The Woman In White

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Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose GardenMargery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

‘Road Kill’

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Struggles with erratic internet connection means that this post has taken some considerable time today. But let’s not go into that. Suffice it to say that I didn’t lose my cool and kept going off to do something else, sometimes involving a little garden clearance.

No way, however, can I match Aaron who today dug out and removed a mature ficus, pruned and reshaped the winter flowering cherry, cut the grass, laid some stepping stone paths, and

Aaron nailing beams to tree stumps 3

nailed beams across old tree stumps to support rambling roses. He had already built the fence behind him some time ago.

Garden view from patio along Dead End Path

Here is this morning’s view from the patio along the Dead End Path; the fresh bud low down to the left of the picture

Rose peach

is on the same bush as this rich peach one.

Garden view from frog pond

A large poppy will soon bloom behind the stone frog in this scene.

Triangular Bed

Purple campanulas in the triangular bed outside the wisteria arbour link the startling red Sweet Williams and the two clematises above.

Clematis 3

Here is one of those.

Clematis 2

Others can be found on one of the arches spanning the Brick Path,

Clematis 1

in the New Bed, and in many other locations.

Palm bed

Penstemons and foxgloves also compare hues in the Palm Bed.

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

Flamboyant Gertrude Jekyll parades in the Rose Garden,

Roses patio

and this pale pink patio rose thrives in the Kitchen Bed alongside the Brick Path.

Jackie continues to make excellent progress with planting up tubs, urns, and hanging baskets such as

Urn planted with cosmos, geraniums, petunias, and allysum

this stone urn filled with cosmos, geraniums and petunias flanked by filigreed ferns in the bed beneath;

Cosmos and calibrachoas

cosmos and calibrachoas in a terra cotta pot;

Calibrachoa and diascias in pot

calibrachoas and diascias in a hanging basket;

Petunias and geraniums

petunias and geraniums in a faux terra cotta container;

Petunias and marigolds in hat

petunias and marigolds in the leaden hat;

Diascias and petunias in iron urn

diascias and petunias in the iron urn;

Black-eyed Susan and marigolds

and marigolds and black eyed Susans perched on a Victorian chimney pot. The black eyed Susans should, in time, climb to the top of their obelisk.

Aaron's truck

Aaron’s truck contains the tools of his trade and garden refuse he takes away when he has created it. This shot was taken before he loaded up the ficus root and branches.

Aaron's 'Road Kill'

Country roads often contain road kill, or small animals and birds that have been struck by motor vehicles. Our friend is building up his own collection of little creatures.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb korai, peas and rice, and sag ponir. We both drank Kingfisher.

The Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier

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Brick PathJackie working on Dragon BedJackie continues weeding, clipping, planting, and replenishing soil. This involves a certain amount of popping out to a garden centre. Today, for example, she departed for some lime and returned with, in addition, a garden tray, a parasol, and the obligatory few plants. Here she was working away on the Dragon Bed near the house end of the Brick Path a couple of days ago.

Wisteria arbour

Here is a current view of the Wisteria Arbour where, accompanying the eponymous plant, can be seen a red rose and Carnaby and Star of India clematises; with bronze fennel, cerinthes and Sweet Williams in the foreground bed.

Garden view across Kitchen BedAlliumFrom the corner of the patio the view across the Kitchen Bed contains the white clematis Marie Boisselot reflected by libertia; alliums, pansies, and diascias bringing notes of purple and pink; and russet triangle points made up of the recently pruned maple, the distant copper beech, and the now fully blooming

Chilean Lantern Tree

Chilean Lantern tree.

Rose Peach Abundance 1

Rose Peach Abundance soars over the Oval Bed,

Rose Altissimo

as does Altissimo beside the potting shed.

Rose Mum in a Million

Mum in a million,

Rose Crown Princess Margarete

Crown Princess Margarete,

Rose Schoolgirl

and Schoolgirl are all flourishing in the Rose Garden

Rose Festive Jewel

where Festive Jewel

Rose Garden 1

leads the eye through For Your Eyes Only to Gloriana, with Love Knot to the left;

Hoverfly on rose Summer Wine

and a small hoverfly investigates Summer Wine peeping from its rack on the entrance arch.

Heucheras

The Head Gardener is wondering whether the splendid, flouncing, heucheras are now putting the roses in the shade.

Cuttings for compost 2Cuttings for compost 1My primary function has been to explore all paths and corners of the garden seeking out heaps of weeds and clippings and either chopping them up to fill the orange bags, or dumping them on the fast developing compost piles.

These contributions can crop up anywhere, especially, it seems, when I think I have finished.

Wheelbarrow loaded with weeds

This was just the first wheelbarrow load today.

Weeds for compost 1

Pushing it happily along the Brick Path, I discovered the next two loads. It is fun being the Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier.

Fortunately, Jackie had produced enough of her marvellous lamb jalfrezi meal yesterday for it to be reprised this evening. As usual, this offered some enhancement. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, leaving the Kingfisher to me.

The Dump Can Wait

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Much of today was spent planting roses, tidying beds, and pruning and lopping trees and overgrown shrubs.

I cleared up Jackie’s maple cuttings from yesterday, then concentrated on the myrtle behind the Compassion rose. Both these trees were depriving the rose of light and air, and the variegated myrtle was full of sports anyway.

The arch, as seen from the bench on the Dead End Path and from the distance of Fiveways, now awaits the retrained rose. The young leaves of the copper beech, the last to arrive, can be seen to the top left of the first picture.

Garden view through Agriframes Arch

Looking through the Agriframes Arch from the Dead End Path, one can see that the yellow bottle brush plant and

Chilean lantern plant

the Chilean lantern tree are both coming into bloom.

Elsewhere, Sweet Williams and Cerinthes romp ahead of the fuchsia beneath them.

Fly on marigolds

Bright marigolds attract flies like the one in this image.

Viburnum Rhytidophyllum

The viburnum Rhytidophyllum, with its delicate scent, creamy white clustered flowers, and crinkly leaves, is enjoying its best year since the surrounding jungle was opened up.

Gloriana, Crown Princess Margarete, and Jacqueline du Pré have all put in an appearance in the Rose Garden.

I chopped up all the tree branches and filled two orange bags with them. We had intended taking them to Efford Recycling Centre, but we ran out of steam and decided that the dump could wait.

This evening we dined on meals from New Forest Tandoori takeaway in Pennington. We both enjoyed prawn puri starters. My main course was king prawn naga with special fried rice; Jackie’s was chicken buna with fragrant pilau rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014.