Silent Companions

Today the light was dull; the weather warm and dry.

This afternoon we visited Ferndene Farm shop to buy pork for tonight’s dinner.

I joined a young lady happily photographing chickens on her phone. We had noticed that she had chosen a good vantage point. It was a matter of seconds before I discovered that she had no speech and couldn’t understand me. Her carer approached and told me what I had already gathered and that she loved chickens. I said that perhaps she wouldn’t mind me continuing. That was the case and we became silent companions for a while.

I then sought out the resident pigs in order to reassure myself that we would not be eating them.

We continued on through the forest, taking an unnamed lane alongside which refuse had been dumped. At least it had been bagged up;

as had these drink cans on Braggers Lane.

If you are going to dump old fridges on the verges of Fish Street, I suppose you wouldn’t bother to wrap them.

Further along Fish Street we encountered a pair of inquisitive goats, the Billy of which sported a splendid beard.

This evening, when the sun emerged, Jackie went into the garden to plant some bulbs. Nugget kept getting under her feet, so she gave up and photographed a few garden scenes, including

this area she had planted yesterday;

honesty, rudbeckia, and Japanese anemones;

the lawn, eucalyptus, and hanging baskets;

the decking and its planting;

Florence sculpture, petunias, and nicotiana.

Oh, and “Where’s Nugget?” (13).

Later this evening we dined on Jackie’s spicily piquant pork paprika and toothsome mushroom rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hardy’s Chapter and Verse Shiraz 2018.

Have I Found A Redshank?

We enjoyed another very hot temperature with clear, pale blue, skies today.

In the garden bees laboured on rudbeckia;

Small White butterflies were ubiquitous;

sun produced X-ray images of such as hollyhocks and pelargoniums;

and cart wheels spoke to the low bark of the eucalyptus.

I wandered around for a while. As usual, titles may be found in the galleries.

Nugget flew at the closed utility room window while expressing his dissatisfaction with Jackie because she spent her time watering plants instead of digging up his breakfast. Bouncing onto the paving below he appeared to have recovered

enough to continue on his own chirpy way.

This afternoon we visited Shelly and Ron with birthday presents, just after Helen and Bill had arrived. We spent pleasant hour together, assisted with the crossword and accepted that we couldn’t put the world to rights.

Giles collected me early this evening for a birding session at the Milford on Sea hide.

As we left by the kitchen door, Nugget, perched on the patio rocker waved us on our way.

Such a hazy mist hung over Sturt Pond that visibility was somewhat shrouded. The Isle of Wight was quite invisible;

walkers on the spit and the bridge were given a nebulous quality.

A crow surveyed the scene from a wooden wire fence post.

We were joined in the hide by 8 year old Will Ryan and his parents.

I managed to identify the spread wings of a cormorant, but

I was at a loss to be sure about the redshank to which this engaging young man did his best to guide me. I may have one or two in this collection. Ornithologists among my readership may be kind enough to let me know. Bigification can be obtained from the gallery.

This evening Jackie and I dined on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad.

Better Than Expected

Today’s winds have dropped to 20 m.p.h.

When opening the gate for Aaron this morning I checked on the storm damage.

There really wasn’t much more than I had noticed yesterday. The downpipe to the water butt on the corner of the kitchen wall had become unstuck; a few extra pots had fallen; the sweet peas had been further loosened; quite a few smaller branches had been ripped off the beech and birch trees; some of the ornamental poplar branches were broken; just one rose stem had been torn; many plants have lost stems; and there was a certain amount of wind burn on one side of the winter flowering cherry and elsewhere, such as various fuchsias.

Aaron began the work of tidying up.

He gathered and bagged up many of the fallen branches and leaves;

trimmed the ornamental poplar, removing the broken branches;

and righted the fallen containers ready for Jackie to replace at her leisure. He observed that the morning had gone very quickly. He likes to be busy.

Bob of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog has recently suggested a regular feature of “Where’s Nugget” inviting readers to find our little robin. That, of course, depended on his surviving the storm and returning unscathed. I am happy to report that I heard his gentle chirp as he followed Aaron around.

He nipped up onto a chair for a chat, then flitted off into the Rose Garden.

I admit that the first “Where’s Nugget” puzzle is a little difficult.

The red scented sweet peas may have been blown awry, but there are plenty of clinging seed pods which benefited from an early shower,

and its desiccated leaves provide perfect camouflage for our Meadow Brown butterflies.

These dahlias

and the agapanthuses may have bowed to the elements, but, like the rest of the garden, they have fared far better than expected.

Bees, flies, and crickets have come out to play and to work again,

The Rose Garden has remained virtually unscathed,

and one lily kept its head in the front.

Other flowers, like these cosmoses, dahlias, and rudbeckia are wondering what all the fuss was about.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie in short crust pastry; new potatoes; roasted sweet potato and parsnip; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage; with piquant cauliflower cheese, with which she finished the Austrian white wine and I drank Doom Bar.

A Tattooed Jet-skier

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Yesterday, Jackie, having set a border with transplanted heucheras some weeks ago, thinned out the other plants in the small bed to the left of the rose garden entrance. As Aaron said, this increased the sense of space.

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to prune the plants over the arch to the front garden;

another was to fix spikes to the top of the Westbrook Arbour to prevent perching pigeons pooing onto the bench beneath.

Late this morning Jackie drove me out with the intention of photographing the New Forest Marathon. Unfortunately, because of road closures, and my inability to walk far enough along the paths that would lead to the runners, we abandoned the idea and went home to lunch, after which an amble round the garden was possible.

We still have a number of lively clematises, like this Polish Spirit in the Dragon Bed alongside the Shady Path,

and this Hagley Hybrid in the Rose Garden,

where is also to be found glorious Gloriana,

pink-cheeked Mum in a Million,

and Rhapsody in Blue harmonising with verbena bonariensis.

Peach Delight still stretches over the Oval Bed,

where nasturtiums echo rudbeckia,

itself found in the Palm Bed,

also home to helenium

and echinacea.

Bees swarmed blushing sedums

and Japanese anemones;

a wasp sought saxifrage.

Perhaps a spider’s spinning a modest veil for Florence sculpture.

Gauras have proved difficult to grow here. An exception is this one swaying in the Weeping Birch Bed.

This fuchsia curtains Elizabeth’s Bed from the Rose Garden.

In the late afternoon we visited Mudeford Quay which thronged with visitors, Many of whom were enjoying themselves catching crabs, although they snared more seaweed. The secret, which enabled one group to fill buckets with the unfortunate creatures before tossing them back into the water, seemed to be the bacon bait, which, to my mind, would have been better served flavouring a sausage casserole.

Taking advantage of the low tide, one dog walker wandered along the sandbank, passing the Isle of Wight, and retracing his steps.

Just as I was about to leave, a tattooed jet skier sprayed into sight and navigated his way between the port and starboard buoys.

heuchera

Early this evening, Jackie rushed in for the camera, rushed out with it, and returned with a backlit image of the heuchera I had photographed this morning.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; wild rice; crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans, followed by her sublime bread and butter pudding. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Late Summer Flowering

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I began the day with a walk round the garden with the camera. Jackie joined me to ensure that I did not miss any of her special successes.

First was the front of the house, with clematis, nasturtiums, solanum and verbena bonariensis festooning the trellis in front of the garage door; honeysuckle old and new, and pink roses having another flush; and planters of geraniums, lobelia, and petunias.

Constantly watered geraniums and other goodies thrive along the kitchen wall, opposite Jackie’s precious pineapple plants (eucomis, but I can’t get the alliteration with that) in the bed.

Begonias beside the Head Gardener’s Walk spill out of their pot. The ferns in front of them were plucked from less hospitable positions and replanted by She Who Walks The Path.

Jackie paid particular attention to hydrangeas during the long hot spell. Some, like one in the Dragon Bed, and other low-lying specimens, were little more than dried up sticks. The Phantom version, after which its path has been named, has not flowered for three years. The blooms are much smaller than they should be, but at least they are there.

Rudbeckia, Japanese anemones and a late blooming, self-seeded day lily brighten the palm bed. The pink Japanese anemones occupy the Kitchen Bed.

More rudbeckia grace the grass patch border, as do lobelias Cardinalis.

We have crinum Powelliae in the Cryptomeria Bed; ginger lilies, and white gladioli in the Weeping Birch Bed.

The Westbrook Arbour planting, including that seated in the cane chair, has matured well, as have the solanum and clematis soaring above the dead tree at the far end of the Brick Path. Penny Lane has claimed the Gothic Arch.

Roses Lady Emma Hamilton, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Gaujard, and Hot Chocolate thrive in the revived Rose Garden;

the unknown peach rose and climbing Compassion overlook the patio.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where a little of my blood was extracted for a PSA test, essentially to rule out prostate cancer.

This evening the three of us dined at the Wallhampton Arms. Jackie enjoyed a smoked haddock fishcake starter; Elizabeth, potted shrimps; and whitebait for me. The ladies each chose spatchcock chicken as a main course, whereas I Chose ribeye steak. Jackie drank Moretti while Elizabeth and I shared a bottle of Nine Lives merlot 2016. Back at home, our dessert consisted of Jackie’s splendid apple and apricot crumble and custard.

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.

Sparrows To The Right Of Us, Sparrows To The Left Of Us

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Lilies

This afternoon I wandered around the garden seeking flowers I may not yet have featured this year. These lilies have just popped in a patio planter.

Agapanthus

The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed again stretch across the Gazebo Path.

Rudbeckia and phlox

They stand alongside these Rudbeckia and phlox;

Begonias

while on that bed’s Shady Path side these begonias bloom.

Dahlia Puerto Rico

This flamboyant dahlia, aptly named Puerto Rico blazes between Brick and Gazebo Paths.

Clematis

The arch across the Shady Path supports this purple clematis.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

In the Rose Garden we have fuchsias Mrs Popple

Fuchsia Bella Rosella

and Bella Rosella.

Gloriana

Gloriana rose is having a better year;

Special Anniversary rose

while Special Anniversary

Crown Princess Margareta rose

and Crown Process Margareta are enjoying a second flush.

Hydrangea

Jackie bought this rather splendid hydrangea very cheaply in Lidl this morning. It doesn’t have a name. You can’t expect everything for ¬£5. She will nurture it in the pot until the weather is kinder.

Sparrows' nest

Now to the sparrows. I have reported on the second brood of these birds in the loo extractor fan. keeping their parents foraging. We have a second set in the rusted burglar alarm on the other side. These are not visible, but I can assure you that they make as much noise as their not so distant cousins.

This evening the three of us dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s sublime savoury rice. Mrs. Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.