Estate Agency

Today I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between Georgia and Uruguay, and between Wales and Australia. Taking breaks from these matches I made crops of Jackie’s photographs, and took the nesting box one myself. It is so good to employ a most competent Assistant Photographer.

Jackie carried out planting, mostly in the Weeping Birch Bed – such as White Ladies asters, and grass panicum Warrior – hindered of course by  Nugget who at one point nipped neatly onto her chair when she left it.Those readers who have missed Nugget in the last couple of posts have nothing to fear, our little robin is here. The scale of this picture showing a flash of Jackie’s jeans and a glimpse of her arm, the trowel beside the tufa on which he stands, and the pair of gardening gloves demonstrates just how little he is.

The tufa on which he stands is, according to Wikipedia,  ‘ a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water.’ Plants grow on it.

He doesn’t take up much room on a trowel, but he can delay the Head Gardener using it.When Jackie was sitting in the chair mentioned above, Nugget would dart from this stone under her seat in search of fodder.

The finely woven wicker-work of his plumage is most intricate.

Whilst at the south end of the garden Jackie also photographed the Back Drive;

its Japanese anemones against the white wall of No. 5 Downton Lane;

raindrops on its out of season poppy

and convolvulus:

clumps of chrysanthemum buds;

sprigs of bright hawthorn berries;

a wood pigeon basking on the warm gravel;

a volunteer nicotiana sylvestris;

and a further clump of chrysanthemums against hot lips.

She photographed the garden as seen from the Heligan Path;

her stumpery;

and one of two pots of pansies in the Rose Garden.

Not satisfied with the third teapot she has offered Nugget through her estate agency,

when she popped out for more plants at Otter Nurseries she bought a purpose built robin nesting box to increase his choice.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (31)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s minced beef topped with Lyonnaise potatoes, crunchy carrots and broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

 

Bedmaking

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This year we have enjoyed a bumper crop on the apple tree we inherited. Previously it has produced just a handful of weedy fruit which never came to anything. I picked a few after lunch.

On this gloriously warm and sunny day, Jackie continued with the refurbishment of the Weeping Birch Bed on which she has spent many hours over the last few days. Like many of the beds in the garden, this one has been laid over solid concrete, the soil gradually seeping through the dry brick and stone retaining wall onto the gravel which we laid down a couple of years ago. Most plants were now rooted in very few inches of earth. The Head Gardener has rebuilt the wall; sifted much soil and gravel; cleared an access footpath; replenished the soil with compost; weeded and replanted, along the way digging out stray rocks, including tufa.

Experts are now dictating that asters should now be called something long and forgettable, yet the Autumn Jewel variety now settled in its new home does not bear the new nomenclature. We will therefore continue to term the plants beside the rose that has no name, facing self-seeded bidens across the brick path, as we have done all our lives.

We are enjoying a variety of the once unfashionable dahlias,

some of which,

like these euphorbia and kniphofia, still attract bees and wasps,

as, especially, do sedums, now rivalling geranium in richness of red.

This Small White butterfly rented the verbena bonariensis on a short term lease from the bees.

Geraniums, lobelia, and Japanese anemones continue to thrive;

while, in the Rose Garden, Mama Mia and Absolutely Fabulous are among those furnishing further flushes.

This evening we finished Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Patrick Chodot’s Brouilly 2016.

 

Before And After

This morning I e-mailed Ray Salinger a set of the photographs taken at the ‘Seventy Years On’ party.

After this I joined Jackie in the garden, where we continued yesterday’s tasks.

Gravel path front garden

I edged the front garden gravel path with rocks dug out over the last couple of days, then spread the transported earth around the flower beds fronting the house. The thick, stubborn, root behind stone near the front of this section of the path is of lonicera, an overgrown hedging of the honeysuckle family that I did battle with last year.

Weeping Birch Bed

Jackie further opened up the Weeping Birch Bed. In the process she took down the golden arches that we had erected last summer to support honeysuckle and passion flowers that festooned the bed. Anyone inclined to follow this link will be treated to the original state of what became the rose garden. The moss-covered stone edging the bed is tufa. We dug much of out last year, but there was much more still to be removed. These rambling climbers have been reduced in size in readiness for a more suitable frame.

Libertia clump

I dug out a thick clump of trimmed libertia in readiness for its division and replanting.

Colchicums

Colchicums are spreading nicely in the triangular bed, and

Red Admiral on verbena bonarensis

Red Admiral butterflies are having a resurgence.

Suset on wall

This evening the lowering sun burnished the back drive fence and the wall of Bev and John’s house that we had cleared last year;

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia

and inflamed the Virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia.

Cumberland, chilli, and pork chipolata sausages were included in Jackie’s divine  casserole this evening. She served it with ridiculously creamy mashed potato and crisp carrots and cabbage. Treacle sponge pudding and cream was to follow. The Cook drank Bierfest and I drank more of the chianti.

The Green Man

Sam 1982 - Version 2Tree 1982Tree-lined lane1982Tree roots 1982Today’s weather pattern was similar to yesterday’s. I therefore delved into the archives again and came up with another black and white picture of Sam looking remarkably like his daughter Orlaith, among a collection of shots of still naked trees that must have Tree roots 1982 - Version 2been taken early in 1982 somewhere in Surrey. I love the contorted shapes and the images they sometimes reveal. Study, for example, the last picture above. Can you see the Green Man of legend? He is a mythological figure representing rebirth, and, reproduced in every art form, whether drawing, painting or sculpture, is frequently seen as an architectural symbol or a pub sign. Very often he is painted as if formed from foliage. I have never seen him depicted in bark, which is my excuse for breaking my normal rule and altering an image.Tree like deer 1982 2

Perhaps the fossilised Picasso-like deer in this shot is easier to spot.

As the day brightened up, I wandered along Hordle Lane as far as the path by the side of Apple Court Garden, and along this until my way was barred by a locked five-barred gate. I then retraced my steps. HorsesTwo of the horses in the paddock still wore their protective Clematis campanifloramasks, although the day was less fly-blown.

Water lilySmall white butterfly on bidensWe now have a delicate little clematis Campaniflora rambling across the plants in the front garden.

Water lilies are still forcing their way to the light in the tiny pond created in an old water tank.

Among the most fidgety of the butterflies we have is the small white, which, like Tigger, never seems to be able to settle. They are constantly, restlessly, flitting around the garden. I managed, fleetingly, to catch one on a bidens. It didn’t stay long enough to disturb the other two basking insects.

Having noticed that Apple Court were advertising rare and unusual plants, I returned this afternoon with the head gardener to make some purchases. We bought a Persicaria microcephalus Red Dragon; a Hydrangea paniculata Phantom; two Athyriums, one Metallicum, the other dictum Red Beauty; and a Dryopteris erythrosora Brilliance.Butterfly Meadow Brown and bee on cone flower

CatalpaDappling of catalpa flowersPrimrose having her photograph takenIn the sales area Meadow Brown butterflies and bees flocked to the cone flowers. In the garden itself, a magnificent catalpa shed its shaded blooms, vying with the sunlight in  dappling the lawn beneath, and Primrose was having her photograph taken.Apple Court Garden water lily

Water lilies in the capacious carp ponds had no need to force their way into the sunlight.

When we returned with our spoils, seizing upon the opportunity to contribute to the planting, and, more significantly, to take a break from digging up concrete slabs, I volunteered to dig the holes for the new residents. This turned out to be somewhat unwise. I began with the ferns, which were destined for a comparatively fallow spot where only weeds seemed to be growing. Almost immediately I hit upon large lumps of tufa. Tufa is a porous rock, formed near mineral springs, upon which some hardy plants will grow. It is popular for rockeries and alpines. Maybe a rockery was once intended for this bed. TufaThe large piece on the left of the pile in the picture demonstrates that it is useful on which to grow certain plants. Not ideally those it was harbouring. FernsHaving dug all this out, the craters left had to be filled with soil scrounged from other parts of the garden. Then we planted our ferns.

Persicaria microcephalaThe lair allocated for the Red Dragon involved piercing a mixture of clay and gravel. Fortunately for me Jackie did most of it.

Hydrangea paniculata PhantomFinally, I only had to negotiate a tree root before setting the Phantom hydrangea standing proud.

This evening we again dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi with boiled rice, followed by evap on strawberries on raspberry twirl cheesecake. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Chataigniere Bordeaux 2012.