Fruits Of Labour

I am close to deciding on my final cut for the Everton Festival Photographic Competition. Many painful decisions are being made now, concerning which shots to leave out.

In order seriously to consider the deer having her nose scratched I have converted this image to Black and White, thus giving a sharper silhouette. This is, incidentally, quite a small crop from the original picture. Does anyone have an opinion?

Jackie has been working very hard all this week on planting and replenishment of soil.

Here she tidies what she has achieved against the kitchen wall;

this side of the patio, all of which has been repotted, leads through the Dead End Path,

Earlier plantings include this allium in the Palm Bed and clematis climbing the Wedding Day (formerly Agriframes) arch.

While I think of it, I have been calling the clematis wandering up the wisteria arbour Niobe; we now think it should be named Star of India.

It faces the bright red Chiliean Lantern tree.

Rose Altissimo stands sentinel between Elizabeth’s Bed and the

Rose Garden where Laura Ford’s yellow pigment splashes onto the heuchera border, and

Special Anniversary

nods to the numerous gloves the foxes have scattered therein.

Creamy yellow Summer Time makes its bid to support the peeling old shed;

Jacqueline du Pré plays on;

and the deep pink climber Elizabeth rediscovered races Roserie de la Haie to the skies.

The Weeping Birch Bed bursts with burgeoning blooms.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts roasted in sweet chilli sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and ratatouille with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Seeking Camouflage

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The sun has returned after several days’ absence. I wandered around the garden with a camera. These photographs reflect the current conditions in our plot.

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscuses are now in full bloom. This one is at the front;

Nasturtium

as is this yellow climbing nasturtium sharing the garage frontage with

Hanging basket and clematis Star of India

hanging baskets such as this container of geraniums an lobelia blending with the clematis Star of India behind them.

Dahlias, lobelias, and fuchsia chequerboard

There are quite a few dahlias reaching up to meet the Chequerboard fuchsia sharing the basket suspended from the wisteria arbour with the paler blue lobelias.

Clematis Polish Spirit and buddleia

A buddleia peeps through the Gazebo arch festooned with clematis Polish Spirit;

Eucalyptus

nearby petunias hang from the eucalyptus.

Leicesteria

Leicesteria drop earrings dangle in the West Bed

Japanese anemone

which also contains white Japanese anemones Jackie planted a couple of years ago to contrast with the ubiquitous pink ones.

Begonias and lobelia in hanging basket on dead snake bark maple

Begonias swing from the dead snake bark maple.

Gladioli Priscilla

Priscilla gladioli have survived the rains in the

Through the New Bed

New Bed.

Petunias and geranium

These petunias and geraniums stand on a brick plinth in the Weeping Birch Bed;

Petunias, geraniums, etc

opposite them a pot on the corner of the Raised Bed contains more of each with many blooms behind them.

Crocosmia etc

The crocosmia in this shot greets you as you leave the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden featuring Just Joey

this view of which is focussed on Just Joey.

Elizabeth's bed with Altissimo

Altissimo, in the centre of this shot looking into Elizabeth’s Bed, has sent out a lower than normal stem.

Palm Bed

Yellow rudbeckia takes centre stage in this section of the Palm Bed.

Comma butterfly

This bronzed Comma butterfly appears to be seeking camouflage from the dead little fir tree

Gazebo Path

in a pot on the right hand side of the Gazebo Path.

Perhaps last night’s power cut improved tonight’s evening meal. A consequence was that the lemon chicken Jackie was marinading remained in the lemon juice overnight. We enjoyed this with her special fried rice and runner beans. I finished the pinot noir. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio as an aperitif.

 

 

 

Promise

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS LEAD TO GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Today was ultra gloomy, but with promise of good things to come. Now it is much milder again, the garden appeared to have forgotten the recent day of frost.

I made a start on the winter clearance. A couple of weeks ago, Aaron had extracted a clump of badly positioned bamboo from the Oval Bed. I stuffed this into orange bags in readiness for a trip to the dump.

Next was pruning roses. I had expected to be cutting them right down, but there were so many freshly burgeoning buds, that this became a dead-heading exercise, as in these Absolutely Fabulous and Love Knot.

Some actual blooms, like the white Kent and the red Deep Secret, had survived the freeze.

Elsewhere, Vibernum Bodnantense Dawn is in bloom,

Clematis Star of India

and there are new buds on still blooming Clematis Star of India.

Japanese anemone seeds

The Head Gardener prevented me from waxing lyrical about the seeds of the Japanese anemones ready to be spilled for germination, by pointing out that in this country they propagate by means of underground tendrils.

This evening we dined on chicken, tomato, and mozarella pasta bake with peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Via di Cavello chianti 2014.

The Pool

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Following on from my post of two days ago I scanned a few more slides from The Dumb Flea holiday.

Becky, David and Samuel 8.81

Here Becky sits in the garden with her two regular charges, David and Samuel. Yes, that is a pet rabbit hopping about.

Another great attraction was the pool.

Becky and Sam 8.81 1Becky and Sam 8.81 2

Becky got Sam accustomed to the idea of water-wings;

Sam 8.81 1Sam 8.81 3

then, somewhat pleased with himself, and concentrating hard, he was off on his own,

Beckie 8.81

leaving Becky

Cherie 8.81

and Cherie to enjoy their own swim.

This afternoon Jackie was almost back to normal planting in the garden.

Gardman Arch

She assembled and embedded a Gardman Arch across the Phantom Path and positioned a clematis Venosa Violacea on the Margery’s Bed side;

Lobelia and Star of India

and further along placed a large lobelia in the space left for it beside the Star of India.

My contribution was a little weeding, dead-heading, and watering.

Rose Mamma Mia

Roses, such as Mamma Mia, enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine in a rather overcast day.

For our evening meal we visited the Hare & Hounds public house just outside Sway. We were not disappointed. I enjoyed a plentiful whitebait starter followed by chicken and leek pie, chips, and peas; Jackie’s mushroom pot followed by generous tagliatelle was equally good. Neither of us could even think about a dessert. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed doom bar.

Hare & Hounds

The setting sun set the building aglow as we left for our short journey home.

The Darling Buds Of May

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Today being drier and a little brighter than yesterday, there were enough glimpses of sunlight to be more conducive to garden photography.

New clematises are emerging daily.

clematis Piilu

Mostly, as with this Piilu, I am grateful for the identity labels, because they all look so much alike.

clematis Star of India

Star of India, blends well with geranium palmatum.

Petunia

Petunias abound;

Pansies, petunias, and honesty

some share their pots with pansies. The new urns, like this one, are all planted up now. Everywhere, honesty is turning to seed medallions.

Lilac

Lilacs are in full bloom;

Tree recovering

and this tree, that had only one leafing branch when we first arrived, is making a remarkable recovery. New trunks have begun to swallow the original pock-marked member.

Bee on poppy

A few bees, such as this one plundering an orange poppy

Bee in pansy 1

and another burrowing into a somewhat perforated pansy risked getting wet for the good of the hive.

Rose Altissimo

On the edge of the rose garden, a single Altissimo bloom lives up to its name,

Rose For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only burgeons within,

Roses Absolutely Fabulous and Special Anniversary

and most other bushes, like Absolutely Fabulous and Special Anniversary, are on the verge of bursting forth the darling buds of May.

Rhododendron

This rhododendron

Grass bed

enhances the Grass Patch Bed, at the end of which stands the recovering tree mentioned above.

View from behind viburnum plicatum

This pivotal patch can be viewed from the tree peony hiding behind the viburnum plicatum;

View from Dead End Path

from the Dead End Path;

View across grass

and from the Brick Path.

Palm Bed

Elsewhere, sculptural alliums, like these in the Palm Bed, are opening out all over.

For our dinner this evening the Culinary Queen produced pork chops coated in mustard and demerara sugar and topped with almonds; boiled, sautéd, and sweet potatoes; cauliflower and carrots; and  peppers, tomato, leek, and onion sauce; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Exhuming Queen Victoria

On a bright, sunny, morning I rambled around the garden, down the lane, along Roger’s footpath and back.

Garden from patio

From our patio can be seen a rhododendron, geranium palmatums, petunias, foxgloves, and fennel.

Garden from Phantom path

The centre of the Phantom Path gives a view towards that shown above. We can also see that the clematis Star of India and an unnamed white rose frolic together on the Gothic Arch.

Rose, red climber

This red rose, aptly named Altissimo, climbs between Elizabeth’s bed and the rose garden.

Garden back path

 a sentinel to the Back Path.

Ladybird

The morning sun burns out detail on the right hand side of Downton Lane, glinting on the back of a shade-seeking orange ladybird,

Backlit leaves

just filtering through shrubbery on the left.

Gate

This gate must have once led into a garden beyond it.

Barley

Roger is growing barley this year.

Christchurch bay, yacht, ship, barley

Across the left hand field a large vessel sedately traversed the horizon as yachts skimmed along a deep blue Christchurch Bay.

Clouds over DowntonClouds over Downton, rusting artefact

To my right clouds slid silently over Downton.

All I could hear were the strings of countless insects’ wings.

Slurry

The pong of fermenting slurry filled my nostrils.

Sausage casserole cooking

Back home, a far more appetising aroma greeted me. Jackie was preparing a sausage casserole for Sam’s visit tomorrow. I suppose I can defer my gratification until then.

This afternoon we planted other flowers, such as heucheras and penstemons into the rose garden, offering some variation.

Rose Deep Secret

The rose Deep Secret has now revealed all.

During my childhood, we used to brighten our copper pennies by rubbing them on the bricks of the school wall. Old bricks, not modern paving ones that don’t crumble into dust on the application of friction. So, when Jackie unearthed a tiny coin encrusted with thick verdigris, I was off in search of an old brick. They are not hard to find in the garden of Old Post House. I cleaned enough to know what a treasure we had found, but, since we were now afraid of scrubbing off any more detail, Jackie finished the job with Hob Brite, a rather gentler abrasive.

We had exhumed a small coin, bearing, on the obverse, the somewhat pockmarked head of Queen Victoria; on the reverse, Britannia, the date 1893, and its denomination. So soon after the previous post, we had found a farthing. Serendipity or what? How long had that lain in the soil? Who had dropped it? We will never know. Farthing Victoria obverse

Farthing 1893 reverse

The previous posting featured a wren, which did not appear on the reverse until the pattern coin of Edward VIII (so called because it had not yet been approved by the time of his abdication in 1936). The little bird first replaced Britannia in 1937, during the reign of the father of Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI, who succeeded his older brother.

For tonight’s dinner, barbecue sauce flavoured the spare ribs; Jackie’s rice and green beans came with it. She drank Hoegaarden and I slurped Dao. This last verb was Jackie’s suggestion, when she pointed out that I had quaffed more than once recently. Not exactly couth, but there you have it.

P.S. Further research suggests that our coin is in fact bronze.