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.

Across The Weeping Birch Bed

On another warm yet mostly dull day

Jackie continued planting, including various pots, and mending the bed into which I fell beside the Heligan Path two days ago. She had been most concerned about the foxglove which, after she had extricated it from beneath my shoulder only lost a couple of leaves. I can now see that the shrub into which I took a dive was probably the still standing euphorbia.

I made a start on reviving the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. This involved lifting stones in order to remove the unwanted alliums from beneath them and removing others from the edges. These beasts even attach their babies to daffodil bulbs from which they had to be extricated. My chair was not stable enough for this task, so after a while I used the long fork standing up, and bent when necessary. I was able to take respite by leaning on the implement, but could not crouch enough to replace the narcissi. Either I’ll have another go tomorrow or the Head Gardener will need to step in.

Aquilegias, such as those seen in the bottom right of the Gazebo Path, and the Rose Garden beds, are ubiquitous. Maybe my next weeding job could be along the Rose Garden paths which look a safer prospect.

Various shrubs, like viburnums, and rhododendrons, are spreading for summer at last.

Clematises such as the blue Daniel Deronda and the white Marie Boisselot are now flowering, and Dr Ruppel buds are raring to go.

Other climbers, for example, the blue solanums and rose Arthur Bell are on their way.

The rose scales the arch beside the Dragon Bed which houses these peonies.

This is the view from the Rose Garden, past Florence, and across the lawn towards North Breeze;

and these are, in turn, from the pieris overlooking the Nottingham Castle Bench facing the Brick Path diagonally opposite the West Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; exceptionally tasty carrots from Tesco; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

“Welcome To The World Of Flies”

Now I am going to throw a spanner in the works of selection. I have just remembered ‘The Drift’, the second half of which post contains a number of pictures which must be included. It is such a unique New Forest event. I don’t wish to impose more work on my readers, but any comments would be welcome.

I have culled the 5 least popular of my 19 and added the four above from The Drift. At least the shortlist is reduced by one.

When we visited Wessex Photo yesterday I was encouraged to enter that company’s own competition on the subject of Spring. This gave me the opportunity to submit

this jackdaw gathering nesting material from a cow’s hide, taken from my post of 3rd May. I had rejected it from my first selection for the Everton competition because it could have been taken anywhere.

A brief walk around the garden this afternoon gleaned

these diascia which have survived two winters outside in their pot;

these marvellously scented sweet peas having forced their way through paving beside the kitchen wall;

above the campanula and geraniums the red peonies first photographed in bud;

this velvety climbing rose now springing from the arch Aaron erected over the Shady Path;

and, in the Rose Garden Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only; Summer Wine and Madame Alfred Carriere above the entrance arch beside

Festive Jewel nudging me for a dead heading session.

Later we took a short drive into the forest. Warborne Lane, outside Lymington, is so narrow that we just coasted along in the wake of these two horse riders. The two cyclists lurking behind the hedge had no choice but to wait their turn for a place on the road. We waited for them, too.

On the moorland beside St Leonards Road cattle and ponies lazed or grazed.

So bright was the head of this wagtail darting about that it seemed to be wearing a daisy hat.

The twitching of his mother’s tail as she reacted to the troublesome flies made it difficult for her offspring to latch onto his milk supplier.

Eventually he set off on a frisky trot

soon returning to shelter behind his Mum.

The flies were getting to him too. Dropping to the ground he rolled and kicked around for a while,

then tried to nudge them away.

“Welcome to the world of flies” exclaimed Jackie as he gave up and rose to his feet again.

On our way home we stopped at Hordle Chinese Take Away for this evening’s dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Fireworks

The sun today made fleeting, peeping, appearances in the garden.

These elegant, slender, gladioli are proliferating outside the kitchen door;

as does clematis Marie Boisselot in-urned in the Kitchen Bed alongside a deep red peony,

single petalled examples of which stand in the Dragon Bed.

Other clematises include Niobe on the corner of the kitchen wall, and on the wisteria arbour,

also home to Paul’s Scarlet;

and flamboyant Doctor Ruppel climbing the arch spanning the Brick Path beside the West Bed.

Delicate pink rose Penny Lane shares the arch.

One view from the Kitchen Bed leads to the distant entrance to

the Rose Garden, where

Festive Jewel, For Your Eyes Only, Love Knot, and Gloriana are among the parade.

Splendid Fireworks alliums burst forth in the Weeping Birch Bed,

while gentler pink stars mingle with Erigeron and euphorbia in the Kitchen Bed.

From the Weeping Birch Bed we are led through the Cryptomeria Bed to the eastern fence.

Pink campion and a bright red rhododendron stand sentinel on the south west and south eastern corners of the grass patch.

The red rhododendron emblazons these views down the Gazebo Path.

Elizabeth popped in this afternoon for a cup of tea.

This evening Jackie and I dined on pork spare rib chops on a bed of her mushroom rice fried in sesame oil. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Long Way Round Reserve Carmenere 2018.

Graham Stuart Thomas

Rose garden 4This warm and changeable day turned out to be perfect for a visit to a National Trust garden.  We drove quite smoothly through Romsey, and past the Mountbatten home of Broadlands, where we would normally expect to encounter queues of traffic.  It was, however, as we neared our goal that we met the queues.  Cars formed lines in each direction at the entrance to the overflow car park.  The main one was already full at midday.  Rather harassed young men with SECURITY stamped on their jerkins waved us in one by one.  As we alighted we were told we were in the wrong place and likely to cause a bottleneck.  It wasn’t immediately clear how we could do that, but Jackie, adopting the usual placid persona she reserves for anything to do with the car, calmly and collectedly moved her Modus to the far corner of the uncut meadow  which served as a parking area.

What could possibly have brought all these vehicles to a National Trust house on a Tuesday in term-time?   Ah.  All was soon revealed.  The aged of the nation had descended en masse on Mottisfont.  We have now joined those privileged senior citizens who have done their time in their offices, factories, or whatever workplaces, and have the opportunity to litter the countryside with their presence.  I posted a previous visit to Mottisfont on 7th September.Pink climber This time, we were earlier in the season and able to enjoy the rose garden for which the house is justifiably famous.

Rose garden 2

For more than 800 years people have lived and worked on the Mottisfont estate.  The name comes from a Saxon moot, or meeting place, by a fountain. This site remains in the grounds, and is still a clear spring.

Mottisfont lawn

Crossing one of the several threads of the River Test, one sees the house across rolling lawns.  Meadow, MottisfontMeadows are retained on the edges and the area is home to many a massive tree.  Benches are dotted about and their shady situations offer places for rest or contemplation.  Motorised buggies transport those less mobile.

Jackie in walled garden, Mottisfont

We immediately made our way to the walled garden that contains many roses itself, and leads into the showpiece.

Rose garden

Rose spiralLast September there were still some roses in bloom, so I was familiar with the garden created by the Gardens Adviser to the National Trust, but I was totally unprepared for the magnificent display that greeted us as we made our way through the ancient brick walls to the gravel and stone paths laid amongst the profusion and variety of colourful flora. Rose garden 3 That the sun had chosen to light up the garden, filled with pensioners, some of whose clothing matched the horticultural hues, completed the picture.

I think Monet would have loved it. Bee in semi-double magenta rose

Whether one focussed on the whole landscape picture with the figures of those of a certain age dotted about amongst the flowers, or on the blooms themselves, there was much to delight the eye.Peony and rose, Mottisfont Iris

Rosa GallicaAmong the roses can been seen other plants such as peonies, irises, delphiniums, or allium.  All clearly benefitting from well-nurtured soil.

The aforementioned Gardens Adviser was Graham Stuart Thomas.  He moved his outstanding collection of old-fashioned shrub roses to Mottisfont’s walled garden during 1972 and 1973.Graham Stuart Thomas

A fine yellow rose bears his name.

We chose not to visit the house today, and went for a walk along the river bank.  Last September there was an exhibition in the house of E.H.Shepard’s illustrations to Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’.  Shepard’s drawings include an iron bridge much like the one you must cross to reach the riverside walk.  Indeed, to accompany the exhibition, a rowing boat such as Toad may have used, had been moored by the bridge.Bridge over River Test

Riverside walkA number of couples walked along the water’s edge.  Some ventured even further, into a vast meadow where cows lowed.

Ready for a sudden insecticidal leap to the surface, large trout lurked like U-boats among the underwater reeds that were flattened and fanned out by the swift flowing current that forced the ducks to paddle furiously just to persist in their desire to swim against it.Trout lurkingUnderwater reeds

As we made our way past an enormous sylvan structure that is two ancient plane trees in one, a troop of children that must have had very little impact on the average age of today’s visitors, fell over each other to be the first to reach the subject of their field trip. Plane tree school trip, Mottisfont Their escorts struggled to keep them to order.

Back home we learned that all the garages had been broken into overnight.  We lost nothing.  One man lost a torch, and another, two golf clubs.  It was rather difficult to see the point of the burglary.

Jackie made a juicy liver casserole as an excuse to use the giant cauliflower she had bought a couple of days ago.  This was enjoyed on my part with the last of bottle number 012919 of the Terres de Galets and the first of number 000198.