Sparkling Jewels

Today dawned bright and sunny. Taking her camera with her, Jackie photographed the garden, glistening after yesterday’s rain. I joined her after a while, adding a few images of my own. We have merged our results.

Raindrops bejewelled individual blooms,

and sunshine brightened every view.

While Jackie was working on the lawn, Nugget did, of course arrive to inspect the works.

He took up a viewing station in his favourite New Zealand hebe,

then dropped down onto a bench to carry out a preening session within inches from the Head Gardener. Suitably satisfied with his ablutions he went into hiding in broad daylight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (19).

This evening we dined on tangy fish pie; crunchy haddock goujons; wholesome champ – an Irish dish consisting of mashed potato and spring onions – tender runner beans; piquant cauliflower cheese; and moist ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gajewski Shiraz 2018 – an excellent Australian wine brought by Elizabeth on Saturday.

Silent Companions

Today the light was dull; the weather warm and dry.

This afternoon we visited Ferndene Farm shop to buy pork for tonight’s dinner.

I joined a young lady happily photographing chickens on her phone. We had noticed that she had chosen a good vantage point. It was a matter of seconds before I discovered that she had no speech and couldn’t understand me. Her carer approached and told me what I had already gathered and that she loved chickens. I said that perhaps she wouldn’t mind me continuing. That was the case and we became silent companions for a while.

I then sought out the resident pigs in order to reassure myself that we would not be eating them.

We continued on through the forest, taking an unnamed lane alongside which refuse had been dumped. At least it had been bagged up;

as had these drink cans on Braggers Lane.

If you are going to dump old fridges on the verges of Fish Street, I suppose you wouldn’t bother to wrap them.

Further along Fish Street we encountered a pair of inquisitive goats, the Billy of which sported a splendid beard.

This evening, when the sun emerged, Jackie went into the garden to plant some bulbs. Nugget kept getting under her feet, so she gave up and photographed a few garden scenes, including

this area she had planted yesterday;

honesty, rudbeckia, and Japanese anemones;

the lawn, eucalyptus, and hanging baskets;

the decking and its planting;

Florence sculpture, petunias, and nicotiana.

Oh, and “Where’s Nugget?” (13).

Later this evening we dined on Jackie’s spicily piquant pork paprika and toothsome mushroom rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hardy’s Chapter and Verse Shiraz 2018.

The Best Cricket Of The Day

Jackie photographed nicotiana and petunias on her way to the Rose Garden, where

she attempted to don the Festive Jewel.

Nugget is beginning to fly into the trees and shout his warning message to what we think is a distant emerging territorial rival.

“Where’s Nugget?” (7a) in this picture, taken when he dropped down to join the Head Gardener in her weeding.

The rest of the photographs are Jackie’s. Swooping on every available prey he kept her close company,

as she cleared weeds from the beds

and the stepping stones.

Having given a clue above, Jackie offers her own “Where’s Nugget?” (7)

The Assistant Photographer achieved the impossible early this morning by watching the best cricket of the day. Can you join her?

I, on the other hand, listened to BBC’s broadcast of the second day of the third Ashes Test match.

Becky and Ian returned home to Southbourne this afternoon.

This evening Jackie and I dined on succulent pork chops in mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potatoes: tangy ratatouille; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans. I drank Saint-Chinian 2016. The Culinary Queen had finished her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Recovery

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As the wind has dropped and the temperature soared, we now enter into a heatwave.

The recovery work in the garden is under way. Clearing fallen branches, staking up plants, watering, and dead-heading were the order of the day.

Palm Bed

Jackie staked up the nicotiana in the Palm Bed for the third time;

Hanging baskets and Palm Bed

Hanging baskets

Hanging basket

it can be seen through hanging baskets settled back in place,

Gazebo Path

but no longer bends across the Gazebo Path.

Pedestal planter

Standing planters have been set up again.

View from Phantom Path across lawn

I have now dead-headed the phlox in the foreground of this view from the Phantom Path, but not yet cut the grass.

Begonia

Fortunately most begonias did not suffer from wind burn.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers, crisp chips, a variety of baked beans, and lashings of fried onions, followed by zesty lemon tart and cream. Jackie drank fruit juice whilst I imbibed Moreland brewery’s Old Crafty Hen.

Havoc

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Gusting 50+ miles per hour winds wreaked havoc overnight and today. They are due to continue until tomorrow morning.

Fallen chairs and potFallen chair and potFallen potFallen pot on decking

Pots and chairs, even the new heavy wooden ones, were blown down,

Nicotiana bent

and the taller plants, such as the nicotiana staked up a few days ago,  were bent over once more.

Begonia

Some stems were broken off and, like this beautiful begonia, found their way into vases known as accident pots. These containers are so called because of the occasional mishaps occurring during ordinary maintenance, not the results of elemental vengeance.

Struggling to steer our own course in the face of the gusting blasts, we did a little recovery work, including tying up roses, and laying down items, such as hanging baskets and more chairs, that were likely to suffer. We left the nicotiana because the cane snapped as I tried to insert it, and I couldn’t be bothered to search out another. Especially for the Head Gardener, this was all rather dispiriting. We don’t, just yet, want to be reminded that Autumn is around the corner.

This evening, for dinner, we consoled ourselves with Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower and cabbage, followed by steamed suet pudding and cream. I drank more of the Alentejano, and Jackie drank fruit juice.

The Death Of The Heart

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Today, I have been mostly watering plants.

Nicotiana

Nicotiana now soars aloft.

Clematis Diversifolia Hendersonii

Several of our clematises, such as Diversifolia Hendersonii

Clematis Queen Mother

and Queen Mother in the front garden,

Clematis

and Duchess of Albany on the Rose Garden pergola bear hats of invisible pixies frolicking and turning somersaults in the sunshine.

Lily 1

This lily has taken two years to bloom.

Lily 2

Many, like this one, live just one day.

Bee on nasturtium

Bees are drawn to our nasturtiums.

Kniphofia

The kniphofias have poked their way up through the soil,

DDahlias

as have the red hot dahlias in the New Bed. The first is Bishop of Llandaff. I’m not sure about the others.

View from Shady Path

This view from the Shady Path encompasses

Hollyhocks

Margery’s hollyhocks.

While I was watering, Ronan was fixing our boiler, not that we will need heating any time soon.

The Death Of The Heart001

This is the blurb on the back cover of

The Death Of The Heart002

which I finished reading this evening.

When my blogging friend, Lisa learned that I was embarking on this novel she remembered that when she had read it, a long time ago, she had found it sad. I would trust Lisa’s judgement ahead of the book’s publicists.

If this is a story of adolescent love in the thirties, I am glad my teenage years were in the fifties. In my view it was more a tale of isolation and loneliness. I agree with the ‘Passion, misunderstanding…..’ paragraph above, but if this an example of ‘sublime sense of comedy’ it is so black as to be invisible to me. Remind me not to try The Orchid Trilogy.

Having said all this, I must concede that Bowen ‘is a major writer’. The book is well constructed; the prose is elegant; she has a keen eye for detail; and she develops character well. But does she like any of her creations?

Finally, Augustus John’s model has far more spirit about her than the unfortunate Portia.

This evening Jackie enjoyed a meal out with her friend, Pauline (not our NZ one); and I dined sumptuously on scrambled egg on toast and Doom Bar.

A Cracking Match

Lace cap hydrangea

This morning’s task was to dig a pit I had chickened out of last night. This was for the lace-cap hydrangea alongside the orange shed. Beneath about two inches of poor soil lay an impacted heap of rubble. With pick-axe, fork, and spade, I managed to get through what we hope is enough of it for the plant to find its way. Jackie filled the hole with good multi-purpose compost, and gave it a good watering.

It takes the two of us a couple of hours to irrigate the trillion hanging baskets, window boxes, tubs, chimney pots, and various other plantings that the Head Gardener has stuffed with flowers. This, today had to form the bread in a sandwich, the filling of which was an absolutely cracking Wimbledon ladies final. Despite dropping the opening game in which she served three double faults, Serena Williams recovered her champion’s composure to win in straight sets, over Garbine Muguruza, who was no push-over. Both women thrilled the crowd, and even I was choked up, with tears in my eyes, at the gleeful dance of the unbeatable American, and the reception given, at the presentation ceremony by the crowd, and by Serena herself, to the runner-up. I cannot call Garbine the loser.Serena WilliamsGarbine Muguruza and Venus Williams

She will be back. But this was the serene Miss Williams’s day, which she was generous enough to share.

It was difficult to get my photos in focus, pointing at the TV, from the sofa, in a somewhat emotional condition.

Rose - possibly Aloha

The lost label rose we bought some days ago, has now produced a flower. We think it may be a David Austin Aloha. When it opens out a bit more, we will have a better idea.

Nasturtiums 1Nasturtiums 2

The varieties of nasturtium in the front garden have been multiplied,

Day liliesDay lilies and petunias

as have the day lilies in the main one.

I thought we may have had a visit from an apparently almost extinct butterfly. This, however,  is not the Large Tortoiseshell, but the

Butterfly Large Tortoiseshell on verbena bonarensis

Comma, attracted by verbena bonarensis.

I am grateful to Norma and Laurie Palmer for correcting me.

Bottle Brush flower

The red Bottle Brush bushes are now in flower.

View from Pergola Path

The one above has this view from the pergola path.

Nicotiana

Yellow/green nicotiana has now joined its white neighbour on the patio.

Buddleia

We are aiming for a very scented rose garden, but, just at the moment, our new plants cannot compete with our neighbours’ buddleia draped over our fence.

Clematis Carnaby

Reminiscent of our pink camellias, which turn pleasing shades of ochre, the sepals of the clematis Carnaby have now matured into the texture of parchment.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred haddock fish cakes; sauteed potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers; and crisp cauliflower and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.