A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

Garden Housework

CLICKING ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Throughout the garden we have prolific clusters of small orange and yellow poppies that shed their petals each day. Regular dead-heading encourages further growth. It has been one of my tasks to carry out this task. Today I did so for the first time since before my surgery.

I took my time over it, and paused for pit-stops along the way when, seated on chairs and benches that would have been too low for me six weeks ago, I photographed something else, such as the New Bed, the Rose Garden, the Oval Bed, day lilies, hostas, urns, and other planters.

Jackie continued what she regards as her garden housework.

This afternoon we drove to Everton Post Office and sent a parcel to New Zealand.

During the passages when my eyes were open, I then watched the World Cup football match between Sweden and Switzerland.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s Fish and Chips, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

Soon we will settle down to watch the England v. Colombia football match.

 

Snatching Snoozes

SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO. CLICKING ON ANY ONE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

In ‘The Card Case’, I spoke of the client who had no money to pay my fee, but brought me the occasional small gift, all of which I have treasured for almost 30 years. I am not a science fiction fan, so I have not read many of his paperback books. One of these is Poul Anderson’s ‘The Makeshift Rocket’. I finished this short novel this morning. It was a surprisingly entertaining work. Light-hearted, with a touch of dry humour, once I had ceased trying to decipher the author’s attempts at reproducing Danish and Irish spoken English, I enjoyed the book.

Afterwards I photographed garden views from upstairs windows and from the stable doorway.

Having decided to reduce the codeine element in my pain relief, I struggled a bit today. On the other hand it may have been the amount of walking on uneven terrain I undertook yesterday. Consequently I spent the afternoon alternately dozing over snatches of World Cup football and having brief forays into the garden.

Lily, marigolds etc

A new day lily has forced its way through the soil to join the marigolds beside the greenhouse.

Palm Bed to eucalyptus

Geranium palmatums lead us past more day lilies in the Palm Bed to the eucalyptus and beyond.

Cosmoses, geraniums, violas

Urns, like this stone one Jackie has planted up at the end of the Brick Path,

Garden view from Shady Path to kitchen window

and the pottery one standing on the filled in well, counteract what she call “The June Gap”, when there is not normally much colour around.

The hanging baskets on the kitchen wall and the two clematises in pots on the corner serve the same purpose.

Rose Ballerina dances in the bed beside the entrance to the Rose Garden,

Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia

where such as Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia continue to splash their colour.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Swinging Sixties is another plant in a pot,

Linaria and valerian

opposite which Linaria and Valerian vie for space in the Oval Bed.

My final trip up the garden was via the Phantom Path to join Jackie taking a break on the decking. There I passed the Cryptomeria Bed with its clematis, geranium palmatums, and hot lips; a penstemon in Margery’s Bed; a planted pot on the corner of the Gazebo Path; and Florence sculpture with her basket of bacopa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and splendid special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

 

 

Parts I Haven’t Been Able To Reach

On a hot, sunny, afternoon, aided by a crutch, I walked down the Brick Path to the top of the Back Drive, where Jackie provided me with three more perching spots.

I couldn’t resist periodically stopping en route for a few shots from a standing position, sans crutch.

Once settled at the top of the drive I photographed two types of Erigeron in the New Bed; planting of solanum, begonias, and petunias in baskets hanging from the dead Snake Bark Maple; Félicité Perpétue and poppies beside the compost bins; and clematis in one of the barrier tubs.

Moving to the other side of the barrier gave me views across the Weeping Birch Bed; the urns at the head of the Brick Path; and the Oval Bed with its two varieties of rose.

With the perch a bit further along the concrete patio I could view more day lilies; the Oval Bed with its Peach Abundance roses; and pale pink New Dawn clambering over the arbour in the Rose Garden.

A yard or two further forward I was able to picture Jackie’s newly planted alliums, repeated in the Palm Bed, opposite the poppies in Margery’s Bed.

Once I had had enough and returned indoors to rest my leg, Jackie took over the photographer’s mantle, producing her versions of the poppies; the Phantom Path with its flanking beds; and the view beside the Gazebo Path looking back to the house.

Today, I explored parts of the garden I haven’t been able to reach for a while.

This evening we dined on another excellent Forest Tandoori takeaway. Once again my main course was prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna.

 

 

 

The Herbaceous Borders

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Jackie continued her planting today. My major task was dead-heading.

Planting in Dragon Bed

This section of the Dragon Bed shows how what was a large, gangly ficus until Aaron removed it six days ago has been replaced by the Head Gardener’s selection.

View from Butler sinks along Dead End Path

The chimney pot in this shot of the view from the butler sinks at the end of the Dead End path

Chimney pots planted

is one of the three in which Jackie has now completed this year’s arrangements.

Kitchen Bed

Brick Path 1Brick Path 2The stone planters in the Kitchen Bed have received similar treatment, as have these two urns leading us to the original section of the Brick Path taking us from the south end to the house. This pair necessitated an urgent trip to Otter Nurseries late yesterday afternoon to buy a few more geraniums.

 

Margery's Bed

A yoked pair of hanging baskets introduces us to Margery’s Bed,

Phantom Path

alongside which raking of the Phantom Path has commenced. The gorgeous pink rhododendron seen through the arch on the Cryptomeria Bed

Garden view from Weeping Birch Bed

is also visible from the brick section of the Oval Path, along which coils

Sprinkler on Weeping Birch Bed

the hose delivering sprinkled refreshment to the Weeping Birch Bed.

Gothic Arch

A white rambler and a purple clematis share the Gothic Arch;

Clematis on Agriframes Arch

The combination is similar on the Agriframes Arch, and we can name the rambler which, yet to bloom, is Wedding Day.

Geraniums

These Rozannes behind the iron urn are perhaps the most unusual of the blue geraniums.

Sambucus nigra and geranium palmatum 1

Beside the potting shed at the corner of the Rose Garden sambucus nigra and geranium palmatums sit happily together.

rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Rose Garden 2

occupying the foreground of this image is now beginning to bloom;

roses Just Joey and Love Knot

Just Joey and Love Knot are at the far end.

rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton

Rose Garden 3

peeps round pink foxgloves at Absolutely Fabulous.

rose Little Rambler

The aptly named Little Rambler scales one of the pergola posts.

Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 1Hoverfly over For Your Eyes Only 2

I concentrated much of my dead-heading efforts on the Rose Garden, giving me ample opportunity to photograph hoverflies like these skimming For Your Eyes Only. For this purpose my camera hung round my neck as I snipped.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The beds alongside the Back Drive have demanded that they now be called the herbaceous borders.

Poppies

They contain different varieties of poppy,

Rose Félicité Perpétue

and Félicité Perpétue now wears a green and white shawl.

This evening we dined on pizza supplemented by a topping of bacon rashers; plentiful salad, and cold baked beans. I drank Cahors malbec 2015. Jacke had previously slaked her thirst with fizzy water, or, as she termed it, ‘eau petillante’.

Spot The Difference

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING ON THE RELEVANT BOX.

In today’s gardening division of labour my contribution was weeding the back drive, while Jackie continued planting, weeding, and watering.

My main focus was on the bed alongside the new fence.

This involved clambering between dead stumps and the fencing and digging out stubborn brambles and sticky Willies. I had not anticipated needing to use a fork on all this, but, most unusually for April, there has been so little rain that the ground is rock hard. Consequently I didn’t get very far. For those readers interested in the scale of things this drive is 75 yards long and the width of a terraced house plot.

Jackie filled the Rose Garden urns – one on the brick pillar we have just rebuilt – with compost

in readiness for these lilies bought from the Hordle Post Office a couple of days ago.

Other plantings in the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds and the Rose Garden are mostly represented by labels.

Corner of Palm Bed at Fiveways

In this corner of the Palm Bed we have tulips; a yellow Japanese maple that clearly needs the pruning treatment;

Rhododendron 1

and a pink rhododendron just coming into bud.

Tree peony

A yellow tree peony competes with the latter over which will be the first in full bloom.

Daffodils, honesty, and hellebores continue to thrive.

This cream verbascum stands on the Back Drive bed,

Clematis Montana

and this clematis Montana spills over the front garden wall,

behind which a yellow potentilla is flowering. Can you guess what, when I put the first of these pictures of it up on the screen, got me rushing out there?

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Tesco’s gherkins. I drank Doom Bar beer.

Happy Hunting

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Those who have read posts from April 2014 onwards will know that we moved into a house that had suffered from much bodged D.I.Y. We are only putting this right at a very slow pace.

Here is our badly painted crooked mantelpiece made from a bit of wood trimmed with beading. Note the gaps behind the tiles stuck onto the walls, and that between the shelf and the wall.

Fireplace surround

We can’t stand it any more, so we travelled to Ace Reclamation in West Parley to investigate surrounds created from reclaimed timber. We are now to submit a measured drawing to have one made for us.

Ace Reclamation entrance

Our morning was spent in heavy rain. Here is the entrance to the architectural salvage outlet. The staff member waving in the distance is acknowledging the postwoman who has just delivered the mail to

Ace Reclaim letter box through wet windscreen

an old postbox which serves as Ace Reclamation’s letterbox. This is what that looked like through our car windscreen.

Readers can already imagine that I wasn’t about to make a complete inventory in the rain, however I did what I could. This yard is a wonderful repository of artefacts and materials. There are garden ornaments and furniture galore, some of which, on past visits, has found its way to Downton. Figures in stone and bronze, a giant cockerel, carriage lamps, urns, tiles, timber, rust, telephone boxes, a suit of armour, a mangle, a garden roller, gargoyles, can all be found therein. You could enjoy happy hunting in reality, or, if you’d prefer to stay dry, virtually, through searching through these photographs.

Flooded woods 1

The wooded areas on either side of the long, unmade, road, the potholes in which give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘off the beaten track’, are waterlogged.

Ripples in ditch

The ditches are filling up fast,

Waterlogged trees 2

and flooding a paddock,

in which stood three damp horses, two of which were a sandy colour I have not seen before.

Gorse

Mind you, the gorse glowed a grateful golden yellow.

On our way home we visited Friar’s Cliff Café for brunch. There was just one other customer couple who had braved the blustery seafront to reach the comfort always available there.

Sea through café window 1

This was the sea through the rain-splashed window.

Anyone who has seen a photograph of a Friar’s Cliff Café breakfast will not be surprised to learn that a selection of small Asian snacks, such as samosas and spring rolls, more than satisfied us for our evening meal with which jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cahors.