Better Than Expected

Today’s winds have dropped to 20 m.p.h.

When opening the gate for Aaron this morning I checked on the storm damage.

There really wasn’t much more than I had noticed yesterday. The downpipe to the water butt on the corner of the kitchen wall had become unstuck; a few extra pots had fallen; the sweet peas had been further loosened; quite a few smaller branches had been ripped off the beech and birch trees; some of the ornamental poplar branches were broken; just one rose stem had been torn; many plants have lost stems; and there was a certain amount of wind burn on one side of the winter flowering cherry and elsewhere, such as various fuchsias.

Aaron began the work of tidying up.

He gathered and bagged up many of the fallen branches and leaves;

trimmed the ornamental poplar, removing the broken branches;

and righted the fallen containers ready for Jackie to replace at her leisure. He observed that the morning had gone very quickly. He likes to be busy.

Bob of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog has recently suggested a regular feature of “Where’s Nugget” inviting readers to find our little robin. That, of course, depended on his surviving the storm and returning unscathed. I am happy to report that I heard his gentle chirp as he followed Aaron around.

He nipped up onto a chair for a chat, then flitted off into the Rose Garden.

I admit that the first “Where’s Nugget” puzzle is a little difficult.

The red scented sweet peas may have been blown awry, but there are plenty of clinging seed pods which benefited from an early shower,

and its desiccated leaves provide perfect camouflage for our Meadow Brown butterflies.

These dahlias

and the agapanthuses may have bowed to the elements, but, like the rest of the garden, they have fared far better than expected.

Bees, flies, and crickets have come out to play and to work again,

The Rose Garden has remained virtually unscathed,

and one lily kept its head in the front.

Other flowers, like these cosmoses, dahlias, and rudbeckia are wondering what all the fuss was about.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie in short crust pastry; new potatoes; roasted sweet potato and parsnip; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; with piquant cauliflower cheese, with which she finished the Austrian white wine and I drank Doom Bar.

“What’s Going On?”

In bright sunshine at 10 a.m. this morning it was hard to believe that the meteorologists had threatened us with 48 hours of gale force winds from 11 a.m. onwards. Nevertheless forecasts are now much more accurate than they were in our youth, so we battened down the hatches. Thousands of items of garden furniture and millions of hanging baskets – or so it seemed – needed to be brought down to ground level.

First, the patio furniture was lowered. the two teapots in the bottom left corner are for Nugget’s consideration as a prospective new home.

The hanging baskets required careful handling to prevent causing damage before the gales were given the chance to wreak havoc. Chequerboard fuchsia hanging from the arch over the dead end path is shown in the two pictures before those in which Jackie delicately replaces potted petunias. Having stretched a long arm from its pot it had required tying up. I needed to undo this.

All this activity naturally aroused Nugget’s curiosity. At first he hopped about from the rocks to the gravel,

then took up a position on the back of the white chair in the Weeping Birch Bed. The usual magnification from the galleries will show him clearly tweeting “what’s going on?”.

The Head Gardener found room for what she called “the lucky few” in the greenhouse.

This afternoon we took a coastal trip to see what was going on there.

At Milford on Sea a young girl sheltered along the sea wall in an effort to avoid the violence of the waves and the spray. Kite surfers could be seen in the distance near Hurst lighthouse.

Further along, at Barton on Sea, hardy groups clambered on the rocks.

The Isle of wight seemed shrouded in spray.

At Mudeford black headed gulls bobbed buoyant as corks on the surging waves. Although two skilled sailboarders sped along the surface,

another less proficient pair spent much of their time attempting to lodge and right their sail. No sooner had they seemed upright than they were back beneath the surface. I had to admire their persistence.

This evening we dined on crispy duck, spring onions, cucumber, and plum sauce in pancakes; followed by spare ribs in barbecue sauce; with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chinian.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

On The Lake Bed

Jackie’s labels for her Paths and Beds occasionally need refurbishing.

Yesterday she renewed this one, demonstrating that the bed is named for the tree.

The storms of the last couple of days left the paths covered in debris. Today the Head Gardener swept and cleared them.

This kept swivel-headed Nugget well supplied with fleeing insects, quick as an arrow, to dart at.

This afternoon we visited Annie and Derek at Barton on Sea, where we enjoyed the, cakes, and wide ranging stimulating conversation.

After this we took a brief drive into the forest to make use of the early evening light.

Having noticed a pair of ponies lurking in the shadows thrown across

the virtually dry bed of the old quarry lake in Pilley

I gingerly made my way down there to join them.

A grey up on the road clattered over the tarmac and

thudded down the bank in my direction.

I took evasive action as it joined its grazing cousins.

A pair of spectral equines appeared atop the opposite bank.

This evening, from trays on our laps, we dined on pepperoni pizza, marinaded chicken and plentiful fresh salad accompanied by Blue Moon in Jackie’s case and the last of the Bergerac in mine; while we watched the highlights of the first day of the first Ashes Test match between England and Australia.

Say “Bye”

I woke later than usual this morning. As I passed our upstairs windows soon after 7 a.m. I spied Jackie standing with a camera at the far end of the garden.

She was taking advantage of the early morning light, which was just as well for the first three images in particular.

Titles, as usual, can be gleaned after accessing each of the galleries with a click. Otherwise I will let her results speak for themselves.

This afternoon she drove me to

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, where I walked for thirty minutes along this reasonably even path.

So crowded were the car parks that we only just managed to find a space. Surrounding the car park, golden St John’s Wort glowed in the sunshine that pierced gaps between the

majestic giant redwoods

surrounded by bracken.

Now the tourist season has begun, and children have been let out of school, I do not walk alone.

Two little boys ran on ahead of their parents, pausing while a woman approached engrossed in her mobile phone. Having put it aside, she greeted me warmly.

Two gentleman I took to be the fathers of the boys called them to stop, caught up with them and turned to communicate with the likely mothers with whom I had been conversing.

The woman carrying a younger child, I think did not speak English. Nevertheless when, realising that they were pacing me and my knees, I urged them not to wait for me she held up her little boy to wave and say “bye”. Her companion had good enough English to tell me about her aunt’s hip replacement.

On my return to the car I paused to photograph a trio playing catch. Anyone who has been accustomed to catching a hard cricket ball will appreciate that it is much easier to pouch than is this yellow tennis ball.

When we set off for home string of cyclists wheeled along Rhinefield Road.

Just outside Brockenhurst a leisurely pony and foal were instructing a patient motorcyclist in the rules of the New Forest roads.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef, mushrooms and peppers in red wine; Yorkshire pudding; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which I finished the Grenacha Syrah. Mrs Knight had downed her Hoegaarden while seated on the patio in conversation with Nugget.

Happier Behind The Camera

I was grateful today for the overnight thunderstorm and for Jackie’s watering the parts it couldn’t reach early this morning before she and Shelly drove to Helen’s to offer sisterly assistance.

This meant I could concentrate on the dead-heading necessitated by the storm’s stripping of many petals. After more than an hour I retreated indoors with wobbly legs and wringing wet shirt to sit at the computer and apply myself to retouching two more of the images from my mother’s old album.

First I tackled my grandfather from c1926 at Conwy. Judging by the position of his hand I suspect he was holding a cigarette.

This photograph was probably taken in about 1919, before the marriage of my maternal grandparents, Annie and George Henry Hunter, who are the couple on the right.

These two images suggest that my grandfather was, like me, happier behind the camera.

After completing this work I returned to the garden,

where bees were very busy, being particularly partial to swarming over purple alliums and pink hebes.

Red geraniums, white marguerites, and pink hydrangeas produce an attractive bank on the front drive. Jackie is constantly thinning out the daisies so she has sufficient vision to her right when driving out.

A variety of day lilies continue to proliferate.

The last three day lily images are from the Kitchen Bed, also home to lysimachia Firecracker.

Pale pastel blue and white campanula spills over the Shady Path

from where we have views towards the house, and across the Palm Bed, among others.

This clematis Polish Spirit is nearby in the Dragon Bed.

From the stable door we look down the Gazebo path, and back from the agapanthuses coming into bloom in the Palm Bed.

Further garden views are afforded by the Rose Garden and the Phantom Path,

leading to the West Bed with its honesty and lilies.

Some time after Jackie returned home she drove out again for a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal which we enjoyed with Hoegaarden in her case, and more of the Fleurie in mine.

Compatriots

I wasn’t able to dead head all the roses today, although I carried out quite a long session with secateurs before my knees suggested that a rest might be in order. After taking one, it seemed likely that spent buds would not spoil any photographs, so I wandered around with the camera.

Here are four Rose Garden views with individual shots of Aloha, Absolutely Fabulous framed by a foxglove crescent, Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only, Rosa Gallica; and Ballerina dancing attendance.

Roses elsewhere include Wedding Day just coming into bloom on the Gothic arch; the peach rose in the Oval Bed; and Compassion beside the Dead End Path.

Bees continue to swarm around the yellow bottle brush plant and the valerian.

Purple lamium and blue petunias share one of Jackie’s pots; cosmoses feature in others. Our day lilies are proliferating; fuchsias Delta’s Sarah has proved to be hardy enough to survive our winter.

The kitchen wall display has benefited from all the recent rain.

The Palm Bed is named for the cordeline Australis which can be seen beyond its compatriot eucalyptus.

These three views are of the Phantom Path; the Shady Path; and the junction between the Brick and Gazebo Paths, the latter of which is shown from both directions.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie, firm carrots, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Navarra Garnacha Roble 2017.