Soil Replenishment

So often when Jackie pops out for a spell of planting she spends all day, first diverting herself with bed clearance and soil replenishment. This is what happened today, especially as the weather was mild and sunny.

The New Bed has become rather full lately, so to plant new bulbs required the process outlined above. Self-seeded and too prolific plants are removed, others heavily pruned, then the area is topped with compost. Naturally it has to pass the inspection of Nugget. It was kind of him to take a break from his sentry duty to perform this task.

 

“Where’s Nugget?” (37)

My contribution to the proceedings was to gather up the refuse and transport it to the compost bins.

Doris Tysterman continues to shine in the borders of the back drive,

where clusters of chrysanthemums crowd

alongside pursed hot lips.

Begonias continue to thrive, although some

 

 

along with fuchsias and others, including dahlias, shed their petals.

Fuchsias, including a number of Delta’s Sarah and Mrs Popple, drape many of the beds. This mauve and white Delta’s Sarah shares a corner of the Rose Garden.

This small pink rose nestles in

the Wisteria Bed outside the stable door, hidden in this picture by another Delta’s Sarah.

The red climber, Super Elfin continues long after the runner beans on the Gothic arch

which also supports Doctor Ruppel clematis having another flush.

Nearby, the wicker chair, fronted by Japanese anemones, bears another fuchsia.

Alongside the Kitchen Path we have a deep purple double petunia,

burnished red sedum and lighter pelargoniums. 

Later I printed copies of the Doris Tysterman and the chrysanthemums for the Back Drive album update.

This evening we dined on mini spring rolls and tempura prawns with sweet chilli sauce as starters followed by a rack of pork spare ribs and Jackie’s savoury vegetable rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

Wet, Wet, Wet

The wind had dropped today. Unfortunately it was not available to send the leaden clouds on their way. They hung overhead, shedding rain all day. Initially not much more than drizzle fell, so Jackie continued her autumn clearance and I joined her for a while. I brought the heavy precipitation with me, but stayed out until I feared for my camera lens.

Hoping that it was Nugget who had made inroads into it, Jackie gleefully pointed to another dish of sampled robin food.

She is heavily pruning a hebe alongside the Dead End Path.

I had intended to transport the clippings to the end of the back drive and bag them up for Aaron to take away. When the deluge began I thought better of it.

Raindrops had cleansed and bejewelled such as bronze fennel seed heads;

rhododendron leaves and buds that think it is spring;

maple leaves;

spiders’ webs;

rose hips;

rose buds;

fuchsias;

begonias;

petunias;

and phormiums.

After lunch I accompanied Jackie to Tesco Supermarket where she she shopped and I sat in the car photographing, through the rain-dripping windscreen,

 

other shoppers as they passed by.

We then drove to Woodpeckers to visit Mum who was on very good form.

Just along Sway Road a duo of decidedly damp donkeys sought what shelter they could beneath the trees of Brackendale.

Back at home I watched a recording of the Rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Samoa.

We dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika liberally peppered with cayenne; boiled potatoes; carrots al dente; and tender runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Grand Conseiller Pinot Noir 2017.

 

Guarding The Nest

During a suitable break in the showers this morning I focussed on the refreshed flora in somewhat bedraggled bees in the garden.

Examples are antirrhinums and foxgloves;

Several bees, in their waterproofs, can be seen among these roses, petunias, geraniums, rhododendrons, poppies, and bottle brush plants.

Danni and Ella came to lunch bearing a packet of gloriosa vine corms for Jackie’s birthday. Naturally the Head Gardener planted them immediately.

During the pleasant afternoon that ensued, Danni reflected on Jackie photographing Derrick and Ella.

Later our great-niece slept on the sofa and was photographed by her mother.

Through the window above Ella’s head another proud parent, in the form of a cock sparrow, could be seen, head rapidly swivelling, guarding his nest by the side of the house,

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank Chateau des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016.

Up And Down The Garden Path

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Between phone calls wrestling with internet connection problems, while Jackie began the process of moving the less hardy plants to their winter quarters in the greenhouse, I wandered around the garden inspecting the surprises it still holds for us. Being a natural optimist I hoped I would be able to post my findings later.

We have a profusion of prolific fuchsias, not all of which I can name. A bee clambered dozily into one of the Delta’s Sarahs.

Cyclamens grace the stone tubs on the front wall, and various beds, such as that of the Weeping Birch, also home to asters, begonias, geraniums, petunias, bidens, and a red carpet rose.

Begonias

 geraniums and petunias also bloom in other beds and containers.

 

The primula survives in the West Bed; a little blue iris reticulata in the raised bed; a clematis once again scales the potting shed trellis;

the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, such as that in a container in front of the garage, stands proud beside its neighbouring nasturtiums, and the honeysuckle and solanum ascending the right hand trellis.

This morning glory may have been a late developer, but it is making up for lost time; hot lips are persistently, provocatively, pursed.

My wanderings involved a few trips up and down the Brick Path.

It must be more than thirty years since I bought our now threadbare but structurally sound Chesterfield sofa from Heal’s. This afternoon it was removed for reupholstering.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent pork chops with mustard and almonds; new potatoes; crisp carrots; tender cabbage and sautéed peppers and onions. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth drank Hop House lager and I drank Réserve de Bonpas 2016. This meal prompted me tell the relevant story that was told in ‘Chamberlayne Road’.

 

“I’m Sure I Can’t Allow That”

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I dozed through the early parts of the day. At 4. p.m. Jackie set me up on Mum’s perching stool at a vantage point beside the bricked-in well, and I emerged, blinking, into strong sunlight to the sweet, sonorous, symphonies of vibrant birdsong.

While she continued to labour away in the sweltering heat, I perched and photographed what met my eye. When she caught me standing unaided and shifting the stool to give me a better angle down the Brick Path, she exclaimed: “I’m sure I can’t allow that.”

My choice of this evening’s ready prepared meals was suitably bland cod mornay with mashed potato and peas.

A Touch Of Frost

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Early this crisp and bright morning I walked around our sub-zero garden.

Petunia

Except for this sheltered petunia,

all the plants were now frost damaged;

December haze hovered over the paths;

wood and metal harboured the white precipitation;

Frost on table

and the patio table bore memories of patterns found inside the winter morning bedroom windows of my pre-central heating childhood.

Frances at The Ship

Jackie drove us to The Ship in Wiltshire’s Upavon, for a most enjoyable lunch with Frances.

Log fire

The small grate, originally designed to take coal, now burned logs.

My choice of meal was fish pie, followed by apple and ginger trifle. Frances also opted for fish pie, while Jackie chose burger and chips. I drank Wadsworth’s 6X. That was our main meal of the day

Having passed Salisbury Cathedral on our return home, we turned off the High Road to look back at the splendid building. The frosted grass of the verges of the lane had seen no sun at all.

On home territory we diverted to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy a Christmas tree, then to Barton on Sea to catch the sunset.

Isle of Wight, The Needles and lighthouse

The eye of The Needles lighthouse glowed white today.

Planting Continues

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My contribution to garden maintenance today was to accompany Aaron to Mole Country Supplies to buy more fencing materials with which he and Robin virtually completed their job; to cut the grass; and to dead head some roses. Jackie did a lot of watering.

Rose Emma Hamilton

In the Rose Garden Emma Hamilton basked in the sunshine,

Hydrangea Lanarth White

and Hydrangea Lanarth White tolerated the shadow of the orange shed.

Bee on bidens

A bustling bee explored a bidens;

Butterfly Small White on petunia

a Small White butterfly sought refuge in the camouflage of a petunia;

Butterfly gatekeeper

and a rather tattered  Gatekeeper took a rest in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The Head Gardener had also purchased a few more plants, including

New Guinea impatiens, lobelia, geraniums in chimney pot

the New Guinea impatiens introduced to the chimney pot on the grass that it shares with lobelia and geraniums.

By request, for our dinner this evening, Jackie produced fried eggs, bacon, and mushrooms; chips and baked beans. Lovely. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.