We Ate Their Cake

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Late yesterday afternoon, Jackie created a new bed alongside the Head Gardener’s Walk on a piece of barren ground around the bases of holly and bay trees.

She earned her period in the Gardener’s Rest where she slaked her thirst with sparkling water

Having been held in a snarl up on the M27 for over an hour, Elizabeth’s friends Pauline and Jo were forced to abandon their visit to the garden. I therefore stepped out on their behalf.

I wandered along the Gazebo Path,

glancing to the left across to the Dragon Bed and the new wooden arch.

These, of course, are dahlia days. A white break has appeared among the petals of the single red one, and a hoverfly homes in on Puerto Rico.

Fuchsias like Mrs Popple continue to thrive.

These potted pansies have bloomed continuously since early spring.

Polish Spirit is just one example of the clematises that continue flowering.

Sculpture Florence stands proud on Fiveways.

Japanese anemones proliferate.

While I was at it, I picked some runner beans for tonight’s dinner.

A number of gladioli are pleased to be alive;

as are numerous petunias gracing hanging baskets.

Bees, like these milking bright blue heliotrope and blushing sedum, toil away, taking advantage of our Indian summer.

Love Knot and Margaret Merrill are just two of the roses basking in

the Rose Garden, where Absolutely Fabulous and Lady Emma Hamilton, in their maturity, are plumply alluring.

As I came to the end of my tour, Jackie arrived home with a garden centre trophy in the form of an ailing hydrangea. We have often seen how these bargains respond to her nurturing.

Jo sent Elizabeth a text showing her mother bearing the flowers that had been meant for us.

The timing was perfect, because we were sitting in the patio while we ate their cake.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole; swede mash, crunchy carrots, and the tender aforementioned runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.

 

 

 

Spot the Bees

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Jackie continued watering the garden this morning. This afternoon we both carried out an extensive dead-heading session.

After this, I wandered among the flitting butterflies and the laden bees, occasionally sitting down, and photographing the still colourful range of flowers. The day lilies have been struggling, but some still survive. Look for the bees in some of the blooms. Captions to the gallery pictures offer identification.

This evening the three of us, including Elizabeth, dined on Jackie’s marinaded chicken fillets, pork rack of ribs, Plentiful vegetable rice, and ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.

 

If You Weren’t The Head Gardener

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Jackie has spent quite a bit of time in the last three days clearing up after the storm. This has involved sweeping up leaves and broken plants; tying up some of the taller flowers;  generally clearing the paths; and continuing to water the baskets and other containers. Before the rain she carried out most of the required dead-heading. The roses in particular have benefited from the generous precipitation from the heavily laden clouds, so a little more pruning was required. I continued with that this afternoon.

These general path views demonstrate that much has been recovered.

Madame Alfred Carriere has swooned over the bright red petunias in the nearby urn. She will need to wait for Aaron’s attention on Sunday. The full size gallery version of the first picture above contains a bee wallowing in Summer Wine.

Dahlias have largely survived, supported by the Head Gardener’s ties. Those mingling with gladioli Priscilla hold a great attraction for bees.

Tall, slender, verbenas bonarensis, were a particular worry for Jackie as they bent double in the high winds. They have, however, largely perked up, and remain strong enough to bear bees swaying in the gentle breeze.

Many more blooms are appearing in the Rose Garden. Here we have For Your Eyes Only, Absolutely Fabulous, and Just Joey.

Rudbeckia is in its golden prime.

The patio borders are mostly unscathed, as are

the hanging baskets, such as those along the kitchen wall, and large pots like the one at the South end of the garden.

All in all, if you weren’t the head gardener, you might think there had been no storm.

I am happy to report that, of the Two Historic Houses, Elizabeth made the choice that would have been ours, put in an offer, and had it accepted – on the Swedish house. She returned home here this evening and the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid, hot, chilli con carne and wild rice. Elizabeth and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon. Jackie had consumed her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Morning And Evening Light

In the early morning light this morning, carrying the camera, I walked to the far end of the back drive to open the gate for Aaron.

Rose peach

The peach rose we inherited beside the patio is producing more blooms.

Petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, lobelias

Just one example of Jackie’s splendid planting in that area includes petunias, cosmoses, clematis, fuchsia, begonias, and lobelias.

Geranium

This geranium hangs in a basket suspended from the kitchen wall.

Fuchsia Delta's Sarah

Fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the bed beside the Wisteria Arbour was still in shade. After taking this picture I dead-headed a number of small orange poppies.

Lilies

Clumps of these heady scented lilies stand either side of the Westbrook Arbour.

Crocosmias and verbena bonarensis

I turned into the back drive around the corner of the New Bed, where crocosmias blazed in front of verbena bonarensis.

Rose Dearest

There are two Dearest rose bushes in the herbaceous border along the drive. One is laden with blooms; the other is struggling.

Later, Elizabeth visited with Danni and Andy in order to deliver various items of equipment for her room. My sister has sold her house and not yet found another. She will live with us while she seeks one.

Jackie and I watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic.

Crocosmia Lucifer

The late afternoon light burnished crocosmia Lucifer in the Palm Bed;

Day lilyDay liliesDay lilies

various day lilies,

Day lily and hydrangea

and a bright red hydrangea.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I chose Davedush, while Jackie’s preference was Chicken dopiaza. We shared an egg paratha and special fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

Drinks In The Rose Garden

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We have recently subscribed to a joint funeral plan which offered a free will writing service. It is a distinct example of my ability to grasp ambivalence that I can prepare for the inevitable whilst at the same time feeling it is not going to happen to me.

By appointment today, the will writer telephoned and gleaned all the necessary information for her to draft up documents for both of us. As the Administration Department of our marriage I then prepared Jackie’s application for a renewal of her driving license. She signed it, of course. It hasn’t found its way to a post box yet.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon quarter final tennis match between Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson. I will not give away any details for those who may have recorded the game, save to say that there was a certain amount of consternation that it might continue long enough to clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final contest with Croatia.

Have no fear, we even had time for drinks in the Rose Garden, where, in addition to the many roses, we could enjoy other plants such as lilies and the Lanarth White lace cap hydrangea.

We watched the first half of the football on the sofa with bowls of Jackie’s superb pork paprika on our knees. This was served with new potatoes and chantenay carrots. I drank a Mendoza Malbec 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden. Now we are going to see the second half.

A Harsh Day’s Light

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One consequence of the long, hot, cloudless, days we are currently enduring is the difficulty of photographing flowers. Today, I tracked the skies in order to avoid the burning rays, and focus on the more shaded sections of the garden.

It is the very early morning light that reaches and is gentlest on the front garden, keeping such as the trellis in front of the garage in the shade;

while the Starry Night petunias suspended over the porch; the orange day lilies; the lace cap hydrangea and the white marguerites; and the honeysuckle on the main trellis all benefit from a degree of filtering.

By mid morning in the main garden, strong contrasts featured in scenes such as the view from the Kitchen Bed across to the patio; and the Brick Path running from dark to light in either direction. The dead snake bark maple is becoming rather wobbly, so the days of hanging baskets enlivening it may be rather numbered.

Little orange poppy blooms are replacing the dead heads I removed a couple of days ago; fuchsia Delta’s Sarah; the red hydrangea beside the patio; the little pink patio rose on the edge of the Kitchen Bed; and the petunias in the cane chair blending with the phlox alongside; all retained sufficient shade.

Lilies, including those in urns in the Rose Garden; in the Cryptomeria Bed; and in the patio border embraced a dramatic mix of light and shade.

Yellow flowers of lysimachia ciliata Firecracker against red campion; various clematises, including one sporting a Small White butterfly, beside dahlias in the New Bed; day lilies and heucheras picked up the sun’s rays gratefully. The golden marigolds and yellow bidens in this chimney pot tolerated it.

The camera avoided the overhead rays of the early afternoon, so I watched the Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Kristina Mladenovic. Later, the sun was somewhat lower in the sky,

brightening the Shady Path with its hanging baskets and knifophias;

and the Palm Bed where alliums were being sprayed, and from a corner of which our eye was led to the geraniums in the chimney pot on the grass patch.

The light on the Rose Garden was now a little filtered on roses Special Anniversary and Creme de la Creme; sweet peas; and potted begonias and petunias.

This evening we watched the World Cup football match between Brazil and Belgium.

For dinner, Jackie produced excellent roast chicken, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, tasty gravy, mashed potato, flavoursome carrots, and runner beans.

 

 

A Wee Bit Harsh

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Nasturtiums

Early this morning, in the front garden, I photographed nasturtiums;

Petunias in hanging basket

double petunias in a hanging basket;

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

clematis Mrs N. Thompson, now taking over from the pink roses on the trellis;

Clematis Ville de Lyon

and another, Ville de Lyon, draped over the fence.

Moving to the patio, I admired the various planting groups, including planters and hanging baskets along the Kitchen Path.

A brief sojourn in the Rose Garden revealed, among others, the miniature Little Rambler, clematis Arabella; Creme de la Creme; a bee in a poppy; and Jackie’s new creation, Rosa Canoris Forkii.

This made me determined to return later and join Jackie in a lengthy dead-heading session. I have to admit that I did get carried away with tracking bees and hoverflies, but, nevertheless, I thought the Head Gardener’s observation that there was more photography than dead-heading being carried out, was a wee bit harsh.

This afternoon I dozed through two World Cup football matches. It doesn’t much matter which they were.

Before dinner, we enjoyed a drink on the patio. I saved some of my Doom Bar to accompany Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and boiled basmati rice. Having finished her Hoegaarden, Jackie had the pleasure of watching me.