In A Flap

As I walked down to the Back gate to open it for Aaron early this morning I passed

the delicate pastel shades of Penny Lane which will have a powerful fragrance later in the day;

oriental poppies which have stubbornly clung to some petals despite the recent gales;

abundant Félicité Perpétue draped over a dead stump;

and rich red Ernest Morse.

A myriad of bees were already engaged in packing their pollen sacs.

Two masquerading as others were a striped hoverfly and a green shield bug.

A somewhat tattered Red Admiral fluttered by, occasionally pausing to rest.

The roses on the front trellis have been so weighty of late as to pull down their support. It was one of Aaron’s A.P. Maintenance tasks today to strengthen this section.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. First stop was Setley Ridge Garden Centre where Jackie bought some more trays of plants and I photographed

a bee on an ageratum.

We then took the Sandy Down route to the east.

There was a little delay on the road to Beaulieu as a foal was shepherded across the road.

At East Boldre several somnolent ponies occupied the road. Others, including a foal, snoozed on the grass. Unmoved, those on the road played havoc with the traffic of which they were oblivious for some time. One dappled grey seemed to have dislodged its reflective collar.

Suddenly, silently, the entire group took off for Masseys Road. The previously recumbent foal soon caught up.

Dangerously foraging on the verge of South Baddesley Road three ducks diced with death. The white one was sent out scouting. Eventually it got in a flap trying to convince its leading companion that crossing the road was not a good idea.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in sweet barbecue sauce and Jackie’s vegetable rice, with which she drank Blue Moon Belgian style wheat ale, and I drank more of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon.

Behind A Vinca

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Jackie spent the morning working on the garden beds. I finished aerating the scrawny grass patch and did a little clearing up.

At the house end of the Gazebo Path weeded by Aaron last week, Jackie worked on tidying the Triangular Bed;

and, alongside the Dead End Path, the West Bed.

Magnolia

Viewed from our back drive, the splendid magnolia still soars above the vacant North Breeze jungle.

Pansy

Runaway pansies from last year’s hanging baskets have seeded at will.

Head Gardener's Walk

The Head Gardener’s Walk, laid down two years ago, threads through the then non-existent Dragon Bed.

Almost by the hour, tulips are opening out everywhere.

Shield bug on Vinca

This shield bug vainly hoped to hide behind a vinca.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole, creamy mashed potato and swede, fresh spring greens and runner beans. Neither of us imbibed.

Before And After: From Compost Heap to New Bed

Stepping Stones front gardenThis morning we both tidied up after yesterday’s work on the Cryptomeria Bed. Jackie also did some planting, and completed her access stepping stones in the front garden with stones dug up yesterday.

My iMac was upgraded yesterday to the latest operating system, rejoicing in the name of El Capitain. One of the improvements was said to be to Photos. Since all my pre-May this year pictures were automatically put into that on the last upgrade, yet I have stubbornly persisted in using iPhoto, I thought perhaps it was time for me to get my head round it. This especially because, rather than search for them in Photos, I took yesterday’s 2014 photos directly from WordPress. This meant that clicking on those images did not increase their size. I trust that this problem will not apply to today’s efforts.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Passing the New Bed on the way to the compost heap with barrow loads of cuttings and leaves, I noticed a minute shield bug sharing a Bishop of Llandaff dahlia with a bumble bee. By the time I fetched my camera both the bee and a Small White butterfly had moved on, leaving the field to the little creature.

Shield Bug on dahlia Bishop of Llandaff 2

A close-up gave me an insight into what had inspired Disney’s Illustrators of Jiminy Cricket.

The New Bed did not exist when we came to Downton. Its development forms the next section of the Garden Album.

Wall round compost stage 1

On 31st July 2014, Jackie began transporting concrete slabs I had dug out of the projected rose garden, to form a retaining wall for the one compost heap.

Compost wall

She continued this the next day. (‘Not Two Peoples’ 1.8.14)

Primulas ready for planting

By 9th March 2015, we had decided to move the compost and convert the heap, which had been left by our predecessors, into The New Bed. The earth you see in this picture is the result of hours of sifting out all kinds of non-biodegradable rubbish. In the right background lies the back of the log pile

South corner of garden

seen to greater effect in this photograph taken the next day,

Heligan path

and that of The Heligan Path two days later. (An Opened Garden12.3.15)

New Bed

Today The New Bed basks in the autumn sunshine.Once a log pile

A tiny bed lies to the left of the small gravel path leading to the dead tree. The stepping stones in the background offer access to more plants. All this once held the logs.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred fish cakes, Jackie’ s piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), and her melange of onions, peppers, and tomatoes. We both drank Kumala pinotage rose 2015.

A Summer For Insects

This morning, following the advice Mike gave me yesterday, we went in search of The Old House. Google informed us that this was in Lymington Road in Milford on Sea. It has, of course, quite a different postcode. Jackie drove us up and down this road, and we couldn’t find it. The most likely candidate had a lovely old brick wall, but the house looked a little different from the photograph that had appeared in Country Life, and was one of the few grand houses in this road that did not bear a name. Having seen an advertisement for an antiques fair at the Community Centre, Jackie suggested she left me to search on foot and meet her at the fair. That seemed a good plan.

South Lawn hotelI wandered into South Lawn Hotel to see if I could find anyone who knew the house. The very helpful staff printed out Google’s directions. These looked promising until they told me to turn left into Church Hill. Church Hill was on the right. It did not cross Lymington Road. So I turned right. The directions took me to River Gardens, actually opposite the Community Centre. The Old House was not there.

Community CentreI went into the Centre to see whether anyone knew it. Peter who was on the door, didn’t know the property. I had no money, so couldn’t pay the £1 entrance fee. He let me in, so I could update Jackie with lack of progress. No-one could be found who could direct me. Peter suggested I might try the newsagent who may deliver papers there. I did. They didn’t. Peter and ChrisBack at the Community Centre, Peter introduced me to Chris, who did know the house, and directed me to what had been the most likely candidate. So, back up the hill I trotted.

Having reached my goal, a wonderful 18th Century building,The Old House I met Mrs Libby Paling, who was very helpful. She had, of course, been redirecting my bank statements from the stubborn MyBarclays, but now said she would speak to her postman. Mike had told me it was normal practice for postpersons to hand any letters carrying postcodes not on their rounds that found their way into their bundles,  to the correct person, but Libby’s postman didn’t do this.

Jackie met me at the top of Church Hill and drove us home.

This afternoon we cut the grass. Jackie’s chosen method was a close manicure with a pair of scissors. I used a pair of rusty but serviceable sheers and a strimmer.

Mum and ElizabethMumMum and Elizabeth came for tea and stayed for dinner. We sat on the patio for a while, then did the tour of the garden. A multitude of insects shared our promenade. Most were welcome. That did not extend to the mosquitos. The ice plants attracted different kinds of bee:Wasp on ice plantBee on ice plant

A very small cricket sat on a cosmos:Cricket on cosmos

A spider lay in wait for victims of its web that clung to a verbena bonarensis:Spider on verbena bonarensis

and a cabbage white butterfly settled momentarily on another:Cabbage white on verbena bonarensis

A shield bug took preference over a hoverfly that stayed in the background on the clematisSheild bug and hoverfly on clematis Hagley's hybrid Hagley’s hybrid,

and a tiny fly descended into a colchicum (do zoom this one):Fly in colchicum

Before dinner we sat in the kitchen and opened the skylight. This disturbed a false widow spider that dropped onto my, fortunately still empty, plate. I decanted the arachnid into the garden and washed the dish.

On the clean plate I enjoyed our dinner of exquisite sausage casserole; mashed potato; and crisp broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage; followed by a choice of blackberry and apple crumble, lemon and lime merangue pie, or lemon drizzle cake. Elizabeth and I drank more of the chianti and Jackie almost finished the lambrusco.