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.

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.

I Really Must Get Dead-Heading

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On a warm and sunny afternoon, whilst Jackie planted in the shade, with a pit stop at Five Ways, I made my way to the Rose Garden. The Head Gardener followed me with Mum’s perching stool, placed it beside the Florence sculpture, propped up the single crutch I am now using, and left me for a while. After two further shifts of the stool I was among the roses.

From Five Ways I could look down the Phantom Path between the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds;

I could see more poppies on the Weeping Birch Bed; geranium palmatums attracting small white butterflies flitting to and fro; a tall red climbing rose; the Cordyline Australis preparing to pervade its bed with its powerfully sweet scent; and a laurel leaf that doesn’t look too well.

Honeysuckle cavorts with Madame Alfred Carriere atop the entrance arch to the Rose Garden,

where there are so many roses in all stages of development that I could see that I really must get dead-heading as soon as I can.

In particular the peach Crown Princess Margareta and the red Zephirini Druin now flank the Ace Reclaim Arch in the far corner.

Later this afternoon I walked from my desk in the hall through the kitchen to the sink. Not really a big deal. Until I realised I had forgotten my crutch.

Tesco ready prepared meals for dinner this evening consisted of fish pie for me and pasta carbonara for Jackie, who added runner beans to each.

Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Traffic Control

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Most of our roses are now in bloom.

Rose Laura Ford

We have, for example, Laura Ford;

rose Summer Time

Summer Time;

Summer Wine 1rose Summer Wine 2

and, sharing the blue painted arch with Madame Alfred Carière, Summer Wine;

Front garden

whilst the pink ones at the front are beginning to festoon the trellis.

A couple of times in recent days, when we haven’t had time to stop, we have seen ponies in the forest attached to very young, limpet-like foals, their Pelham puppet legs only just out of the box. Today we went in search of some. For the first hour we saw none. It is a Bank Holiday weekend, and Jackie speculated that the parents had led their babies off into the forest for their protection from grockles and their groping fingers.

Cattle

All we encountered was lowing cattle leading their larger offspring across our path.

Pony and foal 1

Then, at last, on the moor along the Beaulieu/Brockenhurst road, our patience was rewarded.

Ponies and foal 2

This mare and her foal were part of a larger group, initially keeping their distance.

Ponies and foal 1

The mother decided to lead her infant away from the others,

Ponies and foal 2

but, despite an abrupt change of direction, couldn’t shake off the determined member of a smaller breed who was clearly well imprinted, so,

Pony and foal crossing road 1

Pony and foal crossing road 2

in a vain attempt to escape, she initiated her lanky infant into the arts of traffic control.

Pony crossing road

The rest of the team loyally followed.

Pony and foal 2

Further on, its mother close enough, another young pony dared to be inquisitive.

Foal

It jerked to its feet when she moved a few metres away, reached the safety of her flanks,

Pony and foal 3

and stood, chomping, alongside the mare.

This evening we dined at Royal China in Lymington, where we enjoyed the usual excellent food with very friendly service. We shared chicken satay, king prawns in a chilli sauce, and plain chow mein with bean shoots; and both drank Tsingtao beer.