Ponies On The Move

This morning, while on a daffodil dead-heading session.

I also pulled up swathes of Sticky Willies along the Back Drive. These sinuous weeds climb everywhere and if not deracinated will reach the tops of the highest shrubs, bearing clusters of white flowers.

Afterwards I wandered back with the camera on this overcast morning.

The daffodils have been late to bloom and struggled to linger this year, but there were still quite a few to dead head.

The forget-me-nots sharing that first daffodil picture, like those accompanying the Spanish bluebells in the first of the next trio of images, proliferate in the garden; as do the English/Spanish hybrids.

Honesty is cropping up everywhere, as in the Patio Bed and behind the mossy stumpery with its yellow cowslips.

Lichen blooming on the bench beneath the pieris on the lawn, and bleeding hearts on the West Bed managed to add splashes of colour.

This afternoon the sun did put in fairly regular appearances, so Jackie and I took a forest drive,

where it set the gorse glowing on the moorland flanking Wilverley Road, up which

a group of energetic ponies trotted at an unusual pace for them.

I had hoped that they would pause for a drink in the pool, but they were more interested in slowing the traffic.

Further down the hill another pony did slake its thirst, while

others continued trotting through the undergrowth.

This afternoon we all dined on well cooked pork chops coated with almonds and mustard; with creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots, and succulent peppers, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

In The Greenhouse

Reportedly only for a couple of days, the wind had stilled overnight. The day was dull and warmer, with very little rain.

Jackie spent much of the morning rescuing tossed pots and loosened climbers.

After lunch I gathered up numerous small broken branches, then cut the grass and produced a few pictures, one of which shows

the pieris between the Nottingham Castle bench and the planted chimney pot.

Florence enjoys this view across the lawn to North Breeze.

Jackie’s latest owl purchase remained safely perched on its log, surveying the view across the Dead End Path.

We also have aquilegias, violets, dicentras, peonies, and a few lingering camellias.

A number of blue irises grace the Weeping Birch Bed and elsewhere.

Some plants, like the osteospermums in the Cryptomeria Bed have suffered from wind burn.

The Gazebo Path; and the Dragon and Palm Beds have recovered well.

Jackie spent much of the afternoon potting up in the greenhouse, where she was decorated with libertia reflections.

Later I scanned the next seven of Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations to Charles Dickens’s “Nicholas Nickleby”.

‘Mr Tix transferred his admiration to some elegant articles of wearing apparel, while Mr Scaley proceeded to the minute consideration of a pimple on his chin’

‘The two combatants chopped away until the swords emitted a shower of sparks’ is a typical balanced depiction of action from Mr Keeping.

‘There bounded onto the stage a little girl in a dirty white frock who turned a pirouette’. Nothing less than a full page would suffice for her.

In ‘Two strong little boys were dragging the phenomenon in different directions as a trial of strength’, Mr Keeping has shown how balance is maintained by their planted stances.

To depict the distance between the higher admirer and the performer on stage in ‘The warmth of her reception was mainly attributable to a most persevering umbrella in the upper boxes’ the artist has used the different levels of the double spread.

‘Lord Verisoft threw himself along the sofa in order to bring his lips nearer to the old man’s ear’

In ‘ We come on a mission, Mrs Nickleby’ ‘ the success of the smarmy flattery is clearly apparent.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon; firm boiled potatoes and carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Spotlights

General garden maintenance this morning included Jackie’s replanting of the

Iron Urn consisting of pansies underplanted with purple tulips, having replaced the root-bound soil; and much more clipping, chopping, and bagging of wayward shrubs.

The winter pansies now blend well with the pale purple colchicums or autumn crocuses, phlox, and Japanese anemones while contrasting with Puerto Rico dahlias.

Pelargoniums and lobelias hang happily over the Pond Bed with its Japanese maples, neighbours to

red and white dahlias.

Japanese anemones,

many attracting hoverflies. continue to proliferate.

The hoverflies enjoy other flowers such as this rain-freckled pale pink rose; you will probably need to access the gallery and bigify the ginger lily to spot its fly, but perhaps not the bluebottle on the tiny diascia.

Numerous happy plantings like pelargoniums and sweet peas; eucalyptus with suspended petunias and cascading bidens; and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah with more pelargoniums continue to produce.

Further fuchsias include the red and purple Mrs Popple and the delicate white Hawkshead;

most petunias also hang from baskets.

Yellow antirrhinums have bloomed non-stop since early spring; many sweet peas persist; pieris produces red leaves.

The sun spotlights mossy stones at the edge of the Gazebo Path.

We now have so many full garden refuse bags that Jackie tried to book the one permitted half hour slot at the recycling centre. This, of course, can only be done on line. There are none available for the rest of the month; more distant appointments will be ‘posted soon’.

Later in the afternoon we carried out extensive watering.

Unfortunately I submitted yesterday’s post without realising that I had omitted the virgin beef pie picture, with the result that those who viewed it first will not have seen the complete rudbeckia bas relief. That has now been rectified by the inclusion of the original, and here is an image of today’s second serving. We have consumed the stem and most of the leaves, and despite the small shark emerging from the right of the crust, no marine animals were harmed in the making of this production.

With this delicious pie we enjoyed boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and, cauliflower, tender green beans, and tasty gravy; Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I started on another bottle of the Bordeaux.

An Appeal For Help

This morning was wet and dull.

Light rain glistened on the dimly lit garden foliage seen from the bedroom windows.

After lunch the sun smiled down and spread a little joy.

It was warm enough for Aaron to mow Mistletoe Cottage’s lawn wearing a T-shirt.

I wandered around at ground level noting roses including

Peach Abundance,

Margaret Merrill,

and Festive Jewel:

 

fuchsias such as Delta’s Sarah:

and the flowering pieris piercing the lawn.

Iris Reticulatas have penetrated the Weeping Birch Bed at the point where the honesty blooms are giving way to the soon to be transparent seed medallions.

Brightly burnished blowflies’ metallic blue bodies mutated into rusty red.

In the meantime Nugget continues his parental duties. So diligently is he zooming backwards and forwards to his nest which may well be in the garden of North Breeze, that he has lost interest in hiding. If his family is domiciled on our neighbour’s property, we will not consider him disloyal because we know that avian boundaries are not the same as ours.

“Where’s Nugget?” (76)

This afternoon, in order to prevent bigger birds from snaffling our robin’s food, Jackie had wired up the outside of their feeder, leaving a robin sized access hole.

While I watched the news this evening, Jackie sat with a glass of Heineken on the patio.

Suddenly Nugget perched, chirping, on the back of the chair next to her. She turned. They made eye contact. Her familiar cocked his to one side and continued tweeting.

“What is it?”, Jackie asked.

A pause. She then said “I know. I’ll come and sort it out.”

He flew ahead of her, stopped in the centre of the path outside the kitchen window, and continued to call until she got up and followed him.

Still flying ahead of Jackie, he perched in the wisteria, waiting while she removed the chicken wire from his larder.

He flew past her head, chirruped his thanks, entered the container, and sped off to feed his brood.

After this we dined on roast pork, chipolata sausages, piquant cauliflower cheese, carrots, broccoli and cabbage with which Jackie continued her Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

 

“Where’s Derrick?”

Knowing that the temperature would drop and the leaden canopy overhead become a leaky colander throughout the day, we held back Jackie’s sunlit images from yesterday afternoon.

She had transformed this second footpath across the Rose Garden from a few days ago

to this, having also re-fixed the windblown mirror to the back fence. The poppies in the first picture have all been relocated.

Elsewhere backlit borage;

sunlit azalea;

and shadowy lily of the valley also caught her eye.

After lunch today I took advantage of a minor lull in the precipitation from above and photographed raindrops

pendant from solanum;

pearling  libertia;

pooling pelargoniums;

douching heuchera leaves;

bejewelling rosebuds;

caressing Queen of the Night;

refreshing rhododendrons;

purifying pale pink pieris;

cleansing clematis;

and slithering down Viulcan magnolia.

Some flowers, such as hellebores,

pansies,

and diurnal poppies, bowed their heads against the weight of the crown jewels.

While I was wandering around the garden Jackie, from the dry warmth of the kitchen,

photographed me in action.

She even managed “Where’s Derrick?” (1)

and (2)

This evening we dined on prawns: tempura prawns; prawns in hot, spicy batter; seeded prawn toasts; and Jackie’s savoury prawn, egg, and vegetable rice, followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard, with which she drank Heineken and I drank Piemonte Barbera 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gracing The Back Drive

The weather today was overcast and cold, but mostly dry. A wander round the garden seemed to be in order.

The upstairs windows gave me a new perspective in which the rescued red Japanese maple gapes in awe across and above to the majestic copper beech; I could look down on the gazebo clematis; and in the Palm Bed the cordeline Australis bears buds.

The close-up of the maple began my lower level selection.

The red climbing rose, Paul’s scarlet, will soon be joining the wisteria beneath our bathroom window.

This hawthorn graces the back drive,

as do blue-tipped irises.

Ferns are unfurling as I write.

Enlarging this image of the Brick Path will enhance the West Bed with its lamiums, dicentras, and much more.

More aquilegias and a pieris on the grass patch are bursting into life; while an oak-leaved pelargonium with its scented foliage has survived the winter beneath the gazebo.

I have refrained from mentioning that last Friday evening we ran out of fuel oil. This was not a good week to be without heating. Today a new supply was delivered. This evening the excellent Ronan, of Tom Sutton Heating, reset the boiler.

We dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Pinot Noir.

A Virtual Tour

There follows the missing post from

15th January 2019

We will be without internet until the faulty router is repaired. This is because the loaned device does not work. Now that I know that EE was bought by BT in 2016, I understand why their customer care is on a par with that of their new owner. Their equipment failed. They would repair it free of charge but not replace it without payment. Yet they still take my monthly subscription. I am stuck with them because they are the only feasible service to our location. And I don’t have the energy to waste on battling with them.

Elizabeth visited bearing flowers and chocolates. She stayed for lunch before setting off to West End to accompany Mum to an eye appointment at Southampton Hospital.

Whilst I slumped comfortably in my customary corner

Jackie took a trip round the garden

and brought me back a photographic record. Titles of the pictures in the gallery, which can be accessed by clicking on any image, will identify the plants on display. Many of these would not be expected in mid-January.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken curry with brown savoury rice and vegetable samosas.

Spot The Partridge

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK.

Jackie

While I lurked with a lens, Jackie continued, carefully, to cultivate the garden this morning.

Red tinges through garden

I had been struck by the trail of red from near tulips at the window to distant rhododendron.

Other touches of red are provided by the geraniums in the iron urn at the head of the Gazebo Path, rhododendrons, tulips, pieris, Vulcan magnolia, and heucheras;

Fly on poppy

little orange poppies have now opened out,

Forget-me-nots

Vinca

and forget-me-nots and vincas are ubiquitous.

Today there was no lull in the gloriously sunny weather when we went for a drive this afternoon.

We took a short walk round MacPenny’s garden at Bramsgore where rhododendrons and azaleas are beginning to enliven the beds and the pathways.

Most fields of cattle, like these at Thorney Hill, contain cud-chewing cows and languorous calves. They seem to be able to ignore the flies that surround their eyes and noses.

Partridge

Elusive partridges seemed to be darting everywhere. Can you spot this one?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s juicy lamb biriani with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the pinot noir.

 

 

Behind The Nottingham Castle Bench

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

After a day in our mother’s garden, I wandered around ours.

Lamiums

Lamiums rise from the Dragon Bed, where

Rhododendron

the first of our rhododendrons is in full boom.

Margery's Bed grass-side

Another of these rich red shrubs, in Margery’s Bed,

Pieris, rhododendron and view across lawn

can be seen on the grass patch side,

Pieris

beyond the pieris

Pieris and view across grass patch

that stands behind the Nottingham Castle Bench,

Honesty

opposite which one of the ubiquitous honesty plants presages the hebe blooms with which it will soon blend.

Cyclamen

Cyclamens border the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Pansies

These particular pansies smile in the West Bed,

Hellebore, comfrey

where hellebores, like these among the comfrey and the tellimas, are adopting their maturer colouring,

Snakeshead fritillaries

and snakes head fritillaries hang their lanterns.

Japanese maple red and camellias

We thought we had lost the red Japanese maple from which I had removed dead material two years ago. Aaron cut some more away recently and fresh shoots are appearing.

Daffodils

Many later daffodils linger

Tulips

and our surprise collection of tulips has revealed yet another dramatic red striped variety.

Spirea

A white spirea cascades over the Palm Bed,

Prunus Amanogawa

and at the front of the house the prunus Amanogawa is now in full bloom. Should anyone wonder at the proliferation of piping on this side of our building, that is because this, we believe, was originally the back of the house.

This evening we dined on real fusion food – Jackie’s superb savoury egg rice, Mr Chan’s spring rolls and prawn toasts, Lidl’s pork rib rack in barbecue sauce; Belgium’s Hoegaarden beer and Argentina’s Trivento reserve Malbec 2017.

An Enforced Eviction

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Wisteria

Early this morning the sun shone on the wall-bound wisteria aiming for the en suite bathroom.

Raindrops on tulip Diamond Jubilee 1

Lingering early raindrops rolled around the Diamond Jubilee tulips

Raindrops and fly on tulip Diamond Jubilee

onto which a thirsty fly dropped for a drink.

Rhododendron
Rhododendron and pieris

Another rhododendron, leading the eye to the pieris on the grass, is beginning to bloom.

The day dulled over as it progressed. We spent the morning working on the garden. Jackie did some general planting and weeding, and sprinkled chicken pellets over the newly composted beds. Before you imagine otherwise, we do not keep chickens. The pellets come in a large bucket and are marketed as manure.

Vinca

Vinca makes an attractive ground cover, but it does have a tendency to sprawl, take root, and make life very uncomfortable for bed-mates. So it has been for the Weeping Birch Bed. I therefore concentrated my efforts on that. Fast approaching is the warmer weather when a thinner duvet will be in order.

Ladybird on vinca
Snail and ladybird on vinca leaves
Snail on vinca leaf

A black-spotted ladybird and a tiny striped snail suffered an enforced eviction as I ejected  their shelter.

Brick pillar

Our stone urns and other containers are mounted on dry brick pillars. The ground under one of these subsided a bit last autumn and it fell over. We spent the last few minutes before lunch levelling a space and beginning to rebuild the column.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork and apple sauce, roast sweet and savoury potatoes, with al dente carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans; followed by rice pudding and blackberry jam.  I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.