Liquid Pearls

During the early part of this wet day I recovered the photographs and set header pictures for the following posts:

Light rain did not deter Martin from applying his grouting to the patio. First he three times pressure cleaned the paving, spraying the cracks between them and locating the “hot spots” to ensure the correct depths would be filled. Far from being problematic, the precipitation aided the process, providing a temporary rainbow effect.

Having left Flo, Dillon, and Ellie to brunch at Camellia’s CafĂ© in Everton Nursery, Jackie and I acquired provisions at Ferndene Farm Shop where I photographed

Fire logs and kindling alongside cut tulips and other flowers and

potted chrysanthemums.

Trays of bedding plants such as these primulas,

and pansies, and hyacinths, some of which bore their own liquid pearls.

Jackie deposited me at home and continued along Christchurch Road to collect the young family.

Once the day’s drizzle had desisted I made further inroads on the debris behind the oil tank and shed, transporting more to the Shady Path.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp and fresh crusty bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2021.

Summer Time

Just before lunch I posted

This afternoon, while Jackie and Flo toured the garden centres in successful search of trailing plants for hanging baskets, I pulled up a few weeds and photographed

some of our flowers, all of which are titled in the gallery.

The New Wheel Inn is the now privately owned and refurbished incarnation of the Wheel Inn Community Pub, our favourite which was a casualty of the first Covid lockdown. This evening we dined there. The changes to the building are minimal, but all fresh, clean, and in keeping with the original.

We dined there this evening. Food and service were good. I chose sirloin steak with all the trimmings which was cooked as I had asked; Jackie’s main course was meaty belly of pork with perfect crackling and green cabbage; Flo’s, fish, chips, and peas. Flo and I each followed this with orange bread and butter pudding with brandy custard; Jackie’s dessert was cheesecake. Jackie drank Heineken, Flo, J2O, and I, Ringwood’s bitter.

Blooming Today

On another bright, cold, morning I nipped upstairs to photograph from above

Florence continuing her general clearing of the garden beds.

After lunch I focussed on a few flowers, including Amanogawa cherry; varieties of cyclamen, of daffodils, of camellias, of tulips; smiling pansies; a sunlit hellebore; a hanging fritillary; and a sweetly scented Daphne Odorata Marginata.

A number of seemingly drowsy bumble bees seem to need a rest on leaves between blooms.

Ian had returned home last night because he had work to do today, so he was unable to join us for this evening’s dinner which consisted of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and meaty gravy, with which The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Mavrodaphni of Patra Kourtaki, and I drank Bold Vine Zinfandel 2019.

Burgeoning Blooms; Snowballing Lichen; Lingering Leftovers

After lunch I published

I then wandered around the garden with my camera and photographed

The mimosa in the last picture was planted in the North Breeze garden by the last resident, who kindly gave us the benefit of its hanging over our back drive fence. These are the burgeoning blooms.

Lichen is snowballing in more than one sense of the word.

Seedpods and heads linger from last year; fallen twigs remind me of the clearing up that must be done.

Into which category should be placed this pelargonium and a similar one having bloomed continuously since last spring?

Finally, I offer the next four pages of ‘The Highwayman’ featuring Charles Keeping’s marvellous illustrations:

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb and mint sauce; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Azinhaga de Ouro Reserva 2019.

Not Much Damage

I spent much of the day either side of lunch producing which I posted later.

I then uploaded garden photographs I had made earlier.

Pansies and viburnum usually flower all year round, but to find sunny solanum and winter flowering cherry together is not normally expected.

We still have a number of fuchsias in bloom.

Not much damage was caused by storm Barra. One broken and a few redistributed pots and watering cans; fallen strings of solar lights, rose stems, twigs from birch and beech; owls, and a path sign, were all we really suffered. We will right a few pots and garden ornaments and gather up the arboreal offerings when we feel in the mood.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway with the addition of vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin Bourisset Macon 2019.

June Delights

On a day that returned us to warmth and full sunshine, Jackie spent much of it

examining her floral babies and stretching to care for them, while I mostly wandered in and out of the garden with my camera.

We have a number of clematises;

numerous roses;

freshly blooming rhododendrons;

and more welcome alliums.

The Kitchen Path runs alongside the Pond Bed towards the arch bearing a blue solanum.

The Gazebo and Brick Paths are colourfully bordered.

Jackie’s new planting in the Shady Path Bench Bed is burgeoning nicely.

The Byzantium gladioli are standing in several beds, including this one in the Rose Garden; the pink cabana Jumbo emerges from a blue pot; the red Japanese maple still dominates the Pond Bed.

Geranium palmatums, cosmos, dandelions, convolvulus, companula, pansies, and poppies are other thriving blooms.

Florence at Fiveways stands in front of our newest bench; the Nottingham Castle replica is the oldest.

Weigela and two different erigerons overlook the concrete patio.

This evening we dined on more of the marinaded chicken with boiled new potatoes, and tender runner and green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

The Plant Pulley

Today was very hot and sunny. Until fatigue forced me inside I put in

more work on the stones of the Weeping Birch Bed footpath.

It is now possible once more to sit on the chair beneath the tree and look across to the Rose Garden. A raised stone sits in the foreground of this picture. I picked it out of the undergrowth with the intention of using it on the path. When the Head Gardener informed me that it was part of another path leading in the direction of the crow’s flight from the chair, I was somewhat disappointed. Ah, well.

In the Rose Garden we have, among others, Altissimo, foxgloves, Gloriana, Madame Alfred Carriere, and For your Eyes Only.

Red and white mimuluses are blooming in a hanging basket over the Heligan Path; yellow ones in a tub beside the decking.

White petunias share a pot with angels wings, and blue pansies in a hanging basket beside the greenhouse are almost fluorescent.

Planting was again Jackie’s main occupation today. Here she displays a tomato grown from seed.

She has also installed one of Shelly’s Christmas presents, namely a retractable plant hanger which, when attached to the top of the Gazebo can be applied to a hanging basket and retracted to a position giving the required headroom for passing husbands. This one certainly appreciates it.

We have a number of clumps of Erigeron and various peonies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped with an omelette and served with two preparations of prawns – one tempura with sweet chilli sauce, the other hot and spicy. We both drank Concha y Toro Reserva Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

The Roble Turnberry Bench

This morning we bit the bullet, unpacked, and assembled the new wooden Roble Turnberry bench. The last picture in this gallery shows what I look like when I have just straightened after an extended bending of my knees.

As can be seen from the first of these seated pictures we took of each other, the agony soon passes.

We have moved the new bench up to Fiveways, where we can enjoy the same views as Florence sculpture.

Here are some of Jackie’s planted urns, the first containing the last surviving purple tulip; the second, petunias and geranium against honesty in the bed behind; the third, some of her many pansies.

While I was at it, I photographed campion, rhododendron, aubretia, aquilegias, and Welsh poppies fronting the budding Chilean lantern tree.

Later this afternoon we will be driving to the Lamb Inn at Nomansland where we will meet Elizabeth and Danni for our first permitted inside a pub meal since the last lockdown that was forever-ago. I will report on that tomorrow.

“I Can’t Get Up”

Between us we spent much of the day on garden maintenance. Not only did Jackie continue

her work on redesigning the Pond Bed planting, composting, weeding, and tidying,

but she has begun filling containers with petunias in the chimney pot; pansies in the iron urn, in a basket yet to become hanging, and, with geraniums in this stone urn.

I carried on with my weeding of gravel, clearing Florence’s feet,

and a mass under the Japanese maple beside the decking.

The aluminium garden chair has become an essential part of my weeding kit -in, as it turned out, more ways than one. I now use it on which to sit and ease the stress on my knees. It only hurts when I need to get up and shift it for the next row. I left it out of the way when working under the maple while I perched on the edge of the low wooden platform. When I had finished I had to call Jackie from the other end of the garden. I could see her looking for me as she made her way along the Gazebo Path. She wasn’t expecting me to be where I was. I called again and confessed “I can’t get up”.

Mrs Knight made a valiant, but vain attempt to heave me to my feet. I really needed something from which to support my efforts. Then I spotted the chair. Jackie placed it at a suitable distance with its back to me. She sat on it to hold it firm. Gripping with both hands, I forced my screeching knees to the perpendicular.

As I typed the last sentence on my draft, Elizabeth turned up with her gardening gloves. Neither Jackie nor I was capable of doing any more, but I took my sister into the garden to set her to work. No sooner had she fully prepared herself than rain set in for the rest of the day.

So she had a cup of tea and stayed for dinner.

This fusion meal consisted of Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped with an omelette; spicy beef and black beans, and Singapore noodles from Mr Chan; a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in barbecue sauce from Lidl; and tempura prawns from Tesco with sweet chilli sauce. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Malbec from a new bottle, and my sister abstained.

Surviving The Cold Weather

Having progressed comfortably past the halfway point in Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, this morning I scanned the next six of Charles Keeping’s imaginative and skilful illustrations.

In ‘Mrs Hominy stalked in again; very erect, in proof of her aristocratic blood’ the artist perfectly displays her haughtiness.

‘Three or four meagre dogs; some long-legged pigs; some children, nearly naked; were all the living things he saw’ sprawls across a splendid two page spread.

Two more leaves are partially occupied by ‘In a moment the stick was spinning harmlessly in the air, and Jonas himself lay sprawled in the ditch’, thus depicting a sense of distance.

Mrs Gamp, being ‘Only a little screwed’, i.e. somewhat inebriated as usual, clearly afforded her young witnesses a sneaky source of amusement.

‘He stood at his shop-door in even-tide’ is one of Keeping’s authentic period street scenes.

‘That fiery animal confined himself almost entirely to his hind legs in displaying his paces’ bursting out of the text shows the horse’s stubbornly combative nature. The artist faithfully demonstrates the driver’s diminutive stature.

The day remained cold with occasional sunny periods, one of which lasted for only the first of the photographs I produced on a walk around the garden this afternoon.

This was a fanning euphorbia providing shadows; we have a plethora of primroses and pansies, some of which are now planted in an owl flown in from Mum’s garden. The other ornamental raptor pictured is the Head Gardener’s latest purchase. Later daffodils continue to bloom, as do tulips and camellias. Honesty is widespread; spirea sprays forth; fritillaries flourish. I think it is safe to say that the garden is surviving the cold weather.

This evening we dined alfresco at The Lamb Inn, Nomansland. I will report on. that tomorrow.