This is the footpath to the centre of the Palm Bed that we cleared yesterday.

On another scorching hot day we began the gardening early. My contribution was a dead heading tour, a certain amount of weeding, and a little clearing up.

After lunch I scanned the next five of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to David Copperfield.

‘She drew the harp to her, and played and sang’

‘Mr Peggotty smoothed her rich hair with his great hard hand’ displays such tender emotion’

‘Mr, Peggotty, with his vest torn open, his hair wild, and blood trickling down his bosom, looked fixedly at me’ depicts horror and despair.

‘Miss Dartle gently touched her, and bent down her head to whisper’

‘I drank in every note of her dear voice, and she sang to me who loved her’

After this, I wandered around with my camera, picturing

various scenes, each of which is titled in the gallery;

a. bee clambering onto an eryngium;

planters that currently need watering twice daily;

the water fountain that Jackie cleaned;

and the brick pillar in Elizabeth’s Bed that the Head Gardener removed from further back in this plot and rebuilt with a refurbished sign. Other refreshed signage includes the Old Post House and Aaron’s Garden labels placed on the arch taking us into the garden from the Back Drive. The kitchen table is a makeshift studio.

This evening we dined on Thai prawn and pollock fish cakes; smoked haddock; oven chips; and toothsome cauliflower, runner beans, and peas, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Current Condition

Between further bouts of dis-tressing Félicité Perpétue I checked on the current condition of the rest of the garden.

In the meantime Jackie continued her weeding and clearing, leaving offerings for me to transport to the compost bin.

This climbing Cobaea Scandens, or Cup and Saucer plant is now blooming on the kitchen wall near one of the many

petunia and pelargonium planters,

all of which have perked up nicely since the storm. The ornamental grass in the first image of this pair,

like the Addams Family’s Cousin It, has returned to its righted perch.

A number of fuchsias, like Delta’s Sarah in the first of this triptych, Mrs Popple, and Garden News, have benefited from the rain

which has given this Absolutely Fabulous example pink spots, caused Alan Titchmarsh to flag a bit, refreshed Crown Princess Margareta, and kept the red climber bent over.

Nicotiana Sylvestris stands proud,

as do hollyhocks; Japanese anemones remain abundant; black eyed Susan cascades down the chimney pot; and kniphofia penetrates the gap between wooden chair struts.

We are wondering whether to replace this rather struggling little lawn with some York stone paving. Otherwise I might have to mow it before it gets out of hand.

After lunch Jackie bagged up my further rose clippings, then took over the pruning. The hard, woody, old stems we have now reached are not suitable for composting.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome cottage pie; additional fried potatoes; tender cabbage and kale; with crunchy carrots and cauliflower and tasty, meaty, gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Flores de Seligmar Rioja 2018.

Resisting The Elements

Knowing that we were to expect another leaden afternoon of rain Jackie spent a couple of hours in the garden setting gale damage to rights. I joined her and transported some refuse to the compost while chronicling the event. This was before we visited Mum in Woodpeckers.

Our mother, sporting another of her best outfits was on good form. She got the joke when, after the carer came to warn us that we had another four minutes, I said that would be enough for her to run a mile. This puzzled the carer, so I added “like Roger Bannister”. She was still puzzled but laughed anyway. Of course, the first four minute miler was Derek Ibbotson, but I wasn’t sure Mum would know that.

After lunch I set about drafting the garden report.

Although I focussed on some of damage, like this pot and its contents blown of its brick plinth,

there were plenty of undamaged plants like these two varieties of dahlia.

Although a few gladioli had succumbed, others had stood firm.

Lilies, including the ginger variety in the second of these images, have survived.

The Brick Path won’t even need sweeping.

I picked up a fallen owl and replaced it on its perch beside another toppled pot.

The owl above was perched at one end of the Pond Bed, the rest of which was undamaged.

The Rose Garden didn’t fare quite so well.

Here Jackie indicates the damage to the top of one of the twin planters, which also lost its pot of petunias. The other stand was not damaged but its blooms were battered a bit.

The sweet peas were dragged down and the blooms shredded; some rose stems were bent over, so Jackie decided to give them their autumn hair-cut. Mamma Mia in the second picture here is quite intact.

Here is one of the trugloads I emptied.

The gauras and some clematis clung to life;

although one obelisk slipped a bit. Many pelargoniums remained reasonably intact.

Some views like these of the lawn bed, from the Dragon Bed towards Mistletoe Cottage;

and down the Gazebo Path are unimpaired.

This pot slipped off its plinth in the front garden, but its pelargoniums,

like other plants, such as Japanese anemones were unbroken.

Once again our garden has largely resisted the elements.

I have struggled with an intermittent internet connection throughout the drafting of this post, and we are on our way to our first lockdown-easing meal at Lal Quilla. If I find we have no internet when we return I may descend into a rant, so the restaurant meal will feature tomorrow.

Where To Find A Drink


This afternoon we drove into the forest in search of water. We hoped to find at least some areas where the animals could drink.

The bed of the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst was unusually dry, yet provided enough water for cattle to drink and to paddle, and for dogs to play. Other photographers recorded the scene while I focussed on them.

From there we proceeded to Hatchet Pond where the levels were high, and, again, cattle stood in, or along, the far side of the lake.

The tide was high at Tanner’s Lane. This little boy couldn’t drink the water, but he could certainly play in it. Just after I took these photographs he was stripped off and paddling.

As we left the lane a Muscovy duck made its slow, ungainly, way across the road, practising the heel and toe technique that would please my physiotherapists.

Back home we had no trouble finding a drink. Ours were taken on the grass patch from where we could enjoy views across the garden; and hanging baskets and planters in and around the area. Jackie couldn’t resist making a few adjustments. Bees, like the one in the convolvulus in the last picture, were still very busy.

This evening we dined on a Margarita pizza embellished by Jackie with salami and cheese; and fresh salad.


Seeking Solutions


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.



My Second Nonagenarian Visitor


On a lightly overcast afternoon Jackie, plonking Mum’s stool to order, followed me on a short perch-hopping spree in the garden. I enjoyed two vantage points in the patio, one at the head of the Brick Path, and one beside the Westbrook Arbour.

In the meantime Jackie enjoyed herself planting.

Here are some of the corners on which I focussed. The two new wooden chairs on the decking were intended to replaced a collapsed wickerwork model which was destined for the dump. In the event, Jackie was unable to part with it and planted it up as seen in the third picture in the gallery.


Soon afterwards, Mum,


driven by Jacqueline,

was the second nonagenarian to visit in two days. We spent several hours reminiscing and swapping medical notes and experiences.

This evening, for the two of us, Jackie fetched a takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori in Pennington. We started with excellent prawn puris. My enjoyable main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken sag.

Country Girl


This morning I received a request from Judith Munns to post a daily wildlife picture on Facebook.

Donkey's eye 3 - Version 2

I spent some time making a few selections and began with this one from

Country girl 1

This afternoon Country Girl was delivered.

Country girl 2

At Fiveways she has replaced the chimney pot,

Chimney pot planter

removed by Jackie and Ian to a corner of the Dead End Path.

Country girl 3

Jackie found several versions on this young lady on the Internet, but none with such an pleasingly elegant face.

Country girl 4Country girl 5Country girl 6

On Fiveways she has several viewpoints.

Country girl 7

Jackie has filled her planter already.


Later, after Becky and Ian had returned home, our new garden chairs were delivered. Naturally they had to be introduced to Peroni and bordeaux. This magnificent, reasonably priced, furniture is made locally by Handmade From The Heart at

Country girl 8

Behind Jackie is the Dead End Path. From there I once more photographed our Country Girl. The camera picked up that the poor young lady was covered in flies.

Jackie and Becky have been experimenting, rather successfully, with making Cornish pasties. Fortunately this meant that there was enough surplus pastry and contents for Jackie to produce a beef and vegetable pie for our dinner this evening. Despite there being carrots in the pastie mix we had more, with cauliflower, green beans, and new potatoes, served with the pie. Orange trifle was to follow. We continued with the drinks we had consumed earlier.

The Golden Touch

On the way through the garden this morning, to continue working on the back drive, I paused to admire Jackie’s two new planters, originally candle-holders from Redcliffe Nursery. They display her usual flair. Turning into the drive, I encountered the trail made by a mole. As this stopped at the site of the bonfire, perhaps last night’s embers were still warm enough to deter it from popping its head out.

Jackie soon joined me and she made good progress pruning the conifers along the side of the fence between us and 5 Downton Lane.

Hampered by wire netting through which grew thick brambles and anumber of trees, I, however, taking the whole morning, covered about two yards. Three hours and a couple of feet separate these two photographs. After that we stopped for lunch.

A little further down, some fine hardy fuchsias form a splendid hedge. They blend well with the blackberries, which we are picking as we go along. Butterflies are enjoying our long summer.

A Red Admiral seemed particularly partial to the blackberries, while the broad shiny leaves of trees we cannot identify bore a Comma and a Speckled Wood.
For variety, I took the longer Downton Lane/coast road route to the shingle beneath Hordle cliff, and returned via Shorefield.

A jelly babies wrapper, linaria vulgaris, lichen, and dandelions, one of which attracted a small cricket, lent golden touches to the hedgerows.

Variations on this hue were provided by rust stains running down from the iron hinge of a beach hut, and by

the tennis ball being held up by a gentleman encouraging four spaniels to pose for their photograph.

It was a day for spaniels, one of whom frolicked with a group of four young women.
This evening we dined at Daniel’s in Highcliffe. We each enjoyed haddock and chips, mushy peas, and onion rings. I drank tea, and Jackie drank coffee.