Birth Announcement Card

The fairly regular substantial showers of heavy rain that we are experiencing this week has really freshened the garden and perked up flagging flowers such as

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Japanese anemones which are somewhat stunted;

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solanums both blue and white like this one that cascades over a tall dead elm;

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various dahlias had been dried up and hanging limp;

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several of these lilies had bowed low and lost their bloom;

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Absolutely Fabulous continues to live up to her name;

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Flower Power has risen like the Phoenix;

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For Your Eyes Only still draws insects on the wing;

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Rosa Glaucas’ blooms may be over, but their hips shine with health.

This afternoon Becky helped me make a birth announcement card for Ian’s concerned stepmother. This involved printing and resizing

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this photograph produced by Flo when Ellie was 6 days old, for the front page,

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and this one at 14 hours taken by Dillon for the inside.

During this process, when Becky was using the mouse and I was wanting to add my input to the screen, I absent-mindedly tried to do it with my glasses case. Several times. Later, in the sitting room, Becky, who had been the last to leave the computer, casually mentioned to her mother that she wanted to wait until her Dad had shut down the iMac. Even when Jackie became impatient for me to do so, I didn’t twig what was going on. I decided to comply.

Lined up in place of the confiscated mouse were my mobile and landline phones, two specs cases, and two TV remote controls. The two ladies stood leaning in the doorway quivering with silent glee.

Ian, who had paid for yesterday’s takeaway, went back home to Southbourne late that night and so was not with us to partake of the leftovers this evening.

The rest of us grazed when we had motive and opportunity. Jackie and I enjoyed the first sitting entertained by lightning strikes momentarily illuminating the tails of cats and dogs swept along in blustering gusts lashing the windows to the sound of manic drum rolls that was another electric storm. Mrs Knight drank Peroni, and I drank Ch√Ęteau La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020.

When I returned to write this last paragraph my white mouse had transmogrified into a bar of soap.

Not Much Damage

I spent much of the day either side of lunch producing https://derrickjknight.com/2021/12/08/a-knights-tale-76-issues-of-loss-change-and-resilience/ which I posted later.

I then uploaded garden photographs I had made earlier.

Pansies and viburnum usually flower all year round, but to find sunny solanum and winter flowering cherry together is not normally expected.

We still have a number of fuchsias in bloom.

Not much damage was caused by storm Barra. One broken and a few redistributed pots and watering cans; fallen strings of solar lights, rose stems, twigs from birch and beech; owls, and a path sign, were all we really suffered. We will right a few pots and garden ornaments and gather up the arboreal offerings when we feel in the mood.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway with the addition of vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin Bourisset Macon 2019.

Across The Weeping Birch Bed

On another warm yet mostly dull day

Jackie continued planting, including various pots, and mending the bed into which I fell beside the Heligan Path two days ago. She had been most concerned about the foxglove which, after she had extricated it from beneath my shoulder only lost a couple of leaves. I can now see that the shrub into which I took a dive was probably the still standing euphorbia.

I made a start on reviving the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. This involved lifting stones in order to remove the unwanted alliums from beneath them and removing others from the edges. These beasts even attach their babies to daffodil bulbs from which they had to be extricated. My chair was not stable enough for this task, so after a while I used the long fork standing up, and bent when necessary. I was able to take respite by leaning on the implement, but could not crouch enough to replace the narcissi. Either I’ll have another go tomorrow or the Head Gardener will need to step in.

Aquilegias, such as those seen in the bottom right of the Gazebo Path, and the Rose Garden beds, are ubiquitous. Maybe my next weeding job could be along the Rose Garden paths which look a safer prospect.

Various shrubs, like viburnums, and rhododendrons, are spreading for summer at last.

Clematises such as the blue Daniel Deronda and the white Marie Boisselot are now flowering, and Dr Ruppel buds are raring to go.

Other climbers, for example, the blue solanums and rose Arthur Bell are on their way.

The rose scales the arch beside the Dragon Bed which houses these peonies.

This is the view from the Rose Garden, past Florence, and across the lawn towards North Breeze;

and these are, in turn, from the pieris overlooking the Nottingham Castle Bench facing the Brick Path diagonally opposite the West Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; exceptionally tasty carrots from Tesco; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

“I’m Going Shopping”

Determined to comply with our current Covid constraints Danni and Ella, to be joined by Elizabeth, for whom entry to the house was forbidden, were on their way for a tour of the garden when

a very heavy downpour dumped a damper on the proceedings. Raindrops dripped from solanums, crab apples, weeping birch, and pelargoniums. Even Absolutely Fabulous hung her bedraggled golden locks.

Fortunately the rain had ceased by the time they arrived. Ella made directly for the house in search of her favourite mice and other toys. Danni made an effort to explain restrictions and her daughter

diverted in search of monsters. She had to emit the roars herself.

Jackie led her to the dragons, but she became more engrossed in the unicorn and the Waterboy.

When Elizabeth arrived, her granddaughter introduced her to me.

Jackie had placed dry cushions on the benches on which Danni, Ella, and Elizabeth sat while opening one of our presents to our great niece. Like any other self-respecting child not yet two, Ella handed the enclosed parcel to her grandmother, and set off with the bag announcing “I’m going shopping”, leaving her mother to admire the Sloth Christmas jumper.

The sound of the horn on our coffee trolley alerted us to the fact that Ella had escaped into the house and was now repeatedly striking the reception bell with the flat of her hand. We enjoyed a reasonably intelligible conversation and she turned her attention to the toys strewn about the sitting room.

The sun made feeble attempts to throw light on the proceedings before it was time for

little tarts and departure.

Becky joined us for the weekend. The three of us dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and our daughter and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

Precipitation Photoshoot

Beneath a constantly percolating cloud colander parky temperatures prevailed throughout the day.

I stayed at the computer while the Assistant Photographer produced the

precipitation photoshoot. Click on any image to access the gallery where each picture bears it own title.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy mango and lime piri-piri chicken served with chilli-potent savoury rice topped with omelette, followed by apricot jam tart and custard, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

Love Knot

In an earlier post Tangental asked for suggestions for flowers that would be blooming in the last week of August when he hopes to host a family event. Although, he, the Textiliste, and Dog themselves have an enviable garden I promised to let him know what we have currently flowering. Needless to say they will be aware of most of what I have to offer, but, here goes.

This month does not finish until next Monday, the 31st, but this will be the last full week. We are predicted to be hit by another fierce storm tomorrow so I decided to post what we still have today.

The second of these two pictures demonstrates that gladioli are vulnerable to gusts of wind and need to be supported with stakes strong enough to see off Count Dracula.

Carpet roses come in a variety of colours and drape everything in sight. The red one might be appropriate for the special occasion.

Super Elfin is a fast growing prolific climber.

Given the occasion, the red Love Knot, might be appropriate; this one, and the sweetly scented peachy Mamma Mia and yellow Absolutely Fabulous survived our heavy pruning yesterday. The latter two are most prolific repeat flowering.

This is all that is left of For Your Eyes Only, the most prolific rose of all, but so resilient is it that all our snips will have prepared the way for plentiful new shoots within the next sennite (Archaic English WP).

At this time of year Rosa Glauca converts clusters of delicate pink and white flowers to rosy hips.

A variety of hydrangeas still thrive,

and hibiscus,

seen also with red and white dahlias and tall, strongly scented, bronze fennel, has come into its own.

This is of course the time for dahlias, of which we have a range.

Our Japanese anemones come in two shades of pink and in white. In the third of these images they blend well with pink pelargoniums and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah.

Pelargoniums and geraniums will grace any hanging basket,

as will begonias of any shape, size, or hue;

likewise sometimes scented petunias.

Provided you keep up with dead-heading, as with most of these plants, sweet scented phlox of many different colours will continue to delight.

We find rudbeckia hard to grow a second year, but this Goldsturm variety returns.

A number of crocosmia, like Emily MacKenzie and the yellow one we can’t identify for certain, are still blooming, although others such as Lucifer have finished, but, like Arnie, will be back.

The daisy-like erigeron and yellow bidens offer points of highlight throughout the garden. Erigeron thrives in paving, steps, and stony soil; all our bidens are self seeded survivors from last year.

Sedums begin to blush towards the end of the summer. The second picture has a backdrop of ornamental grass, some of which puts us in mind of Cousin It from the Adams Family. All good space fillers.

Eucomis, or pineapple plants, are a fun talking point;

nasturtiums trail everywhere until the first frost.

Nigella is a little blue flower.

This white solanum has flowered consistently for more than twelve months, far outstripping its neighbouring honeysuckle, now transformed into not very attractive berries. The solanum comes in blue, too.

Jackie produced a dinner this evening consisting of her special savoury rice served with prawns, some of which were spicy, and others tempura, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian.

Wedding Day Bouquet

The wind picked up speed today; the rain kept away; sometimes the clouds allowed the sun to put in an appearance.

While Jackie continued planting I carried out a token tidy and dead-heading diurnal poppies.

Here the Head Gardener carries her camera because Nugget had dived into the hole she was digging so she left the arbour to pick up her device and when she returned her perverse little robin had disappeared, but she lived in hope that he might return before she put it down.

This windblown pink climber attempting to enter through the window beside my desk encouraged me to wander around with my camera photographing

a range of flowers, details of which can be found in the gallery, accessed by clicking on any image.

Jackie may not have managed to photograph Nugget, but she did produce the above trio which again are explained in the gallery.

Unbeknown to either of us we collaborated on the production of the Wedding Day bouquet by each taking a range of shots of this rose which will soon be fully veiling the Agriframes Arch. Individual authorship will be revealed by accessing the gallery in the normal way.

Concerned readers may have noticed a little dead heading of roses was overdue. Have no fear, this was rectified later this afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; and firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, with which I drank more of the Carles. Jackie had drunk her Becks on the patio beforehand.

The Ubiquitous Red Jacket

Jackie spent all this day of intermittent sunshine and clouds continuing her

weeding and watering, mostly in the Rose Garden.

I rendered minimal assistance while wandering round with a camera listening to the avian orchestral matins.

More clematises are now blooming;

Marie Boisselot blends with Erigeron cascading at her feet;

one we cannot name has scaled the gazebo;

pale pink Montana vies with blue solanum flung across this arch

 

over the Brick Path.

Splendid rhododendrons compete for attention in various locations such as

the Palm Bed with its spirea and cow parsley also seen

in front of the greenhouse in the Dragon Bed.

The Viburnum Plicatum stretches wide its ivory arms in homage to the West Bed.

Beautifully crocheted Hydrangea petals cap a container

beside the lawn.

Fuchsias like the delicate white Hawkshead;

Delta’s Sarah with her pastel pinks;

and this bright red bud bowing to the moon which will remind me of its name when it opens fully, provide their pendulous pleasure.

Variably hued heucheras extend their miniature Christmas trees.

Laura Ford graces the Rose Garden

over the entrance to which

sprawls Madame Alfred Cariere.

This garden bears much evidence of work in progress;

Jackie’s red jacket

seems to be everywhere.

The green plastic trug remains on the Gazebo Path where I deposited it yesterday while collecting up cuttings.

The path between the kitchen wall and the Pond Bed is still reasonably tidy.

Wallflowers, silene, companula, and aquilegias are happily blended in the Weeping Birch Bed which also contains some of prolific

libertia.

The Copper beech is now quite well clad.

I returned to my computer in time to receive a FaceTime visit from the Australian branch.

It was so dark in Fremantle on the way back for Sam and Holly and their children that Malachi needed to empty special effects to penetrate the blackness.

When they arrived home everything was much clearer. I think.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s sausages in red wine, with fresh vegetables. Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Rheinhessen.

 

 

 

 

Hot Gardening

At different times in this very hot day I have shared watering duties with the Head Gardener and carried some of her refuse to the compost bins.

Jackie has continued potting and tidying. When possible she sits and lifts the containers on any available surface.

The wisteria draped over its arbour here offers her a modicum of shade.

Blue solanum scales the arch in the first picture

 

and aquilegias share its bed opposite the greenhouse.

Nugget is very busy transporting food from the feeders outside the stable door. Before filling his beak he pauses above or below (clue) his hanging larder and when loaded takes off round the corner like an Exocet. Interestingly he will carry on regardless when we are outside, but if we are sitting inside the slightest movement cause him to flee. We suspect he cannot recognise us through the glass. He does feature in this “Where’s Nugget?” (73), but it would be so difficult to find him that biggification would probably be essential and I won’t be offended if anyone gives it a miss.

These potted pelargoniums have survived the winter.

Bonny bluebells are ubiquitous.

These in the back drive border stand beside vinca, bronze fennel, and cascading Erigeron.

 

We have several different varieties of rhododendron, two of which grace the Palm Bed.

This solarised cockerel lights the Pond Bed at night.

The yellow diurnal poppies have caught up with the orange ones which now require my daily dead heading attention.

Pink campion thrives beside the Lawn Bed.

For your Eyes Only, seeking shade,

and Crown Princess Margareta, attractive to flies, are two of the roses now blooming in the Rose Garden,

in which we now have abundant apple blossom.

No matter how many are pulled up by Jackie and Aaron, we cannot eradicate the wayward white alliums which produce clusters of minute bulbs seen here in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Osteospermum spills over its container on the edge of the concrete patio.

Woodpeckers Care Home has informed us that one of the residents has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus. Each remaining resident will be confined to their room for two weeks during which each member of staff has been equipped with suitable PPE. Mum is quite relaxed about it saying that she, who doesn’t mix with other residents anyway, has largely self-isolated as long as she has lived there.

We are about to dine on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable soup with crusty bread from the freezer. She will drink Peroni and I have already started on the Rheinhessen.

 

Survivors December 2019

Today was the third bright, sunny, and cold one in a row. Given that overnight temperatures are in the low minuses, I wandered around the garden to photograph some of the albeit somewhat poorly looking surviving flora.

Two that seem to bloom continuously are the yellow bidens

and the white solanums from last year.

A few primulas,

penstemons,

pelargoniums,

and pansies linger.

The yellow antirrhinums refuse to die.

Mrs Popple

and Delta’s Sarah are two of the still flowering fuchsias.

Fatsia,

vibernum bodnantense Dawn,

and clematis Cirrhosa Freckles we may expect to enjoy at this time of year;

but not the hebes.

Carpets,

Paul’s Scarlet,

Just Joey,

 

Winchester Cathedral,

and Festive Jewel carry the baton for team roses.

Hoards of Hunnish sparrows occupy the hawthorn, swooping on

sad little Muggle’s

feeder for which he has to wait his moment,

while more of Attila’s marauders concentrate on the front garden robin’s seeds.

We didn’t see Nugget today.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.