The New Bed Is No Longer New

 

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.

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.

What you see in this picture is the result of sifting out all kinds of non-biogradable rubbish.

This was the scene the following day. Note the dead tree just behind the bed.

The above images are all included in our before and after albums, to which I added more prints today.

Poppies in New Bed

 

 

 

By 23rd June 2017 poppies and clematises were thriving, as were

New Bed 1

these lilies, the bulbs of which were eventually eaten by a vole

that also saw off the Bishop pf Llandaff dahlias pictured on September 13th, 2018. The white solanum festoons the original dead tree which is also scaled by

the clematises photographed on June 19th this year.

By September 4th Aaron had replaced the flimsy metal arch with a stout wooden one, to which we have attached a small trowel bearing the legend “Aaron’s Garden” – a present from Becky.

Like The New Forest, The New Bed is no longer new.

This afternoon I finished reading

I would concur with these comments on the back jacket.

My second birthday was one month and one day away when the Allies began their landing in Normandy on 6th June 1944. It has taken James Holland’s book to make me aware that the brutal, bloody, battle for France was to continue until I was more than 25 months old, largely because the German, mostly ill-equipped and untrained, often boys, were ordered by Hitler to defend their positions to the end. The occupiers’ command chain had broken down, and they knew they were being ordered to do the impossible against the vastly superior Allies with their incredibly efficient infrastructure. Details of the carnage and destruction make for awesome reading. There are many notes, maps, charts, timelines, and photographs supporting the stunning detail.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chiniian.

 

 

 

 

 

Protective Custody

Between watching recordings of the Rugby World Cup quarter final matches featuring Wales and France then Japan and South Africa, I wandered round the garden.

When we arrived here five years ago a variegated myrtle bush that had grown to a tree was in the process of reverting, This meant that the two-toned cultivated leaves had become dark green. Jackie and I have twice removed all those of the pristine hue, but we have been fighting a losing battle.

This morning Aaron stripped the lower trunk to reveal its colourful bark. Thus we admitted defeat.

Nasturtiums, continuing to scale the trellis in front of the garage door, are  hoping they will get away without a frost this winter.

Some of the more established pelargoniums

remain outside in their pots, whereas

 

others, with begonias

and fuchsias have already been taken into protective custody in the greenhouse.

 

Dahlias are still in season,

and the Rose Garden features carpet roses,

Absolutely Fabulous,

Special Anniversary,

and Lady Emma Hamilton.

Self-seeded bidens, like these floral cuckoos among heliotrope and petunias remain ubiquitous.

This recently planted panicum Warrior grass has taken well to the Weeping Birch Bed.

The solanum swaddling the dead tree will probably be blooming long after the birch has shed its leaves.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome cottage pie; tasty carrots and Brussels sprouts; and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

 

Sunburst

I wandered around the garden late this afternoon, pointing the camera almost at random.

Here are the results. Don’t miss a couple of bees. The Puerto Rico dahlia provided a sympathetic sunburst. As usual, galleries will provide titles.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. We both enjoyed tempura prawns and fresh salad starters. My main meal was a superb rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato and peas; Jackie’s was the Wheel Inn Burger, salad, and chips with which she drank Kaltenberg, while I drank Ringwood’s best. Neither of us had room for dessert.

The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.

One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to

a utility room leading to a library, fronted by

a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias, geraniums, etc.

I do hope this accurately describes the evolution of a room.

A few days ago I had taken my copy of J.L. Carr’s short novel, ‘A Month in the Country’ from my library, and I finished reading it this afternoon. Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1980, the book is a many faceted gem. Two men are linked by the fact of having survived Passchendaele and each having accepted commissions to uncover secrets of a medieval church. I will try not to reveal too much, but can say that in economical, well-placed, prose encompassing just 121 pages of my Folio Society copy of 1999 the author speaks of heaven and hell; of judgement, redemption, and damnation; of joy and pain; of culture and spirituality; of time and eternity; all with a slowly seething undercurrent of suppressed sexuality. It wasn’t heterosexual love to which Lord Alfred Douglas referred as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, yet there are other reasons for fear of revealing feelings.

Ronald Blythe’s perceptive and informative introduction reflects the author’s style.

Ian Stephen’s detailed illustrations are true to the text.

The front and back boards are each printed with a copy of the artist’s engraving for the frontispiece.

Here are the rest.

Early this evening we took a brief trip into the forest.

From Pound Lane near Thorney Hill we watched ponies paddling in Whitten Pond, alongside which a young woman played ball with a pair of dogs.

On our return we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away with which we both drank Tsing Tao beer.

First Donkey Foals

Jackie has not neglected the front garden in her clearing and planting of the last few days. This morning I gathered and bagged up her cuttings from the gravel path.

Erigerons, day lilies, Hot Chocolate rose and fuchsia feature here.

Clematises, nasturtiums, petunias, lobelias, and solanum currently bloom in front of the garage door.

This afternoon we left the sunshine behind at home as steady rain tracked us to the North of the forest.

Coats glistening, a trio of ponies took shelter among trees at Ibsley;

further on, at Frogham, more shaggy yet bedraggled donkeys, including our first foals of the season found their own shelter.

This evening we dined on minted lamb burgers; potatoes pulverised into a creamy mash; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Ferns Unfurling

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea, where Peter cut my hair. We continued into the forest.

This lane is one we traversed at North Ripley.

From high ground near Linford we admired landscapes over farmland. Horses may be seen in some, and a stretch of hawthorn in another.

The Modus is still managing to cope with the narrow, winding, crumbling Holmsley Passage, on the verges of which bracken is unfolding.

Back at home I dead-headed clusters of the diurnal poppies. On the way round the garden I paused to take a few photographs. Blue solanum scales several arches, and the large wisteria drapes its arbour outside the stable door. Sculptural euphorbias tower in the beds, and clumps of erigeron carpet paving stones and walls. Geraniums macrorrhizum are sweetly scented and make good ground cover. Another rhododendron is blooming in the Palm Bed. A wasp makes a beeline for the open flower in the close-up image of this. The last of these photographs is of Libertia.

A number of our own ferns are unfurling.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy pork paprika, boiled potatoes, crisp carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Jackie Frost

Although it wasn’t to last long, we awoke to our first proper frost of the season

Jackie photographed the panoramic views from the dressing room and from the garden bedroom upstairs.

She then toured the garden and brought back this gallery of images. As usual titles are given on accessing the gallery with a click on any of the pictures. The sun soon brought the temperature up and each one of the wilted plants on display had returned to its full glory by midday.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendidly matured succulent sausage casserole; creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender curly kale; and red cabbage imbued with the piquancy of vinegar and soy sauce.