A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Please Don’t Mention It

This picture was one of Jackie’s favourites for the competition which didn’t make the final cut. I therefore used it in a card for her birthday tomorrow. Don’t worry, she won’t have an advance viewing because she reads the blog posts first thing in the morning.

After lunch, while Jackie continued planting up her myriad of containers, I dead-headed the roses. This will from now on be a daily necessity.

If anyone notices any I have missed, please don’t mention it.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes topped with cheese by the Culinary Queen; piquant cauliflower cheese; Lyonnaise potatoes, soft-centred yet crisp on the outside, with nicely charred onions; and, for added colour, green peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carenina Gran Reserva Monte Plogar 2011.

A Bee And Three Flies

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Early this morning, we drove Sheila to Brockenhurst for her return home. Apart from Jackie’s planting , and my occasional wander round the garden on this overcast day, we spent it flopping.

We have blooming clematises

Clematises Niobe and Arabella

Niobe and Arabella on the kitchen wall;

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchaud

Comtesse de Bouchaud sporting a fennel veil;

Clematis Durandii and geranium palmatums; and bee

Durandii, making its way above geranium palmatums playing host to a bee in the rose garden;

Clematis Margaret Hunt

Margaret Hunt;

Clematis recovered

and this one Jackie recovered after finding that a creature had burrowed underneath it. We had wondered why it wasn’t doing anything.

Rhododendron, geranium palmatums, and clematis Star of India

The recently flowering rhododendron blends well with the Clematis Star of India, the ubiquitous geranium palmatums, and poppies against Jackie in the background.

Poppies

Here are more poppies leading us to the Rose Garden,

Rose garden reflection

where Laura Ford is reflected on the side of the potting shed;

and where thrive, among others,

Shropshire Lad and fly

Shropshire Lad,

Crown Princess MargareteCrown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margareta,

Rose Mamma Mia and fly

Mamma Mia,

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll,

Rose Mum in a Million

and Mum in a Million.

Rose red

This red rose was rescued from the jungle by Elizabeth;

Rose scarlet

this scarlet one stands in the Oval Bed;

Rose pink

and this pink one in the small triangular bed outside the stable door.

Oval Path

The tall scarlet rose is evident in this view of the Oval Path.

Honeysuckle 1

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle 2

now climbs above the entrance to the Rose Garden which is visible

View from Back Drive

from the entrance to the Back Drive.

A bee is flagged up in the text. Three roses each bear a fly. Can you find them?

Mr Chatty Man provided our Hordle Chinese Take Away meal this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.

Peter The Pelican

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Heavy rain set in for the day this afternoon. Before that, Jackie managed an impressive amount of weeding and planting. She didn’t have to do any watering.

This time last year we were still preparing the empty rose garden. Now it looks as if it belongs.

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only are particularly prolific;

Shropshire Lad, For Your Eyes Only, Gloriana, Margaret Merril, Love Knot

the full spread of the latter is shown here behind the statue of Spring; to the right Shropshire Lad’s aged white heads hang a bit heavy, although new buds ascend the netting; Gloriana holds up a couple of blooms; The white flowers of Margaret Merrill are to the right of the shed, and bright red Love Knot to the left.

Festive Jewel, Summer Wine, Honeysuckle

Opposite those scenes Festive Jewel merges into Summer Wine on the entrance arch, on the right side of which is the honeysuckle. The urn is one of those bought recently.

Rose Penny Lane

The first delicate pink Penny Lane bloom has opened on the potting shed trellis.

This afternoon I printed Pauline’s A+ plus photographed another.

This evening we dined at The Beach House restaurant at Milford on Sea with Becky, Ian, and Ian’s father, Peter, and stepmother Ali. We all get on very well and had a very enjoyable time celebrating Peter’s birthday today, and Jackie’s tomorrow.

My menu choice was whitebait; steak pie; and summer fruit trifle. I shared a bottle of Montepulciano with Becky. I’m past caring what the others ate or drank.

Before going out I made a birthday card for Peter.

Peter the Pelican was the mascot for the Greek Island of Mykonos from 1985 when, in an injured condition, he was rescued and cured by the islanders, until 1985 when he was killed by a car. Since, among my collection of cards, I had one of a Pelican taken in St James’s Park in 2012, it seemed appropriate to give this to the birthday boy, with an explanatory note within.

Pelican

The Stave

It all began with the lack of a shower screen in the guest bathroom.

Regular readers may remember that the shower above the bath hung flaccidly off the wall when we arrived at the house. The Lady Plumber fixed it proudly in place, but there was nothing to keep the water from ricocheting off bodies and splashing into the room. Last week we ordered a screen from City Plumbing Supplies and went to collect it today. This was after we had first paid a visit to Gallo Ceramics to order replacement tiles. Mike, who was to fit the screen, advised retiling to ensure adequate waterproofing. He had also suggested a panel to replace the dodgy DIY wooden strips that were currently in place.

David, at City Plumbing, helpfully carried the screen to our Modus. It rapidly became apparent that with both Elizabeth and me in the car there was no way the screen was going in too. This meant Jackie had to take us home first, then return to collect the package. David carried the screen back inside.

We had chosen the side and end panels that we required. Then I had a thought. Suppose we bought a new bath to go with the panels? How much more would that cost? I left the ladies in the car and returned to discuss this with David. Eventually it seemed worth opting for a new bath with its own panels. But we weren’t sure that the standard fittings would fit into our available space.

Back at home I double-checked our measurements, and gave Jackie my card, so that, if the bath would fit, she could pay for it.

Off she went back to City Plumbers. It was still difficult to fit the shower screen into the car, but David did manage it.

Soon afterwards I received a call from Jackie. They didn’t have a bath that would fit. Except for one known as a Pee bath (named I assume for its shape, rather than its potential use) This was especially designed to carry a shower, and came with its own, shaped, screen. It was more expensive, but I would receive a full refund on the screen I had already bought. ‘Go for it’, I advised, and thought that would be that.

Jackie came home for lunch and informed me that I was going back with her this afternoon. This was because we would also require new taps and she wasn’t going to choose them on her own. I certainly wouldn’t have minded if she had. However, back we all travelled. We could all fit into the car because we were not needing to make room for the shower screen. We eventually placed the order for materials which will be delivered nest Tuesday.

After this we paid a visit to Molly’s Den where Jackie bought a metal owl for the garden and a hand-knitted jacket for Poppy. I was ready to leave before the others were, so took myself off to the car to wait for them. As I reached our vehicle I heard, high above, a melodious chorus.

Birds on crane

Looking up, I spotted a stave stretching across the sky. Crotchets and quavers were clustered upon it. Being unable to read music, I can only assume that the hidden voices were trilling the correct tune.

The garden has received a considerable amount of rain in recent weeks. This has had the benefit of promoting growth, but also giving it a battering and sending some buds mouldy.

Nevertheless

Japanese anemones 1Japanese anemones 2

the Japanese anemones are lending their usual autumnal radiance to the beds.

Roses are flourishing. Of those newly flowering are:

Rose Shropshire Lad

Shropshire Lad, presumably named after A.E. Houseman’s classic autobiographical poem,

Rose Crown Prince Margareta

and Crown Princess Margareta.

220px-Margaret_of_ConnaughtCrown Princess Margareta of Sweden, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was an accomplished landscape gardener who, together with the Crown Prince (later, King Gustavus VI Adolfus of Sweden), created the famous Swedish Summer Palace of Sofiero in Helsingborg.

During World War I in neutral Sweden, Margareta organized supply drives and acted as a go-between for her relatives whose Allied and Axis countries were divided by the war.

An infection following surgery whilst she was pregnant with her sixth child, who did not survive, sadly ended her life at the age of 38.

Perceptive readers will understand why Jackie termed her new dish this evening toddler tandoori. This was served with savoury rice, onion bahjis, parathas, and salad.

Preparation of toddler tandoori is as follows:

Take tender chicken breasts, which you marinade in the fridge overnight in low fat yoghurt and a mix of tandoori spices found in Lidl, at least. Skin and score the chicken; mix the yoghurt and spices together and plaster them over the chicken. Thighs work equally well.

Bake them in the oven with a little oil, gas mark 2 or 150 electric, for about an hour.

That’s it.

With this Jackie drank Pays d’Oc sauvignon blanc 2014, and Elizabeth and I consumed ValdeVista merlot 2012.