Say “Bye”

I woke later than usual this morning. As I passed our upstairs windows soon after 7 a.m. I spied Jackie standing with a camera at the far end of the garden.

She was taking advantage of the early morning light, which was just as well for the first three images in particular.

Titles, as usual, can be gleaned after accessing each of the galleries with a click. Otherwise I will let her results speak for themselves.

This afternoon she drove me to

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, where I walked for thirty minutes along this reasonably even path.

So crowded were the car parks that we only just managed to find a space. Surrounding the car park, golden St John’s Wort glowed in the sunshine that pierced gaps between the

majestic giant redwoods

surrounded by bracken.

Now the tourist season has begun, and children have been let out of school, I do not walk alone.

Two little boys ran on ahead of their parents, pausing while a woman approached engrossed in her mobile phone. Having put it aside, she greeted me warmly.

Two gentleman I took to be the fathers of the boys called them to stop, caught up with them and turned to communicate with the likely mothers with whom I had been conversing.

The woman carrying a younger child, I think did not speak English. Nevertheless when, realising that they were pacing me and my knees, I urged them not to wait for me she held up her little boy to wave and say “bye”. Her companion had good enough English to tell me about her aunt’s hip replacement.

On my return to the car I paused to photograph a trio playing catch. Anyone who has been accustomed to catching a hard cricket ball will appreciate that it is much easier to pouch than is this yellow tennis ball.

When we set off for home string of cyclists wheeled along Rhinefield Road.

Just outside Brockenhurst a leisurely pony and foal were instructing a patient motorcyclist in the rules of the New Forest roads.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef, mushrooms and peppers in red wine; Yorkshire pudding; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which I finished the Grenacha Syrah. Mrs Knight had downed her Hoegaarden while seated on the patio in conversation with Nugget.

Out Of The Corner Of My Eye

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Apart from June, August is possibly the best time to appreciate Jackie’s planting design. I wandered around this morning with that specifically in mind.

View from Brick Path 1

This view from the Brick Path takes in the planting of the small triangular bed at the intersection of this path with the Gazebo one. Phlox, pansies, bidens, and violas are in evidence. The cosmoses occupy the iron urn, and the geraniums a stone one. The chimney pot on the grass patch fills in the middle distance en rout to the South end.

View from Brick Path 2

Looking along from the other side, we pass through the Agriframes Arch which bears a new clematis. This latter plant has taken over from the rambling rose, Wedding Day, now spent for this year, and consequently cut back by The Head Gardener.

View along Gazebo Path 1

The cosmoses in the aforementioned  iron urn form the foreground of this view through the gazebo to the Rose Garden. The gazebo bears its own well-stocked hanging baskets. Nicotiana sylvestris and agapanthus can be seen on the left.

View across grass

The contents of the chimney pot on the grass fill the foreground of this view past Florence, also culminating in the Rose Garden. Several hanging baskets supplement the range of blending colours.

View across Margery's Bed

Stepping across to the other side of the grass, we can look across Margery’s Bed with its newly planted lobelias, leading us to the Rose Garden entrance. Lilies can be seen in shade on the right, and clematis Star of India is trained around its obelisk. Hanging baskets are also in view.

View across Weeping Birch Bed

Hanging branches of the Weeping Birch drape its eponymous bed beyond which we reach the Southern fence. The white gladioli glow in the distance. I’ll stop mentioning hanging baskets. You get the picture.

View towards Back Drive entry arch

Again looking to the Southern boundary, beyond a stone urn supplied with begonias and geraniums, on the left of the entry arch to the Back Drive, stand a few potted tomatoes. A white solanum and purple clematis entwine the dead tree by the New Bed.

Rose Garden

Some corners of the Rose Garden need the assistance of plants inserted for the purpose of variety, in order to give them time to begin their next flush.

Rose Garden bench corner

This view takes advantage of the hydrangea in Elizabeth’s Bed. The erigeron at the foot of the bench is another cluster of offspring from those outside the French doors.

Bee on St John's Wort

Before leaving the Rose Garden, I treated myself to one close-up of a bee blending into St Johns Wort.

Kitchen Wall

As I’m not going to mention hanging baskets, I can’t say much about the kitchen wall, except that some of the containers are on the ground or tables that can’t be seen.

Patio Corner

At the far end of the above view lies the patio. Here is a corner of it.

Butterfly Small White in flight

Now, why did I include this out of focus repeat of the second Brick Path view? Well, out of the corner of my right eye I saw something about to happen, panned rapidly across the scene, and made a fortuitous capture which should be visible, in focus, without enlargement. Can you spot it? There’s no shame in enlargement.

Viper's Bugloss

When Giles visited with Jean a couple of days ago, he brought Jackie a couple of viper’s bugloss plants. These grow tall with blue flowers which hold a great attraction for bees. Jackie planted them on the Back Drive this afternoon.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese cuisine. Jackie drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar.

The Rose Garden Bench

Staked rose

Two tall roses in the Oval Bed have responded so well to nurturing that they needed more stakes. This morning, after embedding stout wooden poles and tying up the plants, we moved back into the rose garden the bench I had built last year using the cast iron sides we had found in the makeshift fence alongside our neighbour, North Breeze.

I then walked down to Roger’s fields, and across to the woodland at the far end, then along the footpath beside the trees. The day benefited from a strong breeze.

Cow Parsley

Seeding cow parsley applauded wispy clouds scudding across a bright blue sky;

Grass

submissive grasses bent in the hedgerows;

Barley

and golden barley billowed across the fields.

Footpath

Beyond the first section of the footpath through Roger’s land lies a further stretch which has, until recently, been too overgrown for me to tackle in sandals. The kind farmer has now opened this out so ramblers can easily reach the woods and look back up the hill.

Red Admiral in Barley

A Red Admiral butterfly flickered among the barley as a poppy in a cornfield;

Butterfly Dark Green Fritillary

and a tattered Dark Green Fritillary reflected shiny ferns.

Damselfly

What I think were damselflies, stately, never still, blunted my focus.

Bench in rose garden

After lunch came the hard part of positioning the bench. This involved digging a shallow pit, lining it with a membrane, filling it with sand, embedding rows of bricks to form a platform, and finally adding stepping-bricks for access. Only then could the seat be sited.

Rose garden

This is the current view due south from the bench.

St John's Wort

St John’s wort embellishes the bed by the entry arch;

Clematis Passion Flower

and a potted clematis Florida Sieboldii ( Passion Flower)  fronts the kitchen window.

This evening, Jackie enjoyed her Hoegaarden as a cooling aperitif to our dinner of succulent chicken marinaded in lemon and lime sauce served with her famous egg fried rice, carrots, green beans and corn on the cob. I finished the merlot with the meal.

Face Painting

RamblersJackie is a little better today, and managed to insert in the softened ground by the new roses labels she had made yesterday.

On another wet, still humid, overcast day I ambled down to Roger’s footpath and back. A pair of intrepid ramblers togged up from the boot of their car and set off ahead of me. I wondered whether they were wearing the Gore Tex featured yesterday.

Even the bees had stayed at home in their hives.

Somehow, St John’s wort sparkled along the back drive.St John's WortI scanned more photographic prints from the 1985 garden fete where Sam ate his apple whilst watching a Punch and Judy show. Because of the amount of retouching required this took much of the day, which it certainly brightened up.

Jessica's cousin and balloons 1985

Jessica’s cousin, the local vet, was in charge of balloons. He seemed to have run out of hands to ensure they did not blow away

Jessica, Louisa, Sam 1985

like the bubbles Jessica, Louisa, and Sam watched.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam 1985 2

Soon the track for the running race was roped across the grass,

Louisa listening to Jessica 1985

and a little boy eavesdropped on Louisa’s coaching session.

Louisa joining race 1985

Her Mum led her to the start line, and

Louisa racing 1985

soon she was off in pursuit

Sam (and Louisa) racing 1985

of her brother and another lad. As a long distance runner, I learned that if you cannot talk you are going too fast. The opposite, of course, is true of sprinting, but no-one seems to have mentioned that to these two boys.

Punch and Judy audience 1985

The Punch and Judy show, as it always would, enraptured all the children;

Girl watching Punch and Judy 1 1985Girl watching Punch and Judy 2 1985

one of whom, as her emotions fluctuated, became excited enough to make her mascara run. The little chap behind her wasn’t exactly happy. Perhaps Mr Punch was becoming violent. The girl was one of a number who had subjected themselves to the art of the beautician before the show:

Boy with painted face 1985

Girl watching Punch and Judy 4

Boy watching Punch and Judy 1 1985Boy watching Punch and Judy 2 1985

Sam’s turn came later:

Sam's face painting 1 1985Sam's face painting 2 1985Sam's face painting 3 1985

Mr Pink provided fish and chips for Jackie and me this evening. I drank the bottle of Hepworth’s Prospect Ale that Ian had given me yesterday. It proved to be the perfect accompaniment.

 

An Alfresco Bath

Bottle brush plant

 

The red bottle brush plant, which I passed on my way to continue work on the kitchen garden, is now looking resplendent.

 

Nettles, honeysuckle and raspberriesRaspberriesSt John's wortThere are a great deal of treasures hidden in the undergrowth of today’s target area. Peeking through nettle leaves, for example, are raspberries. A blackcurrant bush bears fruit, strawberries soon will, and St John’s wort lies at the bottom of the green cage.

A previous post, in which I described mistaking an acanthus for a thistle, demonstrates how it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between somewhat similar plants. Today, until the head gardener informed me that raspberry bushes are less thorny than brambles, I was uncertain in the application of my loppers. Neither was I sure about stinging nettles which look very similar to another plant that bears a spire of purple flowers. When I was faced with a plentiful crop of both, there was nothing for it but to remove my gloves and clutch the leaves. These particular nettles bear slow acting poison, so I rubbed them a few times before I was sure I had been stung. They were a little like a strong curry that doesn’t betray its chilli content until you’ve taken a few mouthfuls. And rather less pleasant.

AcanthusI am pleased to report that the acanthus has recovered from my savage attack, and has produced new shoots,  one in bloom.

By mid-afternoon it was apparent that the expected rain, which had deterred me from thinking about a bonfire today, was not going to arrive. I therefore left the kitchen garden clearance for another day, and began the fire. This was rather fortuitous, because I had reached a stumbling block near the back fence. This came in the form of a box hedge which had got beyond itself and barred access to the back section. I cleared this as best I could of weeds, convolvulus, and the ubiquitous bramble, by stretching over the obstacle. I then struck something I could not clear without circumventing the box. Jackie had transferred a number of the finds, like a pleasant saxifrage, the St John’s wort, and several kinds of mint, to other parts of the garden.

Bath in gardenWhat I had found needed to be emptied before it could, no doubt, be moved and filled with colourful flowers. It was a bath.

Jackie planting clematis texansis Duchess of AlbanyTowards the end of the day I was grateful for some assistance from the head gardener in cutting up combustible materials and placing them in a wheelbarrow so I didn’t have to practice touching my toes to pick them up. This helped to ensure that I didn’t topple over while doing so. In fact, even in what Sam would call my able-bodied years, I never could touch my toes without bending my knees.

Knotty faceBefore dinner Jackie planted a clematis texensis Duchess of Albany in a cleared part of the kitchen garden, and trained it against an existing pergola. Our rose garden will also contain clematises. She added a shell to the fence, for the humorous touch.

After this we dined on chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice and peas, followed by Post House Pud based on strawberries. The strawberries were eight days beyond their ‘best before date’, so they were a bit furry, but with a certain amount of judicious cutting, we saved a few.  Jackie drank her customary Hoegaarden and I enjoyed a Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignon 2012.