Sunshine And Shirtsleeves

Today was one of sunshine and shirtsleeves.

While Jackie worked on the Oval Bed I carried a few trugs of refuse to the compost bin, and a few cans of water to the Head Gardener. It may seem hard to believe that the plants need watering at the moment, but we have not received rain for a while.

We have bright magenta aubretia.

Bees are very much in evidence. Interestingly they seem to prefer yellow flowers, selecting that hue from this pot of tulips, particularly ignoring this

pale pastel specimen nearby.

Celandines have nestled beside one of the

two pots of tulips

brightening the Rose Garden.

We have a number of creamy yellow primroses

and golden cowslips.

Hoping that some would successfully germinate Jackie had buried clusters of wood anemone corms around the beds. We now have numerous clumps.

She is even more delighted to find the first blooms of her new camellia Jury Yellow.

Various euphorbias are also flowering.

Overhead, the copper beech still bears bare branches

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa Freckles continues to adorn the iron gazebo;

while summer snowflakes defy the season.

Jackie also photographed snowflakes with daffodils;

honesty which promises to be prolific;

new shoots on a pink carpet rose;

backlit honeysuckle leaves;

and her own perspective on the Rose Garden.

Nugget put in a few fleeting appearances, showed no interest in the worms the Head Gardener was unearthing, and declined to spare the time to pose.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken soup with crusty bread from the freezer. The soup consisted of the compost base made yesterday with plump chopped chicken breasts, crispy bacon, peas and sweetcorn. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquirez reserva Navarra 2013.

Lacework

Early this morning Jackie ventured into the garden with her camera to

sweep some cobwebs. Lingering raindrops reveal the arachnid lacework and the length of their funambulist ropes.

The Assistant Photographer also photographed colourful coreopsis in Margery’s Bed;

vibrant Virginia creeper draping the Westbrook Arbour;

and the moisture-laden Rose Garden with its backcloth of mist.

Later in the morning we drove to Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, then to Wessex Photographic in Lymington for a spare ink cartridge.

Shortly before noon we continued to Beaulieu Heath, atop a small hillock on which stood three walkers.

It must have been a relative of Nugget’s perched on a prickly spire because we had left him at home.

There was sprinkling of assorted mushrooms among the browned heather, the spiky gorse, the rough grass and the trailing brambles.

Jackie also photographed a model plane enthusiast with his aircraft.

 

 

A pair of ponies, one chestnut and one grey, blended and contrasted with the russet bracken.

As they each ambled across the road, passing the 40 m.p.h. sign painted on the tarmac, I reflected as so often that impact from a vehicle travelling at this speed would surely result in fatal injury.

Some quite large foals, like this one at East End, are still being suckled by their mothers.

Early morning mist usually results in sunny afternoons. So it was today when Nugget supervised Jackie’s planting of tulips.

“Where’s Nugget?” (36).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

Nesting Teapots

Before visiting Otter Nurseries for compost this morning we took a drive into the forest.

We met two different large vans on Undershore. This was the widest, straightest, end of this narrow sinuous lane.

A solitary pony made its way past a row of old thatched cottages facing the green at Pilley.

On the outskirts of the village, a group of ponies on the road revealed the freshly cut tails clearly received during a recent Drift.

I don’t think any of them would have tossed this can onto the verge.

Overlooked by a pigeon atop a dying tree

fine islands of water lilies float on a section of Hatchet Pond,

where an eager moorhen went blackberrying.

A slender barefoot woman walked over the shingle at low tide on Tanners Lane beach; rolled up her jeans; and joined her frisky dog splashing and paddling.

I spent the afternoon listening to the second day of the fourth Ashes Test match.

Jackie presented two teapots for Nugget’s consideration.

One is hidden on the trunk of the copper beech;

another in the ivy against the south fence of the Rose Garden.

“Where’s Nugget?” (15)

The Head Gardener also photographed these views.

This evening we dined on a splendid meal at Faros in Milford on Sea. Jackie chose Zucchini fritters followed by lamb giouvetsi with plentiful fresh salad; my selection was baked meatballs and beef stilfado with chips. Mrs Knight drank half of a Toast while I drank Xinomavro.

Drawing, Painting, Retouching

My ten year old granddaughter, Imogen sent me these drawings by e-mail yesterday. I think her line, her shading, and her composition are exceptional.

Today we had a visit from another artist, in the form of John Jones making one of his occasional paintings of the garden.

The day was seriously hot and humid as John set about his drawing in the Rose Garden. We had been predicted a 78% chance of a shower at midday. Sure enough, a brief spell of rain arrived on time. Fortunately our friend was soon able to continue.

Raindrops adhered to several of the roses, especially For Your Eyes Only.

The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed had opened more than they were yesterday.

Jackie produced a splendid salad lunch, after which we enjoyed John’s Lindeman’s Chardonnay 2018 on the patio.

John needed a cap as the sun beat down this afternoon while he developed his painting.

Today’s retouching of the 1926 prints is one of Grandpa Hunter, Mum, and her brothers, our Uncles Ben and Roy. No-one looks very happy.

John, on the other hand looked quite pleased with his day’s work.

This evening Jackie and I enjoyed a second helping of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which she drank Blue Moon while I finished the Fleurie.

Please Don’t Mention It

This picture was one of Jackie’s favourites for the competition which didn’t make the final cut. I therefore used it in a card for her birthday tomorrow. Don’t worry, she won’t have an advance viewing because she reads the blog posts first thing in the morning.

After lunch, while Jackie continued planting up her myriad of containers, I dead-headed the roses. This will from now on be a daily necessity.

If anyone notices any I have missed, please don’t mention it.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes topped with cheese by the Culinary Queen; piquant cauliflower cheese; Lyonnaise potatoes, soft-centred yet crisp on the outside, with nicely charred onions; and, for added colour, green peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carenina Gran Reserva Monte Plogar 2011.

Shadows On The Paper

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A CLUSTER TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. THE TWO SINGLE PIECES OF ARTWORK CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO.

When our friend John Jones visited to paint and draw in our garden last September, the day was so wet that he was confined to the greenhouse to avoid unwanted drops diluting  his watercolour painting.

Today, even John would not have minded a little rain. He arrived on time, and, with  Elizabeth, we sat for a while on the patio, drinking fizzy lime cordial. Jackie then repaired to the kitchen to prepare a splendid salad lunch which the four of us later enjoyed; and I took John on a tour of the garden so he could choose his vantage point. He said he was spoilt for choice

and settled in the Westbrook Arbour looking down the Phantom Path.

One of our first Japanese anemones stood just in front of him, and an accommodating hosta gathered up fallen geranium petals.

Over lunch we shared memories of childhoods – ours in London, and John’s in Southampton. Horse drawn carts were just one of the similarities we all identified. Many of mine feature in ‘An Historic London Borough’.

After lunch, our artist continued with his work. He spoke of how, in some ways, working in the steady light of a rainy day, had been simpler than with grappling with shadows on the paper.

John's Phantom Path painting

Having taken this first piece as far as he could today,

 John transferred to a shady corner of the Rose Garden. His necessary expressions of intense concentration were softened by his engaging smile.

John's drawing

He left his drawing at this point.

The four of us settled into the Rose Garden with pre-dinner drinks. Then it rained heavily, we got wet and eventually fled indoors. Then the rain stopped.

After drinks Jackie drove John to New Milton station to catch his train home to Southampton.

Jackie, Elizabeth, and I dined at Lal Quilla this evening. Elizabeth enjoyed korai chicken tandoori masala with pilau rice; Jackie chicken shashlik with an egg paratha; and I chicken jaljala with special fried rice. We all drank Kingfisher. As always, the food was excellent and the service friendly and welcoming.

 

Presentable For The Camera

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, ANY MEMBER OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

This morning I wandered round the garden with camera and crutch, but no perch. I began with the patio, and its hanging baskets and planters. The bed and breakfast sign was a Christmas present from Becky and Ian; the basket at its base, Jacqueline’s birthday present to Jackie.

From there I walked along the Kitchen Path,

 

taking the Brick Path to the far end of the garden,

 

and round to the Rose Garden,

where Jackie, who spent the whole day on general maintenance, including much weeding, sweeping, and raking, went to great pains to make this area, on which she had been working, presentable for the camera.

The football World Cup has nudged Bargain Hunt off the TV schedules. This meant that I could not take my usual fix for a post-prandial snooze. So I opted for the match between Egypt and Uruguay. This fitted the bill perfectly.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops, tasty gravy, new potatoes, runner beans, and crunchy carrots.