Rusting Refuse

Although today’s temperature remained warm, the sun had conceded precedence to gloomy cloud cover.

On her return from a photographic expedition in the garden Flo

grabbed a rather joyful photograph of Ellie.

Among his tasks today were the planting in the Palm Bed which he had further prepared to take them;

pruning of the Rose Garden apple tree, and other areas, such as

the wooden arch above the shady path;

and gathering metal refuse, such as this rusting tabletop, for eventual removal to the dump.

Jackie spent much of the day producing tonight’s dinner of chicken jalfrezi; the smaller, milder, panful of butter chicken, also containing two boiled eggs, Ellie was to share with her mother, and gave her father some. The rice was Jackie’s vegetable version. My accompanying beverage was Gran Selone Italian red wine, while Jackie finished the rosé.

“Best Laid Plans….”

I had “best laid (gardening) plans” today.

First, in the interests of passing walkers in our unlit nights, I would prune the overhanging trees along the front pavement, so they are not forced to step into the road;

Secondly, I would weed the front garden gravel path which I had created about 8 years ago, and tidy the borders.

Having spent an hour on the pavement lopping, chopping, and bagging up the offending limbs whilst ensuring that no part of me ran the risk of being hit by any part of the steady stream of vehicles of all shapes and sizes, often exceeding the 40 m.p.h. speed limit thundering and clanking close to the kerb, I staggered down the Brick Path to add two more bags to the stack for the next dump run, sat with Jackie in the Rose Garden, where Becky bought us each a drink, for long enough to decide that the next task had “gang agley” and would wait until tomorrow.

Following sound advice from some of my blogging friends I have broken my “no more books” rule and allowed Jackie to complete my Avignon quintet with an Amazon order. In the meantime, Durrell’s Inquisition theme has encouraged me to return to Malcolm Barber’s history of The Trial of the Templars, which first read 20 years ago – long enough ago to have forgotten most of it.

For tonight’s dinner, Becky, in her own words, produced dry roast chickun, stodgy potatow salad, lack lustre carretts, and limp brockally, with which Jackie drank Zesty and I drank Entire Quintas Reserva Douro 2021.

Woolly Aphids

Whenever the phone lines and consequently the internet goes down in our neck of the woods the culprit is often an overgrown tree. This causes us to keep an eye on the proximity to the overhead cables of our two crab apples in the front garden.

This is why Martin began work on his fortnightly gardening session on this balmy early autumn morning with

pruning the tops of these trees. The third of these pictures is “Where’s Martin? (2)”

It was not long before he reported on an infestation of woolly aphids which required much more surgery on one of the trees.

The next few paragraphs are extracts from

‘What is woolly aphid?

Woolly aphid is black aphid that sucks sap from woody stems of apple, cotoneaster and pyracantha and covers itself in a white waxy secretion.

Aphids are sap-sucking true bugs and are an important part of many food chains, supporting many predators. They range in size from 1 to 7mm (¼in or less) long. Some aphids are known as greenfly or blackfly, but there are species that are yellow, pink, white or mottled. There are more than 500 aphid species in Britain. Some feed on only one or two plant species, but others can be found on a wide range of plant hosts. Almost any plant can be a host to aphids, including ornamentals, vegetables, fruits, greenhouse plants and houseplants.


Woolly aphid is usually easy to spot;

  • Between spring and early autumn, affected parts of the trunk and branches are covered with a fluffy white waxy material. This is secreted by the blackish brown aphids
  • The thinner bark around old pruning cuts is a prime site for woolly aphid colonies in spring but by mid-summer the insect spreads to younger shoots
  • Affected shoots usually develop soft, lumpy growths in the bark as a result of woolly aphid feeding. Such shoots are easily spotted during winter pruning. The swellings can split in frosty weather and create entry wounds for the fungal disease known as apple canker
  • Woolly aphid is only found on apple, cotoneaster and pyracantha on other plants the white waxy deposits could be signs of other insects including scale insectswoolly beech aphid or in glasshouses mealybug


Check susceptible plants frequently from spring onwards so action can be taken before a damaging population has developed. Little can be done to deal with aphids on tall trees as treatment is only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached. When choosing management options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section and avoiding pesticides. Within pesticides the shorter persistence products (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife than those with longer persistence and/or systemic action. Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and are only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached.

Non-pesticide control

  • On small trees with light populations, it is possible to control woolly aphid by scrubbing the aphid colonies with a stiff-bristled brush. This is best done in spring or early summer before an extensive population has built up
  • Where possible tolerate populations of aphids, they form an important part of many food chains and can be part of a healthy garden ecosystem
  • Encourage aphid predators in the garden. Woolly aphid has a number of natural enemies which help to keep it in check, although they are rarely effective enough to prevent damage occurring. They are eaten by some ladybirds, lacewings and hoverfly larvae, and they are also attacked by a parasitoid wasp called Aphelinus mali. The parasitoid wasp can sometimes be found in gardens, particularly those where little pesticide spraying is done. It is fairly easy to recognise the parasite’s presence, as parasitised aphids stop producing wax and become black. A circular hole can sometimes be seen in the aphid’s upper surface where the adult parasitoid wasp has emerged. If the parasitoid is found, it can be encouraged by limiting the use of pesticides
  • Research indicates that earwigs on fruit trees can reduce aphid numbers and on fruit trees they do not cause damage. Providing shelters such as flower pots loosely stuffed with hay in trees can help increase numbers


Woolly aphid overwinters on its host plants as nymphs that hide in cracks in the bark or in crevices around old feeding areas. During the winter months the aphids do not produce the waxy material that gives them the characteristic woolly coating in spring and summer.

In spring, the aphids become active again, mainly around old pruning cuts or other places on the trunk or larger branches where the bark is thinner. They begin sucking sap from beneath the bark, and start secreting the fluffy ‘wool’.

Populations reach a peak in mid- to late summer, when the aphids spread onto the younger shoots. Chemicals secreted into the plant as the aphids feed induce lumpy growths in the bark, especially on the younger shoots.

In mid-summer, winged forms of the aphid develop and these will fly off in search of new host plants.’ (

One of Jackie’s earliest memories was of her grandfather standing under an apple tree in his garden with a matchbox. Her job was to point out the individual creatures which he untruthfully said he couldn’t see very well; he would then burn them off with a lighted match.

Martin needed to decimate the affected tree.

He cleared the refuse and transported it to the Back Drive at the far end of the garden, and still managed to mow the lawn.

This evening we are taking Dillon, Flo, and Ellie for a meal at the Fleur-de-Lys. Because I cannot publish any more new pictures on current posts until my WordPress site has been fully hosted by Peacock Computers I recommend viewing this earlier post of our first visit to this 11th Century Pub.

Sweet Summer Wine

Today was even hotter than yesterday, so we began gardening early once more.

The sweet smelling rose Summer Wine shares the entrance arch to the Rose Garden with the white Madame Alfred Carriere.

One of the casualties of the recent gales was that a number of stems of the sturdy climber were ripped from their ties, and fell across the bed beneath it, seeming to form part of Festive Jewel. Although it then enhanced the bed, our task today was to prise it from its resting place and encourage it to rejoin its thornless French partner.

I was, of course, definitely the under-gardener in this project, essentially employed to hold the ladder and keep stems in place until secured. Not only that – someone had to record the event.

This is the final result. The Head Gardener assures me that all will soon fall into the proper place.

Naturally I took the opportunity to photograph other blooms such as Mum in a Million, gladioli Byzantium, feverfew, foxgloves, and Erigeron in the first of these images; bright red Love Knot and more muted Alan Titchmarsh in the second. The rose named for our popular gardening expert also appears in the final picture in the gallery.

Here is another foxglove for which species it has been a good year. Lidl name their plants quite simply – the second picture is called a white climber.

Special Anniversary appears in the background behind Absolutely Fabulous and a few aquilegias.

Other white roses include Jacqueline du Pré and Winchester Cathedral.

We inherited this pink climber towering above the Rose Garden Arbour, and Paul’s Scarlet which shares the Wisteria Arbour. Jackie planted the blue solanum.

Peach Abundance is in the Oval Bed just outside the Rose Garden.

A wood pigeon silently lurked in the shadows,

while the buzzing bee’s activities somewhat impeded the pruning operation.

The healthy buds of stems either broken or sacrificed to the secateurs found their way to the accident pot.

I had intended to continue weeding the brick paving later, but decided it was too hot and watch England’s football match against Croatia instead.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips with onion rings and peas, to which Jackie added a pickled onion and I, cornichons with chillis. We both drank Salento Rosato 2019.

No Longer In The Shade

Once again we struggled in unaccustomed heat to thin out the rampant wisteria, and compost and bag up the clippings.

Jackie did most of the pruning and photographed the process before

and after her efforts.

As she said, she was no longer working in the shade.

Although the bulk of the composting and bagging fell to me,

the Head Gardener put in a chopping stint after lunch, when

we made more progress.

Fortunately we have secured a cancellation spot at the dump on 22nd.

The evening light as, in T-shirt temperature, we took our pre-dinner drinks on the patio, fell on

two socially distanced wood pigeons perched on the lopped cypress on the far side of the garden.

One flew of; the other remained unperturbed.

It was good to see that potted petunias and pelargoniums and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah.had perked up after recent watering.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away second sitting with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alma Da Vinha Douro Doc 2018.

The Race Was On

On this further dully overcast and windy morning we virtually finished the front garden pruning.

I photographed a few hanging baskets in the rest of this area, involving bacopas, lobelias, diascia, begonias, petunias, pelargoniums, and gladiolus. These have all regenerated well after the recent heavy winds.

Here are the bags of woody clippings which we will need to take to the recycling centre. Unfortunately we now have to register our vehicle and make an appointment to dump this material.

On my way through the garden I photographed more views which are each identified in the gallery. The second-flush kniphofia in the last picture is proliferating.

The first apples Jackie picked polished up nicely.

This afternoon we visited Mudeford harbour where, now the area has been left to the locals, I was able to wander across the green and photograph a sailboarder whizzing among moored boats;

gulls, including a preener;

and a low-flying murmuration of starlings for whom the race was on for dropped morsels of food.

As is her wont, Jackie photographed the photographer against the backdrop of his subject.

This evening we dined on lamb chops in mint and rosemary gravy; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and swede and carrot mash, with which Jackie drank Beck’s and I drank more of the Malbec.

Pruning Progress

As a measure of yesterday’s sunlight, Jackie photographed some solar lights at 11 p.m. last night.

This morning she continued her determined decimation of the front garden shrubbery. After lunch we both chopped and bagged up the debris. Unfortunately, refreshing as they were, the fat raindrops that dribbled through the afternoon cloud cover were insufficient to drive us inside until we had virtually finished our work for the day.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata, char fried peppers and onions, and runner beans youthful enough to be devoid of stringy sinews, with which she drank Beck’s and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2018.

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.

Directions From The Window


On a dull day with intermittent light rain Jackie drove Elizabeth and me over to Mum’s to carry out a few tasks.

The major object of the trip was the rescue of a wayward wisteria, flattened, and stretching across the grass. Jackie provided the expertise

and a metal stake with which to reinforce the old rotted wooden one snapped at the base.

She took a heavy mallet to the new stake in order to hammer it into the still rock hard ground.

I lent a hand or two.

Elizabeth offered support, guidance, and assistance in positioning the plant.

Mum offered directions from the sitting room window,

Wisteria twined round post

and Jackie pruned to the level her mother-in-law required and wired the old post to the new one.

My wife and sister then went shopping while I cut up all the pruned branches and fed them to a green garden rescue sack. When they returned we enjoyed a lunch of salad, ham, cheeses, bread, quiche and strawberries, all fresh from Sainsbury’s.

Elizabeth then mowed the lawn and she and Jackie carried out more tidying and weeding while I kept my mother company.

After this we returned some inappropriate equipment to a local health centre, and made our leisurely way home.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s succulent roast lamb; roast sweet and normal potatoes; Yorkshire pudding, cabbage, our own runner beans, and carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and, Elizabeth and I, more of the Merlot.


Giving A Hand


Just before lunch today, Jackie and I arrived at Mum’s home in West End where we joined Mum and Elizabeth. Jackie had packed a plentiful picnic lunch of sandwiches, tomatoes, cakes and jam tarts; Elizabeth brought salad. These were enjoyed when Danni and Andy joined us a little later. We were a gardening party to spend the afternoon working on our mother’s garden.

Elizabeth began by assembling the new lawn mower and cutting the grass;

while Jackie pruned the shrubbery on the drive to the

front garden with, among others, its magnolia, heathers, and muscari. Perched on Mum’s raised garden chair, I helped to fill the bags with the cuttings

I offered similar assistance in cutting up the photinus that the Head Gardener pruned in the back garden. By cutting out the lower branches she gave the tree shape, and, in the process, revealed the hiding place of a blue cockerel.

Danni and Andy concentrated on weeding and redefining the edges of the flower beds.

In truth, I spent most of my time watching the others work. Well, someone had to take the photographs.

The penultimate photograph in the lawn mowing sequence contains an ailing rose with muscari at its feet. Jackie dug out the rose and set the smaller, healthy, plants aside for replanting while Elizabeth raked out and bagged up photinus leaves.

Until she began to feel cold and wish to go back indoors, Mum kept an eye on proceedings. She had been helped out without her walking frame. Elizabeth gave her a hand as far as the door, after which she made her own way inside.

Back home this evening Jackie and I consumed some of the lunch that had been surplus to requirements.