Mad Max

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It was finger-tingling cold when Jackie continued her winter planting on this sun-bright  morning and I photographed some still lingering blooms.

Pelargoniums, petunias, erigeron

Outside the kitchen door pelargoniums, petunias, and erigeron vie for space.

Pelargoniums

More pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums and verbena

some with autumnal plumage, as in this urn shared with verbenas, continue to spread their colour around.

Geranium Rozanne

Rozanne geraniums add splashes of blue

Clematis Comptesse de Bouchard

palely reflected by clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

Gazebo path

just about thriving on the gazebo

Clematis Cirrhosa

along with the winter flowering Cirrhosa.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2

There are still hardy fuchsias

Fuchsia 3

I may not yet have featured.

Maple

This maple on the grass had been cut down when we arrived three years ago. We are encouraging it to come back to life.

Honesty

Honesty seeds are masquerading as Pauline’s light catchers.

Cryptomeria and bed

They are seen here in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Rose pink climber

The roses to the right of the tree rise over the Oval Bed. As can be seen, there are more to come.

Salvia Hot Lips

Hot Lips salvia,

Nasturtiums

varieties of nasturtium,

Antirrhinum

and even of antirrhinum, still bloom.

On such a day a late afternoon forest drive was essential.

Sway Tower and pony

A pony in a field off South Sway Lane was more interested in the grass than in Sway Tower.

Landscape with gorse

Opposite Longsdale View, where gorse blooms among the bracken,

Isle of Wight, Solent, moors

the Isle of Wight is visible across the moors.

Reflected trees

Along the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst,

Stumps by water

where stumps stand like ancient tombstones on one bank,

Trees and Highland Water 1

the deciduous trees

Trees and Highland Water 2

now wear their temporary autumn plumage;

Shadow and reflections

the banks are becoming waterlogged

Trees and reflections 3

enough for arboreal reflections.

Dog in water

It was here that I was introduced to Mad Max, who had no fear of freezing his nether regions.

Forest scene 1

The forest road between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu displayed trees resplendent

Forest scene 2

 

with the last of their glowing golds

Autumn leaves 1

and burnished browns;

Autumn leaves 2

falling fast

Forest scene 3

to carpet the floor.

Ponies 1

As we approached Beaulieu, a pair of backlit ponies prompted Jackie to park the car on the verge and me to wander back to photograph them. Maybe it was something I said,

Pony 1

for, in turn,

Pony 2

they turned tail,

Pony 3

and crossed the road,

Ponies 2

to join companions enjoying greener grass.

The portions of our meal at The Raj two nights ago were so generous that we couldn’t eat it all and brought some home.. Jackie added samosas and onion bahjis  for this evening’s repast, with which I finished the malbec.

 

 

 

 

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

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Sections of my head need tweaking I attempted to manage two of them this morning. Neither was particularly straightforward.

A certain amount of nasal congestion appears to have blocked my left ear. I had made a non-urgent appointment with my GP for this morning. She informed me that both ears need syringing to remove a surfeit of wax On two occasions in the past this has been done free of charge in my GP surgeries. There is no longer funding for this, so I have two choices. I can have a referral to an NHS hospital where there would be a long wait, or I can pay £30 per ear to a private clinic. Thanking my lucky stars that I can afford it, I opted for the private route.

Given the demography of this area, there are a number of Hearing Centres in New MIlton. It would be a simple matter to select one.

While I was at the practice surgery I enquired about the referral letter for the necessary cataract adjustment that was to come from Boots Opticians. This had not been received. Jackie drove me to the optometrist where I was given a duplicate to take back to Milford on Sea. The gentleman kindly put it into an envelope for me.

Although Boots does apparently also deal with ears, it seemed sensible to visit the Hearing Centre directly opposite. After all, they don’t get distracted by eyes.

They don’t do wax removal. Neither does anyone else in the town. I was given a card for The Private Ear Clinic which has bases in Hythe and in Milford on Sea.

Back in the car, I had a look at the optometrist’s referral letter. It had been sent to the wrong freaking surgery.

Back out of the car, I returned to Boots where the eye man owned up to his mistake. I said something to the effect that we all make mistakes and I’d settle for calling him a berk. He altered the address. Jackie was going back to Milford to meet her sisters, so she took the form to deliver to the GP.

Back home I phoned the ear clinic, opted for the Milford venue, and made an appointment.

Where is the clinic?

It is in the hospital alongside the GP surgery. You go in the same door and turn left to enter the main building. One more example of private medicine being carried out in NHS property. I suppose our ailing public body needs the rent, otherwise they may have to sell the building for a housing development that no local people have the means to live in.

Tomorrow I have a quarterly teeth clean arranged. The rest of the time I do it myself. This is also a private arrangement, because even NHS treatment is now costly, and you can’t pick your time. Surely nothing can possibly go wrong.

We did have a light frost a couple of nights ago, but most of the garden has remained unscathed.

After lunch I set about photographing some of the survivors. Did I mention that I became rather damp getting in and out of the car? That is because, although the temperature was much milder, it rained all day. Not to be deterred I started in the front garden, but didn’t get very far.

Solanum

On the trellis we still have solanum,

Rose pink climber

pink roses,

Pelargonium

 and pelargoniums in hanging baskets;

Clematis Mrs N. Thompson

as for Mrs N. Thompson, what is she doing up at this time?

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums still have strength to scale the front of the garage door

Pelargoniums and solanum

against which lighter pink pelargoniums flirt with another solanum.

Bidens and petunias

Self-seeded bidens venture towards the pavement outside, beneath continually cascading petunias.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken, roast potatoes, cauliflower, and sautéed onions and leeks. I drank Tulga Toro 2013

 

 

Maybe There’ll Be Frost

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Although the meteorologists keep changing their minds about it, we have a frost warning for tonight. We therefore began the task of bringing some of the more tender potted plants into

Cold frame 1Cold frame 2

a makeshift cold frame

Greenhouse 1Greenhouse 2

and the greenhouse.

Gazebo Path

Sun still streaked across the Gazebo Path;

Shady/Oval Bed paths

across the Shady Path;

Dead End Path 1

Begonias etc

across the Dead End Path;

Brick PathBrick Path 2

and down the Brick Path.

Cryptomeria Bed 1Cryptomeria Bed 2

Some geraniums and other similarly vulnerable plants like these in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Petunias

or these petunias, had to be left to the elements,

Pelargonium Quercifolium

but this pot of pelargonium Quercifolia that has taken two years to reach splendid maturity, just had to be placed in the greenhouse.

Meanwhile roses such as Compassion, seen rising above the Dead End Path in one of the earlier pictures;

Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton;

Absolutely Fabulous

and Absolutely Fabulous, will fight their own corners.

Sky an hour before sunset

An hour before sunset, the skies over Downton presaged splendid views later,

Sunset 1

when off we sped to Barton on Sea where

Sunset 2

we were not disappointed.

Sunset 3

Others had the same idea;

Photographing sunset 1

especially those

Photographing sunset 2

photographing

Photographing sunset 3

the ever-changing

Sunset 4

scene.

Sunset 5

Frozen vapour in the cross-hatched clouds suggests that maybe we will have frost.

Sunset with walkers 1Sunset with walkers 2Sunset with walkers 3Sunset with walkers 4

While walkers aimed for the sunset,

Isle of Wight at sunset

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were satisfied with the lighthouse beacon (enlargement will be necessary to see this).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent sausage casserole, roast potatoes, and cauliflower. We did not imbibe.

 

 

 

 

Preparing For Ophelia

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(Gwen and Yvonne, divert your eyes when it comes to the culinary coda)

Compared with what has been inflicted on Wales and Ireland by the albeit waning hurricane Ophelia, we have got off lightly.

Chairs lain down

This morning we made our usual preparations for protection from strong winds, notably laying down chairs, pedestals,

Pelargoniums and marigolds

and hanging baskets.

Towards midday a fleeting glimpse of a bright red version of yesterday’s solar discs was seen peering from behind the billowing smoke

Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 6Clouds 7Clouds 8Clouds 9

 that was dark slate-coloured clouds. By the time I had gathered up the camera the sun had disappeared. The temperature was so unseasonably warm as to give the impression that there was, indeed, a fire somewhere.

Birds flying against clouds

I suspect that the birds thought they must be having a sleepless night;

Clouds and weeping birch

but the weeping birch still hung unmolested.

By early afternoon the sky had lightened and the sun played upon the garden.

Pansies

These pansies still brightened

Patio planting

the pots outside the kitchen door.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsias etc

Fuchsias are among the flowers still blooming beside the greenhouse.

Pelargoniums 1Pelargoniums 2Pelargoniums 4

Various pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums 3

including this sweetly scented one;

Begonias

and begonias still defy the coming of the first frost.

Petunias

Delicate striped petunias thrive in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Dahlias

and white dahlias in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose Just Joey 2

Among the rejuvenated roses are Just Joey,

Rose Aloha

Aloha,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia,

Rose Peach Abundance

and, photographed later, when the wind was getting up and making this spray elusive to the lens, Pink Abundance.

Weeping birch in wind 1

The weeping birch was now waving about,

Cordyline Australis

as was the Cordyline Australis.

Weeping birch 2

I wondered how many of these leaves would be in place in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine liver and bacon, new potatoes, cabbage and mange touts, with which I drank Chateau Bonhomme minervois 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Part Of The Day

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Friends Rob and Helen visited for lunch today. They arrived late in the morning and remained until early evening. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon catching up with each other.

For lunch Jackie had made a superb leek and potato soup followed by plentiful cold meats and salads. Rob and I shared a bottle of Languedoc red wine of 2016 vintage.

Helen and I began early on a photographic tour of the garden.

Helen K photographing 5

She used a very impressive Fuji bridge camera,

Helen K photographing 2Helen K photographing 3

and actually focussed on some of my own favourite subjects, such as begonias

Helen K photographing 4

and the rose For Your Eyes Only.

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Alongside the latter, Lady Emma Hamilton is rejuvenated,

Rose Garden 2

Rose Garden 1

continuing to bloom in The Rose Garden where red antirrhinums still thrive.

Leaves on table

Autumn leaves are beginning to fall. Some, suspended in spiders’ webs, wait to reach this glass table on the decking.

Back drive barrier plants

Among the clematises enjoying another flowering are these in the Back Drive Barrier boxes, leading the eye from the purple petunias to the now reddening leaves of Virginia creeper on the back fence;

Clematis and Japanese anemones

and this one sharing Margery’s Bed with Japanese anemones.

Iron urn planting

Petunias continue to cascade from the iron urn,

Petunias, begonias, New Guinea impatiens

and from the hanging basket over the Shady Path. Begonias are planted in the bed below and New Guinea impatiens shares the basket.

Fuchsia 1

Here is today’s example of a fuchsia. Helen created many good images of these and others.

Gazebo Path

We walked up and down paths like the one termed Gazebo

Margery's Bed at corner of Gazebo Path

sharing the corner of Margery’s Bed with the Phantom Path.

Rob

Just before lunch Jackie and Rob joined us.

Trunk of regenerated tree

Rob was intrigued by the regeneration of the apparently dead yellow leaved tree that has live stems on either side of the wasted trunk.

Given that rain set in early this afternoon, we had chosen the best part of the day to concentrate on the garden.

Jackie and I just grazed on small plates of salad this evening.

“So Much Colour”

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This morning Jackie continued her autumn clearing and planting in the garden. This afternoon I tidied up a bit then wandered around with my camera.

Petunias, geraniums, and erigeron

Petunias and geraniums continue to glow, with bright little erigerons still standing proud;

Hanging baskets over Shady Bed

and diascias and begonias adding to the music.

Hat planted up (bee on marigold)

The lead hat on the patio wall would grace an Ascot attender,

Bee on marigold

although she might not be happy about the resident bee.

New Guinea impatiens and fly

Other insects enjoying the warm weather include this fly on a New Guinea impatiens.

Fuchsia in Dragon Bed

Fuchsias are among the delights of the Dragon Bed,

Fuchsia in Kitchen Bed

of the Kitchen Bed,

Fuchsia and fennel in Elizabeth's Bed

and of Elizabeth’s Bed.

Oval Bed

That second example, via dahlia Coup de Soleil, continues the chrysanthemums’ colour in the top left hand corner of this Oval Bed view. The yellow nasturtium peeping into the bottom right hand corner is just one of

Nasturtiums, salvia microphylla, California poppiesNasturtiums

many rambling around the garden.

Palm Bed rhododendron leaves

Rhododendron leaves in the Palm Bed form a sinuous shape with the rudbeckias,

Palm Bed -Japanese anemones and rudbeckias

seen in the same bed dancing with Japanese anemones;

View through eucalyptus to weeping birch

or taking the eye through the regenerating eucalyptus to the yellowing leaves of the weeping birch.

Kitchen Bed eucomis, ginkgo, fennel

A similar yellow palette is taken up through the Kitchen Bed by way of the eucomises, the potted ginkgo, and the bronze fennel;

Diascias, geraniums, dahlias

whereas the pale pink diascias in the iron urn lead us to the hot geraniums and dahlias beyond.

Dragon Bed

A dragon stands proud, protecting plants in its eponymous bed.

Chilean lantern tree

Still the Chilean tree produces lanterns,

Colchicums

while gentler hued colchicums sprawl across the soil opposite.

Heligan Path begonias

Begonias still glow in their hanging basket alongside the Heligan Path over the Cryptomeria Bed,

Penstemon

and sunlight has a similar effect on this penstemon.

Rose Garden

An array of supporting plants accompany the roses in their Garden,

Festive Jewel

where such as Festive Jewel display several generations at once.

Grass Patch

Even the patch of grass delights in the day.

Perhaps this is what John meant when he came to paint the garden and observed “so much colour”.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken with her especially savoury vegetable rice – itself a veritable complete meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the sangiovese.

P.S. See my response to Luanne below as a recipe for the vegetable rice.

 

 

“Just Like Daddy’s”

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This morning I became a veritable barber in a dead-heading spree.

Front garden from my window

I began with the prolific Japanese anemones in the front garden.

Japanese anemones 1

As I look out of my sitting room window each morning, I think of that excellent blogging poet Pleasant Street, who commented recently that she preferred to see older blooms alongside the fresh ones, “like life”. Although our reason for dead-heading is not vicariously to deny the effects of ageing, but rather to promote new growth, Pleasant certainly has a point. In deference to that I have left the blooms immediately in view to nature.

I also gathered up some of the branches broken by the winds. As the day continued the winds gradually returned to approach the 60 m.p.h. expected this evening.

Palm Bed

Remarkably little damage has so far been incurred. Here are the Palm Bed;

View from circular brickworkKitchen Bed corner

the corners at the house end of the Brick Path;

Gazebo Path

the Gazebo Path;

Elizabeth's Bed

Elizabeth’s Bed;

Solanum and clematis

the solanum and clematis draped on the dead tree;

Dahlias 1

perked-up dahlias;

Petunias and begonias

petunias and begonias in large pots;

Chrysanthemums

chrysanthemums;

Rose Gloriana

and rose Gloriana.

Small white butterfly on verbena bonarensis 2

The Small White butterflies flitted around everywhere.

Molly's Den display 1Molly's Den display 3Molly's Den display 4Molly's Den display 5Party dresses

This afternoon Elizabeth visited and we took a trip to Molly’s Den, where I photographed a few random displays.

Molly's Den display 2

Not quite so random was this scene, taking me back to one Christmas in the 1980s.

Ironing board

Louisa would have been about six or seven when Jessica and I bought her an ironing board. “Just like Daddy’s”, was her delighted cry.

This evening, before Elizabeth returned home, we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika and wild rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank more of the Fleurie.