Survivors December 2019

Today was the third bright, sunny, and cold one in a row. Given that overnight temperatures are in the low minuses, I wandered around the garden to photograph some of the albeit somewhat poorly looking surviving flora.

Two that seem to bloom continuously are the yellow bidens

and the white solanums from last year.

A few primulas,

penstemons,

pelargoniums,

and pansies linger.

The yellow antirrhinums refuse to die.

Mrs Popple

and Delta’s Sarah are two of the still flowering fuchsias.

Fatsia,

vibernum bodnantense Dawn,

and clematis Cirrhosa Freckles we may expect to enjoy at this time of year;

but not the hebes.

Carpets,

Paul’s Scarlet,

Just Joey,

 

Winchester Cathedral,

and Festive Jewel carry the baton for team roses.

Hoards of Hunnish sparrows occupy the hawthorn, swooping on

sad little Muggle’s

feeder for which he has to wait his moment,

while more of Attila’s marauders concentrate on the front garden robin’s seeds.

We didn’t see Nugget today.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

 

Seeking Solutions

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This afternoon I kept my eyes open for most of the football World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico. In order to wake me up at half time I wandered around the garden,

Spraying penstemon and salvias beneath petunias and geraniums in hanging basket

where Jackie was spraying the flower beds by hose.

Petunias, begonias etc in cane chair

The cane chair planting

and other containers were still benefitting from recent irrigation.

A variety of nasturtiums are in pots in the front of the garage door,

and solanum and honeysuckle have joined clematis Mrs N. Thompson on the trellis.

We have many other clematises.

Several different day lilies occupy the Dragon Bed, which leads towards petunias in a hanging basket over the Head Gardener’s Walk.

Rose Mamma Mia  blends well with some of the lilies.

Before they returned home Becky and Ian sat in the garden seeking solutions to a crossword.

Later, Jackie and I dined on a little of Becky’s chicken curry and rice; rack of pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce; and fresh salad.

 

 

The Latest Project

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This morning Aaron removed another shrub superfluous to requirements in order to make room for a larger than planned base for the West Bed bench. Jackie and I drove off to B & Q at Christchurch for six more bags of sand.

Aaron laying bench base 1Aaron laying bench base 2Aaron laying bench base 3Aaron laying bench base 4

Aaron spent the rest of his time laying the base.

Aaron on bench

When he had finished he sat on the bench and surveyed the scene. As usual, I made him a set of A4 prints.

Phantom Path viewEucalyptus fro West Bed bench

These are the views AP Maintenance’s finest could contemplate.

Fuchsia 5
Fuchsia 6Fuchsia 3Fuchsia 7Fuchsia 8

I enjoyed a fuchsia foray.

Fuchsia 2

Delta’s Sarah defied the neighbouring geraniums to steal the limelight.

Ginger lily

Red berries are forming on the ginger lilies;

Clematis

a blue clematis drapes itself over the Phantom Path arch;

Rose Festive Jewel

and roses such as Festive Jewel enliven the Rose Garden.

Jackie on West Bed bench

This evening we enjoyed a drink on the latest project.

Phantom Path from West Bed benchEucalyptus from West Bed bench

Jackie had been rather dismayed that I should have photographed Aaron’s view of the Phantom Path before she had had a chance to remove the wheelbarrow and wash down the dry cement. It therefore seemed only fair that I should show what we were looking at then.

Diascias

Beyond the chimney pot in the second picture, these diascias decorate a hanging basket.

Garden view from Stable Door

This is our current view from beside the greenhouse.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special special fried rice, chicken sag, prawn jalfrezi, and roast duck breasts. I drank Concha y Toro Cassilero di Diablo 2016.

 

The Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier

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Brick PathJackie working on Dragon BedJackie continues weeding, clipping, planting, and replenishing soil. This involves a certain amount of popping out to a garden centre. Today, for example, she departed for some lime and returned with, in addition, a garden tray, a parasol, and the obligatory few plants. Here she was working away on the Dragon Bed near the house end of the Brick Path a couple of days ago.

Wisteria arbour

Here is a current view of the Wisteria Arbour where, accompanying the eponymous plant, can be seen a red rose and Carnaby and Star of India clematises; with bronze fennel, cerinthes and Sweet Williams in the foreground bed.

Garden view across Kitchen BedAlliumFrom the corner of the patio the view across the Kitchen Bed contains the white clematis Marie Boisselot reflected by libertia; alliums, pansies, and diascias bringing notes of purple and pink; and russet triangle points made up of the recently pruned maple, the distant copper beech, and the now fully blooming

Chilean Lantern Tree

Chilean Lantern tree.

Rose Peach Abundance 1

Rose Peach Abundance soars over the Oval Bed,

Rose Altissimo

as does Altissimo beside the potting shed.

Rose Mum in a Million

Mum in a million,

Rose Crown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margarete,

Rose Schoolgirl

and Schoolgirl are all flourishing in the Rose Garden

Rose Festive Jewel

where Festive Jewel

Rose Garden 1

leads the eye through For Your Eyes Only to Gloriana, with Love Knot to the left;

Hoverfly on rose Summer Wine

and a small hoverfly investigates Summer Wine peeping from its rack on the entrance arch.

Heucheras

The Head Gardener is wondering whether the splendid, flouncing, heucheras are now putting the roses in the shade.

Cuttings for compost 2Cuttings for compost 1My primary function has been to explore all paths and corners of the garden seeking out heaps of weeds and clippings and either chopping them up to fill the orange bags, or dumping them on the fast developing compost piles.

These contributions can crop up anywhere, especially, it seems, when I think I have finished.

Wheelbarrow loaded with weeds

This was just the first wheelbarrow load today.

Weeds for compost 1

Pushing it happily along the Brick Path, I discovered the next two loads. It is fun being the Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier.

Fortunately, Jackie had produced enough of her marvellous lamb jalfrezi meal yesterday for it to be reprised this evening. As usual, this offered some enhancement. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, leaving the Kingfisher to me.

The Dymo Marker

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Well, I did cut the grass, and wander round the garden, but that was along time ago. The rest of the day was spent preparing my finances for my very efficient accountant. Had I done even a modicum of filing any time during the last seven months, the task may have been a little more exciting. But I didn’t. So it wasn’t.

Jackie, however, may have found her own awesome effort, rather more satisfying.

Jackie working on Dragon BedDragon Bed

She spent the whole day resuscitating a small section of the Dragon Bed. This involved the usual method of improving the soil with compost; finger-fishing for thousands of tiny allium bulbs; prising out buried lumps of stone which now form the access path you see here; and planting new residents.

Tree peony

We have also been clearing the Palm Bed; enough to allow a glimpse of a hidden peony.

Clematis

The inherited clematis on the Shady Path is doing well,

rose Special Anniversary

as is the rose Special Anniversary, in the Rose Garden where

Rose garden

Festive Jewel begins a bid to compete with the fluorescent heucheras.

Honesty

I swear that wherever there is a breeze we can hear the jingling of Spanish doubloons.

Mimuluses self-seeded

The red mimuluses in the hanging basket slung here, not only survived the mild winter, but also self-seeded in the camouflaged blue painted Butler sink below.

Viburnum plicatum

The viburnum plicatum becomes daily more glorious.

View from Waterboy

This is a view from the Shady Bed towards the Waterboy;

Revived tree

and another across the Phantom Path, leading to the revived yellow-leaved tree, on which, when we arrived, only the bottom right hand branch bore foliage.

Rose garden evening

Winchester Cathedral As we sat in the Rose Garden with our pre-dinner drinks I reflected from my chair on what it would look like when all these plants were in full bloom.

Now, boring as my day mostly was, it did have one major benefit. Jackie has painstakingly written her plant labels in black permanent marker. Unfortunately this is not proof against the wind and the rain. My files are all labelled with a Dymo Marker, which I thought would be longer lasting. So I showed her how to work it, and she was away.

Mister Chatty Man, proprietor of Hordle Chinese Take Away, provided our dinner this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Knighton Park

On a continuing balmy morning I picked a December bouquet from the garden – photographically speaking, of course. We have:

Rose Festive jewel

Festive jewels,

Violas

violas,

Petunia

petunias,

Geranium redGeranium white

geraniums,

Snapdragon

snapdragons,

Solanum

and solanums.

Jackie went on a massive ‘operation fill the freezer up’ shop; Aaron finished off the bathroom; and I completed our last batch of cards that we posted on the way to lunch at Helen and Bill’s.

Helen produced an excellent roast venison meal for us; for Shelly and Ron; for herself and Bill; and for their delightful son, David and his lovely wife, Jen. The starter was tasty pate with redcurrant jelly and salad. The meat was served with plentiful carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beens, and roast potatoes and parsnips. Chocolate roulade with strawberries, melon and cream was for dessert. Cheese and biscuits was to follow. Afterwards we just about managed coffee and mint chocolates. Various red and white wines were the accompaniment.

Convivial conversation with a sprinkling of reminiscence kept us going well into the evening. Ron told us about a terrace of houses in Knighton Park in Barton which sported splendid Christmas decorations, so we decided to visit it on our way home.

Singing reindeer

We were treated to a staggering display, complete with a singing reindeer strapped to a post.

Christmas lights 1

Other people, such as the little family in this shot, had come out to see the show. I was asked to photograph them on the mother’s phone.

Christmas lights 2Christmas lights 4

Christmas lights 5

The whole of this terrace was festooned with coloured lights representing numerous motifs, and the tiny front gardens were crammed with glowing figures, including a few cribs, snowmen, and Santas.

Christmas lights 3

None of the facades or sides of the dwellings was neglected.

Christmas lights reflected in car

The street was lined with parked cars on which the scenes were reflected.

No further sustenance was required after we returned home.