

Between shirts I nipped out to photograph this view across the Kitchen Bed from the Patio.

This afternoon I scanned the last few frames on the Devon September 1983 holiday roll of colour negative film featured yesterday, when Mary observed that an image of Jessica and Louisa warranted a close up. This is the next shot in which I have

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1

first cropped the background,

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1 Crop

then brought the subjects into close-up.

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 2

Once released, Louisa was quite clear where she wanted to go,

Louisa 9.83 1

but not quite so confident when negotiating the terrain,

Sam 9.83

which hadn’t fazed Sam at all.

Jessica 9.83

Here is Jessica shortly before we left.

Louisa 9.83 2Louisa 9.83 3

Back home, our daughter adopted the usual exhausted mode.

Jackie having returned from her three days away, we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled onions and gherkins, followed by Dorset Apple Cake brought back from Tolpuddle. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

A Bee And Three Flies

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Early this morning, we drove Sheila to Brockenhurst for her return home. Apart from Jackie’s planting , and my occasional wander round the garden on this overcast day, we spent it flopping.

We have blooming clematises

Clematises Niobe and Arabella

Niobe and Arabella on the kitchen wall;

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchaud

Comtesse de Bouchaud sporting a fennel veil;

Clematis Durandii and geranium palmatums; and bee

Durandii, making its way above geranium palmatums playing host to a bee in the rose garden;

Clematis Margaret Hunt

Margaret Hunt;

Clematis recovered

and this one Jackie recovered after finding that a creature had burrowed underneath it. We had wondered why it wasn’t doing anything.

Rhododendron, geranium palmatums, and clematis Star of India

The recently flowering rhododendron blends well with the Clematis Star of India, the ubiquitous geranium palmatums, and poppies against Jackie in the background.

Poppies

Here are more poppies leading us to the Rose Garden,

Rose garden reflection

where Laura Ford is reflected on the side of the potting shed;

and where thrive, among others,

Shropshire Lad and fly

Shropshire Lad,

Crown Princess MargareteCrown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margareta,

Rose Mamma Mia and fly

Mamma Mia,

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll,

Rose Mum in a Million

and Mum in a Million.

Rose red

This red rose was rescued from the jungle by Elizabeth;

Rose scarlet

this scarlet one stands in the Oval Bed;

Rose pink

and this pink one in the small triangular bed outside the stable door.

Oval Path

The tall scarlet rose is evident in this view of the Oval Path.

Honeysuckle 1

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle 2

now climbs above the entrance to the Rose Garden which is visible

View from Back Drive

from the entrance to the Back Drive.

A bee is flagged up in the text. Three roses each bear a fly. Can you find them?

Mr Chatty Man provided our Hordle Chinese Take Away meal this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.