Freshened Up

Before lunch I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/08/17/a-knights-tale-149-farewell-to-sigoules/

Afterwards Jackie and Dillon transported many of our bags of garden refuse to the recycling centre, just avoiding the heavy shower that descended and

refreshed the garden plants which I later photographed as a weak sun attempted to pierce the cloud cover.

Elizabeth visited bringing some garments for Flo. After a lengthy conversation between all five of us Jackie and my sister collected Mr. Pink’s fish and chips which we ate with pickled onions and cucumbers. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth, Barossa Valley Shiraz, Flo and Dillon, Ribena, and I, La Virile Ferme white wine 2021.

Synchronised Grazing

This morning, while Jackie continued her general garden maintenance, including mowing the lawn, lulled by the gentle trill of birdsong and the tinkling trickle of water fountain, I enjoyed a dead heading session before wandering around with my camera.

Roses receiving attention included a peach climber; pink Mum in a Million at two of her stages of life; deep red centred For Your Eyes Only; lighter centred Summer Wine; golden yellow Absolutely Fabulous; pale pink Shropshire Lad and blushing Lady Emma Hamilton in their younger incarnations.

A Small White butterfly alighted on a verbena bonariensis between stems of Festive Jewel;

a comma stopped upon another;

a bee visited a salvia.

The first of these two white plants are hollyhocks grown from allegedly red seed; the second, Japanese anemones.

A pink version of the latter hides a lurking hoverfly.

Gauras, rudbeckia, and double lilies are all doing well.

The Lawn Bed and the Gazebo Path both sport splendid colour.

After lunch, we visited the Barbe Baker Museum shop in Lymington to buy some hand made birthday presents, then continued into the forest.

Ponies grazed on Hatchet Moor within sight of the eponymous pond and its waterlilies,

photographed by me,

and by Jackie,

who also captured the first of these cygnet images,

seen here with their parents.

I watched a wet dog return to the water where it attacked an inoffensive tree.

Its owner informed me that, like Becky’s Scooby, her animal would chase sticks thrown in the water, but never bring them back, so he resorted to replenishing the supply.

A pony foal wandered across the tarmac to the East Boldre end of St Leonard’s Road, and proceeded to accompany its mother in synchronised grazing.

Other members of the group did their best to block the road,

while another did her best to suck soup from the rapidly drying corner pool.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; boiled new potatoes; and fresh salad, with which Jackie drank Greco di Tufo white wine and I drank Torre de Ferro Reserva Dao 2017.

For The Bees

Between stints in the garden today, which varied from overcast-gloom to sun-bright, I finished reading Chekhov’s engaging story entitled ‘Teacher of Literature” (1894).

Essentially tracing the journey from childhood hardship to the consequences of unearned comfort the tale is told with human insight and with delightful bucolic descriptions. I will not reveal the changes in the main protagonist’s thoughts, but I accept the judgement of translator Elisaveta Fen that ‘The theme is among Chekhov’s favourite ones – the emptiness of mere material prosperity with no prospect of change, [and] the tedium of provincial life….’

There is no drawing to this story in my Folio Society edition.

My first spell in the garden, before lunch, involved clearing, bagging up, and transporting to the compost bin the refuse from the Head Gardener’s weeding and clippings.

The air was brighter after lunch when I weeded

another of the narrow brick footpaths between the Rose Garden beds. Silent woodlice slipped away from my scraping tools, and the water feature bubbled whenever the sun peeped out. Once again the path was too wet to sweep clean.

Even after another night of rain, many floppy blooms are beginning to raise their heads. Here we have the prolific peach-coloured Doris Tysterman; Festive Jewel, Aloha, and For Your Eyes Only in various shades of pink; the white Créme de la créme; the blushing Shropshire Lad; the prolific Gloriana; a rambling Ballerina; the aptly named Peach Abundance; a spreading Perennial Blush; and rich red Ernest Morse.

The elder shrub Sambucus nigra now rivals Altissimo in height.

While I wandered around with my camera Jackie, from her perch in the Weeping Birch Bed, pointed out the buds on the sculptural New Zealand flax.

Some three or four years ago our friend Giles, who has his own welcoming wildlife garden, gave us a twiggy stem of Vipers Bugloss with which to attract bees.

This boon for bees now dominates the far end of the Back Drive and lives up to its magnetic billing.

This evening we dined on tender baked gammon; new potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and piquant cauliflower cheese with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Christmas Rose

On a bright, sunny, and cool morning I wandered around the garden with the camera.

Most of the camellia bushes are now in bloom, and even

Shropshire Lad has hung on for Christmas.

Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith phoned from Australia and Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen Facetimed from Nottingham.

Louisa sent me a mobile screenshot of me admiring the turkey she had just taken out of the oven. Fortunately Becky was on hand to transfer the e-mail to my computer. She and Ian, Mat, Tess, and Poppy, had come for exchange of presents and Jackie’s Christmas dinner.

Among other gifts Becky gave me this book. She had amended the title with the 101 sticker, and inserted

in the appropriate place her analysis of her Book of Seasons, the full version of which appears at https://derrickjknight.com/2014/02/21/beckys-book/ Her last paragraph demonstrates a perfect understanding of the work.

One of my presents to Jackie was a pig for the garden.

She found time to nip outside and photograph the sunset.

Jackie’s splendid Christmas dinner was enjoyed by us all. We drank Prosecco while we we consumed more varieties than could be contained on the table. Apart from what is displayed here there were roast potatoes in the oven.

Guns ‘N’ Roses

From our bedroom window we are still greeted in the morning by a scented pink climbing rose, sweet little solanum, and ripe crab apples so far eschewed by blackbirds; and from our en suite bathroom Paul’s Scarlet still soaring above the wisteria.

While I up there taking these images

I made several garden view photographs, all featuring the Gazebo.

At ground level, we have golden mushrooms on the stumpery;

a number of thick-pile carpet roses;

and, in the rose garden, Crown Princess Margareta, Shropshire Lad, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mama Mia, all blooming well with burgeoning promise of more to come.

This afternoon I continued reading “The Guns of August”, the first volume of Barbara W. Tuchman’s history of the First World War, which I began yesterday.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; Coleman’s mint sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; firm, tasty, carrots and Brussels sprouts, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Faugeres.

Is It Really Autumn?

We began early this morning watering, dead heading, clearing debris and adding to the compost bins before attending Milford on Sea GP Surgery for flu jab appointments. A large number of patients were vaccinated smoothly at one minute intervals. We queued 2 metres apart for no time at all and were directed to our colour-coded injection chamber. All was extremely efficient except for the jam of jabbed individuals swapping details of their experience and other age-related ailments causing something of a bottle-neck at the rear exit. This was a bit of a slalom with no opportunity for the correct social distancing; however, everyone wore masks, and we were back in the car after five minutes, giving us time for a brief drive in our rather Saturday-crowded environment.

Seasonal confusion was first evidenced in our own garden with windburn to Japanese maples and Summer Wine pouring down the entrance arch to the Rose Garden. More was displayed in

Sandy Down with pink roses,

rhododendrons,

and cyclamen lining the verges; and

the leaves of a silver birch beginning to display the Midas touch.

This afternoon after some more chopping and composting of refuse I wandered around the garden with my camera.

Dahlias and begonias, some sharing beds, are in no doubt that it is their season.

Nasturtiums, gauras, and diascias are still going strong.

Small White butterflies and hard working bees are not conceding that their time is over.

Clematises, like this lost label purple one and Dr Ruppel, sharing the Gothic arch with red Super Elfin and pale pink Penny Lane roses, linger on,

as does a rather ragged Shropshire Lad, swaying in the Rose Garden to

a white symphony of begonias, nicotiana sylvestris, and Hawkshead fuchsias.

The eucalyptus still suspends filled hanging baskets flanked by pelargoniums and rudbeckias. Is it really autumn?

This evening we dined on poached smoked haddock; Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots; and tender runner beans, with which we both drank Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2019 – a crisp, aromatic, white wine from New Zealand.

Working From Home

On an even hotter day we began gardening very early, partly because our septic tank was emptied soon after 7.00 a.m.

Our shared task was dead-heading. I carried a camera with me.

I have noticed that butterflies like to bask on paving or gravel. Can you spot this Red Admiral?

We now have quite a variety of Hemerocallis. Here are a few.

The creamy Shropshire Lad, and the pink carpet rose hosting a pair of what I think are hoverflies, represent the roses in the Rose Garden which also harbours the deep magenta petunias and sweet peas. As usual, the galleries can be accessed by clicking on any of the images in each one; view these full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement is then possible.

Red rose Super Elfin rambles along the Back Drive border where red and white hot lips welcome honeysuckle that has crept in from next door.

A sunlit heuchera leaf cast its shadow across the brick path.

I spent the whole afternoon wrestling further with my banking problem. Fundamentally I cannot now create a new on line account. Once again I was on the end of a bad line from Scotland. This, it transpired was because the agents were working from home. Eventually I was advised to start again in the hope that I would reach a different call centre. I did. It worked. This time I was told that my Mac had blocked the account. I will have a session with Peacock Computers tomorrow.

Early this evening we took a drive to Mudeford which was awash with people still flooding in with little semblance of social distancing. We turned around and enjoyed a drink on the patio before a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away delights with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carenina.

Night And Day

Last night before bed Jackie wandered around the garden with her camera

and produced this set of images.

This morning we worked together in the Rose Garden.

Jackie swept, weeded, and refurbished the pots that had contained tulips earlier in the year. In the first of these pictures she points out to Nugget some tasty morsels found under a stone; in the second she examines a spent bulb in order to ascertain whether there is enough life in it to replant it for next year.

As indicated above, our little robin was very much in attendance, gathering food for his current brood.

I carried out significant dead-heading, and

took photographs from within, and on the approach to, the Rose Garden which can be seen from each of the last few garden views. As usual each of the galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image which can be viewed full size by clicking the box beneath the picture, and enlarged further if required.

The same applies to this picture of the entrance which is also “Where’s Nugget?” (88).

Bees were also very much in evidence, plundering roses such as Open Arms, and clustering on the same poppies as yesterday. I wondered how on earth those with heavily laden thighs would make it back to base.

This evening we dined on cheese centred fish cakes; piquant mixed pasta cheese (still no macaroni) ; and peas, with which Jackie finished the Verdejo and I sampled another bottle of the Malbec.

Absolutely Fabulous Cricket

The sun was permitted the occasional appearance from behind today’s cloud curtain.

At mid morning, thinking she was attending to the Weeping Birch Bed, I ventured out for a stint of clearing up after the Head Gardener’ general maintenance efforts, and received something of a shock.

Jackie had been diverted by the Rose Garden, upon the paths of which she had dropped considerable debris. That was clearly going to take precedence.

Nugget would keep getting under my feet as he foraged for his brood. In the first picture he has a beakful ready for transporting to yellow gapes at home. “Where’s Nugget?” (86) is the third image. Biggification may be required to spot him.

After I had bagged up and added to the compost bins all the weeding and clipping refuse, I had intended to sweep up the bits I couldn’t pick up, but our little robin familiar persuaded me to leave it for a while since he still found rich pickings.

I therefore concentrated on dead heading and photography.

Love Knot and the red carpet rose blend together with Alan Titchmarsh in the background; Just Joey is the large portrait; Rosa Gallica and Mamma Mia make good companions; the petunias and lobelia adorn a hanging basket over the Phantom Path.

After lunch I swept the Rose Garden paths and made more photographs, details of which can be gleaned from the gallery that can be accessed by clicking on any image.

I watched a minute cricket wandering between the petals of an Absolutely Fabulous rose.

Jackie had by then begun thinning out the wandering plants and their foliage that were choking the Weeping Birch Bed. I carried several trugfuls to the compost bins before collecting my camera from the house, because

Nugget wouldn’t go away and kept posing.

This picture shows how close he was to Jackie.

Half a dozen mice stand guard over the seedlings in the trough beside the frog pond. They are there to deter the lumbering wood pigeons from squashing the plants as they land lurching for a drink. In fact Jackie is beginning to wage war on pigeons. Those building the nest in the wisteria yesterday continue today. Every time the Head Gardener removes the sticks and shoos them off they return and start again. Given that they regularly drop both twigs and poo onto the bench below she does have a point.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and tender spring greens. The Culinary Queen drank Becks, and I drank more of the Douro opened a couple of days ago.

Fresh Food

Today was cool and overcast. This afternoon I dead-headed the Rose Garden,

then photographed some blooms that escaped the chop. These include Absolutely Fabulous, Ballerina, Gloriana, Deep Secret, Mamma Mia, Aloha, Lady Emma Hamilton, Special Anniversary, Crown Princess Margareta, and Shropshire Lad. Each is labelled in the gallery which may be accessed by clicking on any image. For enlargement scroll down to just beneath the gallery pictures where, to the right, is a box indicating ‘view full size’. The full size may be further enlarged with one or two clicks.

A certain little robin followed me around, sending me in for the camera before I was ready. We were both rewarded by a big fat juicy worm

Nugget tossed the writhing creature, twisting his head faster than the speed of my shutter, enabling him to peck off beak sized bits. For him, fresh food is now available.

We prefer our fodder cooked, so this evening we dined on roast gammon with Jackie’s moist ratatouille and firm penne cheese, with which she drank Becks and I drank Flores de Soligamar Tempranillo & Garnacha 2018.