Today Summer has returned in the form of a hot sunny day.

Bee on geranium palmatum

I’m no entomologist, so my identification of the bee-like insects flitting from bloom to bloom should be taken with a pinch of salt (which, traditionally should see off weeds). I am, however, confident that this one on a geranium palmatum is really a bee.

Hoverfly on fuchsia

This is probably a hoverfly using fuchsia Delta’s Sarah as a landing strip;

Hoverfly approaching poppy

and another approaching a pale pink poppy;

Hoverfly in antirrhinum

more likely a wasp lurking behind this white antirrhinum;

Wasps in poppies

and a couple more sampling these new poppies

Herbaceous border

towering in the herbaceous border,

Canterbury Bells

where delicate pink Canterbury bells now stand alongside the deep blue ones,

rose Ernest H. Morse

and roses like the flaming Ernest H Morse

rose Dearest 1

and the gentler Dearest are thriving.

Hole under fence

Unfortunately this herbaceous border, between the Back Drive and the back fence recently erected to keep out invaders from the North Breeze jungle, became the source of my major gardening task. An attempt has been made by an even bigger beast to eradicate Jackie’s recently planted red rambler rose. There was a label giving the name of the rose, but it’s probably been eaten by whatever dug its way under the fence, tearing at the roots and demolishing a large ornamental poppy.

Concrete blocks in wheelbarrow

We decided to be subtle about creating a barrier. To this end I transported two concrete blocks from the other end of the garden,

Red rambler and concrete barrierConcrete blocks barrier 2Concrete blocks barrier 1

extended the hole behind the rose, and popped in the concrete. The subtlety lay in leaving the hole to the left of the rose, so providing the animal with an alternative route. The stem in the foreground of the last of this series of pictures will be tied to its support.

Rose garden

Here is a current view of the Rose Garden showing, from front to back, Absolutely Fabulous, For Your Eyes Only, and Love Knot, flanked by tall pink foxgloves;

Garden view from eucalyptus to Compassion rose

and another from the eucalyptus to the Compassion rose on the arch spanning The Dead End Path,

Jackie tidying Dead End Path

which received the bulk of Jackie’s attention today. She pruned, weeded, raked, tidied, planted, and

Derrick admiring bench supports

propped up the rather unstable bench with bricks which I helped transport from elsewhere. It can now take my weight without wobbling.

Petunias and cosmos

Recent plantings well settled in include the begonias in the foreground of the picture of the Head Gardener at work; these petunias and cosmoses in a tub nearby;

Osteospermum and nepeta

and osteospermums and nepeta in the Oval Bed.

Jackie 1Jackie 2

Eventually Jackie was satisfied that her day’s work was fit to be photographed,

Jackie admiring Dead End Path

and she could sit back and admire it.

This evening we are off to Danni and Andy’s home in Shirley where Elizabeth will join us for a meal at the young folks’ local Indian restaurant. Since it is only my niece who has expressed sleepless distress at not knowing what I had for dinner, and she will be well acquainted with it, I assume that the rest of you won’t mind if I report on this tomorrow. With apologies to those who will be on their breakfast.


‘We’re On Holiday’


Rose Desire

Jackie has planted one or two roses on the back drive. Given that they cost £1.49 each at Poundstretcher this one is inappropriately named ‘Dearest’ yet it has surprised us with its powerful, yet delicate, scent.

After a sniff round the garden, my Lady drove me on a circuitous route to Hatchet Pond and back.

Pond reflection 1

Glimpsing a large reflective pool through trees at the bottom of Pilley Hill, I asked to be disembarked in order to investigate.


This was the larger building turned upside down;

Pond reflection 3

and this another.

Cow drinking 1Cattle at pool

Cattle obligingly clambered down to the pool to drink.

Cow reflected

They, too, were reflected.

Ponies and foals

Around the next bend ponies and their foals were keeping residents’ grass in order.

Cygnets and gulls

At Hatchet Pond we found that the cygnets are growing up,

Swans and cygnets

but remain uncertain what to do with their legs.

Mother and child, gulls, ducks, jackdaw, poniesChild, duck, gulls, ponies

There were many visitors to the water on this, the hottest day of the year so far.

Swan, ducks, gulls, ponies

Gull and reflection

Swans, gulls, and ducks, of course, live there.


Cattle on Hatchet Pond

Cow in Hatchet Pond

Cattle drank and bathed.

Photographer and cattle

I was not the only photographer.

Brothers and sister paddling 1

Boys and sister paddling 2

Two brothers and their elegant little sister were also enjoying a paddle.

Father and boys at ducks and drakesFamily at ducks and drakes

The father and boys played ducks and drakes, and were joined by mother and daughter with whom I had been chatting.

Girl paddling

The delightful little girl announced that they were on holiday.

Donkey and foal

On the far side of the pond a donkey and her foal were snuggling among the shrubs,

Ponies reflected

and grazing ponies flanked an appropriate warning sign.

Incidentally I have often been asked about ownership of the forest’s free-roaming animals. Although they are free to roam they are owned by commoners with grazing rights. This explains the collars and tags usually seen around necks, or, in the case of cattle, pinned on their ears.

Much watering of plants was required this afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, creamy mashed potato and swede, and perfect runner beans. This was followed by Tesco’s sublime strawberry trifle which we would have eaten with Jessie and Guru on Saturday had I not somewhat redistributed its constituents by dropping it (with its lid on) on the floor. Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix, while I drank Gilbert & Gaillard Les 3 Couronnes Côtes du Rhône 2014