Watering And Planting

Yesterday evening we met Becky and Ian at the Darbar restaurant in Emsworth. This was an excellent venue for our dinner. Inspired by the food of the Moguls the meals were quite unusual with aromatic spice blends; the service was friendly, tactful, and efficient. Jackie’s choice of main course was paneer shashlik; mine was goat and potato curry. We both enjoyed them very much. I also tried some of Ian’s creamy mild chicken curry. I’m not sure what Becky chose. We shared onion bahjis, plain parathas, and spinach and pilau rices. Becky drank Diet Coke, Jackie Kingfisher, and Ian and I Cobra. The enjoyable visit was completed when we drove on to our daughter and son-in-law’s flat in Southbourne to admire Becky’s artistic arrangements and refurbishments.

It is amazing that, in mid-May, we need to water the garden. The skies remained overcast but we received no rain.

My task today was to run the hose down the Back Drive and spray Aaron’s planting of yesterday. Allowing the hose to carry out its work in stages gave me the opportunity to wander round with the camera.

This foxglove is visible in the first of the drive pictures.

Clematises that have not featured before include the one on an obelisk just outside the Rose Garden; another Doctor Ruppel beside the Weeping Birch; and one sharing the Ace Reclaim arch in the Rose Garden with Zéphirini Drouin and

Crown Princess Margareta, beneath whom

sits Jacqueline du Pré.

Madame Alfred Carriere welcomes visitors to her domain.

The peach rose in the Oval Bed has really taken off this year.

It romps to the right of this view from the concrete patio; with Its partner to the left it came came with the house. The oriental poppies in the foreground are situated in the Weeping Birch Bed

which also houses this Sweet William.

The New Bed lies on the corner of the Back Drive; at the other end of the garden the bed before the wisteria arbour has filled out nicely.

This powder blue iris stands fronting the grass patch;

our white flowers also include antirrhinums

and Hawkshead fuchsias.

Bees, like this one diving into a geranium, continue to plunder pollen.

Hot lips now splash lipstick impressions over the Cryptomeria Bed.

The bench at the far end of the Dead End Path is never sat on. This is because it is generally covered in pigeon poop. Jackie has therefore filled it with decorative container planting which should mature nicely in the coming weeks.

This afternoon Elizabeth visited with her friend Franz for beverages and convivial conversation.

This evening we dined on moist chicken Kiev; tasty ratatouille including butternut squash; crisp cauliflower; and creamy mashed potatoes with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

A Magnet

Here are the photographs from the garden this morning: Petunia double white Surfinia

A petunia, Double White Surfinia (no, Mr WordPress, not Surfing), is suspended from the eucalyptus.

Bed on former compost heap

It is hard to remember that this bed on the former compost heap was only planted a couple of months ago.

Weed

One definition of a weed is ‘a plant in the wrong place’. This plant, with its crimson-tipped flowers, draped over dead stumps on the back drive is definitely in the right place. That means it is not a weed.

Fuchsia

Further along, a row of fuchsias, heavily cut back last year, flourishes once more.

Sweet William

This Sweet William is one of the many plants that now line the opposite side of the drive.

Bee landing on poppy

Bees flitted from flower to flower. Can you see both these insects, wings operating, dropping their landing gear?

This afternoon, interspersed with watering the garden, I sorted and scanned a few more of the prints, from the 1980s, returned by Elizabeth. Apart from the 5″ x 7″ of Louisa, these all measured 10″ x 8″

Becky, Louisa, Sam 1982

This one is a crop from a picture featured earlier, in which Matthew was included. Becky, Louisa, and Sam are seated in a shelter in the garden of Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth in Rugby, probably in late 1982. It was shot in black and white, probably Ilford film.

Louisa 6.83

Another recent post contains an image of Louisa in the doorway at Fontaine in June 1983. Here is one more.

Matthew Slate mine 1983

That same post, ‘Memorable Holidays’, mentions one in September of that year in North Wales, where Jessica, Sam, Louisa, Matthew, Becky, and I visited a disused slate mine. Here Matthew perches in the unglazed window space of an old building.

Louisa, Matthew, Sam 1986

Matthew has always been a magnet for young children. This picture of him at Gracedale Road in 1986, reading a bedtime story to Louisa, barely awake, and an amused Sam, gives one indication as to why.

Just four days after her knee operation, Jackie insisted on cooking ‘a simple meal’. This is her idea of one:  OK, the cheese-centred fish cakes did come from Lidl, but by the time Jackie had finished with them they also wore jackets of thinly sliced mature Cheddar. The chips were cooked in the oven, having come from one supermarket or another. The sauteed leeks and green beans was a dish of Jackie’s own invention; even though the accompanying baked beans did come out of a tin. I suspect the bubble and squeak may have owed something to the influence of Bangladeshi chefs, who will break an egg over any number of dishes, thus enhancing the flavour. For those unaware of this classic English breakfast item, it consists of a fried melange of left-over vegetables. Served in any self-respecting working man’s cafe, it would probably not appear on the sideboard of a dining room at Downton Abbey.

P.S. Re the black and white picture, Becky has commented, thus: ‘The bangle I am wearing was a birthday present. That means the pic would have been taken after August 1982 and as it is still sunny and we are in Rugby it was probably during school hols. Therefore late August 1982 is my estimate. Making Lou 3 months old which looks about right’.

P.P.S. I am indebted to Mr Steele for pointing out that I had not mentioned what I’d imbibed. It was more of the Saint-Emilion.

P.P.P.S. Here is more, correct, information from Norma Palmer: ‘Lovely – I think your “not a weed” is fumitory – we get lots on our allotment. In the wrong place there, but still pretty’.

The Independent

On a bright and sunny morning Jackie drove me to Giles’s Fox Hat home, where I delivered the Chesterton material he had lent me. She returned home and came back later to pick me up from the village of Milford on Sea. I had reached there by walking down Sharvills Road, up New Valley Drive and down Barnes Lane. The left knee managed the job quite well, but the calf bleated a bit. Giles had not been at home, but I wandered round his garden that had featured in Milford Open Gardens last June. Here is one of his stunning stained glass creations:Stained glassMaple and poppies

and a shot of maples and poppies enlivening his front plot.

Shoppers

Milford’s shoppers were enjoying the sunshine.

I sat on a bench on the green watching them all go by as I awaited my transport. In the process I engaged in conversation with others on the benches, including a gentleman reading The Independent. When I explained my previous link with the newspaper he said he didn’t solve crosswords, but his wife did. Maybe she had grappled with Mordred. Gentleman readin The Indepent

He was happy to be photographed,

Derrick reading The Independent

but thought it far more appropriate to return the favour.

Back in our gardenThalictrum

shade-loving thalictrum is now blooming,

Sweet William

as are white sweet Williams.

Bee on geranium palmatum

Yesterday, I wrongly identified the geranium that was attracting bees as a palmatum. This is the correct one.

This afternoon I cut the grass and Jackie continued creative planting.

Our evening meal was collected by Jackie from Hordle Chinese Takeaway. It was as plentiful and as delicately or spicily flavoured as usual. My lady drank Hoegaarden and her Knight drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2014.

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:

Calibrachoa

Calibrachoas,

Weigela

Weigelas,

Weigela

Phlox,

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.).

Erigeron

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.

Watercress

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.

Clematis

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