Wetter Than Expected

My plan this morning was to walk along Bisterne Close for half an hour after which Jackie, having dropped me at one end, would follow and pick me up. In gloomy morning light and light drizzle we set off.

The War Memorial in Everton Road, Hordle, had been prepared for tomorrow’s Armistice Day.

The commemorative bench bears stylised pale red poppies and pure white doves of peace.

More poppies grace fences and

freshly mown grass.

By the time we reached Holmsley Passage the drizzle had increased to light rain which

gave ponies a somewhat more than bedraggled look.

Soon the rain had developed deluge dimensions. My readers will know by now that I don’t know when to give up, so we continued to

Bisterne Close.

 

Listening to the increasingly tympanic pattering of raindrops drumming onto the trees, dripping off the leaves, and thudding onto the shoulders of my porous allegedly damp-proof raincoat; peering through specs lacking windscreen wipers, through which I couldn’t clearly see my viewfinder I captured what woodland scenes I could.

Autumn leaves, above

or below, glistened with precipitation.

I resisted the temptation to ask a horse chomping hay for the loan of its cheerful rug.

Here, as on much of the forest terrain, pools were appearing.

Autumn leaves submerged beneath the water where raindrops floated on muddy surfaces until bursting into spiralling increasing circles. I stuffed my specs into my pocket and attempted to employ my dampened eyelashes to provide clear vision.

Fallen trees and their branches, both recent

and longer-lying, settled into their task of maintaining the ancient forest ecology.

while others, now dead, did their bit while still standing.

Some trees sent tentacles in search of rooting soil.

Such bracken as had not yet gathered a fully autumnal appearance was turning nicely.

Well fed birds have not yet been tempted to strip the hollies of their berries.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika, savoury vegetable rice, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

 

 

Protective Pruning

This morning dawned bright and comparatively cold, but work in the Rose Garden could still be carried out in shirt sleeves.

Here Jackie prunes Mama Mia which had already been trimmed a short while ago. These photographs  show the new shoots persisting – but they had to go before winter winds rocked the stems and loosened their roots.

Climbers escaped the treatment, allowing their hips to colour the arch. One white Madame Alfred Cariere bloom has survived.

Nugget, of course, shot down to investigate. Muggle kept a low profile in the larch.

Late this afternoon Jackie drove us to Emsworth where we dined at Durbar Indian restaurant with Becky and Ian.

We stopped at Everton village shop and Post Office to post a package to Australia.

Here is the village poppy display.

Jackie thinks this cloud formation ahead of us on the M27 indicates a spell of cold whether. Can anyone confirm this?

We were almost an hour early for our 6 p.m. date. Then we hit this roadworks queue which occupied a little time.

The mogul inspired restaurant is excellent and rather out of the ordinary. We shared rices, a paratha, and onion bahjis. My main course was Goan pork vindaloo; Jackie’s, paneer tikka; Becky’s, chicken biriani; and Ian’s, another mild chicken dish. Our son-in-law and I drank Cobra, his wife drank rosé wine, and Jackie drank Kingfisher. The food was very well cooked and the service exemplary.

The New Bed Is No Longer New

 

On 31st July 2014 Jackie began transporting concrete slabs I had dug out of the projected rose garden

to form a retaining wall for the one compost heap.

By 9th March 2015 we had decided to move the compost and convert the heap, which had been left by our predecessors, into The New Bed.

What you see in this picture is the result of sifting out all kinds of non-biogradable rubbish.

This was the scene the following day. Note the dead tree just behind the bed.

The above images are all included in our before and after albums, to which I added more prints today.

Poppies in New Bed

 

 

 

By 23rd June 2017 poppies and clematises were thriving, as were

New Bed 1

these lilies, the bulbs of which were eventually eaten by a vole

that also saw off the Bishop pf Llandaff dahlias pictured on September 13th, 2018. The white solanum festoons the original dead tree which is also scaled by

the clematises photographed on June 19th this year.

By September 4th Aaron had replaced the flimsy metal arch with a stout wooden one, to which we have attached a small trowel bearing the legend “Aaron’s Garden” – a present from Becky.

Like The New Forest, The New Bed is no longer new.

This afternoon I finished reading

I would concur with these comments on the back jacket.

My second birthday was one month and one day away when the Allies began their landing in Normandy on 6th June 1944. It has taken James Holland’s book to make me aware that the brutal, bloody, battle for France was to continue until I was more than 25 months old, largely because the German, mostly ill-equipped and untrained, often boys, were ordered by Hitler to defend their positions to the end. The occupiers’ command chain had broken down, and they knew they were being ordered to do the impossible against the vastly superior Allies with their incredibly efficient infrastructure. Details of the carnage and destruction make for awesome reading. There are many notes, maps, charts, timelines, and photographs supporting the stunning detail.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chiniian.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Years On

Today was another thoroughly wet one, so I decided to try a bit more than a test print with my new Epson.

It was in May 2014 that we took on the neglected jungle that was our garden. Soon afterwards I began to compile a kind of before and after record of the project, in extra large photo albums.

Now, five years on, I have decided to update this work. I began with the Back Drive. Here, for comparison is what it looked like in June of that year.

Today I printed a collection of photographs from May,

June,

September,

and October, this year.

Jackie’s borders contain asters, foxgloves, geraniums, hostas, poppies, roses such as Doris Tysterman and Ernest Morse, viper’s bugloss, and Virginia creeper, all of which can be seen in these photographs; and much more.

This time in 2014 we were burning so much on this space.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes;  crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

The Garden Wept

Hanging its head, the garden wept early this morning;

to brighten later;

albeit with less than entirely dry cheeks. Bees basked on sunlit blooms;

as did butterflies like this Red Admiral on the lobelia.

Jackie’s planting

of phlox in the West Bed

brought her little robin, Nugget, out in search of goodies. “Where’s Nugget?” (6)

Here we lost internet connection, so I am sending this from The Royal Oak.

Before The Storm

Threatened with a thunderstorm, after two lengthy dead-heading sessions, I wandered around the garden while Jackie continued with her general tidying and maintenance work.

The blooms in these images of the Rose Garden and the bed at its entrance are identified in the titles of the galleries, each of which can be accessed by a click.

The Shady Path runs between the Dragon the the Palm Beds. The kniphofia and fuchsia occupy the Dragon Bed. The poppies are volunteers having forced their way through the gravel.

Day lilies, sweet Williams, lobelia, more poppies, and geranium palmatums are found in the section of the Dragon Bed alongside the greenhouse.

Day lilies, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, geraniums, and clematis Marie Boisselot all make their contributions to the Kitchen Bed.

Supported by the Gothic Arch, Wedding Day now flowers above the Brick Path.

More day lilies and a fuchsia thrive in what we now call the Grass Bed.

Here are the current views down the Phantom Path;

from the Concrete Patio to the Oval Bed;

and over the stepping stones in the Cryptomeria Bed through to Margery’s Bed.

By early evening the skies were oppressively leaden, but the storm had held off when we drove into the forest.

On Undershore,

Gilpins is blessed with a quite magnificent cornus, which arlingwoman, below, has identified as Kausa.

On a particularly dark section of Church Lane a trainee rider loomed up out of the murk ahead of us.

Further on a deer dashed out of the light into the dark.

As we arrived at Tanners Lane a pair of kayakers were coming in to land.

There was a distinct dearth of donkeys, ponies and other wildlife in all the spots where we would expect to see them. We came to the conclusion that they had tuned in to the weather forecast and were lying low.

This evening we dined on perfect pork chops; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Reserva 2014.

In A Flap

As I walked down to the Back gate to open it for Aaron early this morning I passed

the delicate pastel shades of Penny Lane which will have a powerful fragrance later in the day;

oriental poppies which have stubbornly clung to some petals despite the recent gales;

abundant Félicité Perpétue draped over a dead stump;

and rich red Ernest Morse.

A myriad of bees were already engaged in packing their pollen sacs.

Two masquerading as others were a striped hoverfly and a green shield bug.

A somewhat tattered Red Admiral fluttered by, occasionally pausing to rest.

The roses on the front trellis have been so weighty of late as to pull down their support. It was one of Aaron’s A.P. Maintenance tasks today to strengthen this section.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. First stop was Setley Ridge Garden Centre where Jackie bought some more trays of plants and I photographed

a bee on an ageratum.

We then took the Sandy Down route to the east.

There was a little delay on the road to Beaulieu as a foal was shepherded across the road.

At East Boldre several somnolent ponies occupied the road. Others, including a foal, snoozed on the grass. Unmoved, those on the road played havoc with the traffic of which they were oblivious for some time. One dappled grey seemed to have dislodged its reflective collar.

Suddenly, silently, the entire group took off for Masseys Road. The previously recumbent foal soon caught up.

Dangerously foraging on the verge of South Baddesley Road three ducks diced with death. The white one was sent out scouting. Eventually it got in a flap trying to convince its leading companion that crossing the road was not a good idea.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in sweet barbecue sauce and Jackie’s vegetable rice, with which she drank Blue Moon Belgian style wheat ale, and I drank more of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon.