The Herbaceous Borders

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Jackie continued her planting today. My major task was dead-heading.

Planting in Dragon Bed

This section of the Dragon Bed shows how what was a large, gangly ficus until Aaron removed it six days ago has been replaced by the Head Gardener’s selection.

View from Butler sinks along Dead End Path

The chimney pot in this shot of the view from the butler sinks at the end of the Dead End path

Chimney pots planted

is one of the three in which Jackie has now completed this year’s arrangements.

Kitchen Bed

Brick Path 1Brick Path 2The stone planters in the Kitchen Bed have received similar treatment, as have these two urns leading us to the original section of the Brick Path taking us from the south end to the house. This pair necessitated an urgent trip to Otter Nurseries late yesterday afternoon to buy a few more geraniums.

 

Margery's Bed

A yoked pair of hanging baskets introduces us to Margery’s Bed,

Phantom Path

alongside which raking of the Phantom Path has commenced. The gorgeous pink rhododendron seen through the arch on the Cryptomeria Bed

Garden view from Weeping Birch Bed

is also visible from the brick section of the Oval Path, along which coils

Sprinkler on Weeping Birch Bed

the hose delivering sprinkled refreshment to the Weeping Birch Bed.

Gothic Arch

A white rambler and a purple clematis share the Gothic Arch;

Clematis on Agriframes Arch

The combination is similar on the Agriframes Arch, and we can name the rambler which, yet to bloom, is Wedding Day.

Geraniums

These Rozannes behind the iron urn are perhaps the most unusual of the blue geraniums.

Sambucus nigra and geranium palmatum 1

Beside the potting shed at the corner of the Rose Garden sambucus nigra and geranium palmatums sit happily together.

rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Garden 2

occupying the foreground of this image is now beginning to bloom;

roses Just Joey and Love Knot

Just Joey and Love Knot are at the far end.

rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton

Rose Garden 3

peeps round pink foxgloves at Absolutely Fabulous.

rose Little Rambler

The aptly named Little Rambler scales one of the pergola posts.

Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 1Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 2

I concentrated much of my dead-heading efforts on the Rose Garden, giving me ample opportunity to photograph hoverflies like these skimming For Your Eyes Only. For this purpose my camera hung round my neck as I snipped.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The beds alongside the Back Drive have demanded that they now be called the herbaceous borders.

Poppies

They contain different varieties of poppy,

Rose Félicité Perpétue

and Félicité Perpétue now wears a green and white shawl.

This evening we dined on pizza supplemented by a topping of bacon rashers; plentiful salad, and cold baked beans. I drank Cahors malbec 2015. Jacke had previously slaked her thirst with fizzy water, or, as she termed it, ‘eau petillante’.

Defying Gravity

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Today I divided my time between wandering idly around the garden hunting down piles of weeds and clippings deposited by the Head Gardener; transferring four barrowloads of compost from the south end of the garden to the ficus hole in the Dragon Bed; and, of course, making photographs. Jackie continued with her weeding, clearing, and planting.

Garden view from iron urn

This view from the iron urn features two paths and the yellow bottle brush plant now coming into bloom. The chimney pot on the grass patch is still to receive its portion of the contents of the plant trays to be found in abundance.

Begonias

These begonias are among those still to be given a tenancy.

Phantom Path 1

This splendid rhododendron flanks the Phantom Path,

Rhododendron and geranium palmatum

and has a happy relationship with a geranium palmatum,

Geranium palmatum

one of many to be found all over the garden.

Brick Path

Rodgersias lurch across the older section of the Brick Path,

South end of garden

at the south end of which can be seen the clematises and gladioli in the window boxes and the weigela on the fence beyond.

New Bed

The join with the newer section of that path can be seen in the opening between two foxgloves in the New Bed.

View from Rose Garden

This garden view extends from a corner of the Rose Garden featuring pink aquilegias; the rose Summer Time at the corner of the painted shed; and, halfway up on the left-hand edge,

Rose Ballerina

Ballerina, who trips merrily across her stage.

Orange theme on chimney pot

The orange theme of black-eyed Susan and marigolds atop this chimney pot was determined by the finial of this obelisk. Susan should soon wrap herself around it.

Raindrops on geranium

This geranium sheds a tear or two.

Rose on wisteria arbour

Now that the wisteria has finished flowering, its companion red rose has taken over floral duties;

Clematis and white climber

and the white rambler has now joined clematis Star of India on the arch spanning the Brick Path at the corner of the Phantom Path.

Roses Festive Jewel

Even before we reach the Rose Garden the scent of the prolific Festive Jewel drifts into our nostrils.

Rose Peach Abundance

Peach Abundance,

Roses Peach Abundance and red, and valerian

sharing this shot of the Oval Bed with a large red sky-climber and vibrant valerian, does have a delicate scent completely snuffed out by the more powerful fragrance.

Day Lilies

Day lilies, on the other side of the bed, are now enjoying their twenty four hours of glory.

Clematis Hagley Hybrid

Two clematises offering their first bloom are Hagley’s Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

Clematis Piilu

and Piilu against the redundant garage door.

Félicité Perpétue 1

Félicité Perpétue along the back drive has also produced its first flower;

Rose Félicité Perpétue 2

rather further on is the one in the front garden,

Foxgloves

which also has an abundance of foxgloves.

Bee on erigeron

Bees are now somewhat busy. Here is one exploring the larger erigerons;

Bee on bottle brush plant

another sampling the aforementioned bottle brush plant;

Bee on heuchera

and finally one defying gravity while sipping from a swaying heuchera.

For our dinner this evening we supplemented Mr Pink’s exceedingly good Fish and Chips with Tesco’s gherkins and Garner’s pickled onions. We both drank Cimarosa Special Edition sauvignon blanc 2015.

Opulence

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Once more, today was scorchingly hot. Apart from gentle tidying up, watering was the order of the day.

Garden view towards Rose Garden

The hose in this garden view was trained on the Rose Garden, where

Rose Garden 1

pink foxgloves, golden heucheras, and blue clematises romp among roses like the yellow Laura Ford, and deep red roseraie De L’Hay;

Rose Garden 2

where pink Summer wine, and white Madame Alfred Cariere cover the blue wooden entrance arch;

Rose Garden 3

where Summer’s sculpted image just manages to peep through For Your Eyes Only;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and where Jacqueline du Pré has been fortunate to find shade.

Poppies 1Poppies 2Poppy 1

Giant poppies blaze in the first view above.

Bronze fennel, poppies, Canterbury bells

There are more alongside Canterbury bells and bronze fennel on the north side of the Back Drive,

Viper's bugloss and geranium palmatum

where viper’s bugloss, given to us by Giles in order to cater for bees, burgeons before geranium palmatums;

Rose Dearest and libertia

and where the buxom rose Dearest can just about hold up her head.

Clematises and gladioli

Clematises and gladioli thrive in the row of deep plastic window boxes that divides the Back Drive from the garden proper.

New Bed

Alongside this display stands the New Bed.

California poppies 1California poppy

We have California poppies in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Rhododendron

on the other side of which my favourite rhododendron is now blooming.

The last three days of sunshine have brought opulence to the garden.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, mashed swede and potato, carrots, cauliflower and runner beans, all cooked to perfection by the Culinary Queen, who finished the Bergerac blanc while I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

The Stable Door

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The much needed rain fell overnight and persisted as drizzle this morning. This afternoon we could continue in the garden. My contribution was weeding and making photographs. Jackie did the more creative tidying and planting.

Raindrops were left on poppies, heucheras, foxgloves, blue clematis, spider’s web complete with trapped insect, geraniums, rose For Your Eyes Only, rhododendrons, and libertia.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, and lilies benefited from their wash.

Jackie

Jackie, leaning on the stable door, was amused at my wandering around with the camera. I have often mentioned the stable door, so , just in case anyone is wondering, I feel bound to mention that we do not keep horses. There is no point when we can trot off in search of some any time we like. What we call the stable door is

Stable door

this. And yes, we do know that, like much of the house, it needs some attention.

This evening we dined on fish, chips, pickled onions, and gherkins. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Spot The Difference

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In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

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.

RhododendronRhododendron 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 vincaSnail and ladybird on vinca leavesSnail 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.

The Death Penalty

This morning we visited New Milton’s Birchfield Dental Practice, where Mr Hefferan relieved me of one of my choppers which was rather loose. His painless technique was a little more sophisticated than the application of my mother’s fingers many decades ago.

My Dad was a fan of the novelist Edgar Wallace. This is what prompted me to buy a second-hand copy of ‘The Flying Squad’ a good thirty or more years past. A recent exchange with Brian, LordBeariofBow, prompted me to get around to reading it. I finished doing so in the waiting room while Jackie was having her less drastic treatment.

A fairly standard early 20th century detective thriller that would seem tame if translated to today’s TV series, so often penned by women, my copy was the 1940, 13th edition of the 1926, work. Produced during the time of the Battle of Britain, this book has survived longer than would a modern counterpart. A hardback, suffering a little foxing and browning of paper, it is still quite durable. I know it has been read previously for there were one or two minor stains and the occasional crumb lodged within.

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of Wallace’s novel is it’s constant reference to the death penalty of which the villains were in fear. Had I committed murder before I was almost thirty, I could well have been hanged.

It was not until the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 that the death penalty for murder was abolished, although it was to survive in Northern Ireland until 1973. Wikipedia  tells us that ‘the Act was introduced to Parliament as a private member’s bill by Sydney Silverman MP.’ It provided  ‘that charges of capital murder at the time it was passed were to be treated as charges of simple murder and all sentences of death were to be commuted to sentences of life imprisonment. The legislation contained a sunset clause, which stated that the Act would expire on 31 July 1970 “unless Parliament by affirmative resolutions of both Houses otherwise determines”.[3] This was done in 1969 and the Act was made permanent.’

On 13 August 1964, Peter Anthony Allen, at Walton Prison in Liverpool, and Gwynne Owen Evans, at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, were executed for the murder of John Alan West on 7 April that year. They were the last of such UK executions.

Perhaps better known victims of the hangman were Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged, and Derek Bentley who had met a similar fate two years earlier.

Film, TV, and stage productions have recounted the story of Ruth Ellis who died in 1955, and Derek Bentley, the subject of a 1991 British drama film directed by Peter Medak and starring Christopher Eccleston, Paul Reynolds, Tom Courtenay and Tom Bell.

The Bentley case led to a 45-year-campaign to win him a posthumous pardon which was granted in 1993, A further campaign resulted in the quashing of his murder conviction in 1998.

The gun that killed PC Sidney Miles had been fired by Bentley’s companion, 16 year old Christopher Craig, who was too young to hang. The finding of guilt hinged on the interpretation of Bentley’s cry, ‘Let him have it’. The jury interpreted the phrase to mean ‘Kill him’. The defence view was that he meant ‘Hand over the gun’.

Those two 1950s executions stayed in the memory of this then young boy.

Late this afternoon I wandered around the garden.

Bee? in flight

When I recently photographed an insect such as this one making a bee-line for euphorbia, I described it as a wasp. I don’t think it really can be. A bee, or a hoverfly, perhaps?

Rhododendron

I photographed this rhododendron in bud a day or two ago;

Cherry flowering

as I did this flowering cherry.

Erigeron

The erigerons outside the back door are recovering well from their severe haircut.

This evening we dined on shepherds’ pie, carrots and cauliflower. Jackie drank more of the Côtes de Gascoigne, and I drank Lion’s Lair Shiraz 2013.