If You Weren’t The Head Gardener

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Jackie has spent quite a bit of time in the last three days clearing up after the storm. This has involved sweeping up leaves and broken plants; tying up some of the taller flowers;  generally clearing the paths; and continuing to water the baskets and other containers. Before the rain she carried out most of the required dead-heading. The roses in particular have benefited from the generous precipitation from the heavily laden clouds, so a little more pruning was required. I continued with that this afternoon.

These general path views demonstrate that much has been recovered.

Madame Alfred Carriere has swooned over the bright red petunias in the nearby urn. She will need to wait for Aaron’s attention on Sunday. The full size gallery version of the first picture above contains a bee wallowing in Summer Wine.

Dahlias have largely survived, supported by the Head Gardener’s ties. Those mingling with gladioli Priscilla hold a great attraction for bees.

Tall, slender, verbenas bonarensis, were a particular worry for Jackie as they bent double in the high winds. They have, however, largely perked up, and remain strong enough to bear bees swaying in the gentle breeze.

Many more blooms are appearing in the Rose Garden. Here we have For Your Eyes Only, Absolutely Fabulous, and Just Joey.

Rudbeckia is in its golden prime.

The patio borders are mostly unscathed, as are

the hanging baskets, such as those along the kitchen wall, and large pots like the one at the South end of the garden.

All in all, if you weren’t the head gardener, you might think there had been no storm.

I am happy to report that, of the Two Historic Houses, Elizabeth made the choice that would have been ours, put in an offer, and had it accepted – on the Swedish house. She returned home here this evening and the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid, hot, chilli con carne and wild rice. Elizabeth and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon. Jackie had consumed her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Dicing With Death

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What does Aaron have in common with a bee? You might be forgiven for imagining that it is that they both have very high work rates. That would be a good answer, but incorrect.

Aaron lopping cypress 1Aaron lopping cypress 2Aaron lopping cypress 3Aaron lopping cypress 3Watching our friend, unlit ciggy between lips, firing one-handed from the hip with his petrol-operated chain saw as he tackles the reshaping of our cypress tree, may provide a clue,

Aaron lopping cypress 5Aaron lopping cypress 6

especially when you see the height of his tripodal ladder.

Aaron tidying upAaron tidying up 2

Aaron always clears up along the way. Today he dragged branches to the Back Drive where he cut up a few logs for his client, Susan, leaving the rest for the ‘burn site’ of the dump.

Lopped branch on cypress

This branch demonstrates his clean cuts,

View from patio showing Aaron's completed work on cypress

while this view from the patio displays the finished shape.

Persicaria Red Dragon

The persicaria red dragon baring its bloody fangs in the Dragon Bed,

Crocosmia solfaterre

and the crocosmia solfaterre are among the plants that will now receive more light and air.

Fly on Winchester Cathedral 1Fly on Winchester Cathedral 2

In the Rose Garden, an intrepid fly scales the walls of Winchester Cathedral,

Geraniums and Summer Wine

and geraniums in the stone urn beside the potting shed enjoy a glimpse of Summer Wine.

Japanese anemones

 Japanese anemones appear to grow a foot each day.

Bee and spider's web 1Bee and spider's web 2Bee and spider's web 3

The bee skirting a hopeful spider’s web, in order to work on a verbena bonarensis, provides the answer to my opening  conundrum. Each in his own way is successfully dicing with death.

Later this afternoon we pulled up some brambles. As I walked along the Back Drive to deposit them in a bag for the dump, I almost stepped on twin juvenile collared doves sunning themselves on the gravel. Naturally I hurried indoors for my camera. When I returned they seemed to have disappeared. They were, however, simply playing hide and seek, foraging among the pebbles.

Collared doves juvenile 1Collared dove juvenile 2Collared doves juvenile 3Collared doves juvenile 4

Not yet old enough for timidity, almost in tandem, they carried on about their business and left me to mine.

Sweet pea

Here is a sweet pea for Bruce.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

 

 

A Splendid Morning

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The weather this morning was splendid. The morning was to become more so, with a visit from good friends.

In eager anticipation of the arrival Jackie was out early sweeping the corridors, manicuring the green carpet, refreshing the flowers, and generally tidying up the reception room that is the garden. It seemed only right that I should get out there and help.

Right on time at 11 a.m. Geoff Le Pard arrived with the Textiliste, the Vet, and Dog.

View across Kitchen Bed

We all sat on the patio with coffee and sparkling water. This is one view across the Kitchen bed.

The Textiliste 1The Textiliste 2

Everyone then wandered around the garden. Here are a couple of views featuring the Textiliste, a skilled gardener herself.

Geoff and Milo

This was the first bench tried out by Geoff.

Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 1Derrick, Geoff, and Milo 2

Partly for the benefit of our mutual friend, Pauline, the Vet reprised a photo of Geoff and me taken a year ago. Dog wasn’t in the last one. He didn’t get the joke his master and I shared.

The Vet 1The Vet and Milo 1The Vet and Milo 2

The Vet, of course, was, herself, far more worthy of the camera’s attention. Was Dog feigning an ailment in order to obtain a scratch?

Bidens

The large chimney pots, one of which holds this bidens, were much admired.

Jackie

Jackie, amused by the photo session,

Jackie, Geoff, and Milo

was soon to be joined by Geoff and Dog on the Nottingham Castle Bench. In the right foreground of this shot is another of the chimney pots.

Heuchera and day lilies

The opposite corner of the Dead End Path contains this heuchera and these day lilies.

Bee in Summer Wine

On a final visit to the Rose Garden before we set off for lunch, I spotted a bee slaking its thirst on Summer Wine.

Ogre sculpture

Watched over by an Ogre we all lunched at The Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea. He seemed to be having as much fun as we were.

Afterwards, Jackie drove me to the Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a clean and check up. All was well.

We arrived back home in time for the televised Wimbledon tennis semi-final between Johanna Konta and Venus Williams.

Head Gardener's Walk/Shady Path

I then wandered around the garden again, along the Head Gardener’s Walk to the Shady Path

Dragon Bed

beside the Dragon Bed,

Begonia

where a glowing begonia shines like a beacon.

Comma butterfly

A rather tatty Comma butterfly took a rest,

Red Admiral and Comma butterflies

then flitted across to join a Red Admiral in the sunshine.

Gazebo Path

To the left along the Gazebo Path,

Agapanthus 1Agapanthus 2Agapanthus 3

a large cluster of agapanthuses, in different stages of emergence, are bursting from their cases.

Dead tree trunk

This is the trunk of the dead tree that supports solanums and clematises.

Fuschia Mrs Popple and hydrangea Lanarth White

In the corner of the Rose Garden beside the orange shed, fuchsia Mrs Popple provides a strong contrast to Lanarth White hydrangea.

Sweet peas 1Sweet peas 2

Finally, I thought Bruce would like to see how the sweet peas are coming along.

This evening Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled gherkins and onions. I drank Arborescence Fronton 2016.

Licking Into Shape

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Parasol on gravelled patio

This morning we bought another parasol for the South end gravelled patio.

After lunch, The Head Gardener watered and I dead-headed The Rose Garden. Here there are two examples of similar but different flowers that she has been pointing out recently.

For Your Eyes Only

These are For Your Eyes Only

Summer Wine

and Summer Wine.

Hydrangea 1Hydrangea 2

Other manifestations are these two hydrangeas. Apart from the subtly different hues, can you spot the difference?

When Jackie and I visited Wimborne Minster on 23rd November 2013, we could not access the Chained Library. This was, however, possible for her and her sisters when they were staying near there recently.

The Chained Library003

Helen bought me a copy of W. A. (Frank) Tandy’s small booklet, which I finished reading today.

Tandy provides a brief introduction to the practice of chaining library books, and details of those, mostly dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, contained in Wimborne Minster. The earliest volume in the collection is “Regimen Animarum”, a manuscript written on vellum, dated 1343. The books cover other subjects than the expected ecclesiastic ones. Gardening, science, and medicine are examples. I found it fascinating to discover that Sir Thomas Browne’s “The Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1672” ‘examines the theory that a female bear gives birth to a lump of fat which she then licks into the shape of the cub she wants; it is from this that the expression ‘licking into shape’ originates’.

6453751d0b046bb859fccb8b97bd4e3b

This illustration comes from a mediaeval bestiary, Bodley 764, taken from Pinterest.

In mediaeval times, and the early years of printing, many books were extremely valuable. Most were bound in wooden boards making it possible to chain them in the manner thus described by Wikipedia:

‘A chained library is a library where the books are attached to their bookcase by a chain, which is sufficiently long to allow the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but not removed from the library itself. This would prevent theft of the library’s materials.[1] The practice was usual for reference libraries (that is, the vast majority of libraries) from the Middle Ages to approximately the 18th century. However, since the chaining process was also expensive, it was not used on all books.[2] Only the more valuable books in a collection were chained.[2] This included reference books and large books.[2]

It is standard for chained libraries to have the chain fitted to the corner or cover of a book. This is because if the chain were to be placed on the spine the book would suffer greater wear from the stress of moving it on and off the shelf. Because of the location of the chain attached to the book (via a ringlet) the books are housed with their spine facing away from the reader with only the pages’ fore-edges visible (that is, the ‘wrong’ way round to people accustomed to contemporary libraries). This is so that each book can be removed and opened without needing to be turned around, hence avoiding tangling its chain. To remove the book from the chain, the librarian would use a key.[3]

Chained library in Hereford Cathedral

The earliest example in England of a library to be endowed for use outside an institution such as a school or college was the Francis Trigge Chained Library in GranthamLincolnshire, established in 1598. The library still exists and can justifiably claim to be the forerunner of later public library systems. Marsh’s Library in Dublin, built 1701, is another non institutional library which is still housed in its original building. Here it was not the books that were chained, but rather the readers were locked into cages to prevent rare volumes from ‘wandering’. There is also an example of a chained library in the Royal Grammar School, Guildford as well as at Hereford Cathedral. While chaining books was a popular practice throughout Europe, it was not used in all libraries. The practice of chaining library books became less popular as printing increased and books became less expensive.[3]Wimborne Minster in Dorset, England is yet another example of a Chained Library. It is one of the first in England and the second largest.[4]

Sweet

As I entered this onto WordPress, I enjoyed the scent of our sweet peas standing on my window sill.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s vegetable rice salad with cheese-centred fish cakes. My lady drank Hoegaarden and I drank Kingfisher.

P.S. Cynthia Jobin’s comment below has some interesting additional information on early books.

Peter The Pelican

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Heavy rain set in for the day this afternoon. Before that, Jackie managed an impressive amount of weeding and planting. She didn’t have to do any watering.

This time last year we were still preparing the empty rose garden. Now it looks as if it belongs.

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only

Absolutely Fabulous and For Your Eyes Only are particularly prolific;

Shropshire Lad, For Your Eyes Only, Gloriana, Margaret Merril, Love Knot

the full spread of the latter is shown here behind the statue of Spring; to the right Shropshire Lad’s aged white heads hang a bit heavy, although new buds ascend the netting; Gloriana holds up a couple of blooms; The white flowers of Margaret Merrill are to the right of the shed, and bright red Love Knot to the left.

Festive Jewel, Summer Wine, Honeysuckle

Opposite those scenes Festive Jewel merges into Summer Wine on the entrance arch, on the right side of which is the honeysuckle. The urn is one of those bought recently.

Rose Penny Lane

The first delicate pink Penny Lane bloom has opened on the potting shed trellis.

This afternoon I printed Pauline’s A+ plus photographed another.

This evening we dined at The Beach House restaurant at Milford on Sea with Becky, Ian, and Ian’s father, Peter, and stepmother Ali. We all get on very well and had a very enjoyable time celebrating Peter’s birthday today, and Jackie’s tomorrow.

My menu choice was whitebait; steak pie; and summer fruit trifle. I shared a bottle of Montepulciano with Becky. I’m past caring what the others ate or drank.

Before going out I made a birthday card for Peter.

Peter the Pelican was the mascot for the Greek Island of Mykonos from 1985 when, in an injured condition, he was rescued and cured by the islanders, until 1985 when he was killed by a car. Since, among my collection of cards, I had one of a Pelican taken in St James’s Park in 2012, it seemed appropriate to give this to the birthday boy, with an explanatory note within.

Pelican

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.

Various Stages Of Life

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The experts on the antiques programme Bargain Hunt, which we generally watch at lunchtime, tell us that silver items should not be polished, for that activity eventually obliterates the hallmarks. Many antique book dealers also believe that uncut book pages should be left in their pristine condition because taking a knife to them reduces their value.

This poses the question whether treasures are to be preserved in figurative amber and never used, or to be enjoyed for what they are

Count Morin, Deputy 1

I had no qualms about taking a sharp kitchen knife to the pages of

Count Morin, Deputy cover

a delightfully told political fable.

It is always interesting to speculate on who has read an old book, or indeed whether it has been read at all. In the old days when books were still well made to last, the pages were often joined at the edges and required cutting, as indicated above, in order to read them. So, if, as in this 1921 publication, you found uncut pages, you knew no-one else’s fingers had left their marks on the virginal leaves. It is such a pleasure to know that you were the first, and gives you a responsibility to take great care of your chosen treasure.

Although this slender little volume from The Bodley Head is illustrated throughout, I have chosen to restrain any impulse to scan the internal pages; because straining the spine to flatten the book in the scanner seems too high a price to pay; and because the woodcuts don’t appeal to me, as they display the heaviness I associate with Black Forest carving, thus denying the elegance of the text in translation by J. Lewis May.

Wood Pigeon and Owl

Without our double glazing I may have been able to eavesdrop on this avian conversation through the sitting room window.

My contribution to the general garden maintenance of the day was to hold the steps and otherwise assist The Head Gardener in retraining clematises at the front.

Jackie reflected training clematis

This photograph was executed with one hand on the steps, and the other on the camera.

Clematis

Clematises such as this one don’t yet need such mountaineering feats to support them;

Violas in hanging basket

and the hanging baskets are within easy reach.

Bird's nest

While tidying her containers behind the shed, Jackie has found a nest from which the chicks have hedged and flown without our knowing it was there.

Thalictrum

She has also found the thalictrum’s true element in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Shady Path

Visible in the Dragon Bed in the centre of this Shady Path view,

Peony

we have a new peony bloom.

Phantom Path

This view along The Phantom Path leads us to the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden entrance

up the entrance of which Madame Alfred Carière and Summer Wine are speedily making their way;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and within, Jacqueline du Pré displays various stages of life.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.