A Normal Day For Aaron

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN THE GROUP ACCESS A GALLERY THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Today, Easter Sunday, we confined ourselves to light gardening. For Aaron it was a normal day.

Compost bins

He reorganised the compost bins. This involved shifting the greenish fencing to the left from behind the Head Gardener’s Shed, and moving the contents of one heap into the one I had emptied during the week.

Ace Reclaim bench

He painted the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Phantom Path

He weeded more paths, and moved spare posts from the rickety orange shed to the trunk of the sturdier beech tree. Both of these tasks are shown in this view of the Phantom Path with the beech at the far end.

Heligan Path

Another snaking path was that entitled Heligan.

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

The Shady Path, seen beyond the Dragon Bed;

Gazebo Path

and the Gazebo Path were weeded last week.

Ajugas

We have many ajugas, such as these

Oval and Elizabeth's Beds

 in the Oval Bed, like Elizabeth’s Bed beyond, now fully composted.

We have almost finished the preparation of the Rose Garden, the first image of which shows the chimney pots in the distance, and the vantage point from which, at the south-easternmost corner I photographed the

Jackdaw 1

jackdaw, now guarding the nest inside the chimney, with my little ZX700 HS. Every so often the bird descends into the chimney.

geranium macrorrhizum Ingwersen's Variety

The geraniums macrorrhizum Ingwersen’s Variety are now blooming nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, fish pie, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with which I finished the shiraz.

Progress Of The Thatchers

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

Jackie tying up roses

During the morning and part of the afternoon work continued in the garden, mostly in the Rose Garden, although I did also partly composite the Oval Bed.

In the front, the Prunus Amanogawa,

and the crab apples are blossoming.

Hoverfly on euphorbia

Hoverflies

Poppy

and our crinkly little orange poppies are appearing everywhere.

This afternoon we drove to Redcliffe Garden Centre in Bashley to buy some metal stakes for holding the log in place in Jackie’s most recent attempt to keep out the big beast. We continued on into the forest, and on our return bought some stone from Otter Nurseries.

Bluebells

The bank leading up to the Church of St John the Baptist at Boldre now wears a blanket of bluebells and dandelions,

Primroses

alongside those of primroses.

Thatching progress 1

The thatching at East End, on an L-shaped building much more extensive than the front elevation shows,

continues apace; nevertheless I am informed that, weather permitting, this very large job is expected to take five weeks.

This evening we dined on Mr. Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, with pickled onions and gherkins. I drank more of the Bordeaux.

P.S. In a comment below, Quercus Community has provided this informative link on thatching: http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/longstraw/longstraw.htm

Island In The Sun

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

This morning’s sunshine lasted long enough

to draw me into pruning the rose garden. By the time I had finished the skies had clouded over and rain begun.

Window boxes

Between showers Jackie was able to plant primulas into the large window boxes on the front wall.

Camellia 1

More camellias are in full bloom, and

Daffodils and ferns

all the beds are clamouring for our attention,

Mudflats

but we abandoned them in favour of a drive to Tanner’s Lane beach,

Boat on mudflats

where the usual boat was moored on the mudflats.

Yacht

A solitary yacht sailed alongside the Isle of Wight,

Ferry boat and The Needles

as a ferry boat threaded its way past The Needles.

At low tide seaweed clung to rocks and breakwaters.

Trees and breakwaters

Further along the coastline gnarled trees were coming into bud,

Cloudscape

as rain-laden skies loomed over the sunlit landscape.

Egrets were among the birds feeding on the shore.

Egret in flight

One rewarded my numerous efforts to catch it in flight.

Having left Tanner’s Lane and begun to drive along Sowley Lane it seemed as if we were on the floor of a school dance from my teens. In the undergrowth on one side of the lane were assembled a bouquet of hen pheasants.

Pheasants 1

The less fragrant cocks patrolled the opposite side.

Plucking up courage, they paraded a bit,

Pheasants 2

then slipped through the barrier to join the ladies.

Crane at sunset

Just before sunset at Milford on Sea a crane silhouetted against the skies was a reminder that the beach huts destroyed in gales a couple of years ago are being rebuilt.

We hastened to Barton on Sea and waited for a pair of figures to make their way along the clifftop so that I could include them in my shot. Following their progress I was to discover that the gentleman was pointing a camera away from the west, and photographing the Isle of Wight.

Truly an Island in the Sun.

Tree and holiday homes

The tree in the grounds of the holiday homes park has grown as directed by the sea breezes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Carmenère.

En Route To Cornwall

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF NECESSARY.

Fence

A.P. Maintenance, in the form of Aaron and Robin, this morning, almost finished the fence they have built  between our garden and that of North Breeze.

Hanging basket

On the way through to the gate to the back drive, I enjoyed the early morning sunlight blazing through this hanging basket,

Thrush

and managed to spot a well-camouflaged dunnock before it took off from the back of a chair.

I took a trip with Aaron to Mole Country supplies to buy more timber. We always have a convivial chat on these occasions, and I am transported in time to my father’s removal van, which contained such familiar clutter and carried the similar evocative odour of petrol and tobacco.

Rose Sawfly larvae

Jackie made a great sacrifice until this afternoon. She refrained from delivering death to a cluster of rose sawfly larvae until I had managed to capture a reasonable shot of these squirming creatures busily engaged in reducing the leaves of Crême de la crême to projecting spikes.

Rose Garden entrance

Entering The Rose Garden I reflected that it bears just one example of Jackie’s signage.

Just as the sun was setting this evening, Mat, Tess, and Poppy arrived for an overnight stay en route to Cornwall.

Tess and Poppy 1Tess and Poppy 2Tess and Poppy 3

Tess lost no time in introducing her daughter to the garden.

Jackie then fed us on gammon steak, mashed potato and swede, sweet potato, roasted vegetables, carrots, runner beans, and piquant cauliflower cheese. Needless to say, this was all cooked perfection. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Tess and I finished the merlot.

Gardening With A Camera

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Photographing while gardening is a hazardous business. I blame the camera’s unforgiving eye. My entertainment this morning was tidying up the Rose Garden with dead-heading and sweeping back into the beds the mulch bark that our avian friends daily toss onto the paving; and clearing up the Head Gardener’s clipping piles.

Crocosmia in Rose Garden

I was at risk of exposing bits I’d missed, like these few scraps of bark in this shot of crocosmia torches burning alongside the Rose Garden path;

View through gazebo

revealing tasks I hadn’t yet carried out, like the clippings in this view through the gazebo;

View from old well site

or incurring the displeasure of the Head Gardener for leaving a blue bucket in this view from the circular concrete of what we think is the site of an old well.

This afternoon we continued with our usual garden maintenance activities, mine, of course, including the new camera, with which I am beginning to capture elusive insects in flight.

Small white butterfly in flight

Small White butterflies are never still;

Bee and cosmos

and bees, like this one aiming for a crocosmia, are apt to dart from one plant to another.

Included among the many varieties of fuchsia we have

Fuchsia Chequerboard

Chequerboard,

Fuchsia Hawkshead

Hawkshead,

Urn with fuchsia Army Nurse

and Army Nurse, this one sharing an urn with trailing lobelia.

Rose Garden

There is also variety in the Rose Garden, provided by different types of flower, such as lilies, geraniums, petunias, penstemons, heucheras and honeysuckle, in addition to the crocosmias mentioned earlier.

Crême de la crême

Crême de la crême,

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral are among the white scented varieties of rose;

Mamma Mia reflected

Mamma Mia is here reflected in one of the mirrors placed for that purpose.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Qilla, where, despite their being very crowded, we received our usual warm welcome, friendly, efficient service, and excellent food. My choice was king prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; and we shared mushroom rice, egg paratha, and Tarka dal. We both drank Kingfisher.

Sunset 1Sunset and reflection

With the promise of an interesting sunset on our return, we diverted to Milford on Sea. In the second shot the sky is reflected in the Modus’s roof.

 

 

Spoiler Alert

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

We were both reprieved from gardening duties this morning by the rain.

I scanned a few more colour slides from 1981/2.

Sam in hammock 8.81

Here Sam enjoys swinging in a hammock at the Drapers’ home in Meldreth near Royston in Cambridgeshire. This was August 1981.

Matthew, Becky, and snowman 12.81

In December that year we had a rare heavy fall of snow in Gracedale Road, Furzedown, South London. Matthew and Becky made the best of it. That was probably the only time in their childhoods that it was possible to create such a magnificent snowman.

Sam 12.81

Another Cambridgeshire venue was the home of Nigel and Judy Pearson at Pastures farmhouse in Caxton. At a Christmas party there, Sam tucked into his first pheasant. I remember biting a piece of shot. This was also the first time I had sampled such fare.

In September 1982 we spent a couple of weeks at the Vachettes’ chateau at Fontaine in Normandy.

Arnoux, Marie- Helene, Jessica, M. et Mme. Vachette 9.82

This is the garden in which Jessica basks in a deckchair with Arnoux, Marie-Helene, and the Vachette parents. As can be seen by the colour of the grass this was a very hot autumn.

Jessica 9.82

Lying at Jessica’s feet

Louisa 9.82 2Louisa 9.82 1

is Louisa in her carrycot;

Sam 9.82

while Sam enjoys the toys she will soon grow into.

This afternoon the sun shone, not only here in Downton, but also in Wimbledon where a tense Gentlemen’s Final took place. I watched it on television.

Andy Murray, trophy, and wife

I will not reveal the winner, but his wife looks on.

Afterwards I wandered around the garden, doing some sporadic dead-heading, whilst Jackie watered some more hanging baskets

Petunias

Petunias, mimuluses, lobelia, geraniums, owlPetunias 2

containing petunias, mimuluses and lobelia.

Urn, petunias, begonias, bidens,

She also slaked the the thirst of this urn containing petunias, trailing geraniums, and bidens, with penstemons at the side,

Rose Garden

suspended in the Rose Garden.

Hydrangea, geraniums, poppies, pansies, verbena bonarensis

The hydrangea at the corner of Elizabeth’s Bed is thriving;

Clematises, lilies, dahlias, fuchsia, solanum

as are the lilies and clematises in the New Bed;

Hebe

and the hebes are coming into bloom.

This evening we dined on Mister Chatty Man’s Hordle Chinese Take Away. Jackie drank a blend of Hoegaarden and Bavaria non-alcoholic beer, while I consumed more of the Carignan Vieilles Vignes.

Our First Open Day

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR ENLARGEMENT. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Last night I had several attempts at photographing Jackie’s garden solar lights. She had one preference; I had another.

Garden fairy lights 1Garden fairy lights 2

Only the brave need indicate their favourite.

Knowing the weather would soon change, I took advantage of the early sunshine to wander around the garden and take a few pictures.

Clematis Mrs N. Thompson and solanum

On the front trellis clematis Mrs N. Thompson has joined solanum;

Asiatic lilies and petunias

on the edge of the patio fragrant Asiatic lilies blend with petunias;

Bees in poppy

and poppy plunderers have hind legs like Popeye’s forearms.

We were joined for lunch by Jackie’s two sisters, their husbands, and cousins Pat, Christine, and Olivia.

Buffet

Jackie laid out the buffet food she had prepared yesterday on the table,

Mushroom soup

and cooked a marvellous mushroom soup.

After several platefuls, and a fairly wide variety of alcoholic beverages, the sun having emerged after rain, we had a tour of the garden.

Pat, Shelly, Jackie, Olivia, Christine, Helen

Our guests trooped from the patio past the kitchen;

Pat and Shelly

admired the wisteria pergola;

Gazebo, Helen and PatOlivia, Christine, Pat and Shelly

and took the Gazebo Path.

Shelly

Shelly brought her coffee with her.

Pat, Shelly, Jackie, OliviaPat, Shelly, Jackie, Helen, Olivia and Christine

Passing Florence at Fiveways

Helen, Shelly, Jackie, and Pat

Jackie, Christine, Shelly, Pat, and Helen

Christine, Pat, Jackie, Olivia, Shelly, Helen

the group admired the Rose Garden;

Helen, Olivia, Christine

on her return along the Brick Path Helen paused to savour the scent of Wedding Day.

It seems reasonable to consider this our first Open Day.

Christine and Olivia left early in the evening. Helen, Bill, Shelly and Ron remained a while longer, and Pat stayed the night. ( Actually, I took a chance in posting this before Helen and Bill departed. They also stayed the night ).

We all had a second go at the buffet and beverages.