New Roses


This has been a day of varied activities. This morning involved various administrative phone calls; a trip to Lymington to confirm the order and pay for Jackie’s new laptop; and a drive among the lanes around Sway.

Horse and rider

Other road users somewhat impeding our leisurely progress included a horse and rider;


a group of cyclists consisting of a gentleman and young girl lagging behind two boys pausing on the brow of a hill;

Hay truck

and a truck bearing a precarious looking wide load of hay.

Sunflowers and acorns

Coombe Lane, in particular, is home to Long Cottage, the garden of which contains a row of sunflowers fronting a rather wizened little oak tree bearing large clusters of cupped acorns.


Further along this road a group of inquisitive young Friesians thronged to their gateway in order to enquire what we were doing there.

ScarecrowScarecrows 1Scarecrows 2

Hordle has its own Scarecrow Trail, but since we followed the Bisterne one thoroughly, and parking is quite dangerous alongside the exhibits in the more populous village, I will simply photograph those we come across in our wanderings. The first of these are outside Hordle Parish Church of All Saints. They have been created by the children of the nearby Nursery School.

Hole for new rosesBrick path 1Sweet peas

Early this afternoon Jackie dug  the first hole for  the roses that will ascend the now unclad Gothic Arch seen at the far end of this section of the Brick Path, alongside which stands the Nottingham Castle bench with its attendant sweet peas.

Clematis Star of India

The rear of the bench can be seen in this shot of the Star of India clematis in Margery’s Bed.

Dragon Bed 1

The elegant forms of white gladioli take centre stage on this view of the Dragon Bed,

Dragon Bed 2

while, to the right of them, the colours of Japanese anemones, fuchsia, and lobelia form a similar sinuous shape.

Rose Penny Lane

Later, we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought two roses for the bare arch. We have examples of these elsewhere in the garden. Penny Lane wanders over the potting shed in the Rose Garden, and the bright red Super Elfin has taken off like a rocket in the herbaceous border.

Jackie digging hole for Super Elfin

Here Jackie, having planted Penny Lane, starts on a hole for the heavily pruned Super Elfin. I helped out a bit with that one, but the Head Gardener refused to photograph me on the grounds that my minor effort didn’t warrant a presence on the blog. Frankly that seemed a little harsh to me.

Penny Lane and Super Elfin

In a short while we can expect to see a difference.

Beef pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef pie, with meaty gravy, boiled potatoes, spring greens, and bright carrots. The Culinary Queen finished the sauvignon blanc, and I finished the Fleurie.




Three Roses

It is now 9.30 p.m. I f I finish this post this evening it will be a miracle, because, so far, much of it has been spent having useless and frustrating conversations with someone in India about lack of BT Broadband connection.

This morning Jackie drove us to Helen’s home in Poulner where we decanted into Helen’s car, in which she drove us to Lavender Farm at Landford, just inside Wiltshire. Taking in lunch we spent the best part of the day enjoying another splendid late summer’s day, before reversing the process.

The farm is an outlet for many wonderful plants, seen at their best on such a beautiful day.

Lavender and more

There was, of course, a plentiful supply of lavender, but also very much more.

Cacti display

From the moment we entered, it was clear that the displays for sale were all as attractive as this one for cacti.

Helen in gardenHelen and Jackie in gardenJackie and Helen 2Jackie and Helen 3

The three of us wandered around the gardens. I photographed the two ladies.

Garden towards car park

Lavender farm flowers

Sometimes just the beds;

Vegetable area

or other people, like these two admiring the vegetables;

Tea in garden

and these taking tea.

brian and Sandra 1Brian and Sandra 2

A couple I noticed sitting among the flowers were Brian and Sandra. Having taken the first picture from some distance away, as is my wont when I have not asked for permission, I walked along the narrow path to their bench, and sought it in retrospect. A very pleasant conversation ensued and they happily posed for a second picture. Brian turned out to have a collection of some 3,000 colour slides, mostly of historic Southampton, and was wondering how to digitise them. I described my scanner and advised them how to go about the task.

Wasps sign

The garden was clearly troubled by wasps in July.

Collection box

There is no charge for enjoying this haven, but charitable donations are encouraged.

Of course we bought some plants. Apart from smaller ones like heucheras and salvias, three roses on Jackie’s collection list just had to be acquired.

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

The first was Gertrude Jekyll, named after the famous gardener.

This is from the website in her honour: Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), created some 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America; her influence on garden design has been pervasive to this day. She spent most of her life in Surrey, England, latterly at Munstead Wood, Godalming. She ran a garden centre there and bred many new plants. Some of her gardens have been faithfully restored, wholly or partly, and can be visited. Godalming Museum has many of her notebooks and copies of all her garden drawings, (compiled and sorted by members of the Surrey Gardens Trust); the original drawings are in the University of California, Berkeley.

Her own books about gardening are widely read in modern editions; much has been written about her by others. She contributed over 1,000 articles to Country Life, The Garden and other magazines. A complete list of every book and article written by her is in the Bookshop section of this site. A talented painter, photographer, designer and craftswoman; she was much influenced by Arts & Crafts principles.

(c) Elizabeth Banks; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Elizabeth Banks; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

William Nicholson painted this portrait of her in October 1920.

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Next came Lady Emma Hamilton.

Wikipedia tells us that:

George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_HatEmma, Lady Hamilton (26 April 1765; baptised 12 May 1765 – 15 January 1815) is best remembered as the mistressof Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney. She was born Amy Lyon in Ness near Neston, Cheshire, England, the daughter of Henry Lyon, a blacksmith who died when she was two months old. She was raised by her mother, the former Mary Kidd, at Hawarden, and received no formal education. She later changed her name to Emma Hart.

Rose Mamma Mia


Finally, has the rose Mamma Mia anything to do with Abba?

Readers may be amused to learn the reason that my first attempts at photographing these last two roses produced very bleary images. This is because a very small insect had become ensnared in Helen’s chutney. Not being able to identify it with the naked eye, I thought that if I photographed it with the macro facility it would be possible to do so. The creature turned out to be a small wasp. But I had poked the lens into the chutney, with the obvious results. My handkerchief was not adequate for the task of cleaning the glass, so I had to use a lens cloth when we got home, and photograph the roses here.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, with chicken samosas. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Phew! 11.35 and all done.

New Arrivals

Galium aparine

Cloudy sunshine and blustery winds greeted us this morning. I ambled around the garden and just a yard or two into Downton Lane where the minute flowers of the Galium aparine, known among other things as Sticky Willy, that we are trying to eradicate from our garden, are clambering around the verges; and where I met another group of radiant ramblers:Ramblers 1Ramblers 2

In the garden we now have:







Sweet William

and Sweet Williams, more welcome than Sticky Willy.

Unidentified shrub

We have not yet been able to identify this shrub which has wrinkled leaves. (Chris Poole later identified it as Viburnum Bodnantense.).


Jackie enjoys transplanting flowers from one area to another, often preserving those peeping up from paths. An example is the erigeron, plucked from the patio and placed in the former compost bed. She also popped a stem of watercress into the Waterboy’s pool.


It has rooted, flowered, and proliferated.

Tomato seedlings

The head gardener has brought out a tray of tomato seedlings she has nurtured indoors.

We now have another clematis, similar to the one that rambles over our next door neighbours’ fence. This one climbs up the gazebo, so we also benefit from it.

Clematis - Version 2

The flower of the clematis is in fact the central section.


What we take for its colourful petals are in fact modified leaves or sepals.

Perhaps the most surprising of our new arrivals could be the offspring of the toad Jackie disturbed last autumn. Spawn has arrived in the tiny pool created by our predecessors from a domestic cistern.Toad spawn

We don’t have any sunflowers yet, but it seems they do in Razac d’Eymet where our friend Judith Munns has just sold this stunning, beautifully composed painting:Judith's sunflowersOne of Judith’s Facebook friends has likened it to the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Maybe that would require a swirly sky.

Stair railsDoor repairLee Wilkinson, a joiner recommended by Aaron, today fitted stair rails on our rather steep cottage style route to bed. The paint on the treads and risers is just one piece of decoration we need to change when we get round to it. He also widened the jamb of the door into the master suite. It required the addition of the unvarnished strip of wood simply for the door to reach it. We have never possessed the keep for the Manx lock, but, as can be seen in the photograph, it could never have been correctly placed anyway. We will need to search one out. The red paint on the lock is an example of what we find everywhere, and why redecoration will be quite a major job.

This evening we enjoyed the usual friendly atmosphere and excellent food and service of Totton’s The Family House, for our dinner. We both drank Tsingtao beer

‘The Face Of A Chrysanthemum………..’

Birch leaves, sunflowers, and prunusBacklit by the morning sun, the turning leaves of our weeping birch blended well with Frances’s Duchy of Cornwall sunflowers, and contrasted with the red prunus foliage.

Mirror on postA road traffic mirror fixed to a post on the corner of the road into the Country Park reflected the scene in Shorfield Road.

This, although a bit breezy, was a bright T-shirt morning. I varied my Milford on Sea walk, in reverse, a little, by taking a footpath along the back of the static caravans in Sea Breeze Len, Hamish, and AngusWay. There I met Len and his West Highland terriers Hamish and Angus. I told their owner the story of Billy, my maternal grandmother’s Westie. This little terrier was quite happy to allow visitors into the room, but turned savage when they attempted to leave. Len then described the breed aa ‘a large dog in a small body’ known as having ‘the face of a chrysanthemum and the tail of a carrot’.

Fox Hat gateTurning right into Blackbush Road at the end of the path led me to the gate of Fox Hat, the home of Giles, our friend of forty four years. One of his stained glass pieces of artwork enhances the entrance. I knocked at his door and we had a brief conversation before he had to leave for an appointment. From there, I soon picked up the path through the nature reserve.

Walkers and crowsCrow flyingA couple of crows picking at the grass on the cliff top, unusually ignored two passers by. Maybe at least one of them was distracted by me. Further on another of these birds took off, like Peter Pan, leaving its shadow behind.

This afternoon I made two A3+ size prints of the feature portrait from the post of 17th, one each for Frances and Mum. Later, Jackie drove us to Hobby Craft at Hedge End where we bought picture frames, and to Elizabeth’s where we mounted the photographs. We took Mum hers, stayed with her for a while, then returned to my sister’s and thence to The Farmer’s Home at Durley where we dined on the usual good fare. My choice was gammon, whilst the two ladies enjoyed pork loin steak. We all then had the lightest sticky toffee pudding. Jackie drank peroni, and my sister and I shared a carafe of Merlot. Afterwards we delivered Elizabeth to The Firs and Jackie drove us home.

Nina Simone


The  sunflower seeds that Frances sent us as part of a house-warming present have now produced fine blooming plants. I photographed these this morning in order to show them to our sister in law when we visited her and Chris at their home in Wroughton, near Swindon, this afternoon. Then I forgot, but when you read this post Frances, I hope you like them as much as we do.

Jackie, as usual, drove us there and back, most of the way along the A338. This is not the quickest route, but the prettiest. Plough InnMeals at Plough InnWe stopped for lunch at the excellent Plough Inn at Chiseldon. The fact that it was very busy on a Monday out of the holiday season was no doubt due to the superb food and Arkell ales. I drank 3BB and Jackie drank diet coke with our meals. Mine was a tasty and succulent home made steak and ale pie with crusty pastry, delicious gravy, and crisp chips and vegetables. Jackie’s was a plentiful mushroom stroganoff with a fresh salad. This establishment is to be highly recommended.Nina Simone a single woman CD

It was good to see our nephew Peter who had spent the weekend with his parents and was about to return to his home in Cheam, driven by his father in law, also Peter. Reminiscing with the young man included the time of the discovery in the 1990s at Newark that we shared an appreciation of the ‘timeless’ (his description) Nina Simone. Peter would appreciate the photograph on the wall of Tess’s Village Shop in Upper Dicker.

Before we left, Frances’s friend Steph, who had once spent a holiday with us in Sigoules, arrived for a short stay, and we chatted with her, with Chris and with Frances for a while.

Crescent moonSky scapeBack home in Downton I walked down to the Shorefield post box as a crescent moon hung above indigo clouds turning pink in the West.

Keats’s Season

Loft insulationWall of back hallApple treesYesterday the loft insulation was carried out.  A damp beam betrays the broken tiles which need replacing on the roof.  The back hall was prepared for specialised papering.

Maggie and Mike collected me in the evening and drove me to their home at Eymet where we enjoyed a meal focussing on a Russian fish pie, followed by cheese and melon; with some red wine and an evening’s convivial conversation.

BerriesGrapesFir conesOnce the morning mist had cleared, a fine autumn day revealed the poet’s ‘mellow fruitfulness’. Sigoules landscape I walked the loop centring on the Thenac road, up along the main route through Sigoules and down the narrow winding track to the Cuneges road.  Although it dulled over before I had returned the day began bright and sunny, and continued to be so after I had returned.

ButterflyHigh on the vine-covered slopes a proliferation of butterflies flitted here and there.  Bright yellow ones in particular chased each other around, reminding me of yesterday night’s courting couple.  Up and down, round and round they yo-yoed, never settling for the camera.

Some grapes seem to be allowed to fester on the stems.  I gather this is a necessary process of viniculture.

SunflowersThe sunflowers also looked rather past their best, until one remembers that it is their oil that is harvested.

Distant bonfire

What must have been a seasonal bonfire sent up spirals of smoke in the far distance.

Max’s lunchtime offerings in Le Code Bar began with noodles and a variety of vegetables soup; then a soft, dressed, avocado at its peak, served with salami, coarse pate, a green salad and a cornichon; next the usual daunting, perfectly cooked succulent steak plentifully garnished with garlic, pepper and onions, accompanied by crisp, glistening, freshly fried chips; and finally a pear tart with chocolate sauce.  And it bears repeating that all this comes at a price of 13 euros.

Aviemore Revisited

Bees on sunflowersJackie was thrilled this morning to see that the third of her sunflowers donated by the birds has bloomed.  She tried very hard to coach one bee simultaneously into each of her trio.  Two out of three can’t be bad.

For as long as I can remember Louisa has been disgusted at me for ‘wasting paper’ when I use A4 paper to print smaller photographs.  She has always said it is very easy either to use smaller paper or place two or more alongside each other, and I have always been reluctant to attempt to get my head round it.  When Elizabeth suggested I produced a series of greetings cards for sale at the Open Studio I knew the time had come to grasp the nettle.  By sending me a link on ‘how to print multiple images on a single page’ Chris ensured that I didn’t cop out of it.  I had a little trouble working out how to print the resultant document so that I could have it in front of me when I tackled my phobia.  I was doing this on my small Epson printer which chose that moment to require head cleaning.

Eventually I was as ready as I was ever going to be to try multiple prints.  I couldn’t produce more than one picture, although I thought I was following the directions reasonably well.  That meant I needed to ring my brother Chris for further elucidation. He realised that I couldn’t do it because I had only highlighted one picture on the screen.  I explained that I wanted multiple copies of one picture; not one copy each of multiple pictures.

Ah.  That was different.  By this time I couldn’t be doing with exploring this any further.  As I needed more than one copy of each picture I thought I’d settle for placing two different images side by side.  I did, of course, have to be instructed in the art of holding down the command key in order to keep more than one picture highlighted for the purpose.  Prints for cardsWell, it worked.

I suspect the final paragraph in the aforementioned article does explain how to do exactly what I want, but I think I’ll just rest on my laurels for the moment.  I’m a fairly old dog after all, and one new trick is enough for one day.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hobbycraft in Hedge End where we bought enough blank cards with envelopes and Pritt stick to produce a decent stock for the studio.Shrubbery

LiliesThe main event of the day was the eagerly awaited second open day of Aviemore in Bartley. Lily House leeksToday I will let the photographs utter their thousand words, for I wrote at some length about this marvellous village garden when we first visited on 2nd. June.

Sandy and Alex Robinson welcomed us most warmly, demonstrating their appreciation of my post of that day.

Blog (2.6.13) on displayDahliasClematisClematis (1)Indeed, a printout of the relevant pages was on display on the tables in the tea room, as well as an article from a gardening magazine.  I was very pleased, as  they had been with my piece.

Theda Bara?

Clematis shrubbery

Jackie thought that Mata Hari, reported lurking in the bushes last time, was probably being played by Theda Bara.

Bee on InulaDahliaPelargoniumMeadow Brown butterfly on InulaSpiky grass?The garden attracted a range of butterflies, including Meadow Brown and Cabbage White, bees busying themselves replenishing the hives, and other smaller insects such as flies, to which the eyes of my camera were more alert than those in my head.

The ‘meaty, stewy, veggy thing’ that Jackie served up this evening was deliciously tasty.  Among those ingredients that were identifiable were slices of pigs’ hearts, pork sausages, various vegetables and herbs.  Various different well-reduced stocks formed the base.  I am told that it is like ‘the lost chord’ and therefore cannot be repeated, which is a shame.  I drank Roc des Chevaliers Bordeaux superieur with mine.