From The Greenhouse

Once again the weather today was bright, sunny, and cool.

Nugget posted a brief tweet: “I’ve just dropped down to let all my fans know that I am very well and rather preoccupied at the moment. Sorry, Jackie, I can’t stop while you collect your camera.”

While Jackie worked outside and, as in this picture, in the greenhouse,

I wandered around the garden. The above shot was taken from the Rose Garden,

where pansies and tulips are now blending nicely.

Other tulips bloom elsewhere.

Japanese maple leaves are now burgeoning.

Moss carpets the low stone walls.

Paths, such as that named the Gazebo;

the Brick;

the Heligan;

or the Dead End are now flanked by colourful plants.

The New Bed once accommodated splendid gladioli and dahlias decimated by voles. We have yet to see whether the replacements Jackie planted in the autumn will fare any better.

The Weeping Birch Bed on other side of the brick path seems unscathed.

Clumps of fritillaries are in several locations.

Shadows are cast across the lawn.

The sculpture Florence stands on Fiveways at the junction between five paths. She enjoys views such as those shown in the first two photographs above.

Through the greenhouse windows Jackie photographed the Head Gardener’s Walk and

pink and blue primulas;

inside she produced an image of Ammi Majus seedlings.

This evening we dined on pepperoni pizza; plentiful fresh salad; and garlic bread, with which I finished the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.

 

 

Negotiating The Levels

Today’s weather was dull, dry, and warm.

This afternoon we ventured into the forest, finding ourselves in MacPenny’s Garden Centre where Jackie shopped for a climbing hydrangea and sat in the car with her puzzles while I wandered around the open garden.

Offering free access all the year round with proceeds of donations dedicated to the National Garden Scheme, I have to say that this splendid facility was looking very much in need of care. A notice at the entrance warns of uneven surfaces which need negotiation, but my impression is that these are more precarious, the steps lacking handrails once in place.

It is of course comparatively early in the year. Last year I spoke to a gentleman volunteer who was tending some of the beds. Today there were heaps of compost awaiting spreading, but no real signs of activity.

Nevertheless shrubs such as camellias,

rhododendrons,

and magnolias bloomed happily, while

hellebores and

snakes head fritillaries flew the flags for smaller species.

A small tree I didn’t recognise

bore pendulous fruit.

One was never very far from a bench

or steps, most of which I thought best avoided.

Paths wound around and between banks offering vistas on different levels.

Rotting stumps made offerings to the garden ecology;

a probably currently redundant hose lay coiled on a leaf-laden path;

branches of naked trees writhed against the skies.

Any readers concerned about my safety may be reassured by the walking stick that Elizabeth gave me for my birthday last year which does wonders for my balance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-filled toothsome beef pie; roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes de Bourg.

Nature’s Umbrellas

Storm Jorge is not due to hit us until tomorrow. Just to get us in the mood, dispiritingly drizzly rain seeped from solid slate skies throughout the day. Even heavy rain would have been more stimulating.

Mostly I read, except when I donned a raincoat and wandered around the garden testing my camera’s imperviousness to the water that

glistened all surfaces

and bejewelled crocuses sagely keeping closed;

camellias on the bushes and

on the ground;

head-bent hellebores –

even those standing proud.

I realised today why these flowers invariably hang their heads.

They come equipped with their own umbrellas.

Daffodils,

primroses,

and mahonias brighten

the beds.

Raindrops cling to boughs until sliding down to drop to the ground.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn. Portions are so plentiful that we both opted simply for mains. Jackie enjoyed the thick, meaty house burger with chips and salad while I chose beer battered cod, chips and peas with tartar sauce. The crispy batter was better than most fish and chip shops could produce. Mrs Knight drank Kaltenberg and I drank Rioja.

 

Somewhat Disconcerting

Excessive rain interspersed with splendid sunlight spells was the order of the day.

In the early gloom gluttonous sparrows from across the road commandeered the seed feeder.

A later downpour dropped puddles on our paths.

Bright sunshine left sparkling garden views

sporting long shadows.

After lunch we took a drive into the forest via Lyndurst Road,

still displaying autumnal burnished gold,

and mushroom omelettes on the verges.

Blending well with their environment a pair of Oxford Sandy and Black pigs snorted, snuffled, and slurped their sodden way

about the soggy terrain on which floated leaves fallen from reflected trees above.

I have to say that having my knees butted by snotty snouts smearing mucus on contact was somewhat disconcerting.

Pools like this one are spreading across the forest.

A wide one flanks the entrance to Honey Lane, Burley. Even in dry weather our Modus would not survive a trip slaloming the potholes in the lane itself.

A solitary rook stood sentinel at its usual post along the Burley Road.

Constantly changing light produced dramatic skies and landscapes.

A rainbow outside Burley suggested that arboreal gold does lie at its end.

A fast flowing stream bubbled across the ford on Holmsley Passage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s hot and spicy paprika pork, boiled potatoes and carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Franc.

 

 

 

Swooping And Squabbling

All was still and bright in the garden today when we began the post-storm recovery.

We didn’t manage the patio area, which won’t take long tomorrow.

Aaron righted the Rose Garden arch, with minimal discomfort to Crown Princess Margareta and Zefirini Drouhin.

The Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path;

views from the Kitchen Bed,

from the Shady Path,

from the Palm Bed,

towards the Rose Garden from the corner of the Phantom Path, are now less cluttered.

Some hanging baskets, like these suspended from the eucalyptus, have been righted.

In order to prevent loosening of the rose roots from further winds, Jackie has begun their winter pruning.

Nugget, of course, could not keep his beak out of the process. Yes – he and Muggle are both alive and well.

“Where’s Nugget?” (42)

Late this afternoon we took a drive into the forest. Given that a woman had been killed not far away yesterday by a tree falling on her car it had been a good decision not to risk it ourselves.

Moody skycapes loomed above Beaulieu Heath

and Hatchet Pond,

casting reflections on the water

over which greedy gulls swooped and squabbled.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s especially spicy lamb jalfrezi with pilau rice, vegetable samosas, and plain parathas with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The Boundary Fence

I have never installed a new Apple Operating System without experiencing a consequent problem. Overnight I let Catalina in. It is not compatible with my scanner. I followed the directions to resolve the issue, but hit a brick wall. This will mean another call to Peacock Computers.

This morning Elizabeth came for coffee and stayed for lunch.

Jackie planted more bulbs in the New Bed

while Aaron reinforced the back of this with breeze blocks. At one corner Jackie had planted pansies and a fern in a pot with no back wedged against a larger one with no front.

Aaron reported that while he had been working on the wall Nugget had put in an appearance and breakfasted on disturbed worms.  On the back drive our robin’s rival perched on our friend’s container of cuttings. By the time I had returned with my camera the newcomer had repaired to the

larch which forms the avian boundary fence as agreed by the two rivals. The interloper sang from this tree, but I couldn’t spot him.

The bright morning sunshine streaked shadows along the various paths including the

Heligan, where Jackie admired a campanula in the Cryptomeria Bed.

but uprooted one of the invasive white alliums from the gravel.

After lunch I rather snoozed over the Rugby World Cup quarter final match between Wales and South Africa, then wandered around the garden again.

Antirrhinums surprisingly still thrive beyond the avian boundary fence;

Less surprisingly, mushrooms emerge from a log left to encourage insect life;

and the bank of chrysanthemums glows gloriously.

Autumn leaves still linger on the Weeping Birch,

and those of the Parthenocissus brighten the shadows on the south fence.

The winter flowering clematis has announced the coming season,

While an earlier variety rests on a bed of Erigeron.

Mum in a million lets her hair down in the Rose Garden.

Nugget worked at making eye contact with his favourite perching owl.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy piri-piri chicken; flavoursome savoury rice; and succulent lava beans and sweet potato ratatouille, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

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.