Variations On A Game

Today winds were fresh; rain was absent; and the temperatures were cool.

The verbena bonarensis attracted butterflies like this Comma;

and this Small White,

examples of which flitted everywhere, seeming to use white blooms as camouflage. Can you spot any one of these which will benefit from enlargement on accessing their gallery with a click?

Jackie continued her care work on these cosmoses and clematis on the back drive;

these, elsewhere, needed rather less attention.

This somewhat rusty duck had allowed the recent rain to roll off its back.

These bidens are some of many self seeded from last year.

Jackie has successfully tied up Margery’s hollyhocks

with string.

It was quite a stretch for the Head Gardener to tidy the white everlasting sweet peas.

In the process she pointed to a glass robin, crying “there’s Nugget”.

So, now you’ve been given a clue can you answer where’s Jackie?

The real Nugget had come out to play the game. In order to help newer readers who may not be aware of what they are looking for, and to give others a bonus we have today, in order of difficulty:

Where’s Nugget? – 4a;

Where’s Nugget? – 4b:

and Where’s Nugget? – 4c.

Not far from our little friend the stumpery is bedding down nicely.

Late this afternoon, realising that this was expected to be our last dry, sunny day for some time, Jackie drove me round the Bisterne Scarecrow Trail. I have the makings of a photo story which I will save for tomorrow. This is because rain is expected all day then; because I will require considerable time to work on the post; and because I am knackered now.

While I focussed on one of the exhibits Jackie photographed a couple of chickens scratching in the gravel.

Their flamboyant male companion flexed his muscles on my return to the car.

This evening I watched the recorded highlights of what rain has made the first day of the second Ashes Test Match between England and Australia, before we dined on minty lamb burgers, new potatoes, cabbage and carrots with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Doom Bar.

Autumn Arachnid

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As the first autumn arachnid predator wrapped prey for its larder in the warm morning sunshine, further potential sustenance foraged for their own food stores or simply soaked up the sun. The skies clouded over soon after midday and rain fell all afternoon.

This evening, leaving enough for Elizabeth, who would be home a little later, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika, tasty savoury rice, crunchy carrots, and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016.

 

If You Weren’t The Head Gardener

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Jackie has spent quite a bit of time in the last three days clearing up after the storm. This has involved sweeping up leaves and broken plants; tying up some of the taller flowers;  generally clearing the paths; and continuing to water the baskets and other containers. Before the rain she carried out most of the required dead-heading. The roses in particular have benefited from the generous precipitation from the heavily laden clouds, so a little more pruning was required. I continued with that this afternoon.

These general path views demonstrate that much has been recovered.

Madame Alfred Carriere has swooned over the bright red petunias in the nearby urn. She will need to wait for Aaron’s attention on Sunday. The full size gallery version of the first picture above contains a bee wallowing in Summer Wine.

Dahlias have largely survived, supported by the Head Gardener’s ties. Those mingling with gladioli Priscilla hold a great attraction for bees.

Tall, slender, verbenas bonarensis, were a particular worry for Jackie as they bent double in the high winds. They have, however, largely perked up, and remain strong enough to bear bees swaying in the gentle breeze.

Many more blooms are appearing in the Rose Garden. Here we have For Your Eyes Only, Absolutely Fabulous, and Just Joey.

Rudbeckia is in its golden prime.

The patio borders are mostly unscathed, as are

the hanging baskets, such as those along the kitchen wall, and large pots like the one at the South end of the garden.

All in all, if you weren’t the head gardener, you might think there had been no storm.

I am happy to report that, of the Two Historic Houses, Elizabeth made the choice that would have been ours, put in an offer, and had it accepted – on the Swedish house. She returned home here this evening and the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid, hot, chilli con carne and wild rice. Elizabeth and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon. Jackie had consumed her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

One That Didn’t Get Away

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In anticipation of the expected 45 m.p.h. winds we were out early this morning battening down the hatches.

Chairs and plinth grounded

Chairs

Hanging basket on ground 1Hanging basket on ground 2Hanging basket on ground by eucalyptusHanging baskets on ground 1

and hanging baskets were grounded;

Phantom Path

trugs, like this blue one on the chair at the west end of the Phantom Path were upended;

Gladiolus

I lifted this flowering gladiolus’s broken stem and wedged it between another and the bamboo support. It was rather ragged but deserved a lift.

Small white butterfly on Japanese anemone

This Small White butterfly hadn’t heard the weather forecast.

Dahlias Coup de soleilDahlias, poppy etc

Iron urn

Dahlias, of course, are in season;

Verbena bonarensis

verbena bonarensis goes on for ever;

Salvia

salvias and snapdragons still thrive,

Begonias etc

as do some begonias.

Rosa glauca hips

Hips, like those of Rosa Glauca, glow, glistening.

kniphofia 1

Kniphofias are having a second flush,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2Rose Crown Princess Margareta

as are roses, including Crown Princess Margareta, although most are showing signs of age.

Kitchen BedElizabeth's BedSouth end of gardenGazebo Path 2Gazebo Path 1Cryptomeria Bed

Most of the beds are still vibrant.

Ferns

We have many ferns. A Japanese Painted Lady sits in the centre of these.

Jackie planting bulbs 1Jackie planting bulbs 2

Jackie spent some time planting bulbs,

Jackie digging up bramble 1

and dived into the Kitchen Bed

Jackie with bramble

to emerge like a triumphant angler with a lengthy bramble.

Sid has now joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today they switched to the afternoon. By then the wind had really got up and the rain began to fall, leaving its mark on Jackie’s lens when she took some of ,these photographs. In less than two hours

Sid mowing lawn

Sid mowed the grass;

Aaron pruning eucalyptus 1Aaron pruning eucalyptus 2

 Aaron transformed the eucalyptus, seen here blowing in the wind,

Aaron and Sid checking eucalyptus pruningEucalyptus

to this;

Cordyline Australis

the pair removed an extraneous buddleia, thus revealing the trunk of a Cordyline Australis which they stripped of dead lower foliage;

Cypress clippings

smoothed out the gravel on the back drive, and took away all their cuttings and the contents of one of our orange bags.

Weeping birch 2Weeping birch 1

The boughs of the trees, for example the weeping birch, were whipped by the wind, and, by the time the maintenance crew had left, the rain was hammering down.

Shelly and Ron visited this afternoon. Ron investigated our drainage system; I printed the pictures from Ron’s party for them; and Shelly brought some of her own freshly picked runner beans which Jackie and I ate for dinner, along with chicken marinaded in Nando’s tasty mango and lime sauce, mashed potato, and carrot and swede mash. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

 

 

 

Dicing With Death

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What does Aaron have in common with a bee? You might be forgiven for imagining that it is that they both have very high work rates. That would be a good answer, but incorrect.

Aaron lopping cypress 1Aaron lopping cypress 2Aaron lopping cypress 3Aaron lopping cypress 3Watching our friend, unlit ciggy between lips, firing one-handed from the hip with his petrol-operated chain saw as he tackles the reshaping of our cypress tree, may provide a clue,

Aaron lopping cypress 5Aaron lopping cypress 6

especially when you see the height of his tripodal ladder.

Aaron tidying upAaron tidying up 2

Aaron always clears up along the way. Today he dragged branches to the Back Drive where he cut up a few logs for his client, Susan, leaving the rest for the ‘burn site’ of the dump.

Lopped branch on cypress

This branch demonstrates his clean cuts,

View from patio showing Aaron's completed work on cypress

while this view from the patio displays the finished shape.

Persicaria Red Dragon

The persicaria red dragon baring its bloody fangs in the Dragon Bed,

Crocosmia solfaterre

and the crocosmia solfaterre are among the plants that will now receive more light and air.

Fly on Winchester Cathedral 1Fly on Winchester Cathedral 2

In the Rose Garden, an intrepid fly scales the walls of Winchester Cathedral,

Geraniums and Summer Wine

and geraniums in the stone urn beside the potting shed enjoy a glimpse of Summer Wine.

Japanese anemones

 Japanese anemones appear to grow a foot each day.

Bee and spider's web 1Bee and spider's web 2Bee and spider's web 3

The bee skirting a hopeful spider’s web, in order to work on a verbena bonarensis, provides the answer to my opening  conundrum. Each in his own way is successfully dicing with death.

Later this afternoon we pulled up some brambles. As I walked along the Back Drive to deposit them in a bag for the dump, I almost stepped on twin juvenile collared doves sunning themselves on the gravel. Naturally I hurried indoors for my camera. When I returned they seemed to have disappeared. They were, however, simply playing hide and seek, foraging among the pebbles.

Collared doves juvenile 1Collared dove juvenile 2Collared doves juvenile 3Collared doves juvenile 4

Not yet old enough for timidity, almost in tandem, they carried on about their business and left me to mine.

Sweet pea

Here is a sweet pea for Bruce.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

 

 

After The Drift

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When Aaron and Sean cleared space for the promised greenhouse, they stacked the cut branches at the end of the Back Drive.

Branches

I chopped or broke them into manageable sizes and filled two of our large orange containers with them. There is still enough for two more bags. Jackie and I took them to the dump and returned with a very large saucer for a big planter tub.

Bee and small wihite butterfly, verbena bonarensis and fuchsia

Bee on verbena bonarensisWhile I worked, big black bees and Small White butterflies were equally busy alongside me among the fuchsias and the verbena bonarensises in the New Bed.

From the recycling centre we went on a driveabout.

Ponies

At Sway we came across a group of ponies bearing the identification marks showing that they had experienced The Drift.

Pony 1

When I featured this annual event, I explained that tails were clipped, collars replaced, and branding applied. This animal displays all three.

Pony 2

It was actually quite difficult to show the cuts on the tails because they were constantly being used as fly whisks.

Pony 4

Wherever the creature had rolled in the mud, it had besmirched its nice new collar;

Pony 3

whilst this one’s bath had obscured its brand.

We visited Milford on Sea to investigate the fortunes of Mr Pink’s Fish and Chips since its recent fire. Unfortunately it is closed until further notice.

Hurst Point Lighthouse

The shingle and the rocks along the coastline were well populated, as can be seen by this shot of Hurst Point Lighthouse, the story of which can be seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurst_Point_Lighthouse

Bathers

Others were bathing in the water,

Couple on shingle

seated on folding chairs,

People on beach

reading newspapers, or flashing tattoos.

This evening we dined on duck breasts in plum sauce; roast new potatoes in their jackets and peppers in chillies and herbs; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the Fleurie.

The Magic Carpet

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Having spent much of the night watching the BBC’s presentation of the unfolding of the EU referendum, I wasn’t up to much this morning.

I did, however, post my day 5 offering on the Facebook nature series.

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis

This was it. It appeared on my WordPress post Earthworks, of 29th September 2015.

I then occupied myself with dead-heading, and, after lunch, cut off more of the hedge along the back drive. Although there was very little rain, the sun made only fleeting visits, enough to encourage this

Hoverfly on single poppy petal

determined hoverfly to hitch a ride on the tempest-tossed magic carpet that was a single, clinging, poppy petal. As the insect rode the turbulent waves, not a slither did it make.

As so often, the evening was bright and sunny. We took an amble around the garden.

Brick Path

The rose Wedding Day, a prolific climber, is just coming into bloom on the Agriframes arch.

Rodgersia

Also flowering is the rodgersia

View from Phantom end of Cryptomeria Bed

that dominates the foreground of this view along the Cryptomeria Bed.

Head Gardener's Walk

The Dragon Bed and the Head Gardener’s Walk are now both well established.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Royal China where we received the usual efficient, friendly, service and excellent food, accompanied by Tsingtao beer.

Sunset 1Sunset 2Sunset 3

We enjoyed some splendid sunsets overlooking Christchurch Bay on our return via Milford on Sea.