Meet Muggle

Weather-wise this was a gloomy, but largely dry, day which Jackie began by photographing

her now completed work on preparing the New Bed for winter.

Her lens also produced images of the stumpery;

roses including Super Elfin still scaling the Gothic arch;

Mum in a million,

Absolutely Fabulous,

and Just Joey gracing the Rose Garden;

and Doris Tysterman embellishing the back drive,

the borders of which cheer us still.

 

The textures of ferns and grasses appeal to hot lips in Margery’s Bed, which displays autumn colour,

while hebes are blooming early – or is it another late flowering?

Camellias have produced buds already,

while the patio planting does not yet appear to be on the way out.

 

Dahlias still thrive,

as do numerous fuchsias, including Hawksmoor,

Army Nurse,

Chequerboard,

and others.

A blue salvia survives. It is hardy enough not to need a place on

the new shelving that has increased the number of cuttings that can be overwintered in the greenhouse.

One of Jackie’s first tasks was to fix up a nesting box for Nugget’s rival.

Although showing considerable interest in the proceedings this little fellow didn’t keep still long enough for many photographs. He can be seen in the centre of this picture. Our very good blogging friend, Uma, has named him Muggle, on the grounds that Nugget is certainly magical but he must be more earthbound. Therefore, meet Muggle.

Nugget, of course, takes a dim view of this. He made his feelings known when he cocked his head from the top of the Rose Garden fence, muttering “what do you think you are doing”.

“Where’s Nugget?” (40)

This evening we dined on flavoursome pork cutlets; breaded chicken;  crisp roast potatoes, including the sweet variety; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Fronton 2017.

‘I Was Afraid You Were Going To Say That’

Early this morning I continued working my way through the backlog of e-mails.

Shrubbery clearance

I then finished clearing the section of overgrown shrubbery. This involved extracting more stubborn roots; dismantling the rock wall in the middle of it; using some of these to build up the border with the pergola path, and laying others as access stepping stones; finally digging over all the old soil and adding Jackie’s sifted compost.

When we settled down to our now customary lunchtime fix of the antiques programme, ‘Bargain Hunt’, we could receive no sound on the TV. We watched that with sub-titles, but the situation prompted me into action.

It is fairly obvious that maintenance of the garden takes priority over the house in our summers. But the telly was just one issue demanding of attention that has been put on the back burner.

Speaking of burners, we have not used our log burning stove, because we don’t trust it without having had it overhauled. So, a voicemail message was left for a chimney sweep.

We have Everest windows that don’t fit properly, and a Velux window that leaks. A message was left for a double-glazing expert.

The sound had disappeared from the television some months ago, and Ben from Milford Sound & Vision had come to fix it. He had at first thought the set was kaput, but managed to sort it out. This time it may not be so easy. We drove to Milford and after some discussion Ben sold us a new TV. This will be delivered and installed next Wednesday. I think we can live without sound for eight days, although it does mean I will be unable to enjoy ‘The Big Bang Theory’ just by listening to the dialogue which I enjoy from my corner chair whilst I am working on the pc.

We need a shower shield in the guest bathroom, and have a leak in the outside tap which services the garden. Having been unable to receive a reply on either of The Lady Plumber’s numbers, we drove on to her home the other side of Highcliffe. The said Sam was about to go on holiday and will contact us when she returns home. I had also left a message for another plumber, Mike, who texted me this evening saying he would call next week.

Although there wasn’t.as yet, anything to show for it, I felt I had at least achieved something, entitling me to a wander round the garden. While I was doing this, the windows man called and arranged to visit us on Thursday.

Rose Winchester Cathedral

Rose Winchester Cathedral now displays its first object of veneration.

Roses - scarlet

The blooms on this unidentified scarlet rose stand a good eight feet over the Oval Bed.

View down Pergola Path

The rose garden is now visible down the Pergola Path.

Hibiscus

We have a number of hibiscuses, one of which is in the front garden,

Myrtle

where a myrtle is beginning to ignite its star-bursts.

The Head Gardener went off to buy plants for the exposed bed, and we later planted

Echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckia perovskia

echinaceas, salvias, rudbeckias, and perovskia Blue Spires in the vacant space.

Soon after this the chimney sweep responded to my message. When I confirmed our address, Barrie, the tradesman, said ‘Crikey. I was afraid you were going to say that’. He had examined the stove for our predecessors, had told ‘the gentleman’ what a state it was in, and what needed to be done. He had heard no more. Nothing daunted, he will come again next week.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s delicious liver casserole, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots, followed by custard tarts. I finished the Italian red wine and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Fried Egg On Toast

Today was a real scorcher. I set off for the rose garden rather early, intending simply to dig a few holes for the plants plonked yesterday. No such luck. The head gardener had already been out there for an hour. On the south side of the entrance arch had straggled two rather unattractive shrubs. Jackie had decided they had to go, and consequently cut them right back. All that was left were one thick trunk and masses of quite mature suckers. After carting her clippings to the burning pile, I set to with fork, axe, and saw, to remove them. This took quite some time, not helped by the pottery shards, CDs, plant labels, and bits of plastic and polystyrene, typical of our predecessors’ composting, that were tangled among the roots. We then boasted a clear trellis on which to plant the next climbing rose.Arch trellis

That was enough for the morning. After a short break, Jackie continued watering, and I ambled down to the corner of Roger’s field and back.

Bidens, cosmos, daisies, and lobelia

Neither of us had known bidens other than the normal yellow,

Bidens and petunias

so we are quite pleased with this unusual variety obtained from Ferndene Farm Shop.

Woodlouse in cobweb

A wayward woodlouse, suspended from a cobweb on a back drive stump, cast a static shadow.

Dappled tarmac

Strong sunlight dappled the tarmac on Downton Lane.

Snail on nettle

A congealed fried egg on nettle toast in the hedgerow revealed itself to be an over-adventurous snail.

This afternoon we planted yesterday’s floral purchases.

Rose garden planting

It is hard to credit that the two salvias, and what we hope is a pot-bound dwarf conifer, are occupying the place by the southern fence where a hidden bath stood a year ago.

Hydrangea climbing

This climbing hydrangea can tolerate the shade it will receive in the corner by the orange shed. Like our other additions it will grow bigger. The logs in the foreground are part of our insect hotel, which has been temporarily moved by Aaron, pending his last section of paving.

I watched two Wimbledon tennis matches on television. In the first, Novak Djokovic beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets. The second took much longer than anticipated, so we consumed our pasta and meatballs in a tomato based sauce, and salad, from trays on our knees, as we watched a thrilling match in which Serena Williams beat Heather Watson by taking the third set 7 – 5. A red Cotes de Bordeaux 2012 helped to mitigate my excitement. Miraculously, my shirt was unscathed.