The Herbaceous Borders

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This section of the Dragon Bed shows how what was a large, gangly ficus until Aaron removed it six days ago has been replaced by the Head Gardener’s selection.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

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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

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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.

Out Of The Corner Of My Eye

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Apart from June, August is possibly the best time to appreciate Jackie’s planting design. I wandered around this morning with that specifically in mind.

View from Brick Path 1

This view from the Brick Path takes in the planting of the small triangular bed at the intersection of this path with the Gazebo one. Phlox, pansies, bidens, and violas are in evidence. The cosmoses occupy the iron urn, and the geraniums a stone one. The chimney pot on the grass patch fills in the middle distance en rout to the South end.

View from Brick Path 2

Looking along from the other side, we pass through the Agriframes Arch which bears a new clematis. This latter plant has taken over from the rambling rose, Wedding Day, now spent for this year, and consequently cut back by The Head Gardener.

View along Gazebo Path 1

The cosmoses in the aforementioned  iron urn form the foreground of this view through the gazebo to the Rose Garden. The gazebo bears its own well-stocked hanging baskets. Nicotiana sylvestris and agapanthus can be seen on the left.

View across grass

The contents of the chimney pot on the grass fill the foreground of this view past Florence, also culminating in the Rose Garden. Several hanging baskets supplement the range of blending colours.

View across Margery's Bed

Stepping across to the other side of the grass, we can look across Margery’s Bed with its newly planted lobelias, leading us to the Rose Garden entrance. Lilies can be seen in shade on the right, and clematis Star of India is trained around its obelisk. Hanging baskets are also in view.

View across Weeping Birch Bed

Hanging branches of the Weeping Birch drape its eponymous bed beyond which we reach the Southern fence. The white gladioli glow in the distance. I’ll stop mentioning hanging baskets. You get the picture.

View towards Back Drive entry arch

Again looking to the Southern boundary, beyond a stone urn supplied with begonias and geraniums, on the left of the entry arch to the Back Drive, stand a few potted tomatoes. A white solanum and purple clematis entwine the dead tree by the New Bed.

Rose Garden

Some corners of the Rose Garden need the assistance of plants inserted for the purpose of variety, in order to give them time to begin their next flush.

Rose Garden bench corner

This view takes advantage of the hydrangea in Elizabeth’s Bed. The erigeron at the foot of the bench is another cluster of offspring from those outside the French doors.

Bee on St John's Wort

Before leaving the Rose Garden, I treated myself to one close-up of a bee blending into St Johns Wort.

Kitchen Wall

As I’m not going to mention hanging baskets, I can’t say much about the kitchen wall, except that some of the containers are on the ground or tables that can’t be seen.

Patio Corner

At the far end of the above view lies the patio. Here is a corner of it.

Butterfly Small White in flight

Now, why did I include this out of focus repeat of the second Brick Path view? Well, out of the corner of my right eye I saw something about to happen, panned rapidly across the scene, and made a fortuitous capture which should be visible, in focus, without enlargement. Can you spot it? There’s no shame in enlargement.

Viper's Bugloss

When Giles visited with Jean a couple of days ago, he brought Jackie a couple of viper’s bugloss plants. These grow tall with blue flowers which hold a great attraction for bees. Jackie planted them on the Back Drive this afternoon.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese cuisine. Jackie drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar.

Before The Thunderstorm

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For the best part of the day there were two consistencies in the weather: it was very warm and it was dry. This meant the overnight rain soon evaporated. The sun, however, vied for dominance with the clouds.

Sack barrow

Stopping on the way to buy a necessary sack barrow from Milford Supplies, we drove to Molly’s Den in search of two more stone urns for the rose garden. We were successful and installed them into position.

Planter in wrought iron

We also bought a red-painted wrought iron planter.

Front garden

Early on, in the front garden,

Tulip and raindrops

tulips’ in-built umbrellas protected their stamens.

Clematis Montana with bee

Bees preferred the pollen from the clematis Montana. If you can’t spot this insect filling its thigh sacs, you may choose to enlarge the image,

Bee on clematis Montana

or opt for this one instead.

Aquilegia

Pearly drops slipped from aquilegias.

Viburnum plicatum 2Viburnum plicatum 1

The viburnum plicatum had benefited from the warmth and the rain.

Wisteria

Two years ago, outside the utility room door, stood the stump of a wisteria that had clearly been heavily pruned, we imagine to make way for the plumbing for the en-suite bathroom above. It has responded to nurturing the first year, and training the next, to produce a fine drapery which should increase even more next year.

Pieris

Another stump, this time on the grass patch, has recovered to produce a pieris that now shows signs of feeling crowded by the Castle Bench.

Erigeron

Offspring of the erigeron, outside the French windows to the sitting room, have been adopted by various other parts of the garden.

Urn 1

Urn 2 (Jackie reflected)

Just before the thunderstorm hit at 4.30, after Jackie had planted up the urns, I joined her for cold drinks and a rest in the rose garden.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s prize chicken jalfrezi, now nicely maturing; meat samosas, egg fried rice, onion bhajis, and parathas. I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone, while The Cook abstained.

Which Statues?

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Brick path with urns

Yesterday, Jackie bought two nicely weathered stone urns from an outlet in Molly’s Den, and positioned them either side of the brick path.

Urns

She accidentally let slip that there were four more available. Naturally we had to dash off this morning to procure them.

We also bought two garden statues which could not be resisted. Once more, it was two young ladies who helped us load these latter items onto  a sack barrow, enabling us to transport them to the car. Because of the overall weight, three trips were required to take them home, unload them, and install them.

Jackie and Linda 1

Linda, on our second journey through the antiques centre, was vacuuming the carpet in her section. Seeing Jackie pass with a couple of urns perched on the barrow, she switched off her Dyson, and engaged in a pleasant conversation in which she told us that they had once belonged to her. She had sold them to the dealers from whom we had made our purchase.

Later, we spoke again, and learned that our two items of statuary had also belonged to this cheerful woman who was downsizing.

Garden statuary

Which two pieces from this corner site did we choose? All will be revealed tomorrow.

When finishing a heavy morning’s humping at Molly’s Den, there is only one thing to do.

Brunch

We did it. We consumed the obligatory Molly’s Pantry brunch.

Urn by weeping birch

The rest of the urns are now distributed around the garden.

The statues will be unveiled tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent beef pie, glorious gravy; and crisp carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans and new potatoes. she drank Diet Coke, and I finished the malbec.