Morning And Evening Light

In the early morning light this morning, carrying the camera, I walked to the far end of the back drive to open the gate for Aaron.

Rose peach

The peach rose we inherited beside the patio is producing more blooms.

Petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, lobelias

Just one example of Jackie’s splendid planting in that area includes petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, and lobelias.

Geranium

This geranium hangs in a basket suspended from the kitchen wall.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the bed beside the Wisteria Arbour was still in shade. After taking this picture I dead-headed a number of small orange poppies.

Lilies

Clumps of these heady scented lilies stand either side of the Westbrook Arbour.

Crocosmias and verbena bonarensis

I turned into the back drive around the corner of the New Bed, where crocosmias blazed in front of verbena bonarensis.

Rose Dearest

There are two Dearest rose bushes in the herbaceous border along the drive. One is laden with blooms; the other is struggling.

Later, Elizabeth visited with Danni and Andy in order to deliver various items of equipment for her room. My sister has sold her house and not yet found another. She will live with us while she seeks one.

Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic.

Crocosmia Lucifer

The late afternoon light burnished crocosmia Lucifer in the Palm Bed;

Day lilyDay liliesDay lilies

various day lilies,

Day lily and hydrangea

and a bright red hydrangea.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I chose Davedush, while Jackie’s preference was Chicken dopiaza. We shared an egg paratha and special fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

A Harsh Day’s Light

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One consequence of the long, hot, cloudless, days we are currently enduring is the difficulty of photographing flowers. Today, I tracked the skies in order to avoid the burning rays, and focus on the more shaded sections of the garden.

It is the very early morning light that reaches and is gentlest on the front garden, keeping such as the trellis in front of the garage in the shade;

while the Starry Night petunias suspended over the porch; the orange day lilies; the lace cap hydrangea and the white marguerites; and the honeysuckle on the main trellis all benefit from a degree of filtering.

By mid morning in the main garden, strong contrasts featured in scenes such as the view from the Kitchen Bed across to the patio; and the Brick Path running from dark to light in either direction. The dead snake bark maple is becoming rather wobbly, so the days of hanging baskets enlivening it may be rather numbered.

Little orange poppy blooms are replacing the dead heads I removed a couple of days ago; fuchsia Delta’s Sarah; the red hydrangea beside the patio; the little pink patio rose on the edge of the Kitchen Bed; and the petunias in the cane chair blending with the phlox alongside; all retained sufficient shade.

Lilies, including those in urns in the Rose Garden; in the Cryptomeria Bed; and in the patio border embraced a dramatic mix of light and shade.

Yellow flowers of lysimachia ciliata Firecracker against red campion; various clematises, including one sporting a Small White butterfly, beside dahlias in the New Bed; day lilies and heucheras picked up the sun’s rays gratefully. The golden marigolds and yellow bidens in this chimney pot tolerated it.

The camera avoided the overhead rays of the early afternoon, so I watched the Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Kristina Mladenovic. Later, the sun was somewhat lower in the sky,

brightening the Shady Path with its hanging baskets and knifophias;

and the Palm Bed where alliums were being sprayed, and from a corner of which our eye was led to the geraniums in the chimney pot on the grass patch.

The light on the Rose Garden was now a little filtered on roses Special Anniversary and Creme de la Creme; sweet peas; and potted begonias and petunias.

This evening we watched the World Cup football match between Brazil and Belgium.

For dinner, Jackie produced excellent roast chicken, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, tasty gravy, mashed potato, flavoursome carrots, and runner beans.

 

 

Garden Housework

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Throughout the garden we have prolific clusters of small orange and yellow poppies that shed their petals each day. Regular dead-heading encourages further growth. It has been one of my tasks to carry out this task. Today I did so for the first time since before my surgery.

I took my time over it, and paused for pit-stops along the way when, seated on chairs and benches that would have been too low for me six weeks ago, I photographed something else, such as the New Bed, the Rose Garden, the Oval Bed, day lilies, hostas, urns, and other planters.

Jackie continued what she regards as her garden housework.

This afternoon we drove to Everton Post Office and sent a parcel to New Zealand.

During the passages when my eyes were open, I then watched the World Cup football match between Sweden and Switzerland.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s Fish and Chips, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

Soon we will settle down to watch the England v. Colombia football match.

 

Seeking Solutions

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This afternoon I kept my eyes open for most of the football World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico. In order to wake me up at half time I wandered around the garden,

Spraying penstemon and salvias beneath petunias and geraniums in hanging basket

where Jackie was spraying the flower beds by hose.

Petunias, begonias etc in cane chair

The cane chair planting

and other containers were still benefitting from recent irrigation.

A variety of nasturtiums are in pots in the front of the garage door,

and solanum and honeysuckle have joined clematis Mrs N. Thompson on the trellis.

We have many other clematises.

Several different day lilies occupy the Dragon Bed, which leads towards petunias in a hanging basket over the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Rose Mamma Mia  blends well with some of the lilies.

Before they returned home Becky and Ian sat in the garden seeking solutions to a crossword.

Later, Jackie and I dined on a little of Becky’s chicken curry and rice; rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce; and fresh salad.

 

 

Orkney Stories

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This morning I finished reading a book worthy of one of Pauline’s bookmarks. This is George Mackay Brown’s ‘The Golden Bird’. That title is one of two Orkney stories combined in a John Murray publication from 1987.

As beautifully crafted as our NZ friend’s work, these stories tell of his Island home during the last quarter of the 19th century, when he traditions of centuries were beginning to be threatened. The eponymous title tells of the slow decline of the island community and the tensions of isolation within it. The next ‘The Life and Death of John Voe’ takes as its theme the story of a typical Orkneyman who sails the seas and returns to his roots to end his days. A voe, incidentally, is a small bay or creek in the Orkneys and Shetlands.

The writer, who spent all his life in the Orkneys lives, breathes, and conveys the essences of the hardy, taciturn, folk; the savage seas; the rugged landscape; and the essential isolation of the time. With spare, simple, poetic, language, Mackay Brown enthrals and informs the reader. Perhaps the most beautiful passages are left to the final stages of the second story. He is justifiably considered one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century.

George Mackay Brown

The portrait of the writer inside the dust jacket is by Jessie Ann Matthew.

Somewhat later I toured the garden in order to check on irrigation needs.

Pansies in refreshed urn

I was encouraged by the sight of yesterday’s droopy pansies revived by the water I had given them.

Day lily

A variety of day lilies

Knifophia miniatures

and miniature knifophia thrived in the beds.

Bottle Brush plant red

The red Bottle Brush plants are now blooming.

Rose Super Elfin

The red Super Elfin rose is ascending the Gothic arch,

and most of the plants in the various pots and hanging baskets are still benefiting from the soaking administered by the Head Gardener. It looked as if I was due for an easy time.

Water drops on petunias

In the heat of mid-afternoon I undertook another check. This suggested it would be beneficial to water the patio and its surrounding containers. I therefore did that, mostly with a hose. Eventually I ran out of steam and could do. no more.

Soon afterwards Becky looked further afield and noticed droopiness in a chimney pot. She photographed the ailing plants and administered liquid refreshment.

Later, Elizabeth came for a visit and Becky cooked for the three of us. She produced an excellent meal of Cumberland sausages;  mashed potato; tasty onion, mushroom and red wine gravy; cabbage fried with black pepper and nutmeg; and a tin of sweetcorn because she couldn’t find any carrots to julienne and glaze.

 

Father And Daughter Time

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Becky and I are enjoying what is the only extended period of time we have spent alone together in our lives. There is much joint reminiscing and exchange of information, especially concerning my past, that is really quite new.

At one point, I accompanied Scooby, who wandered up the Gazebo Path, into the garden.

Patio planting

Having paid particular attention to hanging baskets and other containers, Jackie had thoroughly watered the garden before leaving yesterday.

In today’s baking heat, some plants, particularly the pansies in the first of these images, displayed considerable signs of thirst, so I managed to distribute the contents of a can or two.

Russell crow was not in evidence today, but Becky did spot a mouse in the compost trug outside the kitchen door. She freed it into the flower bed.

This evening Becky produced a tasty, well-filled, Spanish omelette which we enjoyed on trays in front of the television while we watched the 2nd XI World Cup football match between England and Belgium which was so thrilling that I am typing this when there is still 25 minutes to go. I drank Doom Bar.

Snatching Snoozes

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In ‘The Card Case’, I spoke of the client who had no money to pay my fee, but brought me the occasional small gift, all of which I have treasured for almost 30 years. I am not a science fiction fan, so I have not read many of his paperback books. One of these is Poul Anderson’s ‘The Makeshift Rocket’. I finished this short novel this morning. It was a surprisingly entertaining work. Light-hearted, with a touch of dry humour, once I had ceased trying to decipher the author’s attempts at reproducing Danish and Irish spoken English, I enjoyed the book.

Afterwards I photographed garden views from upstairs windows and from the stable doorway.

Having decided to reduce the codeine element in my pain relief, I struggled a bit today. On the other hand it may have been the amount of walking on uneven terrain I undertook yesterday. Consequently I spent the afternoon alternately dozing over snatches of World Cup football and having brief forays into the garden.

Lily, marigolds etc

A new day lily has forced its way through the soil to join the marigolds beside the greenhouse.

Palm Bed to eucalyptus

Geranium palmatums lead us past more day lilies in the Palm Bed to the eucalyptus and beyond.

Cosmoses, geraniums, violas

Urns, like this stone one Jackie has planted up at the end of the Brick Path,

Garden view from Shady Path to kitchen window

and the pottery one standing on the filled in well, counteract what she call “The June Gap”, when there is not normally much colour around.

The hanging baskets on the kitchen wall and the two clematises in pots on the corner serve the same purpose.

Rose Ballerina dances in the bed beside the entrance to the Rose Garden,

Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia

where such as Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia continue to splash their colour.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Swinging Sixties is another plant in a pot,

Linaria and valerian

opposite which Linaria and Valerian vie for space in the Oval Bed.

My final trip up the garden was via the Phantom Path to join Jackie taking a break on the decking. There I passed the Cryptomeria Bed with its clematis, geranium palmatums, and hot lips; a penstemon in Margery’s Bed; a planted pot on the corner of the Gazebo Path; and Florence sculpture with her basket of bacopa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and splendid special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.