Pruning

Aaron’s main task this morning was taking shrubs in hand.

He began with the camellia beside the Dead End Path. He pruned lower branches to lift the plant which has continued to bloom for at least two months.

The prolific Compassion rose has persistently refused to drape the arch spanning this path. Our friend from A.P. Maintenance therefore staked it up enabling it to continue in the direction in which it is determined to lurch. Here he discusses the finished project with the Head Gardener.

Finally he tidied the viburnum Plicata.

Last autumn Aaron had heavily pruned the roses in the Rose Garden, except for Rosarie de la Haie which is the only one currently fully in bloom. The host of heucheras brighten the borders and buds adorn the other specimens.

Elsewhere rhododendrons, phlox, honesty and aquilegias thrive; white clematis Marie Boisselot is opening out and diurnal yellow poppies demanded dead-heading.

This evening we dined on tempura prawns followed by Jackie’s spicy pork paprika and savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot Bonarda.

Number 32

One of Aaron’s tasks today was to reinforce the

wobbly posts on the entrance to the Rose Garden,

cerinthes have proliferated by self-seeding.

The Oval Path curves round the bed beyond that entrance.

Shadows fall across the Gazebo and Brick Paths.

The yellow and orange diurnal poppies are preparing for my daily dead-heading routine.

The rejuvenated red Japanese maple rescued first by me and then by Aaron a couple of years ago blends well with honesty and the background camellia.

The eucalyptus enhances a number of views.

A spreading white spirea graces the Palm Bed.

Honesty, bluebells, daffodils, and a variety of daffodils add their points of colour.

Bees busy themselves gathering pollen from the crab apple blossom.

This afternoon we all drove to The Beachcomber at Barton on Sea. This had clearly been a most popular idea. The café itself was virtually empty, but the garden was packed out. We managed to find a table and wait for our drinks. A rather wearied staff member would come out with a tray and call the relevant number of the order.

I watched one young gull preening on a rooftop, while

a black headed gull seemed taken aback by the sight of

a most glamorous dog-walker.

Smaller birds, such as sparrows, hoped to find crumbs on the tables.

Bolder starlings emptied the plates of left-overs. When they carried off their prey they were lucky if it was not snatched by the marauding gulls. This group was feasting on the scraps of number 32.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; multicoloured carrots; green beans; Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; piquant cauliflower cheese; mint sauce; redcurrant jelly; and flavoursome gravy. Jackie and Becky drank Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2018, Ian drank Kronenbourg, Louis drank water, and I drank Moravista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

Dressing Chef

I wandered around the garden in today’s early morning light.

Alongside the magnolia Vulcan stand the first of our rhododendrons in full bloom.

The small diurnal yellow and orange poppies that crop up everywhere have woken up;

forget-me-nots also thrust through soil and gravel at will;

even more ubiquitous are honesty,

and bluebells.

Iberis, aubretia, dicentra, hellebores, daffodils, and primulas are thriving, although perhaps the ant has nibbled the last of these.

Rusty Duck keeps an eye on some of the primulas and the lamiums.

Hairy pulmonaria breathes in the sunshine.

Florence sculpture has a good view of the yellow Japanese maple.

The Shady Path catches the sun.

Camellia petals carpet the soil.

Greenhouse geranium cuttings will soon be planted out.

Elizabeth and Jacqueline came for coffee and stayed for lunch for which

Jackie mixed the coleslaw, after which, she regretted that she hadn’t left it for the superbly competent Louis who

mixed the salad and its dressing. It was only after he had crushed peppers using a couple of dishes that he realised we had a pepper mill. Each ingredient to the dressing was carefully added with a little tasting.

Seven of us sat down to the meal. I am not in my place because I was behind the camera.

My two sisters left to visit our mother this afternoon. The rest of us dined this evening on roast duck; roast potatoes; yellow and orange carrots; cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce, and tasty gravy. Louis drank Corona, I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017, and the others drank Portuguese Rosé.

Pink Seas

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Yesterday I finished reading ‘An Orderly Man’, the third volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography. Incidentally, Elizabeth informs me that these first editions fetch up to £150 each on various internet sites.

This volume deals with the author’s work with various international directors and his blossoming as a writer.

Elizabeth and Jacqueline left after lunch to collect Mum from hospital and settle her in at home. Jacqueline is to stay overnight with her.

Meanwhile, Jackie and I went for a drive.

 

We stopped at Sandy Down to admire the splendid autumn reds and golds.

The silhouetted confetti descending from the skies was revealed to be rapidly falling leaves.

 St Andrew’s Church at Tiptoe, still ensures that we will not forget those who died fighting for our future in the First World War.

Some time ago, Jackie had stumbled upon Tutton’s Well at Sanpit whilst surfing the net for something else. She drove me there as a surprise. The tablet photograph tells the story of this historic phenomenon. It seems too much of a coincidence that a nearby village is called Purewell, but I cannot trace a connection.

We then visited Mudeford Quay and Harbour where a perching gull secured an excellent viewpoint from which to observe boisterous waves buffeting bobbing buoys.

Other gulls flanked skeins of geese honking overhead

Moody skies permitted the sun an occasional appearance.

Shortly after sundown pink seas reflected rosy clouds above.

Elizabeth arrived home soon after we did. She brought positive news about Mum’s immediate comfortable return to her familiar surroundings.

This evening we dine on Jackie’s excellent beef pie with deliciously meaty gravy; new potatoes; crisp cauliflower, carrots and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

 

A Grinning Teenager

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The skies wept all morning and were quite broken up by the time Jackie took me for a drive after lunch.

She parked by the roadside near Norley Wood for me to photograph the surroundings. To our right lay open forest, and to our left a couple of splendidly situated homes. The last picture in the group shows the necessary cattle grid that prevents roving ponies from investigating their grounds.

Throughout the local towns and villages lampposts sport large memorial poppies in tribute to those serving men and women who died in the First World War. On the outskirts of villages such as Burley.

Perambulating ponies with flanks like wet flannels, having interest neither in red poppies nor brighter maples, kept their noses to the grindstone.

 A pair of very large Gloucester Old Spot pigs penned in their field must have envied the spritely, grinning, ginger Tamworth teenager who outstripped me further along the road.

The morning’s rain had brought tears to the knitted poppies fixed to the Vaggs Lane gates to St Andrew’s Church. Incidentally, Aaron told us this morning that his mother had knitted many of those at St Mark’s, Pennington, featured three days ago.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, creamy mashed potato, crisp carrots, and tender runner beans, with which Jackie and I drank Wairau Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and Elizabeth drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

We Will Remember Them

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When James of Peacock Computers set up our EE Mobile internet he had searched the house for the optimum site for the modem. This was situated in the single bedroom upstairs, not beside my iMac downstairs. Although I managed to post yesterday with the borrowed dongle, the lead for which is not very long, I could find no signal this morning. A phone call to James produced the necessary advice. He suggested I switched SIM cards, and rather crucially, told me how to do it. These cards were smaller than the finger nail with which I prised out the one for the dongle. That from the EE hub required the insertion of a needle. I carried out the operation with surgical precision, otherwise you would not be reading this.

Sporting a knitted poppy she had bought, Jackie had waited for me yesterday in Costa Coffee in Lymington. Whilst there a woman had asked her if she had made it herself. She replied that that would have been rather mean. They both laughed and her interlocutor told her about

the knitted poppies fixed to the hedge around St Mark’s Church, Pennington.

We visited them on the way to visiting Mum this afternoon. My mother is growing stronger by the day, and was able to swing her legs out of bed as Jackie helped her into her chair.

On our return home we took a diversion up Roger Penny Way, where pannage pigs, beneath pink/indigo clouds, grunted contentedly as they rooted beneath oak leaves in search of acorns. As usual, they wandered across the road at will.

After the ever-earlier sunset we turned back at Godshill.

By the time we reached the darting pigs again, the area was pitch-black, and lit by the searchlights of crawling cars whose drivers were doing their best to avoid taking home roadkill of pannage pork from the eager Exocets darting hither and thither.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie; crisp carrots and cauliflower; and flavoursome Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Joseph Scalzi Corse 2016 while Elizabeth abstained

 

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.